For years, the political left ridiculed McCarthy's remarks and his attempt to demonize people with whom he disagreed politically. But as the memory of McCarthy recedes into the historical mist, the left itself has taken up McCarthy's tactics.
Now we have the "Southern Poverty Law Center," a left-wing political group that has set itself up as the arbiter of what constitutes a "hate group." The SPLC now annually makes a public announcement that it "has a list" of such groups. Liberal journalists uncritically pass the nonsense along. It promotes their own political agenda so, hey, why not.
The only stable criteria the group employs in making this determination are a) the group must disagree with SPLC political ideology; and b) the group must be on the political right (which, as it happens, amounts to pretty much the same thing).
Along with with hate groups in good standing like the KKK, there appear groups whose status as hate groups or racist groups is hardly clear. In fact, their past designation of the Family Research Council, a fairly mainstream social conservative group, as a "hate group," I have argued, brings the SPLC's whole approach to this issue into question.
One of the groups on their list whose status as a "hate group" I challenged was the League of the South. Louisville Courier-Journal reporter Joe Gerth took exception to my assertion that there is no clear evidence that the League of the South is a "hate group." He brings up a number of things in his comments that he thinks qualifies it as one.
So here's what we're going to do. First of all, I'm posting our dialogue below for those who haven't seen it on Facebook. Then I'm going to take every one of the things that Joe says qualify this group as a "hate group." Then we're going to apply those same criteria to other groups. Mostly left-wing groups, no less. And we're going to see if Joe will be willing to apply the same criteria to these left-wing groups as he would like to apply to the League of the South.
Championing Anglo-Celtic Culture
As I stated in the dialogue below, ""Anglo-Celtic" culture is English culture. Are we now saying that anyone who champions Western civilization as it was handed down in its English form and as it has manifested itself in American culture is a hatemonger or a racist? Mainstream conservatives have always championed English culture in this manner and at least the more traditionalist ones who haven't become complete utilitarians still do. In fact you can still find it ensconced in any university humanities core programs. You can go to basically any major traditionalist conservative thinker, either in the political realm (Russell Kirk, William F. Buckley, Jr., Leo Strauss) or the literary world, particularly among the humanists (T. S. Eliot, Irving Babbitt, Paul Elmer More) and the New Critics (Robert Penn Warren, Alan Tate, Donald Davidson) and see them not only championing English culture, but using the same terminology to do it (e.g., "Anglo-Celtic"). Our political, economic, and moral orders are all innately Anglo-Celtic, and I am unaware of it ever being even controversial. Heck, have you been to a Celtic heritage festival recently? I'm trying to think how hate is promoted by attending, say, Riverdance."
Guilt by Association
Joe charges that the head of the League of the South, Michael Hill, was involved in some way in a Todd County incident where racism was involved. He doesn't charge that Hill did anything racist himself, but that he was on the same side as the racists in an incident in which a man displaying a confederate flag was murdered. Joe not having produced any actual documentation on this, I don't see how we really deal with it other than to note that he is saying that Hill is implicated by having some indirect association with racists.
But here's the thing about guilt by association: it is a double edged sword. If Hill is implicated in hate because he was against the murder of a man displaying a confederate flag, then are Blacks all implicated in murder because they defended, in even some weak way, the murder of the man?
Joe produces some other examples of incidents in which some here are there who is associated with the League of the South made racist remarks. Are we going to apply this principle equitably
Let's start with the idea of secession. I think this is the loopiest of the League's beliefs, but I see such things as more of an eccentricity than some kind of malignant belief. Joe is clearly of the Malignant School of thought on this. The assumption, of course, is that the belief in secession of itself implies hateful beliefs. There is never any attempt to justify the assumption, it's just taken for granted.
But if secessionist sentiments are by themselves racist, then are we going to call the secessionists in Quebec racist for wanting to secede from Canada? Austria seceded from Britain. Belgium seceded from the Netherlands. Pakistan seceded from India. Croatia and Slovenia seceded from Yugoslavia. Portugal seceded from Spain. There are still secessionist movements around the world today: in Australia, in Great Britain (and Ireland), and in India. There are racist motivations in some of these, I'm sure, but not most of them.
In fact, the United States for all practical purposes seceded from the United Kingdom.
I can understand that this position is unrealistic and absurd, but I'm looking for some evidence that it is hateful or racist, particularly when the League of the South is on record as explicitly repudiating racism.