Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of our own minds.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
A free society cherishes non-conformity. It knows that from a non-conformist, from the eccentric, have come many of the great ideas of freedom. Free society must fertilize the soil in which non-conformity and dissent and individualism can grow.
~Henry Steele Commager, American Educator
What does freedom mean to you — freedom to think nonconforming thoughts, to associate with nonconforming people, to advocate nonconforming viewpoints? To me, freedom is essential to a good life, the oxygen that, if missing or taken away, renders our world “weary, flat, [and] stale,” as Shakespeare’s Hamlet says. To really breathe at all, we must be free to wander off the reservation of received and approved opinion.
What are the enemies of freedom? There are many: poverty, poor health, social chaos, despotic governments, the lack of avenues to express freedom. But a particularly offensive and insidious kind is one that purports to advance the public good when in reality its primary aims are to enrich itself while destroying its political adversaries. This describes perfectly what the Southern Poverty Law Center has become today. Drawing on a massive surveillance model reminiscent of a Communist regime, motivated by lucrative fundraising aims, and employing fundraising techniques decried across the political spectrum as deceptive, the SPLC’s avowed goal, under the leadership of Heidi Beirich, Mark Potok, and others, is to destroy, through public shaming, loss of employment, and harm to reputation those groups and persons the SPLC broadly defines as political enemies of its leftist agenda. And the SPLC is masterful at what it does. Its victims are legion, and its bank accounts bulge with over $450 million it has raised using its misleading “hate maps” and other fundraising techniques.
I, Glen Allen, the plaintiff in Allen v. Beirich, Potok, and the SPLC, have been one of Beirich’s, Potok’s, and the SPLC’s targets. Their carefully orchestrated destruction of my legal career was severe, causing my termination as an attorney for the City of Baltimore and destroying the reputation as an attorney I had achieved over decades by performing ethical and competent work, including frequent and substantial pro bono work for African-Americans and others. The cause of free expression itself is another victim, for the SPLC has become one of the most effective and terror-inspiring censors in the country, and every success it achieves emboldens it further. (A more detailed summary of my complaint and copies of the complaint itself and other important pleadings can be found in the Resources section below.)
I am defying the SPLC’s fraud and intimidation. I need your help. I am fighting not for myself alone but for all who need breathing space to think and express unconventional and unpopular opinions. In particular, I am challenging the SPLC’s 501c3 status, which it uses so effectively to impoverish honest and robust debate on controversial issues such as immigration and race relations.
My complaint is a true David v. Goliath struggle, but my claims have merit and I will pursue them vigorously. But litigation of this nature is expensive. I must engage co-counsel and pay litigation expenses, and cannot hope to stay in the ring with the SPLC, with its $450 million endowment and large staff of attorneys, without financial help from friends and supporters. The SPLC openly boasts about its destructive aims and successes, which unfortunately are many. Please help me strike a blow for freedom against these self-appointed thought police.
Donors can contribute via the Donor Box link below, send bitcoin to the address below, send funds directly to my bank account via Zelle, or send checks, money orders, or cash to either Glen Allen or Breathing Space for Dissent, LLC at this address: P.O. Box 10441, Baltimore, MD 21209. Donors may also send tax deductible donations to the Free Expression Foundation, Inc. (“FEF”), a 501c3 organization, at P.O. Box 1479, Upper Marlboro, MD 20773. FEF seeks to provide moral and financial support for causes such as mine. And thank you!
Glen Allen grew up in Western Colorado. Following honorable service in the U.S. Army from 1978 to 1982, he attended the University of Maryland School of Law, graduating near the top of his class. After a judicial clerkship, he worked as an attorney in commercial litigation for a major law firm for 27 years, in a career that included an appearance before the U.S. Supreme Court. He retired in December 2015. Hoping to help his adopted City of Baltimore, after retirement he began work as an assistant City Solicitor for the City of Baltimore until the SPLC, by means of a carefully orchestrated news media attack based on stolen confidential documents, engineered his termination in August 2016. An avid participant in the Senior Olympics, Glen holds the Maryland state record for the 400 meter dash for his age group.