“Superman”, according to the Canadian folk-rock group the Crash Test Dummies, “never made any money saving the world from Solomon Grundy”. Morris Dees Jr., whatever he might think himself to be in his heart of hearts, is no Superman. For while he has not saved the world, or even part of the world, from either Solomon Grundy or his own arch-nemesis the Ku Klux Klan, he has certainly made a lot of money. Part of this money he made by winning large judgements against the various Klan and neo-Nazi groups that he has taken to court over the years. Part of this money he has made by convincing American liberals with a lot of money and very few brains that only by regularly sending big fat cheques to his organization can an imminent takeover of the United States by Aryan supremacist groups and establishment of the Fourth Reich in North America be prevented.
The Social Justice League of America which this Not-So-Superman co-founded with his law partner Joseph Levin forty-two years ago is called the Southern Poverty Law Center. It more commonly called by its initials the SPLC or, as Peter Brimelow and company over at Vdare aptly and amusingly spell it, the $PLC. Few if any would question their expertise in the fields of suing people and raising money. They claim, however, to be experts on extremists and “hate groups” and this claim, although you will occasionally still find television stations and newspapers who accept it and cite them as authorities, has been seriously called into question in recent years.
Most recently it was called into question when, last October, this band of hero wannabees added a new name to their ever growing list of extremists and haters to watch out for. Was it the name of a heavily tattooed skinhead thug? Was it somebody who in his over ample supply of spare time throws a bedsheet over himself and goes around intimidating and lynching black people (or more likely goes to a rally of others like himself, has some barbecue, gets drunk and then goes home)? Was it some terrible insensitive villain who has caused untold anguish and emotional suffering to the remaining survivors of Auschwitz by having the nerve, the gall, the chutzpah to actually suggest that only 5 million, nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine and a half Jews died in the Holocaust rather than six million?
No, it was far worse than that. The man in question, outed as the new Napoleon of hate crime, is Dr. Ben Carson, the sixty-four year old neurosurgeon who achieved worldwide fame in the late 1980s for conducting the first successful operation separating Siamese twins who had been joined at the head, one of many accomplishments in his long and successful career at John Hopkins Hospital. You may recall that he was played by Cuba Gooding Jr. in the 2009 movie based upon his 1992 autobiography Gifted Hands. Clearly this is a dangerous figure of whom we all ought to be very wary indeed and we should be thanking whatever supernatural entity lurks behind the $PLC that they were there to foil his nefarious schemes and save us all.
So what exactly did Dr. Carson do to get on the $PLC’s naughty list?
Well, the fact that he is a successful, black American professional who is conservative politically, has spoken out against Obamacare, and is a potential Republican candidate for the 2016 American Presidential election has probably not endeared him to these leftwing, professional antiracists. Left-of-centre, progressive thinking, forward minded types in general, and antiracists especially, tend to assume that all black Americans will automatically support their causes and vote Democrat out of gratitude to white liberals for rescuing them from slavery and segregation and are shocked and offended when they find that this is not the case. “How dare he think for himself and support conservative causes! After all we did for him!”
The $PLC’s specific complaint against Dr. Carson, however, is that he is a supporter of traditional marriage and therefore, by their left-of-centre reasoning, a promoter of hatred against gays and lesbians. Dr. Carson is a faithful, practicing, Seventh Day Adventist, who credits God for the talents and abilities that made him a successful neurosurgeon (hence the title of his autobiography) and he believes in accordance with the teachings of his faith – and, it might be added, common sense – that marriage is something that exists between a man and a woman and that nobody has the right to change its basic meaning. To the kind of people who are looking for a frothing-at-the-mouth, hateful, extremist under every rock and behind every bush, this is a clear indication of an irrational, dangerous, prejudice and hatred against people who are attracted to their own sex.
It shows just how seriously the $PLC is taken these days that their “extremist file” on Dr. Carson was published in October but it took until last week for it to really spark controversy. It took that long for anybody to either notice or care about it. When somebody finally did get around to noticing the organization received so much bad publicity and other flack over it that on Wednesday they actually removed the profile from their website and issued an apology to Dr. Carson. Well, an apology of sorts. In the apology they said that he “has in fact, made a number of statements that express views that we believe most people would conclude are extreme.” The first three examples they give are of statements to the effect that marriage has traditionally been between a man and a woman and that this should not be changed. This is an extreme viewpoint? One often gets the impression that for the Southern Poverty Law Center an “extreme” viewpoint simply means any viewpoint that the $PLC doesn’t like and disagrees with.
Backhanded as this apology was, it at least was an apology, which is more than most people who are smeared by the $PLC ever get. Indeed, off the top of my head I don’t remember a time when this has ever happened before.
I am wondering, though, whether or not it would not have been better for Dr. Carson had they left his profile up. Their extremist file is so full of Christians, patriots, conservatives, family activists, and libertarians that to be labelled an extremist by the $PLC is almost like winning a badge of honour. It would probably have enhanced his reputation and, if he does run for President next year, improved his results at the polls.
A Protestant Christian, patriotic Canadian, and a reactionary High Tory with a libertarian streak, at the same time a monarchist, indeed a royal absolutist, and a minarchist.
You can e-mail me at gerrytneal(at)hotmail(dot)ca