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good causes & bad advocates
Murray Fact-Checks the SPLC

The Southern Poverty Law Center’s designation of AEI scholar Charles Murray as an “extremist” and a “white nationalist” helped whip Middlebury students into a frenzy ahead of his visit to the campus earlier this month, where he was assaulted and his faculty interlocutor concussed and sent to the emergency room.

Murray has now penned a characteristically understated response to the SPLC’s “extremist files” page that lists his allegedly hateful beliefs, offering “an edited and expanded version of the SPLC page that I can live with.” One section:

According to Murray, disadvantaged groups are disadvantaged because, on average, they cannot compete with white men, who are intellectually, psychologically and morally superior. [AU: You have some material relating to “intellectually superior” (though it relates to men in general, not white men) at the end of the article. I can’t find anything to document “psychologically and morally superior” anywhere in Murray’s work, and I have read every word he’s ever written. Please supply references.]  Murray advocates the total elimination of the welfare state, affirmative action, and the Department of Education, arguing that public policy cannot overcome the innate deficiencies that cause unequal social and educational outcomes; “[w]e tried to provide more for the poor and produced more poor instead. We tried to remove the barriers to escape from poverty and inadvertently built a trap.” [AU: This is how Murray put it in Losing Ground, p. 9. You’re okay saying Murray believes that cognitive and personality deficiencies contribute to social and economic outcomes, but he’s silent on the “innate” part. On the contrary, he’s put a lot of emphasis on the role of family structure as the culprit. The bigger problem is that Murray has a history of coming out with educational and social policies that he says will help the disadvantaged. That’s why he wants to get rid of the welfare state and affirmative action. In education, he has a whole book about policy changes that he claims will benefit the disadvantaged.  So I think you’ve got to get rid of the implication that he advocates giving up on the disadvantaged because of their innate deficiencies.]

The SPLC was born of good intentions, but that only makes its decline all the more harmful, because many journalists still regard it as reputable. As we wrote after the Middlebury incident, the SPLC has in recent years “turned tracking hate in America into a money-making bonanza that requires regularly exaggerating threats in order to drive donations.” After a decade of tarring groups and individuals with its “extremist” label ever-more liberally, its endowment now exceeds $300 million.

Instead of credulously replicating its designations, journalists should treat the SPLC as they would Gateway Pundit or InfoWars—alert to its tendency to broadcast politically motivated distortions and outright fakery, often with significant real-world consequences.

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  • Observe&Report

    Given its $300million endowment, I would recommend investigating the SPLC for tax fraud. At the very least, it ought to be stripped of its tax exempt status and all government departments barred from cooperating with it or using its fraudulent data or “research”.

    • FriendlyGoat

      You recommend this for all the tax-exempt organizations and think tanks which spin shamelessly from The Right as well, right?

      • Observe&Report

        Off the top of my head, I don’t know of any other supposedly charitable organisations that rake in 9 figures a year, spend two thirds of that amount on more fundraising, or publish borderline libellous smears against their ideological opposites.

        But if there are, then yes. I’m not one for double standards.

        • FriendlyGoat

          Good. Because there is a TON of very questionable tax-exempt spin in politics from both sides and we all know it. This pile on of SPLC is not credible UNLESS we are willing, as you say, to not engage in double standards.

          • Observe&Report

            Fine by me.

          • Proverbs1618

            What is the equivalent of SPLC on the Right? Let’s talk specifics.

          • FriendlyGoat

            You can do it yourself. You’re good at talking. Write your own questions, write your own answers. Then go somewhere far away.

          • Proverbs1618

            So in short, you have no answer. Because there are no equivalents. You cannot name a single one because they don’t exist. Pretty typical intellectual dishonesty from you. I just enjoy exposing it, that’s it. To tell you the truth, you don’t make it particularly hard to do since not only do you not hide the fact that you have no intellectual honesty, you revel in the fact.

          • FriendlyGoat

            The list of lobbying arms, think tanks, “educational” organizations, and ministries using the tax-exempt status to shill for the Right Wing is probably in the hundreds, maybe the thousands. Look them up. I seriously don’t have time for you.

          • Proverbs1618

            Once again, not a single example of something that is compatible TO SPLC. We are talking about SPLC here, not a think tank. These are not one and the same. So you have no examples. Typical Comrade FriendlyGoat fair. Make a stupid claim, get called out on it, leave in a huff. If feels like we have done this dozens of times.

          • Jim__L

            You don’t seem to have time to provide supporting evidence for your own arguments.

            That’s for you, not for him.

          • FriendlyGoat

            No evidence is needed. You can look them up yourself, just as I told him.

          • Jim__L

            You’re trying to present the best case for your argument… without evidence?

            It really is for your own good (and the good of your argument) if you present evidence. I’m just sayin’.

          • FriendlyGoat

            I’m saying you and JR are pains, that I do not have to answer to either of you——AND—–that hundreds, probably thousands of organizations with tax exemptions are spinning for the Right Wing.
            Look them up yourself or jump in the lake. I’m not particular which.

          • Jim__L

            I’m not always all that polite, it’s true. But to take exception to this thread isn’t all that appropriate.

            Presenting evidence with your arguments would help you (and your goals) more than it would help JR. You might want to take a look at the GMO thread… while not all of the evidence the anti-GMO’ers presented there is valid, some of it is.

          • FriendlyGoat

            I’m not gonna convince you guys of anything. You think I don’t know that? Who cares?
            I write sense anyway. When you become a problem, I just occasionally say no to your demands.

          • Jim__L

            FG, if you presented evidence with your points, you might actually convince someone.

            Take a step back, FG. Read something written before Marx. Read the Bible — with some receptiveness and humility — if you aspire to be Christian. I found that old Stoic philosophers can be a big help, like Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius.

            Take in some data that isn’t D-side talking points and some points of view that aren’t social media chatter.

            Honestly, you’ll feel better.

            (And feel free to quote the “step back and take a deep breath” back at me next time I’m losing it on these boards. We all need reminding sometimes.)

          • FriendlyGoat

            You might be surprised to know that I seldom read D-side talking points or anything from Marx—–and—–personally avoid “social media” such as Facebook or Twitter completely. The only reason I am even in a comment section is to practice WRITING the opposite of modern conservative political spin and highlight my conclusion that it and religion are now ruining each other with astonishing speed (for a supposedly and used-to-be free society). I don’t draw my stuff from the wells at Huffpo and MSNBC and re-bottle it for you. I write out of my own mind and experience. This is why I am not concerned with convincing the already-brainwashed. I write to express, not really caring about the audience here. TAI simply supplies a broader set of topical suggestions than most other places. That you, Tom, JR, Fred and a few others follow me around to have “FG” fits is just a curiosity to me, really.

      • f1b0nacc1

        As it happens, yes….do you REALLY want to start that sort of fight? The Left has abused such organizations for a very, very long time, and what little remains of their organizational infrastructure is heavily dependent upon it. Want to see how things go when most modern universities are subjected to this sort of inquiry?

        Scorched earth tactics are never happily employed, precisely because they are disastrous for both sides. The Sicilians have a wonderful saying that you might remember….”Before setting out for revenge, dig two graves”

  • Unelected Leader

    Anybody taking the SPLC seriously is not worth conversing with in the first place.

    • Jim__L

      It’s to everyone’s advantage if there’s one less person taking SPLC seriously. They’re coasting on a good reputation (much like most of the Civil Rights Left) which has been irrelevant for years; they’ve done too good a job of convincing people that it still applies. Spreading the word that it does not, in fact, apply, is a very good thing for people to do.

  • ——————————

    The SPLC doesn’t matter.
    The only things that matter in all species are genetics and Darwinism….

    • Tom

      And that’s completely untrue.

      • ——————————

        Only to the weak, ignorant, and intellectually blind.

        Anyway, Darwinism and genetics has shaped all organisms into what they are today…fact….

        • Tom

          You put too much faith in DNA.

          • ——————————

            In the case of my comments, the evidence is so overwhelming there isn’t even a counter-argument.

            My “faith” is in reality, be it crass or kind….

          • Tom

            Genetic determinism is not reality–particularly not when dealing with humans.

          • Fred

            Your view of Darwinism and genetics is a tad simplistic. Yes, evolution shaped us, but it shaped us as a creature with a pre-frontal cortex that allows us to transcend our evolution to a much greater degree than any other animal. And DNA is also not quite the deterministic force you imagine. There is no one-to-one correspondence of any gene to any behavior and often not even to physical characteristics. Genes often work in complexes and/or require environmental factors to activate them. And the aforementioned pre-frontal cortex allows us to adapt to our environment without having to wait for random mutations and natural selection. Tom is quite right. Genetic (and I would add Darwinian) determinism is not reality.

          • ——————————

            Why make something simple into complex?…anyway, I don’t have time to ramble on ad nauseam to strangers on the net, I am busy.

            There are scientific studies going all different ways on just about any subject, so….besides, I don’t need a scientific study to tell me the sky is blue.
            It is only our recent technologies and our laws supported by them that keeps humanity on a fairly even keel. Now permanently shut down the global electrical grids and see just how much we have ‘transcended’….

          • Fred

            I’m not making something simple complex; I’m reminding you that life, the universe, and everything in fact are more complex than your jejeune scientism allows. And humanity survived and in many ways managed to transcend our evolution long before we had a grid and would continue to do so if the grid disappeared tomorrow. Your facile cyncism is nothing more than the photonegative of pollyannaism. Both are oversimplifications of a complex, messy species living in a complex, messy universe.

          • solstice

            The prefrontal cortex does not enable us to “transcend” (you love that word, don’t you?) evolution. The prefrontal cortex and all of the activity that takes place therein are entirely the products of evolution and the laws of nature.

          • solstice

            “Yes, evolution shaped us, but it shaped us as a creature with a pre-frontal cortex that allows us to transcend our evolution.” That is a self-contradictory statement in the same way that “God gave humanity free will” is self-contradictory. But, naturally, you don’t even see it.

        • Proverbs1618

          It always amazes me when people think evolution has stopped the day they were born. Nope, it is still going on. Survival of the fittest… Like it or not…

          • ——————————

            Yeah…the Kumbaya crowd is rather ignorant….

          • Jim__L

            Right now, evolution is selecting against women who use the Pill. It’s also selecting against men who use condoms when they would otherwise get a woman pregnant.

            The Left will fall of its own dead weight, the only question is whether we can keep it from taking humanity down with it…

  • del2124

    I mean, it is a bit silly to label Charles Murray an “extremist” and a “white nationalist” but it seems unlike his “fact checking” the SPLC is going to matter. Ohh, Murray wrote a thing in track changes! Stop the presses!

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