In a column this week for the National Review, Mark Krikorian, head of the anti-immigrant think tank Center for Immigration Studies, attempted to defend Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach from criticism by the Southern Poverty Law Center and others for having attended an anti-immigration event with racist ties by portraying the event as innocuous.The event, The Social Contract Press Writers Workshop, was held in Washington, DC, in late October.
However, the Workshop does have ties to extremists. To demonstrate this, one need look no further than one of the key figures behind The Social Contract Press itself: Wayne Lutton. Lutton, the editor of the Press’s main publication, The Social Contract, for many years has been a prominent figure in the white supremacist movement.
While not editing The Social Contract, Lutton sits on the board of the New Century Foundation, a white supremacist “think tank” run by Jared Taylor of American Renaissance, a white supremacist website. Both the Foundation and the website promote ideas of alleged racial differences in intelligence, support the notion of a “white identity,” and oppose multiculturalism and diversity. Lutton has also spoken at American Renaissance conferences, as well as conferences of the blatantly white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens. In addition, Lutton has served on the board of the Charles Martel Society, which publishes the racist and anti-Semitic journal Occidental Quarterly.
Attending the Writers Workshop was not the first time Kobach has turned a blind eye towards the extremist ties of some of his fellow anti-immigration activists. In 2012, for example, Kobach participated in an anti-immigration panel at the Conservative Political Action Conference alongside Robert Vandervoort, the head of the anti-immigrant group Pro-English but also the former head of the white supremacist Chicagoland Friends of American Renaissance.
Anti-immigrant agitators all too frequently give a pass to extremists, so long as they share the same anti-immigrant views. Indeed, the fact that Krikorian, in his defense of Kobach, neglected to mention Lutton’s extremist ties is not surprising—because Krikorian turns the same blind eye himself. Krikorian not only spoke at The Social Contract Press Writers Workshop this year, but in 2013 he also contributed an article to Lutton’s publication.
The reality is that Lutton’s Press serves as a bridge between extremists and more ostensibly mainstream figures in the anti-immigrant movement. The Social Contract frequently features white supremacists alongside anti-immigrant figures in its pages. Its Writers Workshop often invites mainstream but problematic figures to its events. The Kansas Secretary of State is one such figure.
Kobach is known for his anti-immigrant views and has drafted some of the harshest anti-immigrant laws in the nation. He also has promoted the concept of self-deportation, the idea that states should put in place policies and practices that make life so difficult for undocumented immigrants that they will leave the United States “voluntarily.”
Through its journal and conferences, The Social Contrast Press tries to mainstream bigotry by featuring well-known anti-immigrant figures to give their venues an air of legitimacy. But when figures such as Kobach and Krikorian lie down with the Press, they only show how immoderate they themselves are.