When you have read the fundraising rhetoric of the Southern Poverty Law Center for as long as we have at Watching the Watchdogs it is quite understandable how one’s eyes can glaze over from page after page of imminent non-threats and ad nauseum guilt-by-association associations, but every once in a while you come across something that can still make your eyes pop.
Under the “Neo-Confederate” section of SPLC Public Relations chief Mark Potok’s “Hate Map” fundraising tool we find this astounding statement:
“…[N]eo-Confederacy claims to pursue Christianity and heritage and other supposedly fundamental values that modern Americans are seen to have abandoned.”
Did you catch that? Modern Americans have abandoned the supposedly fundamental values of Christianity. How ’bout that?
Granted, Mr. Potok earns his six-digit salary by tailoring his fundraising rhetoric to his audience, and many of his donors were never big adherents to the tenets of Christianity to begin with, but Mr. Potok’s company still takes in tens of millions of dollars every year from well-meaning and very devout Christian donors.
Will Mr. Potok begin cutting refund checks to those poor, misguided souls anytime soon? Don’t wait up.
Arguably one of Mr. Potok’s weakest “hate group” claims, the miniscule “Neo-Confederate” movement, (a term coined by PR man Potok), represents no threat whatsoever to anyone, but came in extremely handy a few years ago when Mr. Potok was desperately scrounging around for new “hate groups” to add to his Hate Map. In one stroke, the Maestro was able to add 25 chapters of “The League of the South” to the map so that the number of Potokian designated “hate groups” would go up once again.
If only the Confederacy would rise as predictably as Mr. Potok’s “hate group” numbers he might actually have a point. In the meantime, don’t expect much in the way of secessionist movements to catch on with the public. Bobby Lee and ol’ Jeb Stuart ain’t a-comin’ back anytime soon.
That the “Neo-Confederate” movement is microscopic and poses no threat to the Republic or even the Public is of no significance to Mr. Potok, however. As Potok has stated on numerous occasions: “A ‘hate group’ has nothing to do with criminality or violence or even the potential for violence. It’s all about ideology.” And ideology is Mr. Potok’s meat and potatoes.
Observe how, in one sentence, Potok presents an insignificant ideology as some sort of existential threat, links it to conservatives and the Republican Party, and then links Republicans with “white nationalists” and “other radical extremists.”
Overall, it [“Neo-Confederate” doctrine] is a reactionary conservative ideology that has made inroads into the Republican Party from the political right, and overlaps with the views of white nationalists and other more radical extremist groups.
As a long-time student of Communications, persuasion and public relations techniques, this writer tips his hat to a true master of the art. This one sentence is glorious in its simplicity, its clean, uncluttered language. “Has made inroads…” and “overlaps with the views…” Exquisitely implied associations without having to produce a single shred of verifiable evidence. Was ever there a sonnet or haiku poem so meticulously crafted out of so very little?
I’m tempted to write Mr. Potok a check, myself. Bravo, Maestro! Bravo!