The Southern Poverty Law Center has little to do with the South or Poverty, except insofar as it began operations in the South 41 years ago, and its employees want to stay out of poverty. Its visible employees are mostly upper-middle-class whites, as you can see.
It began during the Civil Rights era — actually, when the legal battles were almost over, and the battle was won: in 1971. But, as with any fund-raising organization, when the original goal was achieved, it had to switch goals; otherwise, its employees would have had to go into another line of work. They are in the fund-raising business.
The SPLC’s founder, Morris Dees, is the Left’s equivalent of Richard Viguerie, the Right’s original list-master, a fact that Viguerie freely admits in his book on his own career. He thinks Dees is a master. So do I. (I have done my fair share of writing fund-raising letters.)
So, what does the Southern Poverty Law Center raise money for these days? Here is its official list:
- We track the activities of hate groups and domestic terrorists across America, and we launch innovative lawsuits that seek to destroy networks of radical extremists.
- We use the courts and other forms of advocacy to win systemic reforms on behalf of victims of bigotry and discrimination.
- We provide educators with free resources that teach school children to reject hate, embrace diversity and respect differences.
Southern? No. Poverty? No. Law? A little. Center? You’d better believe it. Send your generous donation to. . . .
Today, it raises money by fighting far-Right extremists.
It has knocked off J. Edgar Hoover’s original fund-raiser for the FBI, the “Ten Most Wanted” list of criminals. J. Edgar found that it worked like a charm. Congress never opposed any of his budget requests.
The SPLC has issued a warning on the Tenth Amendment Center.
You remember the Tenth Amendment. It’s in the Bill of Rights. Do you remember how many rights are listed?
Anyway, defending the Tenth Amendment classifies someone as being in The Patriot Movement. This includes Michael Boldin, who is the founder and executive director of the Tenth Amendment Center (TAC).
He favors nullification, a position defended by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, back before they were in the White House, when they both got Alzheimer’s on this issue.
The TAC relies on an “an expansive reading of the Tenth Amendment, which says that those “powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” This is clearly a threat to the big-government policies of the SPLC.
Boldin got his start in the anti-war movement: specifically, Iraq. But that does not matter to the SPLC. What matters is the fund-raiser: its version of the “Ten Most Wanted” list.
As a practical matter, however, the TAC is on the political far right, opposing a whole array of federal laws and regulations. It has gained wide support among hard-line libertarians and neo-Confederates who are still angry at the powers the federal government accumulated after the Civil War that allowed it, among other things, to act against segregation, discrimination and other social ills. (In the 1950s, several states tried unsuccessfully to resist desegregation by nullifying federal laws. The courts have consistently rejected nullification as unconstitutional.)
The SPLC needs to reassert its southern roots, for old times’ sake. Tradition! So it invokes segregation. You remember segregation, don’t you?
He speaks at conferences on nullification.
These conferences are often headlined by prominent figures in the antigovernment “Patriot” movement, which has been growing by leaps and bounds in the last three years. The Austin gathering, for instance, featured Art Thompson of the John Birch Society, which once argued that President Dwight D. Eisenhower was a communist agent, and Stewart Rhodes (see profile below), head of the conspiracy-minded Oath Keepers, a group that encourages police officers and soldiers to disobey “unconstitutional” orders.
What? Disobey “unconstituional” orders? The horror! The SPLC is very big on that old favorite, “Ve vur just following orders!”
Then there was that Parks woman. She refused to sit in the back of the bus. It was Constitutionally required that she sit in the back of the bus. Uppity, I tell you. Anyway, the SPLC tells you.
The SPLC says that it’s wrong to persecute someone merely because he was a former member of the Communist Party. However. . . .
Thomas E. Woods, a former member of the neo-Confederate hate group League of the South and the author of Nullification: How to Resist Tyranny in the 21st Century, is another constant on the “Nullify Now!” tour.
There is a sinister (from the Latin word for “left”) connection with another group.
The TAC’s partner in this endeavor is the Foundation for a Free Society, which espouses the libertarian free-market theories of Murray Rothbard and the Austrian School of Economics.
You can imagine what the SPLC thinks of Austrian School economics.
Maybe I can get on its Ten Most Wanted list someday. I have always been among the also-rans. “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.”