We have previously dealt with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), both in Chapter 16 of the Conservative Debate Handbook, and in other essays, including one analyzing their attack on Pat Buchanan's latest book on immigration, late last year. They are one of the most vicious among those Leftist organizations, which seek to control American thought on matters involving race, ethnicity, or community and cultural continuity among Americans, by tactics which involve stigmatization, guilt by association and the intimidation of dissent. Because most Americans believe that truth is sacred; that a political argument or a debate on social values involves an actual exchange of reasoned positions--that it is a sin to bear false witness;--in short, do not even imagine some of the tactics that the SPLC employs, many have fallen prey to those tactics. Thus misled, they have turned their backs on those who sought to debate the issues of our times from a traditional Conservative perspective. Others, who realized that there was much that was very wrong in the social policies being pursued by the political leadership in contemporary America, have simply been intimidated into silence.
Educated Americans have often wondered how monolithic totalitarian societies could so long succeed in exercising virtually total control over their subject populations. It was not so hard to understand with respect to the former Soviet Union. Its peoples had been subdued by an armed uprising of Communists, Socialists and out right criminals, led by men who had no qualms in killing all who dared dissent. But many Americans, have had a very hard time understanding how the well educated German middle class could so completely accept the Nazi Government of Germany, which had come to power through the ballot box; remaining loyal, even during the darkest days of World War II, when almost inconceivable destruction was being rained down upon them. Why, some have pondered, could individuals who had graduated from some of the world's greatest universities, remain almost totally silent, while--in hindsight--it seems obvious that they should have recognized the clear signs, as to where Hitler was leading his adopted Nation.
To understand how dissent was silenced in National Socialist Germany, one needs to look more closely at the tactics of the SPLC; indeed, to push aside the smoke screen behind which they operate, when they choose to bandy the label of "Nazi," as being applicable to some of those whom they would victimize.
Here, we will take a further, clinical, look at the tactics of the SPLC in seeking to smear and intimidate a popular young Conservative spokesman, who dares to defend his Southern heritage in the face of the methods, we refer to. The SPLC target, in this analysis, is James Edwards, whose radio talk show "The Political Cesspool," out of Memphis, Tennessee, features outspoken and politically uninhibited commentary from both the staff and a large and varied array of guests, generally very critical of the prevailing political climate in today's America. Edwards, a proud defender of his Southern heritage, refuses to apologize for an heroic past or for the traditional values of his people--values, which generally prevailed in the days of the Founding Fathers, both North and South. The article below, "Into the Mainstream," appeared the other day in the SPLC's Summer "Intelligence Report," for 2007. It is remarkable in that it both demonstrates the clear bias of the SPLC, and illustrates the following characteristics, typical of what the organization considers "intelligence":
1. It assumes the rectitude--correctness--of social dogma for which it offers not one single rational argument. (Since this is the same dogma that runs through, and is offered to justify, its various attacks on other individuals and groups, also without rational justification for the positions taken; it ought to remind any serious student of history of the "Big Lie," technique--the endless repetition of a claim asserted as fact--which has been employed by many totalitarian regimes of the modern era.)
2. It smears an individual by references to his contacts with others, whose relationship to the individual being smeared is oblique, at best, by labeling those others, in an overly simplistic and often grossly unfair manner (as, in the example below, referring to a respected trial lawyer as "a long time Klan attorney"; suggesting that a lawyer is typed by accepting a client. Morris Dees, the lawyer long heading the SPLC, would know this to be a totally contemptible cheap shot.)
3. It employs other, more subtle, yet no less obvious appeals to emotions, both favorable to those personalities, who accept the dogma referred to under 1, and unfavorable to those who reject that dogma, in an article crafted, in every particular, to make the target less appealing, while largely ignoring any facts--even those not involved with the ideological bias of the writer--which do not serve the intended purpose. (Or, why else does the writer focus on the fact that James Edwards, who is prematurely bald, is "shaven headed," or make a misleading reference to "forty minutes into the program," implying that the segment, in which the panel were involved, had been going on for forty minutes, when, in fact, it had only been going on a fraction of that time?)
Further analysis of the techniques employed, will be interspersed within the article, itself:
When CNN decided to tackle the question of "self segregation" of racial groups in America this April 4, host Paula Zahn lined up a panel of commentators who seemed like they'd make for a lively discussion.
There was Molly Secours, a white liberal who writes a column for Blackcommentator.com; Jesse Lee Petersen, a right-wing black activist who founded the Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny; Roland Martin, a regular CNN contributor and black liberal; and finally, rounding out the panel that was to provide commentary during the hour-long special on "Paula Zahn Now," there was 27-year-old James Edwards, who Zahn introduced sparely as the host of a radio show on WLRM-AM in Memphis, Tenn., called "The Political Cesspool." Edwards isn't kidding about that cesspool.
Note the difference in the way people are identified. Molly Secours and Roland Martin are given neutral, if not positive identifications; Jesse Lee Petersen, is identified as "a right-wing activist," when in fact he is known best, not for a position in the ideological spectrum, but as a highly principled gentleman who has repeatedly challenged the influence of Jesse Jackson and others, who have sought to promote themselves at the expense of the actual interests of their race. Note, also, the deliberate innuendo as to Edwards' purpose in the use of the term "cesspool," which, of course, goes to the sad state of American politics today, not what the SPLC suggests.
The acolyte of white nationalist Pat Buchanan, for whose 2000 presidential campaign he worked, Edwards has played host to a "Who's Who" of the worst of the American radical right for the last two years now. His guests have included neo-Nazi and former Klan leader David Duke; long time Klan attorney Sam Dickson; leading anti-Semitic publisher Willis Carto; Nick Griffin, leader of the whites-only British National Party; Michael Hill, the League of the South leader who defends slavery as "God-ordained"; Prussian Blue, a singing duo composed of teenaged neo-Nazi twin girls; raging anti-Semitic attorney Edgar Steele; and scores of others.
[Under a picture of Edwards, in the middle of that paragraph, the SPLC offered this identification:]
James Edwards is a promoter of neo-Nazis, segregationists, Holocaust deniers and Klan associates, but was introduced on CNN merely as a Memphis radio host.
There are so many cheap shots in that paragraph and legend that we will only point out some of the more egregious:
1. One does not become an "acolyte" of a political candidate by supporting him in an election campaign. Pat Buchanan--the subject of an earlier SPLC smear, to which we responded in an essay on "Promoting Hate" (below)--did not run for President--nor ever for anything else--as a "white nationalist." He was the candidate of the "Reform Party," and actually had a non-White running mate! Edwards, certainly, does not become a promoter of anything but free inquiry, in running a talk radio show that hosts controversial guests. All of this is too obvious to anyone, who has a trace of ordinary fairness or integrity, to need further development.
2. We have already called attention to the absolutely uncalled for innuendo, here, against a well known trial attorney.
Zahn made it clear that she didn't have a position on self segregation in American neighborhoods and schools. "We're not making a judgment here," she told the panel before their first televised exchange.
The shaven-headed Edwards, on the other hand, certainly had. He said it was "natural and healthy" for whites to seek out those who shared "the same values and traditions and heroes." "There's nothing enriching for white school children to be bused across town to gang-ridden schools," he said.
Edwards went on to lambaste "the failed civil rights movement." "Forced integration is not a path to equality, it's a march toward totalitarianism," he said, adding that white liberals should spend a week "on the mean streets of South Memphis" to learn the realities of black America. He berated the support of many Christian churches and individuals for the civil rights movement, saying the role of the church is "not to preach the failed gospel of cultural Marxism."
Here we have the nub of what the SPLC seeks to promote via the tactics of the "Big Lie," via the most outrageous question begging. Do they offer one rational argument, to even suggest that there is something unhealthy in Whites, or anyone else's, seeking to associate with those with whom they normally identify; those who do in fact share their values, traditions, heroes, etc.; those with whom their families, down through the generations, have shared a common history of challenges and triumphs? Is there any such rational argument that they could offer?
Does the SPLC offer one rational argument, based upon any empirical evidence, that there has been any benefit to children of either race, in the forced and contrived integration of local schools; one study, which shows a net gain for the children involved? In half a century, has forced, or contrived integration, improved conditions in any of the inner cities of America, reduced crime, improved race relations, contributed materially to human happiness?
And what, if it is not a "march toward totalitarianism," is it, when a central government seeks to dictate patterns of school assignment, housing, and whatever, in an effort to change the traditional culture of a people? What is it, when people are not allowed to choose their own associates, based upon their values, rather than the values of a central authority? Who, truly, are the "Neo-Nazis," here? Those who defend the right of free association, of local control over local matters; or those who would force universal social norms--universal dogma--the mental lock-step of the Nuremberg Stadium--on all Americans? Does the SPLC even acknowledge the history of original settlement in America, where group after group came, each for the purpose of having a settlement where they could associate, primarily, with those for whom they felt the greatest affinity?
And what is the "Civil Rights" movement but a form of "cultural Marxism?" The traditional concept, dominant in the English speaking world, since Magna Carta in 1215--of vested rights in the use of one's own property--is directly impinged by Federal enactments against favoring those with whom one most closely identifies, in both employment and housing. Does the SPLC have a single rational argument, why those of us, who believe in the tradition of Magna Carta, should not challenge the "Civil Rights" Movement?
No. The SPLC has the same argument as that with which the Nazis squelched all dissent against the social doctrines of Herr Hitler: The oft repeated assertion, and smears & intimidation for all who dared to question those doctrines. The target this time, not the German Jews but the Southern Christian traditionalist!
Forty minutes into the program, returning from a commercial break, Zahn did fleetingly refer to Edwards as a "white separatist." But there was no further indication of the nature of the self-described "unabashed crusader" for whites. For some people, the whole thing was a bit much. Reacting to an Edwards tirade about school integration, Roland Martin shook his head. "It is offensive," he said, "to project this level of ignorance on national television."
A final example of the absurd bias of the SPLC. It lets Roland Martin, who--like the SPLC, here--offered not one even slightly reasoned argument on the program, but who deliberately chattered insults while Edwards and Petersen were making their points, have the last word. Yet to anyone who watched the program, it was obvious who was on a "tirade," who projected ignorance! It was not Edwards, nor was it Rev. Petersen who, as a self-respecting American Negro, got along quite well with the self-respecting American White, whom the SPLC has smeared. The tactics Roland Martin employed, in continuously talking over others trying to challenge SPLC dogma, were right out of the old Nazi play book: Anything, rather than a true exchange of ideas; anything rather than allow a real debate on issues, for which the totalitarian Socialist had no adequate answer! By all means--if you are with the SPLC--accuse the radio talk show host, who like Jefferson opposes tyranny over the minds of men, and who offers those who dissent an opportunity to be heard, with promoting National Socialism!
We get the message. It just isn't the one the SPLC intended!