Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center
New York: Bombardier Books, 2020
There’s a moment in the film 300 in which the Spartan defenders at Thermopylae allow their allies, the Arcadians, to take on the Persians. Despite recognizing their weaknesses as soldiers, King Leonidas begrudgingly gives the Arcadians credit for taking part in the fight. This is about how I felt upon reading Tyler O’Neil’s Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. O’Neil doesn’t always use the best arguments, nor does he always offer the greatest insights, but at least he picked the right enemy.
O’Neil makes it clear upfront that he is a conservative Christian. Given this parameter and the fact that the SPLC is known for unfairly targeting both conservatives and Christians, O’Neil is not shy about dishing dirt on his demographic’s indefatigable tormentor. Folks on the Right should be grateful that he crammed into one slender volume as much damning information about the SPLC as possible. Aside from offering historical information on the organization, he puts up a spirited defense of traditional Christianity and presents a convincing case to discredit the SPLC. This and a great title will hopefully make Making Hate Pay useful in the Right’s fight against this odious organization.
O’Neil’s main arguments include the following:
- The SPLC is a left-wing, partisan organization that targets the Right, often without a shred of justice, while largely ignoring the Left.
- The SPLC practices sexual harassment and racial discrimination in its own offices.
- The SPLC raises far more money than it needs, pays its executives lavish salaries, and keeps millions in offshore accounts.
- The SPLC exaggerates or fabricates “hate” in America in order to keep the donor dollars coming.
- The SPLC does not deserve the influence it has as a supposedly impartial arbiter of hate.
After chronicling the disastrous month for the SPLC that was March 2019 (the firing of founder Morris Dees and the resignations of President Richard Cohen and legal director Rhonda Brownstein, all under a cloud of sexual misconduct and racial discrimination), O’Neil dives into the sordid history of Dees. In a nutshell, Morris Seligman Dees (a white Southerner and not Jewish, oddly enough) had family in the Ku Klux Klan, supported segregation as a young man in the 1950s, cared only about making money in the 1960s, and once aimed a gun at a client in order intimidate the Grand Wizard of the KKK. One former employee referred to Dees as “manipulative, ruthless, [and] autocratic.” Allegedly, he had slept around the office while still married, sexually assaulted his own stepdaughter, was a dedicated swinger, and liked to play weird sexual power games with his wives, girlfriends, and gay men. But because Dees was (and perhaps still is) a brilliant fundraiser, no one on the Left ever cared to shake him off his high perch atop the SPLC.
O’Neil also goes over Dees’ Klan obsession, describing how the SPLC effectively bankrupted the Klan in the 1980s. But like a perverse Don Quixote always looking out for windmills, Dees could not stop reporting on his hooded enemies — just to keep the money flowing in from his clueless Yankee donors. It got so bad that, in 1986, his entire legal team quit in protest.
With the Klan more or less dead by the 1990s, the SPLC went on to more modern pro-white groups such as skinheads and Nazis, but also, to O’Neil’s vexation, conservative, pro-Christian, pro-life organizations:
Eventually, the SPLC married its liberal views with its anti-Klan reputation and added conservative groups to the “hate group” list. There were signs the SPLC might do this in the 1980s, particularly with pro-life activists, but the real movement came decades later, when the SPLC named mainstream conservative and Christian groups “hate groups.” Due to the history of Klanwatch and the SPLC, this arguably equates these organizations with the Ku Klux Klan in an extremely defamatory accusation.
This represents the main thrust of Making Hate Pay: getting conservative Christians out of the crosshairs of the SPLC, while at the very least not defending the pro-white or race realist organizations that the SPLC also disingenuously victimizes. This is not to defend the Klan, which did use violence to resist the SPLC in the 1970s and 1980s. But O’Neil comes across as a little disingenuous when he says almost nothing on behalf of non-violent pro-white activists and organizations that the SPLC also has no compunction in ruining. To be fair, he extends his concern to conservatives, even if they aren’t overtly Christian, such as the Center for Immigration Studies (which seeks to restrict immigration) and the Center for Security Policy (which opposes Sharia law). But that is as far as he is willing to go.
O’Neil gives us a nice review of the SPLC’s battles with conservative Christians over the years. He reviews events such as the Roy Moore-Ten Commandments controversy from 2001 and National Organization for Women v. Scheidler from 2006. He stresses often that most conservative Christians do not hate gay people simply because their religious dogma condemns the practice. As would be expected, O’Neill dedicates many pages to the thwarted terrorist attack on the pro-life Family Research Council (FRC) in 2012. This is a fascinating episode in its own right and represents the best evidence that the SPLC itself supports terrorism.
After seeing the FRC on the SPLC’s “Hate Map,” deranged Leftist Floyd Lee Corkins entered the FRC offices in Washington, DC intending to shoot everyone inside. He wounded the building manager and would have done more had he not been apprehended. He later claimed that the SPLC inspired him to do the shooting. Although SPLC spokesman Mark Potok condemned the attack, the SPLC did not remove the FRC from its “hate map.” From this callous lack of regard for the lives of conservatives, O’Neil infers that James T. Hodgkinson’s near-fatal attack on Republican Steve Scalise during a baseball game in 2017 was also SPLC-inspired. Hodgkinson did “like” the SPLC on Facebook, and the SPLC did attack Scalise for a 2002 speech he gave for an organization that had been founded by David Duke. Yes, this is conjecture on O’Neil’s part, but it’s no worse than how the SPLC ruins conservatives for the flimsiest of reasons. For example, O’Neil notes how, since many on the “far Right” oppose transgenderism and repellent spectacles such as Drag Queen Story Hour, the SPLC lumps all people who oppose these things with the “far Right” and then endeavors to ruin their reputations.
O’Neil’s chapter on the Charlottesville Unite the Right rally in 2017 is surprisingly informative. O’Neil mostly rehashes the events while keeping his distance from the Unite the Right people themselves. Still, he correctly blames the police and local government for not keeping the protestors and the left-wing troublemakers apart. He’s also quick to point out the violent and thuggish nature of the Left on display that day. Most importantly, he establishes a connection between the SPLC and Antifa:
Megan Squire, whom Wired profiled as “Antifa’s secret weapon against far-right extremists,” works closely with the SPLC, feeding the organization data on white nationalist and other groups. Squire does not consider herself Antifa, but “she is sympathetic to Antifa’s goal of silencing racist extremists and is unwilling to condemn their use of violence, describing it as the last resort of a ‘diversity of tactics.’ She’s an intelligence operative of sorts in the battle against far-right extremism, passing along information to those who might put it to real-world use. Who might weaponize it.”
Extremism researcher Eoin Lenihan mapped the Twitter interactions of Antifa activists, finding strong connections to SPLC reporter Michael Hayden. Cathy Young independently investigated Hayden’s work, specifically more than a dozen Newsweek stories he wrote in 2017 and 2018. “These stories do, in fact, closely fit Lenihan’s description of the work of journalists he labels pro-Antifa: ‘downplaying Antifa violence while advancing Antifa talking points, and in some cases quoting Antifa extremists as if they were impartial experts.’”
While the connection between the SPLC and the left-wing thugs that disrupted Unite the Right is tenuous, the way the SPLC directly benefited from the rally certainly isn’t. O’Neil shows how the organization raked in millions almost immediately after, and then used those millions to go on a deplatforming rampage against the Right.
O’Neil ends Making Hate Pay with a comprehensive list of lawsuits against the SPLC, much of which was covered in my essay from last year, “Suing the SPLC.” Sadly, most of these are not going well. Two major ones (one by Baltimore attorney Glen Allen and one by the aforementioned Center for Immigration Studies) have been dismissed. Allen is in the appeal process, and the CIS is considering appeal. Gavin McInnes’ lawsuit is still ongoing. So far, the only success has come from Maajid Nawaz, a moderate Muslim whom the SPLC unfairly labeled as extremist, and Craig Nelson, a white boxing club owner who sued the SPLC for knowingly making false statements about him. Most attempts have proven futile, however, simply because when in court the SPLC resorts to what I call “the opinion defense.” When challenged, they claim that their right to smear people is protected by the First Amendment since it’s impossible to prove or disprove whether someone is indeed hateful. Yet, unlike Surgeon General Warnings on cigarette containers, the SPLC does not offer such a caveat on its Hatewatch pages, nor when it conspires to destroy its right-wing enemies.
As informative and useful as his Making Hate Pay is, O’Neil, like most conservatives, refuses to take the steps required to actually defeat the SPLC. O’Neil seems to think that the SPLC is a fundamentally good organization that has been corrupted by greed. He seems to think that rebutting the SPLC’s defamatory charges against Christians and conservatives will be enough to change opinions of those not already on the Right.
In the words of Kevin MacDonald, the SPLC is a “secular-sounding front for Jewish anti-White activism.” No explanation cuts to the quick better than this. The SPLC has engaged in anti-white identity politics for decades, and to oppose it in the belief that either it or its supporters are operating in good faith is naïve, to say the least. At least one person quoted in Making Hate Pay seems to understand this. O’Neil quotes former SPLC paralegal Randall Williams as follows:
Everybody seemed to be against the Klan. We developed a whole new donor base, anchored by wealthy Jewish contributors on the East and West coasts, and they gave big bucks.
O’Neil does not delve into the ethnicity of many of the villains in Making Hate Pay, but it’s obvious that Cohen, Brownstein, Potok, and others are Jewish. When reporting on the Democrats who repeated the SPLC’s anti-Christian talking points while opposing President Trump’s judicial appointments in 2017, O’Neil includes three Jews (Bernie Sanders, Diane Feinstein, and Al Franken), two blacks (Cory Booker and Kamala Harris), one Asian (Mazie Hirono), and zero whites. He never comments on this. Nor does he interview a single white nationalist or identitarian in his Charlottesville chapter. Instead, when discussing “the motivations behind the white nationalists in Charlottesville” he rather unconvincingly calls on a black professor to give us the straight dope.
Meanwhile, O’Neil documents not only the dishonesty of the SPLC, but their stated desire to never act in good faith. He includes Potok’s famous 2007 quote: “Sometimes the press will describe us as monitoring hate groups. I want to say plainly that our aim in life is to destroy these groups, completely destroy them.” He also demonstrates how Cassie Miller of the SPLC thinks entirely in anti-white racial terms:
“For far-right extremists, the increased visibility of transgender people is a sign of the growing ‘degeneracy’ of the nation, wrought by ‘cultural Marxists,’ leftists and Jews as part of an assault on white, Christian families and strict gender roles. They believe that trans people, like immigrants and non-whites, are hastening the destruction of an idealized white, Western culture,” Miller wrote.
Of course, Miller’s every word is correct; the rub appears when we realize that Miller and the SPLC see these admittedly anti-white changes as good things. It’s what they stand for, you see. Most tellingly, O’Neil relates how the SPLC defamed Craig Nelson simply because Nelson’s boxing gym was “designed to address the specific challenges unique to white males in the United States” yet was open to men of all races. In other words, the SPLC considers it hate if a person wishes explicitly to help white men while not refusing non-white men. Meanwhile, the SPLC has no issue with organizations such as the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health, which presumably caters to the needs of non-whites. This double standard is pure racism, and it is practiced by people who make a living decrying racism.
Further, by targeting the one group of people most responsible for building modern Western civilization (i.e., white men), the SPLC is proving itself to be dysgenic on the widest possible scale. Anything that explicitly benefits traditional white civilization, it opposes; and anything that explicitly harms traditional white civilization, it supports.
Such an organization is not merely dishonest, hypocritical, unscrupulous, and greedy, as O’Neil demonstrates. It’s also irredeemably evil and dangerous. So are its donors, who are aware of the SPLC’s excesses and do not care. And all the fancy syllogisms and meticulously footnoted observations in the world are not going to change that. This is so because Liberal Diaspora Jews see the SPLC as the lesser evil against what they really are afraid of: traditionalist, nationalist, ethnocentric whites, whom they quite racistly disparage as Nazis. It doesn’t matter if the whites in question are perfectly innocent or oppose violence or have Truth on their side. It also doesn’t matter if the leaders of the SPLC lie through their teeth when they support the most noxious forms of degeneracy. As long as the SPLC opposes anything that could potentially lead to white ethnocentrism (such as traditionalism, nationalism, and, yes, conservatism), those big Jewish bucks will keep rolling in.
I’m reminded of the point Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn makes several times in Two Hundred Years Together: Jews the world over may not have liked the Bolsheviks, but they supported them because they saw Bolshevism as the lesser evil compared to the Czars. It didn’t matter that the Soviets were objectively more violent and oppressive than the Czars. It didn’t matter that the Bolsheviks murdered around 20 million white people prior to World War II in the Holodomor, the Great Terror, and in the Gulag Archipelago. It also didn’t matter that around 1.5 million Soviet Jews were murdered by Stalin’s government. No, what mattered was opposing traditionalistic, nationalistic, ethnocentric white people — as if they’re the root of all evil.
Liberal Diaspora Jews were like this a century ago, and they are like this today. This is a very simple and direct explanation for why such Jews continue to support organizations like the SPLC despite all the evidence amassed by O’Neil. And the only way to beat the SPLC’s anti-white identity politics is through not only pro-white identity politics but anti-Jewish identity politics as well. Of course, I am not advocating violence; instead, I am advocating for whites to be as anti-Jewish as the SPLC and similar groups are anti-white. This, to me, is common sense. With enough whites self-identifying as a racial group and distrusting the SPLC because it is loaded with Jewish money and populated disproportionately by Jews, the SPLC’s influence and power in our society will dissipate overnight. Just as Russian civilization was on the line a century ago, all of Western civilization is on the line today. The stakes could not be higher. Anti-Semitism may be an ugly word for many, but I would rather resist the world-ending degeneracy promised by the SPLC and be considered anti-Semitic than yield to it and be considered philo-Semitic. A stark choice, yes. I do hope it never comes down to that, but I am afraid it will.
Of course, all of this goes right past Tyler O’Neil. He’d rather reform the SPLC than remove it. By refusing to fight fire with fire (or, in this case, anti-white racism with anti-Jewish racism), O’Neil keeps his most potent weapons shelved, while the SPLC shelves nothing in its attempts to “destroy” the Right. This is why I consider conservative Christians to be weak and somewhat untrustworthy allies with the Dissident Right. Yes, it is nice that we share a similar enemy in the Left. And it is nice that Tyler O’Neil wrote this book. But conservative Christians really don’t want to fight the Left. By tacitly accepting the Left’s lie of racial egalitarianism, they wish ultimately to make a separate peace with the Left — and then throw the Dissident Right under the bus.
As much as I appreciate Making Hate Pay for its attacks on the SPLC, I found nothing in it suggesting that Tyler O’Neil would do otherwise.