Institution of weaponized hate: The Southern Poverty Law Center

Since the election of Donald Trump as 45th president of the United States, the leftist under-ground has surfaced in an unprecedented, full-throated effort to neutralize his historic victory. This underground includes violent communist, socialist, and anarchist street thugs from groups like Refuse Fascism (the Revolutionary Communist Party), Antifa (anarchists and anarcho-syndicalists) and Black Lives Matter (socialists). But it also includes many Democrat politicians, judges, and bureaucrats at all levels of government, for example judges essentially governing from the bench with unconstitutional restraint orders, elected officials erecting sanctuary policies in direct defiance of the federal government, and media willing to give them all rhetorical cover.

Running interference are groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), who have joined the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) in an unholy alliance to attack and silence the Left’s critics. This war on speech has been going on for a long time, but over the past 17 months has reached a fever pitch. While we see Islamic terrorist attacks on Western targets almost daily now, CAIR literally threatens venues, organizers, and speakers who discuss the threats from Islamic terrorism and the Islamic supremacy doctrine of Shariah.

And while CAIR goes on the warpath, the SPLC assists by labeling individuals and groups “bigots,” “racists,” “xenophobes,” “Islamophobes,” “white nationalists,” and “haters.” The SPLC can claim responsibility more than any other group for popularizing the “hate” narrative, now ubiquitous in the popular press.

The SPLC claims to target “right-wing militias,” “white supremacists,” and other varieties of “far-right extremists.” It publishes a “Hatewatch” list and an annual “Year in Hate” publication. Its website includes a “Hate Map” showing where all these supposed “hate” groups are located.

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But most of the SPLC’s targets are not hateful or even extreme. Last spring, as GOP members of Congress practiced for a baseball game in Alexandria, Virginia, extreme leftist Democrat James Hodgkinson attempted to gun them down. Rep. Steve Scalise almost died of his injuries and is still recovering. Hodgkinson, like so many radical leftists, was filled with irrational hate toward Republicans based on the provocations of the SPLC and other extreme left smear shops like Media Matters and MoveOn.org.

The Family Research Council (FRC) is a mainstream conservative Christian organization. The SPLC’s “hate” list’s focus on the FRC inspired Floyd Corkins, a homosexual activist, to attempt a mass shooting at FRC’s headquarters in 2013. Corkins said he was motivated to “kill as many people as possible,” after he saw the SPLC’s list, which labeled FRC “anti-gay.” The FRC remains on the SPLC list.

Capital Research Center is a Washington, D.C. think tank focusing on non-profit organizations and foundations. Center president Scott Walter says, “Hate is the issue here. When you talk about hate groups, you’re talking about a group that is a threat because of its violent tendencies and racism. It’s an outrageous lie that some mainstream Christian group is a threat in terms of violence and racism.”

As the editors point out (see pages 4 and 5 of this issue), the SPLC recently added the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), a highly respected immigration think tank, to its list. CIS produces fact-based studies on problems with illegal immigration and our overall immigration system—which few disagree is in need of major overhaul. But that fact is irrelevant to the SPLC.

For years the SPLC has been at war with any immigration policy group that advocates any restrictions on immigration at all. It does not discriminate between legal and illegal immigrants. They all deserve “justice” in the eyes of the SPLC.

SPLC even attacks the Remembrance Project, which advocates for victims of illegal alien crime. SPLC claims the Project inflates illegal alien crime statistics, a claim directly refuted by official government data. In so doing, the SPLC dishonors the hundreds of thousands of families impacted by the illegal alien crime epidemic, including tens of thousands killed.* It goes without saying that with controlled borders, many fewer would be victimized.

The SPLC’s targets do not all lean to the right either. Their sole sin seems to be that they disagree with the extreme Left or Islamic radicals. Maajid Nawaz, a moderate British Muslim reformer who was held as a political prisoner in Egypt, was stunned to learn he had been listed in SPLC’s 2016 Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists:

Through the counter-extremism organisation Quilliam that I founded, I have spent eight years defending my Muslim communities in Europe, Pakistan, and beyond from the diktats of Islamist theocrats. I have also argued for the liberal reform of Islam today, from within…. In a monumental failure of comprehension, the SPLC have conflated my challenge to Islamist theocracy among my fellow Muslims with somehow being “anti-Muslim.” The regressive left is now in the business of issuing fatwas against Muslim reformers.

Also included in the anti-Muslim list is Somali former Muslim, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an author and former member of the Dutch parliament who speaks out against Muslim suppression of women, especially the barbaric practice of female genital mutilation. In SPLC’s description, it even acknowledges that her friend, filmmaker Theo van Gogh, was murdered by a Muslim and her name was pinned to his body with a knife. But she’s the hater?

The SPLC never criticizes any organization of the Left, no matter how extreme. The SPLC even admits this, making plain that the “extremist” designation is specifically related to the political positions staked out by those it labels. In an interview with NBC’s Chris Matthews, SPLC spokesman Mark Potok stated:

Well, let me say for starters that our—when we name groups “hate groups,” that has nothing to do with any allegation of criminality or some kind of measure of expected violence.It’s purely about ideology.

At a public speaking event, Potok was even more pointed:

Sometimes the press will describe us as monitoring hate crimes and so on … I want to say plainly that our aim in life is to destroy these groups, to completely destroy them…

In another notorious example of this bias, National Review columnist Charles Cooke confronted the SPLC about the violence of an Ohio Occupy Wall Street group, noting that, in the name of anarchy, it sought “the wholesale destruction of Cleveland, Ohio,” and “to blow up the Republican convention.” The SPLC representative responded, “They were Anarchists…. We’re not really set up to cover the extreme Left.”

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