Monday, February 22, 2016

The Relationship Between Hate Talk and Hate Acts Is Real And Ignored And It Is Those Who Are Attacked Who Pay The Price

The article that the Washington Post reporter Niraj Chokshi wrote about the reported 14% rise in hate groups in the United States last year raises the question of what the right way to define a hate group is.   A lot of it centers around the definition of large right wing, Republican oriented groups, some of them funded by rich people with an interest in their message.

“They paint with a very broad brush and in the process they tend to be sweep up people that are politically conservative,” said Carol Swain, a political science professor at Vanderbilt University who has criticized the organization’s methodology in the past. “I think they do it in a very harmful way and they abuse their power as an organization.”

The group has singled out as extremist Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, James Dobson of Focus on the Family, and Liberty Counsel, the group that recently provided legal defense to Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis over her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, Swain noted.

“These are individuals that are Christian conservatives—they’re just traditional conservatives—but because of their position on LGBT issues the Southern Poverty Law Center finds ways to malign these individuals or their organizations.”

Washington, D.C., think tank The Center for Security Policy made the list this year for its alleged anti-Muslim rhetoric, a fact that founder Frank Gaffney, Jr., called “outrageous” in an interview last week with Liz Wheeler, of the One America News Network. The SPLC is focused on suppressing speech, he said.

As a member of just one of the minorities targeted by most of those named groups, I don't think there is anything outrageous about calling them hate groups, their message is hate, some if not all of them use hate as an organizing focus and a means of pushing American politics towards the far right.  All of them feed off of reaction to progress in civil rights, the white backlash against civil rights legislation and ruling has been the major tool of political success by the Republican Party for the past fifty years.  Nixon's "Southern Strategy" didn't only work in Southern states which are associated by the media, by history but most of all by the insanity of our anti-democratic Constitutional apparatus for electing presidents.   It has worked in may states, including those as far North as Maine, Idaho and Alaska.   Like some of the segregationist groups, the kind that the original Atticus Finch of Set A Watchman would have felt comfortable belonging to.

There is certainly a strong case to make the argument that in 2016 the Republican Party is the largest hate group with the most influence in the United States, the FOX corporation and its parent company should be considered as well.

I, though, think the "net" used by the SPLC that the radical right are complaining about isn't catching enough of the hate out there.  I'd certainly include groups like the Freedom From Religion Foundation,  Center For Inquiry and a myriad of other religious hate groups, some of which aren't really all that different from the more genteel hate groups named above.   I have no problem with the inclusion of "Radical Traditional Catholicism"  in the list of hate groups on this list


The whine of the right, that the Southern Poverty Law Center is all about "suppressing speech" ignores the fact that hate groups start in hate speech, hate speech is directly related to hate in action, both the actions of individuals who react in a range of violence and in organized ways to use the various levels and mechanisms of government to enforce their hatred as law.  Not only in enforcing discrimination under the law but in allowing those who commit violence. The courts have, throughout the history of the country, been a part of that.   The recent legal record of letting the murderers of black people off is no different from what allowed lynch mobs to murder with impunity, it isn't an historical artifact which the movie action figure Daddycus Peck succeeded in defeating with help out of the mouth of babes.  The reaction to the publication of Harper Lee's first version of the story was quite a revelation in what its meaning really has been. 

Hate talk is the origin of hate act and hate organization.  Our 18th century Constitution, written and adopted largely by men who benefited from hatred of Africans, native North Americans, Women and members of minority groups, was certainly not written to discourage the kind of hate which has fueled much, perhaps the most of the history of the United States under their assumptions.  I don't think there is any reason for rational people who oppose the largely successful use of hate speech by the opponents of equality and a decent life for all.  In the case of affluent, comfortable straight, white men, the establishment who have benefited most from the present regime,  the lazy, ahistorical slogans of "free speech" "free press" and which have, seldom, been a real danger to them.   Straight, liberal, white, male politicians about whom most of the media lie campaigns have targeted are rare instances in which such people have lost something through the hate speech which they have been the greatest proponents of.  It's the people who are targeted by the people such politicians lose elections to who have benefited he most from "free speech-free press" who have paid the real price.  The victims of those who are the targets of the wealthy, straight, white men and their women on whose behalf hate talk has worked so very, very well. 

As for the rest of us, those who are the focus of overt hate talk by hate groups, the people who are the more likely targets of the violence that is the result of that hate talk, it's way past time for us to be the chumps of the 18th century slave holding, aristocratic men who wrote the Constitution and the 20th century lawyers who invented free speech absolutism for the media who used it to promote hatred on behalf of  the descendants of those men.  Women, the primary targets of most of that hate, especially in the porn industry and entertainment, certainly should rethink the wisdom of those threadbare slogans which have produced the United States in which someone like Trump, Cruz, McConnell, Ryan. etc. could be running the government and appointing Supreme Court justices who will dispose of any protections we have gained since the adoption of the Bill of Rights, rights which were certainly not included by the originators of those platitudes which enabled slavery, corporate person hood, the crushing of the majority by the elite few, etc.

In 2016, free speech and free press absolutism is the permission which the affluent, straight, white, male establishment of the past has given to the haters, their "more speech" fantasy is the Peyton Manning moon job that they did on the rest of us and we're the ones who get slandered.


  1. So a newspaper finds someone who disagrees with the work of the subject of the article, and that is "balance" against what the group advocates?


    And, of course, the "suppressing speech" argument always tickles me, since it's the claim made by the very group using speech to reject the opinions/conclusions of the group supposedly suppressing their speech. How does that work, exactly? Especially since the SPLC isn't a government organization, and so no subject to the strictures of the 1st Amendment, or really even capable of suppressing the speech of anyone else because they aren't a government agency.

    "Hate groups" work by promoting anxiety about the other. It sells subscriptions and gets people to part with coin so you can go on doing your "good work." Rarely do you hear these groups, be they secular or religious, promote, say, the quality of mercy.

    Mercy is boring, but comments about walls make headlines. Maybe the Pope was trying to suppress Donald Trump's speech?

  2. "I, though, think the "net" used by the SPLC that the radical right are complaining about isn't catching enough of the hate out there. I'd certainly include groups like the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Center For Inquiry and a myriad of other religious hate groups, some of which aren't really all that different from the more genteel hate groups named above."

    Completely agree. I've long thought that certain factions of the sceptic movement are little more than hate groups. As a psychic, I'm very disturbed by their clear intention to remove the civil liberties of psychics. I've always said that militant pseudo-sceptic organisations are barely any different to religious extremist hate groups...but it's only the latter that are recognised as such by the wider populace. The pseudo-sceptics are seen as logical, rational and fair-minded.

    I don't think any speech, even hate speech, should be curtailed by governments - so I do believe in the right of any individual to say what they will, even the most vile, vicious, hideous stuff - but it's important for hate speech to be called out for what it is, and criticised in the strongest terms by those who are repelled by it. Proponents of hate have the right to say what they like - and pseudo-sceptics can say the most awful things about psychics, New Agers, anyone who follows any kind of religion - but we have the right to condemn their nastiness.