Don't Get Worked Up About White Supremacists

Some advice from a Southerner to all those in the press and various interest groups who are fulminating about white supremacist groups right now: if you're really concerned about these groups, your attention is counterproductive.

The main beneficiary of this whole set of stories about Rep. Scalise was David Duke. While it doesn't help the Republican brand to be mentioned in a dozen stories alongside "former KKK leader David Duke," ultimately even the worst stories made it clear that the group had an unlikely name for a hard-right white supremacist group ("EURO"), and the best stories make clear that the original tale was probably untrue. It's unlikely you convinced anyone that establishment Republicans were closet racists who didn't already believe it, and if you bought the story whole hog you did it at some damage to your brand's credibility.

On the other hand, for David Duke it was great. It's been years since he got any significant press. The Washington Post argument for worrying about white supremacist groups should make that clear even on its own terms.
What is the group that Scalise addressed?

It is called the European-American Unity and Rights Organization, or EURO. It was founded in 2000 (under a different name) by David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan leader. This group is best known for being Duke’s “latest vehicle,” Potok says, and has not been particularly active in recent years.
So, his 'latest effort' started a decade and a half ago, and it has been largely inactive for years! Wonderful way to give revitalizing attention to a withered field.

Furthermore, the whole episode gave Duke and his cohort a chance to do their favorite dance on a national stage for a good part of a week. "Why would you ever be offended by a group celebrating European heritage and traditional Western notions of political rights?" they got to ask in the national press. "You wouldn't treat Black or Latino groups that way."

Great job, all around.

Reading further into that Post piece, you see that the real story of white supremacism in America is one we counterinsurgents would call "disaggregation." That's a good thing, if you've forgotten: it means the insurgent groups are falling apart.
How many white supremacist groups are there right now?

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups in the United States, estimates that there are a little more than 930 such groups in the country right now. Most of these are white supremacist groups or white nationalist groups, according to Potok, a senior fellow at the SPLC.

Is that more groups than there were recently? Fewer groups? Give me some context.

That number is up from 602 hate groups in 2000, according to the SPLC. That is “steady, significant growth,” Potok said Tuesday, but it pales in comparison to the growth among other groups the SPLC tracks....

How have these white supremacist groups changed since 2000?

If anything, the groups “were much better organized” in 2000, when there were several major groups, Potok said. Even as their numbers have grown, these groups are “constantly at each other’s throats,” which means they are not tremendously well-organized, he added.
So this "growth," in other words, is made up chiefly of larger, better-organized groups falling apart and fighting among themselves.

The story you want to tell is of how white supremacism and racism are flourishing among Republican America in response to a black President and a rapidly growing illegal immigrant population that is depressing labor participation and compensation in a long-slog recession. I can see why that story would sound plausible! One might easily imagine that this would be the case.

It just happens not to be. The facts don't support it. Middle America has rejected racism root and branch, and is not making any move to return to its embrace in spite of what might seem to be likely factors to spur a growth in racism. It just isn't happening.


E Hines said...

While it doesn't help the Republican brand to be mentioned in a dozen stories alongside "former KKK leader David Duke,"

To take up a small side issue, what is the practical effect of "doesn't help?" How many Republican votes are lost to this "distraction" from the 247 about to appear in the House? How many Republican votes are lost from the 54 in the Senate?

What bills under consideration, what bills being readied for consideration in the next two years, will not be brought to votes because of this "distraction?"

If the Republicans perform as they were hired to perform (which includes if the ideologues not succeeding in blowing up still-necessary compromises because they (the compromises) are not perfect), the results will far outshadow any "damage" done by a tenuous connection to the sewage of Duke and his ilk.

I suggest there's another beneficiary from this besides the Dukes of the nation: the minority party Democrats, who are desperate to change the subject away from the conservative, nationally beneficial legislation that's likely to be passed over these next two years, and away from the conservative, nationally beneficial reversal of Democrat damage done over the preceding six years. The NLMSM, also, is desperate to not have to report on the successes of those legislative efforts or on the message being sent to Americans by President Barack Obama's vetoes of those legislations.

Eric Hines

Eric Blair said...

IF this guy is to be believed, Scalise didn't even speak to who everybody says he spoke to.

Dad29 said...

Speaking of " be belived.." we have Potok, whose organization has classified Catholic anti-abortion people as "terrorist."

Also goes for anyone who has a gun, by the way.

Ymar Sakar said...

I can see why that story would sound plausible!

It's called a false flag operation.

They need an OPFOR, even if they have to invent or fund one.

Ymar Sakar said...

The SPCL is a somewhat mysterious organ of the Leftist intelligence network, unified in some ways, de-centralized in others.

It's been difficult to pinpoint their origins compared to say, MoveOn, Ayers+Hussein, or Planned Parenthood (Marg Sanger).

If there is some connection as yet undiscovered, they have done a relatively good job of obscuring it.

Gringo said...

While it doesn't help the Republican brand to be mentioned in a dozen stories alongside "former KKK leader David Duke,"...

And would it not follow that anyone who did what David Duke did is someone to be shamed?

Recall that back in the second term of George W. Bush, Nancy Pelosi and John Kerry made pilgrimages to Damascus to visit with Assad Jr. and agree with Assad Jr. that President Bush's foreign policy of deposing dictators was a horrible thing. David Duke also made such a trip to Damascus to denounce President Bush's foreign policy.

Not to mention all those prominent Democrats that palled around with Jim Jones in San Francisco, before he went to Guyana and brought Jonestown and "drink the Kool-Aid" to our language.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

SPLC wants you to think it's some derivative of SCLC, I'm guessing. The initials are convenient for that.

It's a big money-maker, too.

Grim said...

Good writeup, AVI.

Ymar, not to encourage your paranoia which I've often tried to discourage, but if you're looking for connections you're going to have to go back farther than the internet makes easy. Both the SPLC and Habitat for Humanity were founded with proceeds from the sale of a book marketing firm way back in the great old days when dinosaurs roamed the earth and print media was king. The SPLC is thus old-tech in a big way; twenty years ago you could find its direct-mail printed material in the homes of every committed Baby-Boomer liberal in the country. Most of those people are still around, and even richer than they were 20 years ago given the general laws of accumulating wealth and compound interest.

Do they share their mailing lists with anyone? I don't know, but that's where I'd be inclined to look.

Grim said...

I hadn't been by their site in a long time. It looks like they claim Georgia is the locus of some 50 hate groups. The one closest to me on their map is "The Society for the Practical Establishment and Perpetuation of the Ten Commandments," which they describe as "General Hate."

I assume the SPLC mostly objects to the first four commandments, though they don't specify which ones they find hateful.

Ymar Sakar said...

The SPLC is thus old-tech in a big way

That would explain some anomalies.

Ymar, not to encourage your paranoia which I've often tried to discourage

It's not really possible to encourage or discourage that aspect. Not given how useful it is as a Michael Brown type death prevention tool.

At the time I first heard about the SPLC, Southern meant "Republican" or "conservative" to me, or at least patriotic. To hear their material used amongst the, what you described as liberal Baby Boomer target population, was inconsistent with the expectation. Inconsistencies are hints.

I assume the SPLC mostly objects to the first four commandments, though they don't specify which ones they find hateful.

To the Left's Jim Jones cults, the commandment not to worship any other gods, really chafes their competitive advertisement. It's difficult to get converts to their ally, Islamic Jihad, or to the Left's death cult, when Christians are commanded to recognize no other divine source of authority, and especially so when they obey it. That is a hateful barrier to the missionaries of the Left.

Looks like the American Thinker article already did the research. Would you consider that material paranoia also, Grim?

Ymar Sakar said...

Gringo, good catch with that one. I now remember it. It's something people would normally use to slap the Left with, in their faces, but Republican notions of counter propaganda is not particularly uniform or quality based.

Grim said...

At the time I first heard about the SPLC, Southern meant "Republican" or "conservative" to me, or at least patriotic.

Well, that was a generation after they named it. What it meant when they decided to name it was "Democratic" and particularly "segregationist," although still patriotic in the way of the South. (Which is to say, Southerners are ready to fight FOR America against her external enemies any time, but also do more fighting AGAINST America and its culture writ large than most anyone else.)

The SPLC's use of "Southern" isn't meant to offer their affiliation, though, but to name their target.