What a ‘Hate Group’ Hates

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The main source of the lies about me that were told by Congressman William Lacy Clay (D-Big Banks) at Congressman Ron Paul's Fed hearing on February 9 was the far left-wing, big government-worshipping hate group known as the Southern Poverty Law Center. Referring to one of its laughingly-named "intelligence reports," the SPLC misinformed Clay that I "work for" an alleged "hate group" called The League of the South. I do not, and never have. (I did lecture to some summer seminar students about nineteenth century economic policy at the invitation of Professors Donald Livingston of Emory University and Clyde Wilson of the University of South Carolina over a decade ago under the auspices of the League of the South Institute, which they were trying to get started. Hate was not one of the lecture topics at that summer seminar for students).

It is a testament to the ignorance and bigotry of the "mainstream" media that any organization with the word "South" in its title is so automatically labeled a "hate group," or worse. After the hearing I decided to check out the Web site of the League of the South to see just what is said there that would cause such an outburst of, well, hate from the SPLC and its starry-eyed admirers like Congressman Clay, who bloviated about his "great respect" for the SPLC.

Just what — or who — is it that the League of the South hates so much that the SPLC would use language that compares it to some kind of criminal or terrorist organization? The answer to this question is easy to discern, for the League of the South neither pulls its punches nor hides its views on its Web site. What it hates the most is "the American Empire." In its "Declaration of Southern Cultural Independence," addressed "To Spineless Politicians," the League urges "all Southerners to abjure the realm of the American Empire that now threatens the liberties of our families and communities." In other words, they agree with the great late nineteenth/early twentieth century libertarian sociologist from Yale University, William Graham Sumner, that the transformation of America from a constitutional republic devoted to protecting liberty to an empire has been a disaster. Sumner stated his views in a famous essay entitled "The Conquest of the United States by Spain" in which he argued that the U.S. became like Spain — or more precisely, like the Spanish Empire — after the Spanish-American War. Sumner understood the ancient truth that the primary role for average citizens in an empire was to serve as tax slaves and cannon fodder for the ruling class. So do the people at the League of the South, judging by the writings on its Web site.

The League of the South is led by cultural conservatives, many of whom are Southern Baptists. Not surprisingly, its "Declaration" also denounces "the corrupt and sterile national culture" which is "violent and profane, coarse and rude, cynical and deviant" and "repugnant to . . . every people with authentic Christian sensibilities." The League announces its hatred of "profanity and obscenity in the arts and literature" and calls for a return to "our" cultural inheritance of "the permanent things that order and sustain life: faith, family, tradition, community, and private property; loyalty, courage, and honour." The League's Declaration also expresses a certain hatred for "an overbearing government that acknowledges no limits to its power." Such declarations go a long way toward explaining the ultra-leftist SPLC's hatred of this organization and anyone associated with it in any capacity.

On the League's Web site is a "Statement to the Rest of the World" on "What the Traditional South Wants and Doesn't Want." The listing of "What We Don't Want" appears to be a good gauge of what exactly it is that the League of the South really hates. Their list of "What We Don't Want" consists of:

  • Perpetual war for perpetual peace and "more Southern blood [shed] for the advancement of the American empire.
  • To rule the world.
  • To engage in unfair trade practices . . . through the establishment of protective tariffs.
  • To extend "most favored nation" status to any country.
  • To force "the Southern way" on any people anywhere.
  • To continue the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq or to go to war with Iran.
  • To go to war against any nation except in self defense.
  • To continue outsourcing Southern jobs to other countries . . .
  • To continue to live in a "godless, multicultural American Empire."

"Multiculturalism," keep in mind, is a synonym for "political correctness" and all of its absurdities and tyrannies.

When it comes to political parties the League of the South is a bipartisan "hate group" that hates the Democratic Party as much as the Republican Party. Its blog, "Living Well is the Best Revenge," proclaims that the Republicans' claim that they are "getting down to business" now that the 2010 election is over means "offering just enough opposition to leftism/socialism to fool the people into thinking that there is actually a dime's worth of difference between the two Establishment parties."

The League of the South announces on its Web site that it has no animosity toward any race, ethnicity, or religion and invites Southern blacks to join its ranks. It also echoes the views of Murray Rothbard when it calls the U.S. government "an organized criminal enterprise" for its "utter abandonment" of the Constitution. Its hate is directed primarily at an out-of-control federal government that is no longer constrained by anything, let alone the Constitution. (Not that we need further evidence that there are no limits to government in the minds of the ruling class, but Michelle Obama recently made the case that the "free" governmental distribution of breast pumps to new mothers was a constitutional function of government).

Reading most of the postings on the League of the South Web site has clarified in my mind what the real purpose of the Southern Poverty Law Center (which does not practice poverty law, by the way) is: to defame, libel, smear, and slander any and all Jeffersonian critics of the highly centralized, dictatorial, welfare/warfare state empire that so many Americans slave under today. They are self-appointed overseers of the D.C. tax-slave plantation and sworn enemies of free speech.

It would be politically risky for Congress to attempt to pass another Sedition Act to outlaw free speech, but congress critters like William Lacy Clay are more than happy to be assisted by the SPLC with its persistent attacks on speech that is critical of Big Government, all under the phony guise of "fighting hate."

If Thomas Jefferson were alive today and repeating his speeches about how the tree of liberty must be drenched in the blood of patriots and tyrants; how a revolution every twenty years or so is a healthful medicine for a free society; or how secession should be welcomed and all secessionists treated as "our children," Americans one and all, he would most certainly be on the top of the Southern Poverty Law Center's list of haters and "hate group" instigators.

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.

The Best of Thomas DiLorenzo at LRC

Thomas DiLorenzo Archives at Mises.org

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