The Latest Leftist Smear of Patriots and Constitutionalists

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by Thomas DiLorenzo: Rethinking
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The communistic
rabble-rousers at the left-wing hate group known as the Southern
Poverty Law Center have produced yet another libelous smear of well-meaning
Americans who would like to see their Constitution enforced. This
time the smears, lies, false innuendo, character assassination,
and hate are directed at all those who believe that part of the
definition of an American patriot is one who believes in the founding
fathers' philosophy of limited constitutional government.

The Southern
Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is a far-left hate group whose modus
operandi is to attempt to censor criticisms of big government
in America by calling people names. If you are a Jeffersonian who
believes that limited and decentralized government is better than
unlimited, centralized, monopolistic government, then they will
label you a racist, a slavery defender, or worse. If you are a Ron
Paul constitutionalist, they will insinuate that you are probably
a terrorist who would like to blow up government buildings. If you
are not a leftist, then you are, by definition, a "hater."
If you are a critic of the welfare state, it is because you hate
poor people. If you are a critic of the government school bureaucracy,
it is because you hate children. If you are a critic of racial hiring
quotas (which are supposedly illegal under the Civil Rights Act
of 1964), then you are a racist. If you oppose socialized medicine,
it is because you hate sick people. If you are a critic of the Ponzi
scheme known as "social security," it is because you hate
old people. There cannot possibly be any intellectual reasons to
doubt government intervention; all criticisms of intervention are
motivated by hate and nothing else according to the Southern Poverty
Law Center.

With the advent
of the TEA Party and the Republican takeover of the U.S. House of
Representatives, the SPLC issued one of its cartoonish "intelligence
reports" on "The Year in Hate," bemoaning the "explosive
growth" of "the radical right." Everyone on the "right"
is a "radical extremist." There are no radicals or extremists
on the left in the eyes of the extreme radical communists at the
SPLC.

A recent
SPLC "intelligence report" attacks so-called "patriot
groups" in America. As is its usual practice, the SPLC digs
up a tiny piece of information about one or two mentally deranged
lunatics somewhere in America who gripe about the government and
supposedly claim to be "patriots," and then insinuate
in their "report" that ALL individuals and groups who
label themselves as patriots are probably just as crazy – if not dangerous.

An earlier
example of this sleazy and dishonest tactic is how the SPLC issued
an "intelligence report" on "radical right-wing extremists"
who were running for political office throughout America in 2008.
This report included a picture and brief description of a man who
clearly sounded like a mentally deranged crackpot who was running
for town council in a small village of a couple hundred people in
a Western state. Then right next to that was a picture and similarly
ominous warning about one Rand Paul, who at the time was running
for the U.S. Senate in Kentucky. Get it: Crazy Mountain Man = Rand
Paul = Ron Paul.

According
to the SPLC the "patriot groups" are characterized by
"a proliferation of demonizing conspiracy theories." They
are "conspiracy-minded groups that see the federal government
as their primary enemy." That is, they are accused of spreading
conspiracy theories about governmental misbehavior, with the clear
implication that these people are crazy. But of course there are
political conspiracies. American antitrust laws contain the
words "conspiracies in restraint of trade." Nearly everything
that goes on in Washington, D.C. is in fact a conspiracy on the
part of some special interest group and a member or members of Congress
who design legislation to benefit that group at the expense of the
general public. For example, when President George W. Bush imposed
35 percent tariffs on steel imports, it was the result of a conspiracy
by domestic steel manufacturers and their unions, along with their
congressional supporters. The higher price of steel benefited them
at the expense of all purchasers of steel and products made of steel,
which became more expensive because of the tariff.

Political
conspiracies are pervasive, but the SPLC wants people to believe
that the kind of conspiracies the "patriot groups" believe
in are of a different kind — that they are of the "Martians
have been living among us for 50 years and the government has been
covering it up" variety. Anyone who is skeptical about the
alleged "virtues" of unlimited governmental growth is
simply crazy — or so the SPLC would have the public believe.

An integral
part of the Obama administration's strategy for remaining in power
is to recruit surrogate groups to suggest that any criticism of
the administration's policies are probably the work of racists who
simply cannot tolerate a (half) black president. Thus, the SPLC
condemns the patriot groups as being motivated primarily by "the
prospect of four more years under a black president." Presumably,
a black conservative or libertarian president would be just as alarming
to the patriot groups according to the SPLC.

Not only are
patriot groups supposedly motivated by racism; some of them are
also probably conspiring to murder the president according
to the SPLC, which soberly announced in its "report" on
patriot groups that "an angry backlash developed that included
several plots to murder Obama." Such plots are said to be the
work of unnamed "Patriot and hate groups." The SPLC "report"
cites as one of its main sources of information on patriot groups
a convicted felon described as "a longtime neo-Nazi."

The SPLC's
patriot group report is ridiculously sloppy in its methodology in
that it includes as "groups" such things as a single individual
with an internet radio show that bemoans the loss of constitutional
liberty in America, or a book about the decline of constitutional
liberty. Two "patriot groups" that are especially demonized
are Oath Keepers, an organization of current and former military
and law enforcement and firefighting personnel, whose members pledge
to reaffirm their oath to defend and protect the U.S. Constitution,
and the Constitution Party.

Instead
of relying on the fevered ramblings of a former neo-Nazi/convicted
felon, as the SPLC "researchers" do, if one wants to know
what a patriot group like Oath Keepers is about, a good place to
start would be the organization's own Web site. Reading what is
on the Web site explains why the SPLC is so alarmed about the spreading
popularity of Oath Keepers.

Unlike
Nazi war criminals who famously pleaded that they were "only
following orders," Oath Keepers clearly states that "we
won't just follow orders" if those orders involve violating
the clear language of the U.S. Constitution. These are men and women
who all took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, not
destroy it. The organization publishes a "Declaration of Orders
We Will NOT Obey" which is a listing of ten things that are
clear violations of the Constitution. In other words, these are
people who believe that the police and the military should never
become an armed goon squad for lawless, criminal, and tyrannical
politicians. The SPLC apparently disagrees with them quite vehemently.

What is
it that Oath Keepers believes the police and the military should
not do? They should not assist in confiscating firearms from law-abiding
Americans for one thing. Nor would they conduct warrantless searches
of the American people, in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The
military should not be used to detain American citizens as "enemy
combatants." If they are accused of a crime by the government,
then they should be treated like anyone else who is so accused and
be put on trial before a civilian jury.

The Constitution
only allows for the imposition of martial law in any state if it
is first requested by the governor and legislature of that state.
Oath Keepers pledges to enforce that part of the Constitution as
well. Nor will Oath Keepers use deadly force against the people
of any state who peacefully resist the federal government when it
passes legislation that is clearly unconstitutional. Oath Keepers
believes the federal government has no legitimate authority to murder
dissenters, in other words. Or to blockade American cities, force
any Americans into detention camps, as was done to Japanese-Americans
during World War II and as neoconservative celebrity pundit Michelle
Malkin advocated for Muslim-Americans in her recent book, In
Defense of Internment
.

Oath Keepers
opposes the use of any foreign troops, under the auspices of the
United Nations or anyone else, on American soil; oppose the confiscation
of private property; and they pledge to defend the free speech rights
of the American people by refusing to follow orders to censor free
political speech.

In light
of all of this, it is easy to see why the SPLC is so alarmed that
it smears Oath Keepers with language about presidential assassination
and terrorism. Like the Obama administration, the SPLC favors the
unlimited and explosive growth of government so that America moves
closer and closer to totalitarian control. Oath Keepers favors constitutional
freedom, the mortal enemy of totalitarians everywhere.

It is equally
easy to understand why the SPLC would also issue an over-the-top,
hate-filled attack on the Constitution Party and everyone associated
with it. On its Web site the Constitution Party publishes its "preamble"
which declares, in the language of the Declaration of Independence,
that all human beings have God-given rights to life, liberty, and
the pursuit of happiness. It then states that "freedom to own,
use, exchange, control, protect, and freely dispose of property
is a natural, necessary aid" in realizing our "inalienable
rights" as human beings. And, moreover, "that the legitimate
function of government is to secure these rights through the preservation
of domestic tranquility, the maintenance of a strong national defense
[as opposed to offense], and the promotion of equal justice for
all."

Even more shocking
to the communistic rabble-rousers at the SPLC must be the next statement
in the Constitution Party's preamble that "history makes clear
that left unchecked, it is the nature of the government to usurp
the liberty of its citizens . . . . therefore, it is essential to
bind government with the chains of the Constitution and carefully
divide and limit government powers to those assigned by the consent
of the governed."

It should
be obvious to anyone reading this article that if the SPLC had its
way, and Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Thomas Paine, and George
Washington were to come back to life, they would immediately be
designated as "enemy combatants" and sent to the Guantanamo
Bay Gulag to rot. In case anyone doubts this, it is useful to recall
how, upon assuming office, the Nazi-esque Secretary of Fatherland
Security, Janet Napolitano, issued a "report" about potential
"terrorist" organizations that included just about every
conservative and libertarian think tank in America, even the Heritage
Foundation. The source of Napolitano's "report" was the
Southern Poverty Law Center. This was their wish list. It was a
bold attempt to censor, once and for all, all voices of dissent
to the unlimited, unconstitutional growth of government. A political
firestorm forced Napolitano to ditch the "report," even
pulling it off the internet. The incident was very revealing, however,
in that it demonstrated how the state would like to use the "war
on terror" as an all-purpose excuse to destroy freedom of political
speech, and how the Southern Poverty Law Center (which does not
even practice poverty law, by the way) is one of its primary tools
of tyranny. What any of these political activities by the SPLC has
to do with "poverty law" — the ostensible reason for the
organization's tax exemption – is anyone's guess.

June
2, 2012

Thomas
J. DiLorenzo [send him mail]
is professor of economics at Loyola College in Maryland and the
author of The
Real Lincoln;
Lincoln
Unmasked: What You're Not Supposed To Know about Dishonest Abe

and How
Capitalism Saved America
. His latest book is Hamilton's
Curse: How Jefferson's Archenemy Betrayed the American Revolution
— And What It Means for America Today
. His next book is entitled
Organized Crime: The Unvarnished Truth About Government.

The
Best of Thomas DiLorenzo at LRC

Thomas
DiLorenzo Archives at Mises.org

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