The Corner

First, They Came for the Restrictionists . . .

The Southern Poverty Law Center has made a thriving business of pretending to identify “hate groups,” seeing vast, malicious conspiracies in pathetic clusters of anti-social losers living in their mothers’ basements. But with the transvestites of the Klan an increasingly improbable stand-in for the SA, the SPLC needed new enemies to keep the cash registers ringing. So, after the collapse of the Bush/Kennedy/McCain amnesty push in 2007, it joined with La Raza and other open-borders groups that wanted to effectively criminalize disagreement with their positions to find new “hate groups” among immigration skeptics, designating the Federation for American Immigration Reform as a “hate group.” Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Jerry Kammer has written at length about this smear campaign.

The SPLC at that time rightly calculated that it would be laughed at, even by the liberal media, if it designated Numbers USA or my own Center for Immigration Studies as “hate groups.” In fact, I felt kind of left out, like someone who hasn’t had the honor of being declared a “Worst Person in the World” by Keith Olbermann. But there was no outcry at the time because FAIR — like all restrictionist groups — isn’t strictly conservative, reflecting the fact that immigration isn’t a right-left issue but an up-down one, as demonstrated by the presence of La Raza allies on the right, people like Grover Norquist, Dick Armey, the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

But I guess the jihad against immigration skeptics wasn’t yielding enough revenue for the SPLC, because they have now moved into the same-sex marriage issue. Last week they formally designated — I am not making this up — the Family Research Council and the National Organization for Marriage as “hate groups,” the same as the “United Society of Aryan Skinheads” and the like. The gay-rights groups, which have the same undemocratic, “by any means necessary” approach to policy as the open-borders people, have welcomed this appalling attempt at suppressing dissenting opinions; as one of them said, “There are no ‘two sides’ to the issues about gay and lesbian rights.”

Who will be the next “hate group”? The Catholic Church? The Southern Baptist Convention? The Orthodox Union? Or maybe they’ll go after Second Amendment groups next, or anti-tax groups, or the anti-Islamists. Ordinarily, this would just be a joke, a leftist stunt unworthy of attention. But the SPLC is taken seriously (for a little while longer, at least) by many in the media and is frequently consulted by law enforcement at all levels (many of the ridiculous claims in the DHS reports on “extremists” came from the SPLC). Exposing both the venality and the political agenda of this malignant organization is essential for the health of our democracy.


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