Posted on | May 1, 2014 | 53 Comments
One can easily imagine the outrage of progressives if a gay teacher were subjected to disciplinary action for his political beliefs, but that’s not what happened in Star City, Arkansas:
Star City School District teacher Philip Holthoff has been suspended with pay and under investigation by the district Friday after he allegedly made racist comments on a white supremacist website.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization which identifies hate groups, says they’ve been keeping their eye on the website called “Stormfront” whose slogan is “white pride world-wide.” The SPLC says they identified Star City teacher Philip Holthoff as posting racist comments on the site under a pseudonym, “David Lee Saxon.”
“I teach social studies in a public high school and I am racially conscious,” wrote poster David Lee Saxon.
The SPLC says they were able to identify Holthoff’s connection to the website by a donation.
“Mr. Holthoff gave money on April 20th to the site so we were taking a closer look at him and that’s how he came up as a donor on Stormfront,” said Heidi Beirich of the SPLC.
Beirich says she reached out to Holthoff before publishing his alleged connection to Stormfront.
“He was using a pseudonym online, David Lee Saxon, but by looking at all of the posts by Saxon, it’s very easy to figure out that this is Philip Holthoff, which he confirmed in a conversation to me,” Beirich said.
This story came to my attention via a Twitter debate between Aaron Walker and another user which, I am told, focused on the question of whether First Amendment protections apply without regard to the content of offensive speech. One might also see in this story an issue of whether anyone has a right to be employed by public schools. The whole matter of “employment rights” — which the labor movement has propagandized to the point that few ever question it — is problematic to me from a libertarian perspective: In a free economy, employment is arranged by mutual voluntary consent; if an employee is free to choose his employer, and to quit a job whenever he wants, then by similar principle, the employer should be able to hire, fire or promote anyone, for any reason, without being subject to tort complaints.
By my lights, then, whether or not Star City schools discipline Philip Holthoff — up to and including termination from his job — is not a matter of Holthoff’s “rights” in any sense. Assuming that the school board members are accountable to the voters who elected them, they are acting entirely within their prerogative whatever they do. It is only the bogus entitlement mentality of “employment rights” that could possibly make anyone think otherwise.
Therefore, it doesn’t make any difference whether Holthoff was posting on Stormfront or on an NAACP website, or for that matter, if he was marching in the Little Rock Gay Pride parade. The content of whatever it was that may have offended his employer is irrelevant, from a libertarian perspective. However . . .
Here at Hatewatch, we’re taking a deeper look at the donors who keep the largest hate site on the Internet — Stormfront — up and running. Taking in more than $100,000 a year in contributions, Stormfront is one of the best-funded hate sites in the world.
Although the site has hundreds of “Sustaining Members” that pledge $50 a year, a detailed financial study by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) shows that usually less than a dozen donors provide more than half of the income Stormfront takes in each month.
In fact, only a handful of high value contributors cover most of the costs involved in keeping Don Black, owner of Stormfront, and his vision of “White Pride Worldwide” online.
This month, Philip Holthoff, an odd and intensely racist Arkansas high school social studies teacher was among them, pledging $100 on April 20th. . . .
How does SPLC know how much money Stormfront collects and from whom? Given what we know about how IRS employees leaked information on donors who supported California’s Prop 8, shouldn’t we be suspicious about this kind of scrutiny of donors? Such a suspicion is not about the content of one neo-Nazi site, but rather about the means by which this kind of investigation is carried out.
Meanwhile, do parents know who is teaching their kids in public school?
The SPLC’s files suggest that Holthoff, 53, has been an active neo-Nazi for most of his adult life. Records show he joined the neo-Nazi National Alliance in May 1980 at the age of 19, where he was given membership number A3148. Records also show Holthoff joined National Vanguard in May 2005 as member #V0547, and he is listed as a “lifetime” member of White Revolution.
In a 2007 Stormfront post, Holthoff outlined his pedigree in the racist movement. “I was a loyal NA [National Alliance] member for years, went to two national leadership conferences and once stayed a week in WV [West Virginia] with a friend who was employed on staff under WLP [now deceased leader of the National Alliance William Pierce],” he wrote on Stormfront. “After the death of WLP the infighting and rumors and excessive secrecy disgusted me and I left and joined NV [National Vanguard]. I was at the second [David] Duke leadership conference and had so much hope. I suspect most of those present were NV members.”
Expressing common movement fantasies about rounding up “race traitors” after the revolution, Holthoff wrote earlier this year that he hopes a “top secret group” of white supremacists will form to “bring to justice“ those “traitors” who promote interracial activities like the Super Bowl.
What? The Super Bowl is about “race traitors”? And nobody told me?
As shocking as it is to learn that a guy who has been a neo-Nazi since he was a teenager would be working as a public school teacher — even in rural Arkansas — what about teachers who are associated with other controversial political organizations? For all you know, your kid’s science teacher may be an environmentalist who supports the eco-terrorist Earth Liberation Front. Maybe your local school teachers are supporting Planned Parenthood, or GLSEN, or the pro-abortion lesbian youth organization known as the Girl Scouts.
Heck, some of them may even be Democrats.
We must investigate these dangerous extremists in our public schools!