Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The SPLCization of Law Enforcement in the 21st Century: Conflation, moral panic and the "Narrative of 1995."

Southern "Poverty" Law Center headquarters, Montgomery, Alabama. The wages of deliberate conflation ain't penny ante.

"Conflation occurs when the identities of two or more individuals, concepts, or places, sharing some characteristics of one another, become confused until there seems to be only a single identity — the differences appear to become lost. In logic, the practice of treating two distinct concepts as if they were one does often produce error or misunderstanding — but not always — as a fusion of distinct subjects tends to obscure analysis of relationships which are emphasized by contrasts. The result of conflating concepts may give rise to fallacies of ambiguity . . . For example, the word "bat" has at least two meanings: a flying animal, and a piece of sporting equipment (such as a baseball bat or a cricket bat). If these two meanings are not distinguished, the result may be . . .:

All bats are animals.

Some wooden objects are bats.

Therefore, some wooden objects are animals." -- Wikipedia

The professional liars at the Southern Poverty Law Center are experts at conflation. You might say they've made quite a tidy pile of money at it. As you can see from the picture above of their shiny headquarters, there ain't much "poverty" about them. They have amassed hundreds of millions of dollars in their bank accounts selling conflation over the years.

Now this, on the face of it, is not uncommon, nor the way the law school-educated flacks at SPLC practice it, is it particularly illegal. That does not mean that it is not dangerous to the Republic or to the individuals and organizations that SPLC chooses to slander. For what we are witnessing today is the institutionalization of their conflation narrative from the highest levels of U.S. law enforcement all the way down to the cop on the beat. SPLC's deliberate twisting of facts and prejudice are now accepted as gospel and are ready, for one example, to be executed at the point of a Missouri highway patrolman's gun (the retraction of the grosser lies of the MIAC report notwithstanding).

If politics is the competition of narratives, then SPLC (and their sister canardists at the ADL) have, with the accession to power of the Obamanoids, swept the field.

The latest proof of this is in the nine page document that the Department of Homeland Security sent to police and sheriff's departments across the country on 7 April, entitled "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment." This latest distillation of SPLC conflation from on high is being dissected and loudly protested by others, so I will not duplicate their efforts here.

What I would rather do is show you where this came from, in the words of a scholar who has studied the issue at length.

Meet Professor Robert H. Churchill, Assistant Professor of History at the University of Hartford in Connecticut. Professor Churchill is a historian of early America and specializes in the history of the American Revolution, early national political culture, and American political violence. Professor Churchill approached me a few years ago as part of research he was doing on a book, this book:

To Shake Their Guns in the Tyrant's Face has just been released by University of Michigan Press. You may find it on-line here. I received my copy only yesterday.

When Churchill approached me about his interest in the philosophical bases of the constitutional militia movement of the Nineties, I was wary. He was, after all, an academic, a species of human known to be not entirely without prejudices when it comes to militias. When I learned that he had been one of the debunkers of Michael Bellesiles' anti-firearm twisting of history with manufactured footnotes entitled "Arming America," I figured maybe he was intellectually honest enough for me to take a chance on.

Certainly the history of our movement had not yet been written. And even after skimming To Shake Their Guns in the Tyrant's Face, I must conclude that the comprehensive history I wish for has yet to be penned. Still, Churchill's work is as rigorous, honest and accurate a portrayal as anything I have seen. When I am quoted, I am quoted accurately and in context. There is not one error I have yet spotted, either in particular to me or in general. Churchill accurately identifies the various groups in and around the militia movement, pointing out the fundamental differences between the constitutionalists and the millennialists and certainly gets right our constant struggle against the racist collectivists who sought to turn the movement to their own purposes.

But in addition to the accuracy of his work, his is the first scholarly critique of the SPLC's conflationism and what Churchill calls the "moral panic" of the "Narrative of 1995." A longish, but pertinent, excerpt:

The militia movement has been the subject of at least a dozen books and hundreds of articles, yet it remains one of the most poorly understood political movements of the twentieth century. In the months after the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building by Timothy McVeigh, civil rights organizations issued at least a dozen published reports on the militia movement, and civil rights activists offered "expert" commentary in hundreds of news stories. Within a year, books by leading figures associated with civil rights organizations, including Morris Dees, Kenneth Stern, and Richard Abanes, offered a coherent narrative of the origin of the movement.

What America learned in these months was that the militia movement was an outgrowth of the racist Right. Civil rights activists portrayed the militias as the armed wing of a much larger "Christian Patriot" movement. They warned that Christian Patriots numbered in the millions and that Christian Patriotism called for restoration of white, Christian, patriarchal domination. The Christian Patriot movement as a whole, and the militias in particular, were antidemocratic, paranoid, virulently anti-semitic, genocidally racist, and brutally violent. Much of this literature suggested that Timothy McVeigh was the movement's highest expression. In this narrative, the militias and the Patriot movement took on the guise of the perfect racist "other," and the threat they posed was best articulated by Morris Dees' apocalyptic vision of a "gathering storm."

This "narrative of 1995" produced by civil rights organizations, coupled with the horror of the Oklahoma City bombing, triggered what Steven Chernak has referred to as a moral panic. Through published reports, their influence over the news coverage of the movement, and testimony at prominent public hearings, leading militia "experts" injected their portrait of the movement into public consciousness and popular culture. In news coverage, popular novels, episodes of Law and Order, and movies such as Arlington Road, the public became well-acquainted with the archetypal militiaman, usually protrayed as warped by racial hatred, obsessed with bizarre conspiracy theories, and hungry for violent retribution.

The moral panic over the "militia menace" strongly resembled previous moral panics over the "communist menace" that had swept the nation in the aftermath of World War I and again in the early 1950s. Less well known than these two Red scares is America's "Brown Scare." In the late 1930s, political activists on the left warned that an array of far right opponents of President Roosevelt and the New Deal . . . constituted a fifth column composed of fascist brownshirts . . . (T)he ensuing moral panic facilitated a campaign of repression waged by the U.S. governemnt against the Far Right during World War II. In 1995-6, the moral panic over the militia movement blossomed into a second American Brown Scare.

The literature produced by the second American Brown Scare has had significant impact on academic analysis of the movement, and this poses a problem for continuing scholarship. The civil rights organizations that produced the narrative of 1995 conceived of themselves as political opponents of the militia movement, and these organizations made the legal suppression of the movement one of their central political objectives. That political objective has systematically shaped their reporting on the movement. Their analyses might serve as a primary source base for an interesting analyis of how the activist Left perceived the Far Right at the turn of the millennium. To use this literature as a primary source base in an analysis of the character of the militia movement itself is to allow the movement's opponents to define it.

Unfortunately, much of the scholarship on the militia movement produced in the last ten years has not broken free from the influence of the narrative of 1995. Too many scholars have relied on the reports and books generated by the Brown Scare as primary evidence of the character of the movement. Others who have avoided this first error have nevertheless allowed the narrative of 1995 to unduly influence their research agendas. Finally, even the best scholarship on militias tends to inappropriately conflate the militia movement with other movements on the far right of American politics and to overstate the influence of millennial thought on militia ideology. . .

The final academic legacy of the Brown Scare is an emphasis on the allegedly close association of militia groups with other far right organizations, such as white supremacist groups, Christian Identity ministries, common-law courts, and tax protest societies. The narrative of 1995 lumped all of these disparate far right groups together in the "Christian Patriot movement," a misguided simplification that has led a number of senior scholars to blur the lines between different groups with quite different worldviews . . .

Since the turn of the millennium, three scholars have begun the task of freeing scholarship of the militia movement from the narrative of 1995. . . As an historian, I hope to contribute to this field an insight gained in the study of other partisan political crises in Ameerican history: in evaluating the ideology of an insurgent movement, one must not allow the movement's partisan allies, much less its partisan enemies, to speak for it. (pp. 7-11)

Indeed. And as important as this principle is in historical scholarship, it is even more vitally important, even deadly important, that such bias not enter into the decision making loop of law enforcement. Yet this is exactly where we are today.

But, you may ask, how do you know that SPLC is writing these MIAC and DHS reports? Why because they have told us. From the Washington Times story yesterday by Audrey Hudson and Eli Lake, "Federal agency warns of radicals on right":

Mark Potok, director of the (SPLC's) intelligence project, said the Homeland Security report, "confirms that white supremacists are interested in the military. There is some concern, and there should be, about returning veterans, one need only think of the example of Timothy McVeigh, who was in the first Iraq war."

Mr. Potok added that he was generally pleased with the report. "Basically, the report tracks fairly closely with what we have been saying for some time now. They mention us a couple of times, though not by name," he said.

Yes, well, isn't that special? The moral panic whipped up by the Narrative of 1995 has now been embraced by the federal government and by many state law enforcement organizations and will guide their decisions in the coming months and years. People can, and have been, killed needlessly over such lies and stupidities.

My suggestion? Arm yourselves with the truth. Buy a copy of Prof. Churchill's book. And after you are done reading it, donate it to your local sheriff or state "fusion center." If left unchallenged, the "Narrative of 1995" could get us all killed.

Mike Vanderboegh
Pinson, AL


Sean said...

Boss, I think they intend to kill a lot of us anyway, and herding useful idiots to help and certify their movements, by using the attack media spewing lies and causing false panic, is exactly their intention. We've educated and exhorted, and we should continue to do so. Since we know where this is going, educating and exhorting won't stop it, but will dull it's effect, and will be invaluable during the Restoration. But I'm not buying the book. Today that is. Others are out protesting Pres. Kimba's administration, and they have my thanks. I'm spending my dough on ammo and chow. III.

Johnny said...

It's clear that Governments don't commission research, they commission results. The SPLC are being asked to write the narrative because they produce exactly what their political masters want to see.

Come on, what do you expect? Politicians to voluntarily return to Constitutional principles when they've been working so hard to undermine them?

Brock Townsend said...

Can't remember if I've posted this or not, so......Frankly, I detest Dee$ and gang more than any others in these united states.

The Despicable $outhern Poverty Law Center (8 Reports)

Anonymous said...

From now on, we must debunk each and every lie that comes out of the shameless mouth of the Southern Preposterous Lie Center.

Write as many letters as we can to these various state and federal agencies that have received SPLC lies, debunking every single lie that they write about us. Post these letters on our blogs, and social networking sites as well, pass them on to others too.

Are those letters meant to change the minds of these LEOs bent on crushing our Constitutional Republic? NO. Are they meant to convert the hardcore collectivists at SPLC? NO.

These letters, our use of logic and clear understanding to counter every lie that they write, ARE MEANT FOR THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES TO SEE. Right now, gaining the support of heart and minds are the most important thing. Let the people know about the Deacons of Defense. Let the people know how the constitutional militias valiantly defended the Civil Rights movement. Broadcast the TRUTH about the McVeigh case, and how white supremacist terrorists are a blatant ENEMY of the Constitutionalist movement.

Our efforts will no doubt attract the attention of those who are still under the influence of collectivist opium, or are starting to wake up.

As a serious student of history who have studied various totalitarian regimes throughout the world, I can say that what we are facing right now is a massive chess game, played on a national scale. The collectivists have not used any outright force to try to stomp us out, yet. They are trying to gain hearts and minds too, flooding the airwaves with massive doses of brainwashing and opiates, cramming Internet traffic with drones of every kind. Recruit, gather, prepare. Preparing for the onslaught. Once they do carry out the onslaught, they want the public to ask no questions and accept everything that is said from their point of view. By then, they would have shut down most social networking sites and communications, to ENSURE that only THEIR VIEWS get through. It would be too late for us to educate the people and warn them of the storm that is about to strike.

We must play this chess game too. We must educate, and wake up as many of the masses as possible. Right now it is a propaganda game played by the collectivists. The game is to see how much hearts and minds they, and we, can win over before they send a wave of fire on the Constitution. In the meantime, they also broadcast their efforts, trying to make us disoriented and distracted with frustration. We must not fall into the trap that they are setting for us. Do not mind whatever "literature" they publish. Write your own letters and essays to counter their lies with logic and relevant sources. Publish and post, publish and post, as many as we can. We must not get distracted.

Remember, WE ARE THE PAUL REVERES, THOMAS PAINES, AND PROFESSOR FABERS of this modern world gone mad. Each and every one of us is a single lantern emitting the warm light of truth. Put these lanterns toegther, and their combined light will brighten and warm even the coldest and dampest world. Teamwork is the most important.

As of now, we are humble citizens sitting in our studies, broadcasting freedom and truth. If all else fails, and the boots of tyranny threaten to fall upon us, we shall meet on the dew covered grass at Lexington and Concord, again. Until then, we are all academics, and we must write truth and reason for the world.


Concerned American said...

Qi Ji Guang:

Thanks for your comment. Very helpful to me tonight.

Yours for Liberty,

Concerned American

Mike H said...

Couldn't agree more Qi Ji Guang.

As I say prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

Frederick H Watkins said...

I remember seeing Morris Dees in a documentary about the Klan and his representation of a woman whose son was murdered by some punks connected to the Klan in some manner. He won the case and the mother owned the real estate with the clubhouse on it and all.

Anyway, Dees is just another man among billions who just happens to have built himself a little empire so naturally his ego "qualifies" him to wax poetic and with the "authority" of one who knows whereof he speaks, usually without an ounce of knowledge of the subject at hand.

Men of great pride seldom admit they don't know the answers to your questions so often you will get what they think are the answers or what the answers ought to be.

PhillyThreeper said...

I just bought the professor's book on the recommendation of an earlier post. I was suspicious of the work at first, as I could not get a handle on whether Professor Churchill was wolf in sheep's clothing. Now 50 or so pages into the text, and having skipped ahead to read the Vanderboegh portions, I find him to offer a fair assessment so far. It has been a good read, and I would recommend it as well.

Defender said...

Timothy McVeigh was in Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf's personal security detail during the Gulf War. From most trusted elite soldier to terrorist? i find that fascinating. Either he saw or heard something that hasn't come to light (and won't, since he had a speedy execution), or he was the Oliver North of his time, the duty-above-all fall guy for a government operation too controversial or too mind-bogglingly unconstitutional for the people to be able to associate with the Powers That Be.

Vanderboegh said...

Sorry anonymous, but I'm not posting your pimp for Jayna's disinformation about the OKC bombing.

My good friend J.D.Cash said it best about Jayna: "Some people would be dangerous if they had a brain. Jayna is the exception that proves the rule. She doesn't have a brain and she's STILL dangerous. She's also a syphilitic whore, but I don't hold that against her."

Disinformation is dangerous. Her "the Arab's did it!" theory was first promulgated on the day of the bombing by a CIA flack -- the same CIA that Vincent Petruskie worked for. He was the guy who obtained Andreas Carl Strassmeir's social security number and VA driver's license for his little Kraut provocateur friend.

Strike you as odd, for an agency to be deflecting blame the second instant after it happened?