The Southern Poverty Law Center in Alabama started life in the 1970s fighting the Ku Klux Klan but has since grown into an organisation that attacks anyone it judges guilty of promoting “hate”. Its influence is huge. With the media lapping up its denunciations of groups and individuals deemed to be beyond the progressive pale, its targets have been turned into pariahs and cast into professional and social exile.
Increasingly, however, it has attacked people whose only crime is not to subscribe to left-wing shibboleths. Now, though, it has gone too far even for its liberal cheerleaders. Last October, it included the anti-extremist British Muslim Maajid Nawaz on a list of . . . anti-Muslim extremists. After Nawaz sued it, the centre apologised and reportedly agreed to pay a $3.4 million settlement. Last month, there was a rash of departures of top executives after some two dozen employees accused it of sexual harassment, gender discrimination and racism. It has now been called out by the ultra-liberal New Yorker for producing annual reports that showed “hate” incidents on a perpetual rise.
Lumping reasonable people together with racists and other bigots is in danger of turning anti-hate groups into a veritable hate industry themselves.
To read my whole Times “Thunderer”mini-column (£), please click here.