For the Biden administration and its allies on the radical left, the driving ideological force behind its rise to power has been the narrative that America and its institutions are infested with race-based extremism.
It seems our only hope as a nation is to slap the “hateful extremist” scarlet letter on anyone with the wrong ideas, defenestrate them from society, and then teach the rest of us how to think the right way.
Many people and groups are eager to be the teachers, as it comes with lucrative financial and social status rewards. A prominent example is Robin DiAngelo, author of the best-selling book “White Fragility,” who has amassed a small fortune by lecturing corporations on how they can come to terms with their own racist inclinations.
With a crowded pool of “experts” to choose from, it was all the more sickening to learn that Biden’s Pentagon has enlisted the help of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and other far-left groups to participate in their “Countering Extremism Working Group.” If the goal is truly to stamp out extremism, calling on the SPLC is like asking an arsonist to lecture firefighters on how to put out burning buildings.
To those unfamiliar with its history, the SPLC has been a malignant tumor on our society for several decades. While it built its brand long ago by fighting the Ku Klux Klan and representing indigent African-Americans, the SPLC has since morphed into the bully of the town square. In addition to serving as a partisan content censor for several Big Tech social media platforms, it has made smearing mainstream conservative organizations as “hate groups” into a lucrative business. The “poverty” part of the SPLC’s name is a giant misnomer, as the group has raised nearly a half-billion dollars in donations from the likes of Apple, JPMorgan Chase and actor George Clooney.
Conservative groups targeted on the SPLC’s “hate map” find that character assassination is just the beginning. The SPLC’s ultimate goal is to destroy the groups on its map by bankrupting them through online de-platforming and encouraging banks, insurance companies and other vendors to treat them as pariahs.
Joe Biden’s far-left presidency must have been seen as a lifeline by the SPLC, as the organization has been reeling from a scandal that obliterated their image as a crusader for the rights of women, African-Americans and other minorities. A letter from SPLC workers to leadership in March 2019 referred to charges of “mistreatment, sexual harassment, gender discrimination and racism” within the organization. The subsequent firing of founder Morris Dees seemed to confirm one of the worst-kept secrets in politics: that Dees carried with him a decades-long track record of sexual harassment allegations from female SPLC employees, though he denied those claims.
Despite the organization’s best efforts to spin the story, the scandal was not limited merely to its patriarch’s toxic behavior. The departure of Dees served to expose massive cultural rot within the organization. Longtime SPLC President Richard Cohen resigned, along with legal director Rhonda Brownstein and board member Jocelyn Benson. Meredith Horton, an African-American SPLC attorney, also resigned, citing the group’s lack of inclusiveness in its hiring practices.
The shattering of the SPLC’s image continued with an article in The New Yorker by former employee Bob Moser. He described a group that cynically manufactured a phobia against purported right-wing hate groups to trigger a flood of donations from wealthy coastal liberals. “…it was hard for many of us,” Moser wrote, “not to feel like we’d become pawns in what was, in many respects, a highly profitable scam.”
While portraying itself as the virtuous punisher of extremists, the SPLC has faced allegations that its rhetoric has fueled left-wing extremism. This was on display on 2013 when Floyd Corkins stormed the Washington office of the Family Research Council (FRC) intent on mass murder. He brought with him a gun and Chick-fil-A sandwiches, which he planned to smear in the faces of his victims after shooting them. His plan failed only because a brave security officer in the lobby thwarted him despite being wounded in the altercation.
When questioned by police after his arrest, Corkins said he chose the FRC as his target after seeing it listed on the SPLC’s hate map. Did the media blame the SPLC for inspiring the attack? Of course not. In fact, the SPLC is still cited by the media as the unquestioned authority on who is and is not an extremist.
Considering the unforgiving cancel culture that is currently ascendant, a group with the SPLC’s shameful history should be banished forever from the public square where it has tried to intimidate so many others. Because they advocate for the radical left, however, the SPLC’s sins receive scant attention. Now, with fellow travelers calling the shots in the Oval Office, the SPLC’s resuscitation is complete. That this administration deems such a group worthy to influence our military is yet more evidence of their pernicious agenda.
Dale L. Wilcox is executive director and general counsel at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of mass migration.