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Rhode Island Neo-Nazis and Other Mysteries of 21st-Century Hate

Posted on | August 17, 2012 | 15 Comments

Professor William Jacobson has spent two years wondering about the Neo-Nazi menace in Rhode Island, a threat that the Southern Poverty Law Center warns about in its annual “hate group” listing, but which it seems no one has ever actually documented:

SPLC’s hate map at the time listed a total of three hate groups in Rhode Island, but there was no information as to the other two supposed groups, reflecting how SPLC inflates the number of hate groups. SPLC also counts each supposed state branch of each hate group as a separate group, which again inflates the numbers. If some neo-Nazi website claims to have branches in all states, that would be 50 hate groups to SPLC.

This “inflate the hate” tactic explains why the SPLC added the Family Research Council to its “hate group” listings in 2010: By steadily expanding the categorical definition of “hate,” the SPLC can present “hate” as an ever-growing threat in the alarmist fundraising letters it sends to its donor base of elderly liberals.

For those who don’t know the history of the SPLC, it is necessary to explain that Morris Dees is a direct-mail fundraising genius who began his “civil rights” group with the mailing list of the 1972 George McGovern presidential campaign — a reliable group of wealthy liberals who have since funded the group to the tune of $200 million. And even though the SPLC’s ever-increasing endowment would enable the group to operate in perpetuity even if nobody ever gave them another penny, the fundraising letters still rake in millions more in tax-exempt dollars every year.

Liberal journalist Ken Silverstein long ago exposed the SPLC as ruthlessly cynical fundraising scam. Even if you are a liberal who shares the general beliefs of the SPLC, the group’s shameless dishonesty — as they encourage liberal donors to pour millions of dollars down a useless rathole of disinformation — should be offensive to you. (Media Matters for America has exploited a clever variation of the same 501(c) scam, showing once again that a fool and his tax-exempt money are soon parted.) It is demonstrable, I believe, that the SPLC irreversibly descended into hucksterism in the mid-1990s when they hired Mark Potok, who was responsible for making “right-wing militias” and other hyped-up threats a lucrative staple of the group’s fundraising appeals.

It was under Potok’s leadership that the SPLC began expanding the definition of “hate” to list groups that had never advocated violence including, inter alia, the Federation for American Immigration Reform and mainstream “traditional values” groups like the Family Research Council.

The SPLC’s demonization of traditional values groups has been implicated in gay terrorist Floyd Lee Corkins’s violent attack on the FRC office Wednesday. Donald Douglas asks if the SPLC should be labeled a “hate group,” and it is a serious question.

There is no question at all, however, that Mark Potok is an dishonest and irresponsible demagogue who should be ashamed of his poisonous contribution to public discourse.


15 Responses to “Rhode Island Neo-Nazis and Other Mysteries of 21st-Century Hate”

  1. richard mcenroe
    August 17th, 2012 @ 1:14 pm

    Is there ROOM for a neo-Nazi compound in RI?

  2. Left-Wing Hate Groups | hogewash
    August 17th, 2012 @ 1:14 pm

    […] by wjjhoge Donald Douglas wonders if the Southern Poverty Law Center is a hate group (H/T, Stacy McCain). That’s a serious question, and I believe that the answer is probably yes. They seem to be […]

  3. Pablo
    August 17th, 2012 @ 1:15 pm

    No, there are no Rhode Island Nazis, just as there is no RI Klan. If any exist, they are the best kept secret in RI and RI is a terribly difficult place to keep secrets. So, while the possibility exists that some loser keeps a Hitler shrine in a locked closet, it’s highly unlikely. Everybody knows everybody here and everybody talks.

  4. Red
    August 17th, 2012 @ 1:25 pm

    Demagogue Potok to Smitty: “Ssh! You’re harshing my exploit dude.”

  5. Pablo
    August 17th, 2012 @ 1:25 pm

    Oh, absolutely. The western half of the state is largely rural, much like MA. Lots of farmland. But no Nazis.

  6. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    August 17th, 2012 @ 2:16 pm

    I get chills up my spine every time I am in Rhode Island. It is so hatey there.

  7. jwallin
    August 17th, 2012 @ 2:23 pm

    It’s about time that the real hate mongers, bigots and racists get called out on their hate filled agenda.

    SPLC were being marginalized until they started their right wing watchdog crap.

    Let’s start a left wing watchdog site.

    Trouble is, it would probably be against some progressive site providers terms of service and get shutdown.

    Can’t have the wingers spreading the truth now, can we?

    Boycott major media. They’ve hijacked our country and we want it back. Defund the people who are trying to kill your values, your family and your children’s future.

    No more money for perverts, drug addicts and communists. (birm)

  8. Stop Calling Conservative Groups Hate Groups - Caffeinated Thoughts
    August 17th, 2012 @ 2:24 pm

    […] which did good work during the 60s can’t be taken seriously anymore and do nothing more than “inflate the hate.”  The Southern Poverty Law Center is guilty of what the left has accused conservatives of […]

  9. NCMountainGirl
    August 17th, 2012 @ 2:27 pm

    Dees raises money for the SPLC in the same manner Max Bialystock financed Broadway musicals.

  10. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    August 17th, 2012 @ 2:28 pm

    Obama failed economics three times while in college. At least Glenn Reynolds heard that.

    I heard that Barack Obama had racist friends while in college. Oh wait, that was when he went to church. But college too.

  11. richard mcenroe
    August 17th, 2012 @ 3:16 pm

    SO drive_ 40_ mph and you’re outtastate in nine minutes…

  12. JeffS
    August 17th, 2012 @ 3:59 pm

    Mr. Douglas makes a good case for the SPLC being labeled a hate group. But that might only increase their donations, given how much the left loves to hate these days.

  13. Serena
    August 17th, 2012 @ 7:23 pm

    Do you have any figures on the number of member SPLC claims currently belong to “hate groups” v. the number of members objective analysts believe really belong to actual hate groups, nationwide?

  14. Adjoran
    August 17th, 2012 @ 7:42 pm

    SPLC is nothing but Morris Deese’s personal piggy bank. With the internet, he doesn’t even need to employ as many people to mail out fundraising appeals and open the checks.

    His new discovery that FRC is a “hate group” comes unsurprisingly on the heels of Obama’s fundraising success with teh gehes after coming out for same-sex marriage. Deese smells some deep pockets he can help lighten.

    The RI stuff probably is related. He’s seen some heavy donors to other liberal causes who live there and wants to tap in.

    SPLC is a scam, but its victims are wealthy leftists who would have given the money to some other lefty cause which might have been more effective. So, go Mo!

  15. Senator Blutarsky
    August 18th, 2012 @ 2:42 pm

    Why are we always hearing about “neo-Nazis?” Are they like New Democrats, differentiated from New Deal-era paleo-Nazis by their greater willingness to embrace the private sector and foreign policy realism?