For the past several months,
I’ve noticed Scientology gofers passing out cult invites downtown – recruiting on street-level what once was membership of celebrity and wealth. Since this very uptown, New Age “church” depends on contributions by a faithful ego-stroked to beneficence, this could be a sign the snake oil ministry is slipping down the trendiness scale. But that’s the downside of elite playthings: Once you go out of fashion, you have to fling open doors to the hoi polloi.
Another option is purely nuclear: Scare the pants off the membership so they cough up requisite funding to keep the organization operating in the luxurious manner to which it’s accustomed. This is especially useful for non-profits whose function and prominence exists only in imaginations of their gullible benefactors.
No organization is more adept at this seedy ploy than the Southern Poverty Law Center, and no one has been more relentless dragging this soft extortion out to sunlight than Ken Silverstein, who’s noted the SPLC pushes a largely imaginary scenario of America beset armies of racist, anti-Semitic reactionaries. This attracts huge donations from white Boomer “revolutionaries” gone to pot in capitalism’s affluent tiers; many of these are Jews scared that yankee “Nazis” may someday turn on them. But what’s cited as the group’s “fearmongering” for money is a little more complex. The SPLC and other frauds also play on expansive self-appraisal of donors; these generous freedom-fighters are the forward-thinking, morally superior cadres surrounded by criminally deranged, backward “little people”.
Back in 2000, I wrote a story in Harper’s about the Southern Poverty Law Center of Montgomery, Alabama, whose stated mission is to combat disgusting yet mostly impotent groups like the Nazis and the KKK. What it does best, though, is to raise obscene amounts of money by hyping fears about the power of those groups; hence the SPLC has become the nation’s richest “civil rights” organization. The Center earns more from its vast investment portfolio than it spends on its core mission, which has led Millard Farmer, a death-penalty lawyer in Georgia, to once describe Morris Dees, the SPLC’s head, as “the Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker of the civil rights movement” (adding, “I don’t mean to malign Jim and Tammy Faye”).
The SPLC ramps up presence of American “hate” groups at expense of other issues, and that’s become a major sticking point with a growing number of critics on the Left. Even ‘Leftier than thou’ The Nation Magazine got up in its business:
Hate sells; poor people don’t, which is why readers who go to the center’s website will find only a handful of cases on such unlucrative causes as fair housing, worker safety or healthcare, many of those from the 1970s and ’80s. Why the organization continues to keep “Poverty” (or even “Law”) in its name can be ascribed only to nostalgia or a cynical understanding of the marketing possibilities in class guilt. It barely even handles death penalty cases anymore, and lawyers struggling in the South to save the lives of people, mostly poor, on Death Row, will never forget that it was Morris Dees who smoothed the way to a federal judgeship for Ed Carnes, author of Alabama’s death penalty statute and a notorious hanging judge.
I have absolutely no use for the establishment Left. It’s become hindrance not help. By classing all its opponents as ‘racist’ or ‘homophobes’ or whatever, it attempts to shut down debate and tar anyone opposed to its agenda out of hand. This is no way to run a democracy, but then, when has the Left EVER been about democracy or real liberation? Nevertheless, to have its helpmates turn on it as the SPLC has seen in recent years is credibility blow from which it may be difficult to recover.
(As I’ve noted many times before, there is no Right or Left, anymore. There are only an extremely detached and hostile elite – and us. If anything, we need a new, fresh Left – one not committed to upholding failed political theory, not battling crises of the past, and responsive to plight of working-class Americans even if some of them are (gasp!) white and Gentile. The old Left is a bauble of our Cabernet Proletariat, a phony, ego-stroking plaything of our elite. Let’s dump it.)
And Silverstein has focused on that social landmine planted by self-appointed ‘watchdog’ scams like SPLC: Closing down free exchange of ideas by demonizing anyone it sees fit. Lately, in broad swathes of judgmental legerdemain, the SPLC has included anti-gun control advocates, as well as anti-gay marriage churches and religious groups among it horrid “haters”. This has put country-club Republicans and prayer-bench grannies on the “enemies of the people” blacklist scribed by this collection of platinum shysters.
Is it hate to disagree with the Left/liberal bible – pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage, “anti-racist” (whatever the fuck THAT means in today’s world) and pro-gun control? Already, the SPLC has every group pressing to secure our porous southern border classed as vicious gringo vigilantes. You don’t hew to the SPLC’s narrow allegiance to Cultural Marxism, and you’re a hatemonger.
Therefore, it was blow beyond measure that last year’s attack on the conservative Family Research Council was carried out by a nutlog who saw the FRC listed as an anti-gay hate group on the SPLC directory. In what the SPLC clearly would label a hate crime if the shooter’s politics swayed Right instead of Left, Floyd Corkins planned to rub Chik-Fil-A sandwiches in the faces of what he hoped would be his victims at FRC. The Left-o-sphere continually denies this fact by simply repeating it ain’t so – even though Corkins’ own testimony contradicts them. (But… then… when was the establishment Left ever about the truth?)
Who exactly acted as inciter of violence in this case, you fucking crooks?
Maybe this is the start of something. Maybe the SPLC is about to take a donor hit that will set it back, reduce its status. We only can hope. As it is, whenever there’s a whiff of “racism” in a case, the SPLC is go-to authority cited by government and media alike. Now, even the Trotsky GOP at the Weekly Standard – which usually upholds a very conservative foreign policy and liberal stance on domestic, “social” issues – has had its fill.
The SPLC was all over the Trayvon Martin case, helping inflate it as civil-rights “event”. It sought to establish killing of Southern California Iraqi immigrant Shaima Alawadi as another hate crime – until police found she was killed by a family member to avenge “honor” transgression. It’s been touting recent assassinations of prosecutors and other officials in the Southwest as work of “white supremacists” (read: prison gangs), as well as speculating the Boston Marathon bombing earlier this week was work of its maligned “patriot” nemeses.
By casting its net so wide and far, SPLC proves itself devoid of any real philosophy of what constitutes civic “hate” – other that it being component of anyone with different political leanings. It’s help create a warped, ridiculous mindset about America among its detached elite fan base. If you see enough of the SPLC’s bombastic propaganda, it’s easy to think this country is on verge of race war. And remember: Every atrocity in recent human history began with conspiracy theories about “dangerous” populations out to wreck everyone else’s lives. The SPLC – and all groups like them, including the obnoxious Anti-Defamation League – do more harm than good.
Maybe this nest of con-men will find itself in free-fall, and join the Scientologists in street-corner panhandling for membership. We can only hope.