Number One U.S. Hatemonger:  The Southern Poverty Law Center

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The Southern Poverty Law Center has established itself as the nation’s most vocal and prominent hate-group watchdog in the nation.

The organization was founded in 1971 by Morris Dees Jr. in Montgomery, Alabama. Before co-founding the SPLC, Dees was a law partner and serial entrepreneur with Millard Fuller. Still in their twenties, they became millionaires. Fuller then went his own way, dedicating his life to helping the poor, ultimately founding Habit for Humanity in 1976.

Morris Dees went another direction. He and another law partner, Joseph J. Levin Jr., created the Southern Poverty Law Center to counter racial discrimination in the South and finish off the Ku Klux Klan. And the SPLC had some remarkable successes in its first several decades, implementing a legal strategy of using civil lawsuits to secure court judgments against targeted organizations and then having the courts seize assets to cripple them or force their closure.

A marketing wizard, Dees has grown the SPLC into an organization with a staff of 250 in four states. It has a shiny and sleek headquarters building in Montgomery and a net worth in 2015 of $350 million, of which a considerable portion is held in offshore accounts. The media often parrots its point of view uncritically, as it labels more than 1,000 organizations across the nation as hate groups. Using sophisticated marketing methods, it is the recipient of tens of millions of dollars annually from individual and corporate donors, most of whom believe they are helping to counter “hate groups.”

But tragically, Dees and the SPLC are now fueled by the same passionate animus that fueled the Klan and white supremacists. The alleged “hate groups” that the SPLC targets now are often Christian organizations which follow the same doctrines and beliefs that the church has followed for the past two millennia. Critics of Islamic extremism are labelled as anti-Muslim extremists. Politicians who support traditional marriage such as Ben Carson are called out as “extremists.” Several examples of the pain and damage that the SPLC has inspired are illustrative.

Earlier this year, James Hodgkinson, who liked the SPLC on his Facebook page, shot House of Representatives Whip Steve Scalise and four other Republicans while they were at a baseball practice early one morning in Washington. Another fan of the SPLC, Floyd Lee Corkins II, shot a security guard at the offices of Family Research Council in Washington in 2012. Family Research Council, one of the nation’s most respected conservative think tanks, was labelled a “hate group” by the SPLC because it supported traditional Christian morality in regard to sexuality and marriage.

Another illustration comes from Middlebury College, the elite Vermont school where tuition runs $61,000 a year. In March, a student mob prevented American Enterprise Institute Fellow Charles Murray from speaking.  Later the mob attacked the Middlebury political science professor accompanying him, Allison Stanger, causing her to be taken to the emergency room of a nearby hospital with a neck injury and a concussion after being thrown to the ground. Mr. Murray is a highly distinguished political scientist, sociologist, and author. The SPLC on its website had labeled him a “white nationalist” — a false and even absurd claim as Mr. Murray has multi-racial children. Gullible students, armed with the hatred spewed out by SPLC, showed the depth of the ideological civil war in the United States, as the left-wing fascists at Middlebury shut down free speech in a manner reminiscent of the book burners in Nazi Germany.

Another example of the SPLC’s left-wing fanaticism is the story of British Muslim activist Maajid Nawaz, the author of Radical: My Journey out of Islamist Extremism. He is also the founder of the Quilliam Foundation, which calls itself “the world’s first counter-extremism think tank.” Remarkably, he found himself featured on SPLC’s page:  “A Journalist’s Manual: Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists.” He is suing the SPLC for defamation. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Muslim feminist and author of the bestseller Infidel, is also on the SPLC hit list as an “extremist.”

How is it possible for an extreme left wing organization like the Southern Poverty Law Center to have so much influence and cause such damage to the body politic? It is because of its sycophantic handmaidens – the mainstream media. Uncritically accepting whatever label the SPLC ascribes to a group or an individual, the mainstream media amplifies the ideological hatred that the SPLC spews out as well as giving useful publicity to help its fund raising. Many on the left believe the SPLC because of its commendable work in the early days of its history. They don’t realize that it has morphed into an extreme left-wing organization which uses despicable methods to discredit those with whom it disagrees. It targets people and groups and then demonizes them. The SPLC is one of the most destructive players in the ideological civil war raging in this country.

We can’t conclude this opinion piece without mentioning useful idiots such as J P. Morgan and Apple, which recently donated $500,000 and $1 million, respectively, to the Southern Poverty Law Center. The expression “useful idiot,” often attributed to Vladimir Lenin, referred to non-Communists in Europe and America who unwittingly helped the Communist cause. In this case, it’s not Communism being aided and abetted so much as calumny. Shame on these corporations, which should know better than to aid and abet civil strife caused by the Southern Poverty Law Center.