X Close

Civil rights group condemns feminists as white supremacists

Part of the SPLC's Project Captain page. Credit: Southern Poverty Law Center

December 17, 2023 - 8:00am

This week, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) dropped a major investigation into “anti-LGBTQ+ pseudoscience”. Dubbed Project Captain, the report declares that the “network we identify supports and is supported by white Christian nationalist ideology that seeks to privilege straight, white, cisgender Christians in public policy and replace science and American law with Christian theology”. 

The authors cast a strange and internally contradictory set of aspersions over the Enlightenment and “science” (their quotation marks, not mine), while deploying all the strategies they accuse their political opponents of practising. Then again, making sense of the opposition is not what this report is about. 

Rather, it is the product of political necessity — the need to discredit the growing pushback to youth gender transition and gender self-ID policies that put males in girls’ sports and women’s prisons. One way to dismiss political opponents is by attaching as many of the following labels as possible: conservative, Christian nationalist, cisheteronormative, white supremacist, male supremacist, creationist purveyors of misinformation and pseudoscience. (In case that’s not enough to convince you, these views are also “unpopular.” We’ll come back to that.) 

This is a ham-fisted attempt to lump all opponents together, regardless of their distinct values, approaches, or political orientations. The report then moves on to accuse the “anti-LGBTQ+ pseudoscience network” of “manufacturing doubt” by, for instance, using “critical reasoning and attention to detail” when evaluating counterarguments (guilty as charged?) and pointing out that developmental psychology and growing numbers of detransitioners suggest that trans identification may, in some cases, be transient and thus an unwise target of life-altering hormonal and surgical interventions. 

The authors make the bold move of defining pseudoscience (“knowledge or conclusions we assume were produced by following the scientific method or best practices within a specific field of study — like psychology, psychiatry and various fields of medicine — but are not actually scientific”) while peddling it themselves, passing off unverifiable concepts like gender identity as established and unquestionable “scientific” facts. 

More, they claim that “LGBTQ+ rights” — a catch-all term they avoid defining in any detail — enjoy broad public support. Trans activists often claim that the policies for which they advocate don’t affect anyone other than trans people. This is a bid for tolerance that most seem more than willing to grant. But as the public becomes more familiar with what this policy agenda means in practice, they’re realising that tolerance for difference isn’t what is being asked of them. 

A recent survey of public attitudes and beliefs on three key transgender policy agenda items — bathroom use, access to sports, and youth gender transition — found public support is lacking. Or, as the University of Houston summarised the findings in a press release: “New survey suggests general society not willing to allow more rights for transgender people.” Specificity over what’s being asked of the public matters. 

The SPLC made its name decades ago during the civil rights movement, when it went after undisputed villains like the Ku Klux Klan. But in recent years the organisation has drifted from its original mission, adopting broader and ever more questionable definitions of hate and becoming, in effect, the keepers of a blacklist of people and groups and ideas that all good progressives must shun. 

At some point, the question organisations like the SPLC asked themselves changed from “what does the public need to know about this issue?” to “what do we need to tell the public to keep them on side?” When it comes to sex and gender, the SPLC apparently decided the public needs to hear that their common-sense concerns, even their compassion, are just tools of white Christian nationalism. Meanwhile, the Center continues to trade on its old reputation, hoping supporters won’t notice. 

The Captain Report warns that “purveyors of pseudoscience generally rely on the fact that most people will take information for granted because they do not have the time, resources or knowledge to conduct a study of their own; do not have the expertise to question the methodology used to reach a conclusion; refuse to critically analyse information; or mistakenly trust the source.” Those who once put their trust in the Southern Poverty Law Center may relate.


Eliza Mondegreen is a graduate student in psychiatry and the author of Writing Behavior on Substack.

elizamondegreen

Join the discussion


Join like minded readers that support our journalism by becoming a paid subscriber


To join the discussion in the comments, become a paid subscriber.

Join like minded readers that support our journalism, read unlimited articles and enjoy other subscriber-only benefits.

Subscribe
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

29 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Ewen Mac
Ewen Mac
7 months ago

” … they claim that “LGBTQ+ rights” — a catch-all term they avoid defining in any detail — enjoy broad public support.”
The word “broad” is doing an awful lot of heavy lifting. As this author is obviously aware, Dentons International Law advised gender ideology activists to attach the T to the LGB and use that public support as a protective “umbrella” against scrutiny. Anyone questioning the T could be automatically accused of questioning the LGB, hence the question could be shut down under the guise of “opposing bigotry.”
It worked well up to a point, aided by the media & political sectors who were too scared to talk about what gender ideology means in reality. However, in the social media age, you can’t keep such information secret indefinitely and the more people understand the true nature of the ideology and the artificial nature of the “civil rights” issue, the more they’re prepared to admit that they don’t support it.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
7 months ago
Reply to  Ewen Mac

Thanks for that additional point about Dentons International Law, of which i wasn’t aware, and the purpose behind it i.e. to try to close down any questioning.
The author writes with great clarity on this subject, enabling her to expose and rebut the methodologies employed by transactivists. It’s been said before, but they’re doing those transitioning or considering transition no favours. Just as homosexuality is now widely accepted in western societies, so too should those wishing to transition without any other group feeling threatened as a result. Debbie Hayton also writes well on this subject for Unherd.

S Wilkinson
S Wilkinson
7 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

For anyone who isn’t aware of the Denton’s document, I recommend reading James Kirkup’s excellent article from Dec 2019 in The Spectator – ‘The document that reveals the remarkable tactics of trans lobbyists’.

Mint Julip
Mint Julip
7 months ago
Reply to  Ewen Mac

Isn’t this what happened in the ROI? A referendum was held on whether to allow marriage between same-sex partners (which the kindly Irish folk agreed to) but there was a little known addition to the main theme, that being self id to the opposite sex, which was not explained, nor were the implications of a self id free for all with regard to women’s rights and the safeguarding of children discussed and made clear. All the voters whose only wish was to equalise marriage for the LGBs had, in fact, been hoodwinked.

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
7 months ago
Reply to  Ewen Mac

“in the social media age, you can’t keep such information secret indefinitely”
Exactly why the Left is so determined to muzzle such avenues of free expression of disapproved ideas.

Mike Downing
Mike Downing
7 months ago

The same thing is surely happening with race-based DEI ‘initiatives ‘ which, likewise, turn out to be based on lies and other disinformation strategies.

As the wheels slowly start to fall off the grifters bandwagon and it all turns out to actually be anti-white racism, people wake up and don’t really like it at all.

David Morley
David Morley
7 months ago
Reply to  Mike Downing

The situation was the same with nonconformist feminists and critics of Islam – all redefined as haters.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
7 months ago
Reply to  Mike Downing

Unless you are not white

John Murray
John Murray
7 months ago

The SPLC exists to raise funds to perpetuate its own existence and its sole activity is provide a narrative laundering service for the American national media so they can report things like “the SPLC has said that ***insert name of individual or group the NYTimes does not like*** are a hate group.” That’s their whole schtick. If they ever did any good, the people there who did it left or died long ago.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
7 months ago
Reply to  John Murray

Ditto for NGOs like the NCAAP, which issued a travel advisory to Florida warning black people about the dangers of traveling there, even though one of its national leaders lives in Florida. Same thing with groups like Greenpeace. It beats the drum of hysterical climate change to justify its existence and raise more money.

Last edited 7 months ago by Jim Veenbaas
Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
7 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

The NAACP, SPLC, ACLU, and others need racism and racists to exist for the same reason Batman needs the Joker. They need a villain to fight, and not just any villain. They need their villain, the one that is their polar opposite and that they are best suited to fight. Like Batman, they can’t ever actually defeat their villain in a permanent way, because that would make them unnecessary and unworthy of attention.

Steven Carr
Steven Carr
7 months ago

There is always that awkward moment in every parent’s life when you have to explain to your child what the difference between a man and a woman is.
It is now even more awkward as you now have to swear the child to secrecy, or else they will end up in jail for hate speech.

AC Harper
AC Harper
7 months ago

From Wikipedia:

“The idiom “jumping the shark” or “jump the shark” is a pejorative that is used to argue that a creative work or entity has reached a point in which it has exhausted its core intent and is introducing new ideas that are discordant with, or an overexaggeration of, its original purpose.”

 
I believe Southern Poverty Law Center has ‘jumped the shark’ and I suspect that there are other charities and organisations that no longer prioritise their founding purpose. They do provide plenty of jobs for activists and careerists though.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
7 months ago
Reply to  AC Harper

This is the problem for many of the most pernicious and destructive NGOs today. They start out with noble intentions, but morph into something else once they have achieved their goals. Fundraising and self preservation become the end goal, not the initial cause.

S Wilkinson
S Wilkinson
7 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Stonewall (having achieved most of its purpose re gay rights and facing dwindling relevance) were given considerable funds to adopt trans rights activism and have successfully infiltrated every arm of government and our public services.

James McKay
James McKay
6 months ago
Reply to  S Wilkinson

what exactly did Stonewall achieve in the first place? London Tory gays claiming credit for the way the wind was blowing, is all they ever were.

R Wright
R Wright
7 months ago

The SPLC and other well known groups like the ADL and Hope Not Hate have been outed as grifters for decades at this point.

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
7 months ago

Definitely the gospel according to Judith Butler handed down to these key American intersectionalists. Check out her more recent video interviews, debates or Zoom calls and this is precisely what she says in interviews through 2022-3.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago

Because I’m a heterosexual white woman, I’m apparently a white supremacist. I’m so, so, so sick of these people. I’ve always thought the SPLC was a great organization, just like the ACLU and Planned Parenthood. No more. The have gone to the dark side.

David Morley
David Morley
7 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

As a heterosexual white man I’m enjoying having the heat taken off for a bit. Personally I’ve always believed that the oppressive male patriarchy was really just a front for white heterosexual female middle class hegemony. Turns out I was right all along.

John Taylor
John Taylor
7 months ago

The SPLC is in a bind: its original core of 60s-era Civil Rights movement supporters is dying off so like any good capitalist corporation it has to expand or die. Ergo, more and more issues get defined as “hate.”

Benedict Waterson
Benedict Waterson
7 months ago

‘Agents of the bourgeois imperialists, Trotskyite revisionists, capitalist running dogs, traitors, rootless cosmopolitans, enemies of the proletariat, fascists, and wreckers.’ These sort of smear tactics have been used before to support totalitarian ideologies. Always with a massive projection of the totalitarian objective onto the Other.
‘The line adopted by Comrade Stalin is the only correct line!’

David Morley
David Morley
7 months ago

This is a ham-fisted attempt to lump all opponents together, regardless of their distinct values

Is it though? I think it was Goebbels who first observed that you should never give people more than one enemy. And ideologues and activists have followed his lead ever since. Not very flattering of humanity’s cognitive abilities, but it seems to work.

PA Simmons
PA Simmons
7 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Yes, quite. I was about to comment that this is hugely reminiscent of the Stalinist claim that all critics of the Soviet Communist Party were ‘objectively’ fascists. However, given the quasi-religious zeal of many organised ‘trans’ activists, it’s probably more accurate to liken their overarching pseudophilosophical imperatives to the establishment of an orthodox doctrine, against which there can be no argument without automatic and eternal damnation.

Stuart Bennett
Stuart Bennett
7 months ago

Can US women’s groups sue the SPLC under hate speech laws, or libel, or something like that? Start using their own structures against them. In the same way Majid Nawaaz sued them when they put him on one of their little watchlists.

Terry Raby
Terry Raby
7 months ago

Ah truly truly fantastic: ““manufacturing doubt” by, for instance, using “critical reasoning and attention to detail” “

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
7 months ago
Reply to  Terry Raby

Yes. Attention to detail, how low can they go?

Fafa Fafa
Fafa Fafa
7 months ago

A medical specialty (the one behind the “science” referred to by the SLPC, name begins with “ps”) that creates and eliminates diagnoses by the voting of its board of trustees is not really in par with sciences behind specialities like, for instance, cardiology or neurobiology.

edwin cruden
edwin cruden
6 months ago

This is excellent.