The Southern Poverty Law Center monitors alleged hate groups, all on the right side of the political spectrum. Here’s how their report starts out. You’ll get their drift immediately:
Capping four years of explosive growth sparked by the election of America’s first black president and anger over the economy, the number of conspiracy-minded antigovernment “Patriot” groups reached an all-time high of 1,360 in 2012, while the number of hard-core hate groups remained above 1,000. As President Obama enters his second term with an agenda of gun control and immigration reform, the rage on the right is likely to intensify.
That “rage on the right” never extends to any hate or extremist or communist groups on the left, only the right. Such rage has happened before, of course, and the SPLC was there, ever watchful and warning of the dangers:
The furious reaction to the Obama administration’s gun control proposals is reminiscent of the anger that greeted the passage of the 1993 Brady Bill and the 1994 ban on assault weapons supported by another relatively liberal Democrat — Bill Clinton. The passage of those bills, along with what was seen by the right as the federal government’s violent suppression of political dissidents at Waco, Texas, and Ruby Ridge, Idaho, in the early 1990s, led to the first wave of the Patriot movement that burst into public consciousness with the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. The number of Patriot groups in that era peaked in 1996 at 858, more than 500 groups fewer than the number active in 2012.
I looked in vain for my name among the “ragers”, without success. But I did find the names of a number of people I know, some of whom I call friends. For instance Chuck Baldwin’s name is on the list. Baldwin is the founder of Crossroad Baptist Church in Pensacola, Florida, who moved to Montana a couple of years ago in answer to God’s calling to be “the point of the spear” in the freedom fight. As Baldwin noted in his latest newsletter,
The SPLC article lists several conservative leaders as examples of “hate and extremism.” They include Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), U.S. Representative Trey Radel (R-FL), former Arizona Sheriff Richard Mack, Matt Barber of the Liberty Counsel, FOX News radio host Todd Starnes, and ConservativeDaily.com’s Tony Adkins. “Even further to the right,” according to the SPLC, are Oath Keepers (founded by Stewart Rhodes), Judicial Watch’s Larry Klayman, and, yes, yours truly.
Baldwin is gratified about that. It is a measure of his impact in fight:
I can’t tell you what a relief this is to me! I would hate to think that all of this work that I’m doing would somehow be overlooked by an extremist left-wing hate group like the SPLC.
SPLC listed its top 40 worst offenders back in 2010, with names like Stewart Rhodes (Oathkeepers), Richard Mack (Sheriff Mack), Alex Jones, John McManus (my good friend and president of the John Birch Society), Larry Pratt (Gun Owners of America), Andrew Napolitano (the judge) and, of course, Ron Paul.
This year they had a special report on the John Birch Society, so I guess that counts for something. The news from the SPLC about the JBS is quite gratifying, noting that “The John Birch Society, the conspiracist group exiled by the right a half century ago, is on the march and gaining influence.” In their long and slanted article, they failed to mention one part of the effort to inform with which I am intimately familiar: its online presence. As you know, I write for The New American on a daily basis and occasionally for the print magazine. When TheNewAmerican.com started in September, 2008, it got 28,000 hits. Last month it received well over 500,000. In fact, it has grown so fast that someone deliberately attacked the site, taking it down for several hours, and slowing its growth. But the magazine changed servers, installed more robust safeguards against future attacks, and continues to grow.
I guess that will have to suffice for the time being. Perhaps someday I’ll have my name in lights at the SPLC. Then I’ll know that I’ve arrived.