Opposing “extremism” in the military seems like a no-brainer. As First Liberty General Counsel Mike Berry testified, “those who would use, threaten, or advocate violence to accomplish their [political] objectives” should have no place in the ranks. Yet the military stand-down briefings meant to root out “extremism” in the military arguably set the stage for something far more sinister.
“We should reject any attempt to weaponize anti-extremism efforts against classes of people simply because those in authority disapprove of them,” Berry wisely warned. Sadly, the anti-extremism briefings that the Department of Defense pushed on military branches during the recent “stand-down” order are ripe for abuse — and the “anti-extremism” effort will likely translate into a political/ideological witch hunt against conservatives.
Any PJ Media reader familiar with my work knows that I have long covered the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which uses a vague and malleable definition of “hate group” in order to smear mainstream conservative and Christian organizations and place them on a list — and a “hate map” — with the Ku Klux Klan. This inspired an attempted terrorist attack in 2012 (which the SPLC rightly condemned, but which did not lead the SPLC to remove the targeted organization).
The SPLC defines a “hate group” as “an organization or collection of individuals that – based on its official statements or principles, the statements of its leaders, or its activities – has beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics. An organization does not need to have engaged in criminal conduct or have followed their speech with actual unlawful action to be labeled a hate group.”