Jared Taylor, American Renaissance, October 2010
Wayne Lutton, Editor, “Profiteers of Hate,” The Social Contract Press, Spring 2010, 235 pp.
The Social Contract is a quarterly publication about immigration, assimilation, and demographics. It was founded by John Tanton, the Michigan ophthalmologist who has, more than any other person, established and directed the modern immigration control movement. Among the influential organizations he has founded are the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), Numbers USA, the Center for Immigration Studies, and U.S. English. The Social Contract is published by the Social Contract Press, whose best-known title is a reprint of Jean Raspail’s haunting 1973 novel, The Camp of the Saints.
The Social Contract (TSC) always offers an excellent mix of news and commentary on immigration-related matters, but the Spring 2010 special issue, “Profiteers of Hate,” is especially notable for its collection of articles on the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Many of the issue’s contributors are seasoned veterans of the fight to bring sanity to immigration policy — John Vinson, Jerry Woodruff, Brenda Walker, Kevin Lamb, Peter Gemma — and together they have written what may be the best profile of the SPLC available.
The SPLC, incorporated in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1971, is devoted to smearing and silencing groups with which it disagrees. Its main method is to call people with dissident views on race or immigration “haters,” with the intention of discrediting and marginalizing them. The center’s most notable successes, however, have been financial. Starting with a mailing list of contributors to George McGovern’s presidential campaign against Richard Nixon in 1972, it has been hugely successful at parlaying wild, direct-mail threats of “racism” and “xenophobia” into hundreds of millions of dollars in donations. It is now based in a sparkling, six-story, bomb-proof headquarters its critics call “the poverty palace.” As TSC notes, the Direct Marketing Association had good reason in 1998 to induct the center’s founder, Morris Dees, into its Hall of Fame.
Mr. Dees, himself, was never shy about his goals. When he first started in business, his partner at the time, Millard Fuller, has reported, that “Morris and I . . . shared the overriding purpose of making a lot of money. We were not particular about how we did it . . .” “Anti-racism” has therefore not always been Mr. Dees’ stock in trade. TSC notes that in 1958 he was the campaign manager for Alabama’s segregationist attorney general, McDonald Gallion, and that in 1961 he did legal work for the Ku Klux Klan. He says he later had a conversion experience and changed his views on race.
He did not change his views on money. In 1978, the center promised that if it ever managed to accumulate a nest egg of $50 million, it would stop the expensive and distracting business of fund raising and live off its capital. When it had $55 million, however, it announced that it would take $100 million for it to feel comfortable. According to its latest tax filings it is now sitting on over $120 million — much of it in complex instruments like limited partnerships — and spent $5.76 million on ways to scare yet more money out of the gullible. That was twice as much as it spent on what was supposed to be its main purpose: legal services for alleged victims of civil rights abuses.
Many of the center’s own employees have been dismayed by its obsession with fear-mongering and money-grubbing. TSC reports that once the center’s entire legal staff resigned because Mr. Dees kept evoking alarmist threats of “racism” and would not concentrate on issues the lawyers thought were important for blacks: homelessness, voter registration, and preference programs. Another staffer who quit later said that the center was just cashing in on “black pain and white guilt.” The libertarian magazine Reason has written that “the Southern Poverty Law Center would paint a box of Wheaties as an extremist threat if it thought that would help it raise funds.”
In 1994, the SPLC’s hometown paper, the Montgomery Advertiser, was a finalist for a Pulitzer award for a series of investigative articles about the center’s deceptive fund raising. The paper also learned that 12 of 13 current and former black employees complained of “racism” at the SPCL. That same year, when Mr. Dees was asked if he needed an affirmative action program to get a little more diversity in management, he had a surprising reply: “Probably the most discriminated people in America today are white men when it comes to jobs.”
The SPLC spooks people into giving it money by claiming that racism is everywhere, constantly on the march, probably right in your neighborhood. For years, its favorite bogey has been the Ku Klux Klan, despite the fact that the Klan has, at most, 2,000 members, of whom 10 percent are thought to be FBI informants. Some localities in which the SPLC has detected the presence of “the Klan” have challenged its findings, pointing out that residents haven’t seen any sheets or hoods. TSC reports that Mark Potok, a frequent spokesman for the SPLC, has a ready answer: “Just because the Klan, which refers to itself as the ‘invisible army,’ can’t be seen, that doesn’t mean it isn’t there.”
One of the SPLC’s favorite scare tactics is to count the number of “hate groups” around the country — always growing, of course — and warn that only a stiff check made out to itself can quell the menace. Every mailing address, every chapter of every suspect organization ranks as “a group,” so in 2000, when the center baptized all 90 chapters of the League of the South as bigots, the list of “hate groups” surged by a terrifying 24 percent. In 1998, when the Council of Conservative Citizens and its 33 chapters were inducted into the ranks, they accounted for half the rise in the number of “hate groups.”
For years there have been complaints that there was no criterion for calling something a “hate group,” but the center now says it has to do with improper opinions about “immutable characteristics,” such as race. The center has decided that homosexuality is inborn and immutable, so improper opinions about that are hate, too. Muslim jihadis and Communist bully boys are not haters, however, because their unfortunate opinions are about religion and class, which are mutable. The center would no doubt tell us Jews are a religion and not race, so Jewishness is presumably mutable, but improper opinions about Jews are nevertheless hate. Perhaps the most flagrant departure from the center’s own alleged criterion is to have called an immigration-control organization like FAIR a “hate group.” Nationality and legal status are, alas, all too mutable.
The real criterion for designation as a “hater” is to take “right wing” positions the SPLC doesn’t like. The center’s publication Hate Watch says it is “keeping an eye on the radical right;” no mention of the radical left. Spokesman Mark Potok has admitted he was in high dudgeon over anti-abortion activists who threatened abortionists, but he ignored the Animal Liberation Front and Earth Liberation Front, which use the same tactics but “are not right-wing groups in any sense.”
MEChA, the Mexican student organization that wants to kick whites out of the American Southwest and establish a country called Aztlan, is also innocent of “hate.” As Mr. Potok explains, “We have found no evidence to support charges that the organization is racist or anti-Semitic.” At the same time, the center’s publication, Teaching Tolerance, ran a glowing profile of William Ayers, who was a bomb-thrower with the Weather Underground, and more recently a fast friend of Barack Obama. Teaching Tolerance failed to quote Mr. Ayers’ well-known reflections on his colorful past: “I don’t regret setting the bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough.” Of course, he was never a “hater.”
One of the most interesting pieces in TSC’s special issue is an interview with Laird Wilcox, founder of the Wilcox Collection on Contemporary Political Movements, a vast repository of political books, pamphlets, and magazines that is housed at the University of Kansas. Mr. Wilcox has long been an observer of the political fringes, both right and left. He once tried to keep count of political groups he considered extreme, but gave up because it was impossible to tell what was real and what was just a PO box. He points out that the Internet now makes it possible for a single energetic blogger to look like an army, and he has nothing but scorn for the SPLC’s claims to know how many “hate groups” stalk the land. He points out that if the SPLC really cared about racial violence, it would concentrate on criminal gangs. Hispanic gangs, in particular, are notorious for driving blacks out of their territory, sometimes killing them at random, but the SPLC is far more worried about white people who study racial differences in IQ.
Mr. Wilcox has come to despise the left’s self-righteousness, noting that the anti-racist movement “has developed many of the destructive traits that characterize moral crusades, including the demonization of critics and dissenters.” As for the SPLC itself, “It has specialized a highly developed and ritualized form of defamation, a way of harming and isolating people by denying their humanity and trying to convert them into something that deserves to be hated and eliminated. They accuse others of this but utilize their enormous resources to practice it on a mass scale themselves.”
He calls the center’s brown baiting tactics “ritual defamation,” and adds that one of its rules is “to avoid engaging in any kind of debate over the truthfulness or reasonableness of what has been expressed, only condemn it.” He concludes that “the primary goal of ritual defamation is censorship and repression.”
These are, of course, the SPLC’s real goals. For a group that claims to “teach tolerance,” it has no tolerance for dissent from today’s race dogmas. By splashing out the “hate group” label it hopes to drive dissenters out of respectable society and silence them. As Mr. Wilcox points out, it never refutes its opponents; they are “haters,” so whatever they say can be dismissed without examination. The pity is that so many lazy journalists go along, and accept the SPLC’s caricatures rather than find out for themselves what dissidents really think.
Start to finish, the center is an expression of profound contempt for Americans. Its mission is to protect the gullible masses — always just a step away from genocidal mayhem — from the slightest skepticism about 1960s clichés about “diversity” and racial equality. It does not debate, it defames. It does not refute, it reviles. As TSC points out, the Southern Poverty Law Center has become the most grotesque example of the very thing it purports to combat: hatred.