Organization Trends

SPLC Plus Teachers Union Ideology Equals More Disparagement

In 2021, Republicans swept to power in Virginia, riding a popular wave rejecting their opponents’ commitment to the teachers unions’ agenda of critical race theory–inspired instruction, COVID-19 mask mandates and school closures, and dismissal of parents’ involvement in their children’s education. During the buildup to this political rout, the Biden administration Justice Department proposed at school board meetings as “domestic terrorists.” The resulting firestorm almost brought down the National School Boards Association, which had encouraged the administration to take such action.

This week, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) showed it had learned nothing from the examples of Virginia and the NSBA. Instead, the controversial (to put it mildly) left-wing watchdog of extremism and “hate groups” formally designated 12 conservative parents’ advocacy groups as “anti-government extremist groups” in its latest annual report. Two of the most prominent of these groups are Moms for Liberty and Parents Defending Education.

It’s Just Politics

Unsurprisingly, the SPLC is again wielding its self-appointed power to identify “hate groups” to target peaceful and mainstream opponents of left-wing ideology. This is entirely expected and aligns with the group’s traditional practices.

As the Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal reports:

The SPLC long has demonized conservative Christian groups such as Alliance Defending Freedom as “anti-LGBT hate groups,” national security groups such as the Center for Security Policy as “anti-Muslim hate groups,” and immigration groups such as the Center for Immigration Studies as “anti-immigrant hate groups.”

Essentially, if an organization opposes any part of the SPLC’s left-wing agenda, it makes itself liable to a hate-group or extremist designation alongside the remnants of the Ku Klux Klan. The SPLC’s own statements about the most recently designated groups suggest this. According to USA Today, SPLC’s annual report included:

Moms for Liberty alone claims to have “flipped” 17 school boards nationwide to parental-rights supportive majorities, the report states. “Almost immediately following elections, many of these boards began making sweeping changes at school board meetings, such as firing superintendents and making curriculum changes,” the researchers found.

“They have just been really successful in leveraging their relationships with school officials, and extremist groups, to put them kind of in a place where they can make sweeping changes for the majority of people, when they’re actually in the minority,” said Maya Henson Carey, a research analyst at SPLC.

If I am reading this correctly, SPLC is complaining that Moms for Liberty supported candidates for public office and that those candidates kept their promises to the voters when they took office. And while SPLC may claim that the elected candidates “[are] actually in the minority,” those who unseated candidates backed by teachers unions actually overcame known structural advantages that the teachers unions’ candidates enjoy in school board elections.

A Funny Definition of Democracy

So according to the SPLC, engaging in the constitutional rights of self-government constitutes being an “anti-government extremist group.” Perhaps the modern left-wing is revealing their own curious definition of democracy, which might loosely be characterized as “democracy is when liberals win, and the more the liberals win the more democratic it is,” regardless of constitutional procedure.

With this revealed definition, many apparent incongruities begin to make sense. In this bizarro upside-down world, the Supreme Court is anti-democratic to return abortion policy to the state and federal legislators because the left-wing agenda did not win. Similarly, the National Labor Relations Board would be acting democratically if it supersedes secret-ballot votes by fiat. Yet Republicans in the House of Representatives seeking policy concessions in return for their votes to raise the debt ceiling constitutes anti-democratic hostage-taking. But using corporate leverage to enact ESG policies that the people’s elected representatives choose not to pursue is obviously democratic since the liberals win.

Big Money for Big Liberalism

The Southern Poverty Law Center does not corporately experience poverty. It has extremely deep-pockets, despite a wave of scandals that led to the 2019 ouster of SPLC chief trial counsel Morris Dees and the resignation of then-president Richard Cohen. SPLC annual revenue still reaches nine figures, and its assets are just shy of $700 million. Its donors have included many major names of liberal Big Philanthropy, such as the Heising-Simons Foundation, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and W.K. Kellogg Foundation. SPLC is a big-money operation and maintains assets in the Cayman Islands, a notorious tax shelter.

SPLC plays a key role in the liberal infrastructure: It serves to formally disqualify and discredit the opponents of social liberalism, and it has for decades. Thus, opposition to “COVID-19 public safety measures in schools” and “any inclusive curriculum that contains discussions of race, discrimination and LGBTQ identities” is designated “anti-government extremism.” Never mind the “safety measures” were pointless and SPLC’s “any inclusive curriculum” claim is misleading, since curriculums in states like Florida require teaching subjects like African-American history.

The Left presumes to decree what is and is not scientific (according to what fits the left-wing narratives), and all must “follow the science.”

Michael Watson

Michael is Research Director for Capital Research Center and serves as the managing editor for InfluenceWatch. A graduate of the College of William and Mary, he previously worked for a…
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