Free Markets, Free People

SPLC: Giffords’ shooter “absorbed … ideas from … radical right”

The Southern Poverty Law Center is again pitching its slanted quarterly “Intelligence Report” in which it shockingly (/sarc) finds over “1,000 hate groups” on the right.


What a surprise. 

Don’t forget, this has to do with whatever the SPLC decides constitutes “hate” and apparently that means pretty much whatever it decides fits its agenda of giving the left  a pass and demonizing the right.  The prefect example of that is how it treats the shooting in Tucson of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords:

That’s in addition to the attempted assassination of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona, an attack that left six dead that same month. The assailant appeared to be severely mentally ill, but he also seemed to have absorbed certain ideas from the radical right, including the notion that the federal government is evil.

Everyone but the SPLC seems to disagree with the notion that he was motivated by any particular ideology or a certain type of ideas.   He was all over the place.   Additionally, and inconveniently, the notion that the “federal government is evil” certainly isn’t an exclusive idea of the radical right if the weathermen, SDS, and any number of left-wing groups from the 60s and 70s are any indication.  Ask Bill Ayers. Consult with the plethora of black liberation and black separatist movements.

The point, of course, is their treatment of Loughner’s attempt on Giffords is indicative of their ability to rationalize anything they wish too into “right-wing extremism” and thus “hate”.  It plays perfectly into their desired theme of an alarming rise of right wing hate groups, whether true or not.

And that’s pretty much how their tagging of other right-wing and “extremist” groups (aka “hate groups”) goes as well.  Here’s the key to the SPLC’s “findings”:

“Far-right extremists remain highly energized, even as politicians across the country co-opt many of the radical ideas and issues that are important to them,” said Mark Potok, editor of the Intelligence Report. “This success in having their voices heard in the political arena, where they have long occupied the fringe of conservative thought, might eventually take the wind out of their sails, but so far we’re not seeing any sign of that.

Some of the “radical ideas” the politicians across the country have “co-opt[ed]?”  Well here’s a short list as I’ve observed them:

  • Immigration laws should be followed and enforced
  • Government should spend less
  • Government should regulate less
  • Government should be smaller
  • Government should be less intrusive
  • Politicians should be held accountable

Association with any group which might espouse such things (don’t worry, most of the Founding Fathers would fall into the SPLC’s definition of radical right-wing fanatics and members of “hate” groups) and is actively promoting them puts you in the "antigovernment Patriot movement“ whether you like it or not. And of course that makes you a member of a ‘conspiracy minded organization’ which sees the federal government as the "primary enemy".

Add “nativist groups” and plain old vanilla right-wing hate groups and you have an “alarming rise” in hate groups on the right.

The biggest rise among right-wing haters, per the SPLC,  is a single “movement” that apparently most threatens the left.  The SPLC dutifully takes them on and categorizes them as hate groups in order to demonize them:

But the most dramatic growth in the radical right came in the antigovernment “Patriot” movement. These conspiracy-minded organizations, which see the federal government as their primary enemy, grew by 61 percent over the previous year. Their numbers increased to 824 groups in 2010, from 512 groups a year earlier. Previously, the only higher count of Patriot groups came in 1996, during the movement’s heyday, when the SPLC found 858 groups. Militias, the paramilitary arm of the Patriot movement, grew from 127 groups to 330 – a 160 percent increase.

Never mentioned by name, the obvious “growth” in the “radical right” came from Tea Party groups forming.  And, as with much of the left, the SPLC attempts to lay “hate” at the foundation of the Tea Party’s formation:

The number of active hate groups in the United States topped 1,000 for the first time and the antigovernment “Patriot” movement expanded dramatically for the second straight year as the radical right showed continued explosive growth in 2010.

Several factors fueled the growth: resentment over the changing racial demographics of the country, frustration over the lagging economy, and the mainstreaming of conspiracy theories and other demonizing propaganda aimed at minorities and the government.

I follow the news fairly closely, but I’ve seen no “mainstreaming of conspiracy theories”.  “Obama is a Muslim” – mainstreamed? Ignored for the most part?  Birthers?  Same same.  And the right isn’t exclusive in this area – just ask the truthers, a group and “conspiracy” completely ignored by the SPLC when it was at its peak (it still exists, btw).

Certainly “Patriot groups” have risen because of government profligacy, frustration over the economy (and government’s role in hurting it even further), but I’m at a loss to remember anything about that movement that seemed concerned with “changing racial demographics” and “demonizing propaganda aimed at minorities”, do you? 

Government and government excess/intrusion  has been the primary focus of those groups the SPLC has chosen to demonize by labeling them “hate groups”.  

Are there fringe right-wing extremists?  Of course.  Just as there are fringe left-wing extremists.  But they’re such a tiny portion of the population on each side of the ideological divide as to be negligible .  Unless you’re the SPLC, that is, and your bread and butter is finding hate where none exists so you can denounce it, play to the paranoia of the left and get them to send you money.

We should help the SPLC set up some better criteria for assessing hate, don’t you think?

Here, for the SPLC,  is a check list of some things to look for among real hate groups provided by John Sexton (I’ve added the last one).  I assume we’ll see this bunch in SPLC’s next sensationalized “Intelligence Report” denouncing them as left-wing “hate groups”, no?

  • Violent rhetoric? Check. Double check.
  • Unhinged political analogies? Check.
  • Hilter signs? Check.
  • Crosshairs on politicians. Check.
  • Anger and cursing? Check.  Double check.
  • Shoving? Check.
  • Racial overtones? Check.
  • Astroturfing by national organizations? Check.
  • Assault? Check.



24 Responses to SPLC: Giffords’ shooter “absorbed … ideas from … radical right”

  • “absorbed certain ideas from the radical right, including the notion that the federal government is evil.”

    He also hated G.W. Bush, wonder if he “absorbed” that from all the Bu$Hitler signs at rallies….

  • The SPLC has been nothing BUT a Collectivist tool for years.  The “dangerous hate Tea Party” meme is WAY too precious for them not to get in on.
    Dunno if you mentioned it, McQ, but hate-crimes are down over recent time.  Even while the SPLC has been telling people the “hate” in America is swelling.

  • Also kinda find it revealing that the SPLC types can determine what that particular psychopath absorbed.  Make you wanna say, “Huh…?

  • …he also seemed to have absorbed certain ideas from the radical right, including the notion that the federal government is evil.

    This must be one of those things like alternating current.  To the Left, just a few years ago the federal government WAS evil.  AC/DC. I guess it must depend on who you have in office?!?!?

    • Where do the SPLC put the “9/11 Troofers” ?  … they definitely think the government is “evil”
      … or check out these guys … my personal favorite source for the pulse of the “crazy” Left.

      • Wow !  Just took a look …  looks like DOMA isn’t the only thing that DOJ has decided to drop ..

        One private attorney involved in the case, who asked not to be named, said the Obama administration apparently concluded “its duty to represent the defendants zealously, which includes the duty to argue any and all defenses, can’t be discharged for reasons of policy and other government interests.”

  • As if they hadn’t before, but this really “jumps the shark”

  • <i>The targets included a dozen hydroelectric and reservoir dams in California and Colorado, and former President George W. Bush’s home in Dallas, which he disparaged as the “Tyrant’s House.”</i>

    The SPLC will probably classify him as a “right wing extremist”

  • Each day I become more appalled amd disgusted at the complete ignorance and total depravity of the “leftie loons”. They are so warped in their thinking processes(or lack of). Studying,learning and fact finding are concepts that are unfathonable to them. They are indeed the gimmies the dummies and the drugged yuppies who voted for the traitor occupying this country’s White House.

  • I have done a little cruising through the SPLC web site and was surprised (not) that organizations such as (BushHitler signs), and SEIU (Gladney beating/name calling) were not listed as hate groups. There is no question that many of the sites listed are not good for America, but to lump many of the them as right-wing groups does not seem fair. As noted, there are groups on the left that also speak in hateful tones but other than a smattering of organizations, there are none.  Also noted during my review, the description of the organizations listed do their best to link the groups to the right.

  • Mark Potok is a pathetic weasel.  Check out how he and Chris Matthews try to tag team smear Stewart Rhodes as dangerous, when the man repeatedly states that when given an illegal order, his members will lay down their arms and refuse to comply.  Their game was to portray his scenarios as so unlikely that just mentioning them was stirring up trouble.  Now, ask the Libyan pilots who landed in Malta or who ejected from their jets after being ordered to fire on civilians if the concerns of the Oath Keepers are just dangerous, crazy excuses for some malicious ulterior motive.  How about the Indiana Deputy Attorney General Jeff Cox who cavalierly suggested that police use live ammunition on protesters?
    Besides Oath Keepers, Potok has also include Judge Andrew Napolitano on his list.
    The only reason to read anything this many writes is to advance the same political agenda.  Serious journalists should either dress him down on camera or in print, or just ignore the crap his office puts out.

  • I wonder where SPLC puts Charlie ?

    Giovanni Di Stefano — known as “The Devil’s Advocate” — tells TMZ, he wants the Prez to set Manson free. Di Stefano — who has also repped the likes of Saddam Hussein — says Manson was nothing more than a cult leader, not a murderer — Manson didn’t do the killing. Di Stefano says at worst, Manson is guilty of telling his followers to “do something witchy” — never specifying murder. Di Stefano complains, “Manson has been made out in America to be the Satan of the criminal justice system. He does not deserve the title.”

    Charlie wasn’t “made out in America”, he did his own PR.
    As for the “pardon”, I thought Charlie was convicted on state charges in CA, so Obama can only put in a “good word” for him.

  • I wonder if the SPLC has ever considered that they’re impoverished because they’re abysmally stupid and irrational?

  • 1. There is no legal definition for “hate group,” which is why even the FBI does not track “hate groups.”

    2. The SPLC uses the deliberately meaningless term “hate groups” in its fund-raising propaganda precisely because it allows them to denigrate their perceived opponents without accusing them of any actual crimes.

    3. The “Hate Map” is a fund-raising tool, nothing more. It provides no information whatsoever on the alleged groups, in fact, the SPLC didn’t even bother to make up locations for 262 of the groups; that’s 26% of the total.

    In many states the percentage of phantom “groups” runs as high as 80-100%. Many of the alleged “groups” are listed twice in the same location.

    4. Since the SPLC is the sole arbiter of the meaningless “hate groups” label, AND because SPLC fund-raising is directly tied to creating the illusion of an ever-increasing threat, it is in their direct financial interest to raise the numbers each year.

    Last year the SPLC took in $31 million donor-dollars in donations and earned $26 million in interest on its bloated “Endowment Fund.” That’s $57 million dollars for last year alone. Since 2003, the SPLC has taken in more than a third of a BILLION dollars in tax-free cash, and yet the number of “hate groups” always goes up.

    5. The most ironic (read: “hypocritical”) thing about the Southern Poverty Law Center is that NOT ONE of its top ten, highest paid executives is a minority.

    In fact, according to the SPLC’s hometown newspaper, the Montgomery Advertiser, despite being located LITERALLY in the back yard of Dr. Martin Luther King’s home church, the SPLC has NEVER hired a person of color to a highly paid position of power in its entire 40 year history.

    Some “experts”