"The most recent salvo on this side of the ocean is a report released last week by the Southern Poverty Law Center tarring the three leading groups working to limit immigration-including my own Center for Immigration Studies-as part of a racist conspiracy, supposedly orchestrated by a retired eye doctor in Michigan named John Tanton. The fact that they went after mainstream groups rather than fringe ones shows that the goal is not elevating the tone of public discourse but shutting it down altogether. Perhaps a more honest title for the report would have been "The Protocols of the Elders of Restrictionism."
A little background on the SPLC. The group is headed by Morris Dees, described even by left-wing writers as a "fraud" and a "millionaire huckster"-essentially a cross between Joseph McCarthy and Tammy Faye Bakker. Exposés on the group have run in the Montgomery Advertiser (which probably would have won a Pulitzer but for the SPLC's lobbying efforts against it), Harper's, and The Nation, but the money train continues-the SPLC's 2007 tax return shows net assets of $219 million.
The report's section on CIS is not just hackwork, but amateurish hackwork. Much of it dwells on letters written to (not by, but to) one of my board members, misidentified as having been executive director. Our research is described as having been debunked by "mainstream think tanks and organizations," oddly enough including two of the most strident open-borders advocacy groups in the nation. My tenure there, the majority of the center's existence, is dismissed briefly at the end as "The Later Years." And they didn't even mention my book, which knits together decades of CIS research on the many facets of immigration into a unified theoretical framework-something at least worth touching on when trying to show how naughty CIS is.
What's more, CIS is an unlikely source of "intolerance." The chairman is Peter Nunez, U.S. attorney for San Diego under Reagan; the board includes the president of the Greater Miami Urban League and a former executive director of the National Black Caucus Foundation; the staff includes the former national policy director for the American Jewish Committee; and I didn't even speak English until I got to kindergarten.
Now, people call each other names all the time in politics, but this is different. The SPLC purports to play the role of arbiter of rectitude on racial issues, and as such it claims to take no other policy positions. This pose is utterly false; the report was jointly released with America's Voice, a hard-left open-borders group. And regardless of who's making it, the charge of racism is the gravest one in our society-not a political one, like an allegation that you failed to pay taxes on your chauffeured limousine, but a moral one, meant to delegitimize you altogether as a participant in civilized society.
Posted by John Ray. For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. For a daily survey of Australian politics, see AUSTRALIAN POLITICS Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me (John Ray) here
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