Rest easy: the nation’s watchdogs, patented Hate Detectors gripped in their sweaty palms, are still on the job. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has released its latest report on hate groups, and while the numbers of these vile entities has decreased, the SPLC solons assure us they’re scarier than ever: Mark Potok of the SPLC, trying his best to affect a stiff-backed Joe Friday pose conveying grim and unimpeachable authority, declared: “The radical right is growing leaner and meaner. The numbers are down somewhat, but the potential for violence remains high.” In other words, keep those checks coming, folks!
And they do. The SPLC took in over $38 million in 2011; the previous year, its CEO Richard Cohen earned $351,648, and its notorious Chief Trial Counsel, Morris Dees, pulled in a cool $346,919. All that to keep you safe from the likes of…me. The SPLC lists my website Jihad Watch (www.jihadwatch.org) as a hate group, along with the American Freedom Defense Initiative, of which I am vice president, and its Stop Islamization of America program. My colleague Pamela Geller founded AFDI/SIOA; the SPLC also lists her website Atlas Shrugs (www.pamelageller.com), along with our international umbrella group Stop Islamization of Nations, as hate groups -- so Pamela Geller and I are both four hate groups, and between us are responsible for five hate groups. Two people. We are also both the subject of lavish and arguably libelous profiles as “hate group leaders.” The brilliant FrontPage writer Daniel Greenfield’s blog Sultan Knish (http://sultanknish.blogspot.com/) is listed as another hate group. That’s six hate groups, three people. “Leaner and meaner,” indeed!
This demonstrates how risible the SPLC’s claim that there are 939 hate groups currently operating in the U.S. The very label “hate group” conjures up images of KKK members in robes, their venal and stupid faces illumined by the flame of a burning cross – not columnists, commentators, and human rights activists dedicated to defending the freedom of speech, the freedom of conscience, and the principle of the equality of rights of all people before the law.
But that’s the idea. The SPLC’s objective is not to spur rational discussion or debate about what exactly constitutes a “hate group,” and what are or should be the parameters of acceptable political discourse. It is to manipulate people into thinking that mild-mannered writers such as Daniel Greenfield and human rights activists like Pamela Geller are indeed exactly the same as those cross-burning Klansmen, and to be equally as shunned and marginalized.
The SPLC’s Hate Groups list is a cudgel, a tool for the use of Leftist enemies of the freedom of speech. When Pamela Geller or I or some other “hate group leader” is invited to speak somewhere, Leftists and Islamic supremacists avid to shut down honest discussion of jihad terror and Islamic supremacism contact the event organizers, tell them that the SPLC classifies us as “hate group leaders,” and all too often, ignorant or cowardly officials, unaware of or indifferent to how they’re being played and anxious to avoid “controversy,” cancel the event. It works like a charm, in just the way it was intended to work.
These classifications, unsurprisingly, have also become a staple of every report from lazy Leftist journalists. By citing the SPLC as if it were a reliable source, they encourage an uncritical, uninformed public to see its targets as worthy of the opprobrium the Center heaps upon them. It is no surprise that reporters, who tend almost universally to be Leftists, take for granted that the SPLC is some kind of neutral observer, when actually the SPLC is a far-Left attack outfit, using its “hate group” classifications to stigmatize and demonize foes of its political agenda. In these days of the New Black Panthers and the Occupy movement, it lists no Leftist groups as hate groups. Nor does it include any significant number of Islamic jihad groups on the hate group list, and has now even dropped an Ohio branch of the racist, violent and paranoid Nation of Islam from the list.
The SPLC is merely a propaganda organ for the Left, tarring any group that dissents from its extreme political agenda as a “hate group.” And while Potok warns of “right-wing” violence, actually the SPLC itself is more dangerous than its targets: its “hate group” designation against the Family Research Council led one of its followers to storm the FRC offices with a gun, determined to murder the chief of the FRC. This shows that these kinds of charges shouldn’t be thrown around frivolously as tools to demonize and marginalize those whose politics the SPLC dislikes.
There is a great deal more that is wrong with the Southern Poverty Law Center, as this article illustrates. The organization epitomizes the Left’s hypocrisy and its increasing taste for authoritarianism: its fascist impulse to demonize and smear its foes rather than engage them on the level of rational discourse. If freedom is to be preserved in this country, those who value it are going to have to convince their fellow Americans to pause and ask quis custodiet ipso custodes? — Who watches the watchmen? Why is fighting for the freedom of speech and the equality of rights of all people now classified as “hate”? Why is the SPLC an authority that anyone recognizes, given its naked biases?
Conservative groups must stop bowing to smear campaigns orchestrated by Leftist groups with a clear anti-freedom agenda. We will never win the country back without challenging – and absolutely refusing to accept -- the authority and reliability of the Left’s self-appointed guardians of acceptable opinion. A good place to start would be to relegate the SPLC to the dustbin of history it has reserved for the foes of Leftist thuggery and jihad terror.
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