The Hate Group That Incited the Middlebury Melee
By Carl M. CannonRCP StaffMarch 19, 2017
Under different circumstances, Alabama civil rights lawyer Morris S. Dees and American Enterprise Institute scholar Charles Murray might have been colleagues, even pals. Instead, Murray found himself in a near-riot at Middlebury College after accepting a speaking invitation from Republican students at the Vermont school. Students and faculty galvanized by Dees’ political organization barred Murray from speaking. They shouted him down, chanted their own manifesto, and pulled fire alarms to prevent him from being heard.
When Murray and Middlebury professor Allison Stanger tried to leave the building, they were followed by protesters who accosted them physically. The professor was grabbed by the hair and her neck twisted—she was fitted with a neck brace at a hospital—and their car rocked in a way that alarmed local authorities.
It was another victory for opponents of free speech, and if that seems like an incongruous scalp for a civil rights lawyer to wear, well, our politics are pretty odd these days.
Charles Murray is a political scientist with a doctorate degree from M.I.T. The American Enterprise Institute is a Washington-based think tank devoted to “defending human dignity, expanding human potential, and building a freer and safer world.” Its scholars believe these goals can be attained by promoting democracy and strengthening the free enterprise system in the U.S. and around the globe.
Morris Dees is a born salesman who was a committed capitalist before he entered elementary school. “When I was 5, I bought a pig for a dollar. I fattened it up and sold it for $12,” he once told People magazine. “I always had a feel for making money.”
When his mother sent him a fruitcake his freshman year in Tuscaloosa, Morris and classmate Millard Fuller wrote other students’ parents offering to deliver freshly baked birthday cakes. Soon they were selling 350 cakes per month. By the time they left law school, they were making $50,000 a year—$400,000 in today’s dollars.
After graduation, Dees and Fuller hung out a shingle and practiced law. But the real money came from their mail order business, peddling everything from cookbooks to tractor cushions. In 1969, Dees%