'Goodbye, League of the South'

White Nationalism

The leading light of the neo-Confederate movement continues to lose prominent members — and to be racked with internal dissension.

Lake High, the former South Carolina chairman of the white supremacist League of the South, bade farewell to the group he helped found in the pages of The Edgefield Journal, the "Officially Declared Conservative Voice of the South."

In a recent article titled "Goodbye, League of the South," High said he was forced to leave because the new South Carolina head, Jay Mowery, had kidnapped his Web site, www.palmetto.org, and whisked it away to a "Christian" server.

High claims that he lost material that he owned as a result.

When League President Michael Hill reportedly refused to restore High's access to the site, High went public with a passel of League criticisms.

So did his former partner at www.palmetto.org, Virgil Huston, who also quit the League and attacked Hill for "supporting a state-based religion."

In a related matter, recent League letterhead reflected the notable absence of two highly regarded members of its board of directors, Grady McWhiney and Thomas Fleming.

The apparent departures of Fleming, head of the archconservative Rockford Institute, and McWhiney — whose book, Cracker Culture, has become a neo-Confederate bible — showed the exodus of key League members is not slowing.

Overall, the League appears to be suffering from a stifling religiosity — many key leaders are Christian Reconstructionists who seek to impose Old Testament law upon civil society — and from the intemperate remarks of its leader, Hill, who characterized the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks as a "natural fruit" of multiculturalism and racial diversity.

Now, the remaining members of the once-9,000-strong group sound increasingly isolated and angry.

Nearly two years after the League was exposed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, its depleted leadership attacked the Center for using "the well-known Soviet tactics of spreading disinformation." Its press release "demanded" that the media stop using Center information.

Four years ago — before the Center noted a hardening of the League's politics — the League Web page carried a prominent notice boasting that the Center had not listed it as a hate group.