From the Wall Street Journal, a devastating critique of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC):
Aided by a veneer of objectivity, the SPLC has for years served as the media’s expert witness for evaluating “extremism” and “hatred.” But while the SPLC rightly condemns groups like the Ku Klux Klan, Westboro Baptist Church and New Black Panther Party, it has managed to blur the lines, besmirching mainstream groups like the FRC, as well as people such as social scientist Charles Murray and Somali-born Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a critic of Islamic extremism.
A clear illustration of the SPLC’s pervasive and insidious influence is the March riot at Middlebury College, where Mr. Murray had been invited to speak. “The SPLC is the primary source for the protesters at my events,” Mr. Murray told me. “It is quotes from the SPLC, assertions by the SPLC that drive the whole thing.”
Mr. Murray’s politics are libertarian, but the SPLC labels him a “white nationalist.” In reporting on the Middlebury fracas, numerous news organizations repeated the SPLC’s characterization without noting it was false. The AP even put it in a headline: “College Students Protest Speaker Branded White Nationalist.”
Although the world is slow to articulate this, liberal democracy has died just as surely as communism did. Its death sign is the lack of faith that people have in democracy, once a seemingly infallible thing. Since our “free” societies have led to the same kind of elite control in pursuit of symbolic purity that has destroyed other systems, people are bailing out in their hearts and minds.
Organizations like the SPLC succeeded because they embraced the democratic ideal so thoroughly that it was impossible to reject them without seeming to be on the side of evil. Now that liberal democracy has lost the banner of “good,” people are less concerned with such things, and so now the SPLC is open to attack as would be any non-profit that behaves as it does.
We are coming out of an age of ideology. At first, democracy was just a method, but then it became a pursuit for its own sake. At that point it gained enough power to reveal its inner core, which is an angry mob trying to destroy anyone who does not share their misery. Functional people recoil from that kind of insanity, which is now on display across the West.
The age of ideology and middle class values — the customer is always right, include everyone, share everything, and accept all viewpoints — has faded. It is being replaced by an age of real world cause and effect, where people turn to informal systems based on innate similarities instead of ideological ones. As that happens, those who bet on the democracy horse are also fading away.