August 29, 2013

A white supremacist buys up land in a little North Dakota town, gets an NYT article written about him.

"People have knocked on [Paul Craig] Cobb’s red door to offer to buy back his land and to preach the Gospel."
The City Council is looking into potential ordinance or health code violations (his home has no septic tank or running water). There is a doomsday plan in place, Mr. Schock explained: If enough of Mr. Cobb’s friends move in to gain a majority that could vote out the current government, the Council would immediately dissolve the town....

“Just want to let you know I’m not going to cause any trouble,” he said to Don Hauge, 61, who rolled up in a red Chevy pickup truck to where Mr. Cobb was sitting on a bench, peering through smudged rectangular glasses that slid down the bridge of his nose. Mr. Cobb is a lanky figure, dressed neatly in a button-down shirt tucked into slender black slacks he says he bought from someone who had stolen them, and rubber sandals.
It's a little hard to figure out what the issue is, in this, a free country.  Here's a key paragraph:
The Southern Poverty Law Center and The Bismarck Tribune revealed that the man, Paul Craig Cobb, 61, has been buying up property in this town of 24 people in an effort to transform it into a colony for white supremacists.
What constitutes a "colony"? Like-minded people converging on the same place? What makes that wrong? Isn't that the story of America?

I'm not a fan of white supremacists, just of the freedom of thought and speech and the right to migrate and to buy property. The fact that Cobb is "wanted in Canada on charges of promoting hatred" only underscores these American values, which are also offended by looking for health code violations because you don't like someone's political opinions.

60 comments:

Mike Bruner said...

I agree. But if you are tolerant, you will not tolerate when you believe is intolerant.

Mike Bruner said...

Because the tolerant will tolerate nothing less.

MadisonMan said...

Free speech is ugly. That's the beauty of it.

People like this Cobb guy thrive on publicity. The better idea is to shun him. Communicate with him only to say his ideas are repugnant.

Import some black Girl Scouts. Have them go up to his door and sell Girl Scout cookies. That'll teach him.

James Pawlak said...

The Southern Poverty Law Center is a racist, if not a terrorist, organization. Strangely, they seem to hire only White lawyers.

Sorun said...

Someone found a white supremacist somewhere. Man bites dog makes it into the NYT.

rcocean said...

You left out the most interesting point. Why did the New York Times print this? Why did the USA "Newspaper of record" get a rats ass about some nobody moving to ND?

How many of the NYT's target audience know where ND is? Or care about it?

So, why this story and not a million other ones?

Donna B. said...

The loudest, most obnoxious, dumbest, most belligerent, angriest and least representative of all groups seem to think they are the "supreme elite" of those groups.

Why is that?

PeterK said...

so when will the NYTimes do a report on radical Muslim enclaves?

http://frontpagemag.com/2010/ryan-mauro/munslim-enclaves-u-s-a/

http://www.clarionproject.org/threat/homegrown-threat/us-muslim-enclaves#

YoungHegelian said...

If these people want to congregate themselves out in the middle of nowhere in North Dakota, isn't that really the next best thing to having them in prison?

I mean, who's going to run into them out there? "Mom, I'm picking up & going out to live on the tundra where there's no jobs & nothing to do, just so I can be surrounded by a small gaggle of like minded honky nutjobs!"

I'm just not seeing the downside here.

Austin said...

Not sure this is newsworthy. Now if a few members of Congress were to form and establish, for example, a White Congressional Caucas, now that would be a clear case of white supremacy. If, however, several members of Congress were to form, oh let's say a Black Congressional Caucas, well, that would be perfectly fine.

traditionalguy said...

Wait a minute. Cobb lives in NORTH Dakota. So he is not a southern racist too stupid to remember who won the Civil War. I suspect he is one of those Northern Nazi propaganda believers whose ancestors came here from Germany, not Northern Ireland.

But this story likely will be in the headlines every day Obama needs a boost or a distraction.

Bob Ellison said...

North Dakota, land of new oil reserves and lots of jobs. ND is in NYT sites the way Ted Cruz is. Kill it with fire!

EDH said...

Mr. Harper, Leith’s only black resident, said a lot of people approached him at his mother-in-law’s funeral on Monday to tell him they had his back.

Bob_R said...

Good thing the NYT doesn't publish in Canada. It would be sad to see them shut down promoting hatred of white supremacists.

Edward Lunny said...

" The Southern Poverty Law Center is a racist, and a terrorist, organization. " Sorry, I felt compelled to correct the inaccuracy in that statement.

AprilApple said...

I'm offended by the Southern Poverty law Center. Can't something be done?

bpm4532 said...

How is this a New York story? It only plays to their ignorant view that SD and other states are merely "flyover" country. Perhaps they should be looking for the white supremacists in their own town. Or black supremacists.

Matthew Sablan said...

A commune for white supremacists? How quaint.

AprilApple said...

He gave the community’s run-down former meat locker and creamery to the National Socialist Movement.


Well then, that should appease the radical leftists at the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Scott said...

Proto-fascist President Woodrow Wilson, who was a founder of the progressive movement, was also a big fan of prosecuting sedition.

Progressives today would love to be able to throw people in jail for saying the wrong things. And if they could, the New York Times would be cheering them on.

MikeDC said...

My American values are also offended by a white supremacist getting together with a bunch of other white supremacists and organizing to move them all onto some big compound and then basically instill a "regime change" in a small town with an established polity.

That's both making a mockery of the democratic tradition and a very real threat to the current residents of the town.

Scott said...

Proto-fascist President Woodrow Wilson, who was a founder of the progressive movement, was also a big fan of prosecuting sedition.

Progressives today would love to be able to throw people in jail for saying the wrong things. And if they could, the New York Times would be cheering them on.

StarBanker said...

I went to Central Park in NYC and the place was completely surrounded by white supremacists. They live very tall buildings where the black folk excluded because "the rent is too damn high."

Deirdre Mundy said...

Wait, but North Dakota is mostly white, mostly Christian, and mostly Republican! So shouldn't all these racists be welcoming their fellow racist with open arms???

There's something wrong with the narrative here..... I can't put my finger on it.......I mean, everyone KNOWS all Christian-white-rethuglican types are racist....

Yet they seem to want to cure him of his racism? Using the Gospels?

Weird.......

I mean, think about it... according to SPLC, I bet some of these folks belong to racist and extremist groups like pro-life clubs or the American Legion!

Does. Not. Compute.

Big Mike said...

I'd like to have more than just the SPLC's and Bismark Tribune's assertion that Paul Craig Cobb is a white supremacist, particularly since it seems likely from what I know about investigative reporting in the 21st century that the Tribune did little or no investigating of its own and merely reprinted what the SPLC gave them.

Uncle Pavian said...

I suppose it will be very helpful to the next Floyd Lee Corkins II that the Southern Poverty Law Center is in cahoots with the Bismarck Tribune. Without a map, it'd be really easy to get lost on the way out there and, you know, shoot up the wrong place.

Glen Filthie said...

I don't know who this guy is or what his history is...but here in Canada, our enlightened supreme court (hork, spit) - recently ruled that telling the truth can be a hate crime if it incites hatred.

Our courts up here are infested and undermined by leftist scum.

Administrator said...

Don't you know? It's okay to hate, harass, and target with nitpicking laws and Government agencies those who you find politically unpalatable.

It's called "Liberalism".

TMink said...

I would feel more comfortable in the story if he actually said or did something racist. Most of the so called racist sightings turn out to be liberals in racist's clothing. Given that, this dude likely voted for Obama.

Trey

tim in vermont said...

I am sure he appreciates the publicity and the NYT needs one more story to advance their agenda of "otherizing" any political opposition to Obama. After all, the guy is probably a rodeo clown in his spare time and serves as a perfect exemplar for all who oppose Obama for any reason.

Ann Althouse said...

"You left out the most interesting point. Why did the New York Times print this? Why did the USA "Newspaper of record" get a rats ass about some nobody moving to ND?"

Did you forget to read the post title? Or you just need to be hit over the head with ideas a lot harder?

roesch/voltaire said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
roesch/voltaire said...

In the great American tradition, let them have a commune but not a city to control.

MadisonMan said...

You left out the most interesting point. Why did the New York Times print this? Why did the USA "Newspaper of record" get a rats ass about some nobody moving to ND?

One less person available to pay taxes in NY.

Eric said...

Not exactly the plot for Die Trying (Jack Reacher #2), but it's the thought that counts.

tim in vermont said...

"My American values are also offended by a white supremacist getting together with a bunch of other white supremacists and organizing to move them all onto some big compound and then basically instill a "regime change" in a small town with an established polity.

That's both making a mockery of the democratic tradition and a very real threat to the current residents of the town."

Uhhh, I don't believe you really believe this because if you did, you would be offended the way formerly conservative and lightly populated Vermont has been overrun with liberals, who have changed the state's polity to the point where... Oh, just forget it. What really bothers you is that it is being done by the "other."

GrandpaMark said...

The town has 16 people (2010 census), and a city council? And a mayor? Sounds like big Government to me.

The guy bought his house AND 12 plots of land off of Craigslist for $8600.00. (less than he paid for his "blue Dodge Durango"

He sold or transferred "some of the properties" in two years. (But nobody moved there)

On main street, the only one of five remaining buildings still open is the bar.

A stream of cars creep through the streets hoping to catch a glimpse of some action or take a peek at Mr. Cobb’s peeling, two-story clapboard home. Sheriff’s cars, too, are making more rounds.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAA.

If the guy had $30,000 he could buy the whole town.

Seems to me that nobody knew this guy was a nut until a (black)reporter showed up and told them.

Now ." It is all people are talking about, in bars and in their homes, at funerals and at church". Yeah, it is all they are talking about when they are talking to the reporter.

Hahaha.

And the comments at the article are about 12 times the population of the town, most along the lines of "teaching him a lesson"









gspencer said...

"Like-minded people converging on the same place"

*****

You mean, like Muslims coming to Europe b/c of the great allure of the infidels' welfare which they in turn can use to form their own closed communities (sometimes called NO GO zones), simultaneously using that "free money" to spread dawah calling the world to Allah. OR ELSE.

You mean like that?

gspencer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ErnieG said...

The idea of an affinity group moving in and taking over a small town is not without precedent. In the 1980s, the town of Antelope, Oregon was taken over by followers of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. The cult had a commune outside of town, but friction developed between the town and the cult. The town refused to grant a business license for a mail order operation, enough followers moved into town to gain a majority. They took the town over and changed its name to Rajneesh. The cult is now practically extinct, and the town's name has been changed back to Antelope.

Ann Althouse said...

"In the 1980s, the town of Antelope, Oregon was taken over by followers of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh."

Read about what those people did taking over the town. There's nothing at all like that in this NYT story.

ErnieG said...

I know. I was just pointing out that had been done before. And yes, the Bhagwan's people were a very ugly bunch.

MikeDC said...

@Tim in Vermont,
Well, if said Liberals were gaming the system to achieve a majority (for example, by moving lots of people of people onto single bits of land, then yeah, that'd be a problem.

@ErnieG,
And the surrounding locals seemed to be a pretty ugly bunch as well. From various legal and quasi legal maneuvers like what's being seen here to stuff well beyond that.

-----
Which sort of gets to the point that this isn't as simple as it looks. The undercurrent is that both sides appear to be engaging in very questionable practices.

I'd guess that, if left alone, the Rajneeshpuram nutcases would have pretty much kept to themselves, but they would also have pretty fundamentally changed the character of the area, and the existing residents have constitutionally protected rights to fight that as well.

Jupiter said...

"That's both making a mockery of the democratic tradition and a very real threat to the current residents of the town."

Actually, it does rather appear that Mr. Cobb is mocking someone or something, and having a good time doing so. I'm afraid I can't agree about the "real threat" part.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

MikeDC,

The undercurrent is that both sides appear to be engaging in very questionable practices.

I don't see that. Cobb, judging by the article, seems to have been up-front about his aims. The town, meanwhile, appears to be keen on selective enforcement of local ordinances to keep the undesirables out. Was a house without running water or a septic tank up to local code before Cobb bought it? Was there any effort to enforce the code on the previous owner?

MikeDC said...

Well, the Rajneeshis were up front about there aims too. They were all peace and love... right up until they started waving around rifles and food poisoning everyone.

I'm against selective enforcement, but I'm also against having a bunch of politically motivated weirdos of any stripe come in and start trying to take things over.

I'm not sure why that's such a controversial idea.

Jim Bowery said...

This in-depth interview of Craig Cobb, regarding his upbringing and development of his ideas, was conducted just after the NYT reporters visited to his Leith, ND residence:

Terry Canaan said...

When peaceful Muslims wanted to build a mosque in NYC, the rightwing blogosphere went positively mental for months on end.

Just a reminder.

hombre said...

The SPLC is a vicious anti-Constitutional pit and probably the recipient of a federal grant from the DOJ.

hombre said...

"When peaceful Muslims wanted to build a mosque in NYC, ...."

Peaceful Muslims? Please leave the keys to the turnip truck in the ignition.

Rick Caird said...

Weren't liberals going to move to Vermont and turn it into a blue state? It seems to have worked.

BigMick said...

I'm a North Dakotan - born, raised and still living here.

Am I disgusted by this guy's views? Absolutely! But, I may be more disgusted by the "code violation" mentality of the "city fathers"

Look, buying up several lots in a ghost town in rural ND isn't quite the same as buying up lots and starting a compound in a large city.

This guy and his buddies could live there for a long time without anyone else knowing they're there. MadisonMan suggested shunning him. If news outlets quit reporting on him, that'll pretty much take care of itself.

Sam L. said...

Mark Steyn knows just how tolerant those Canadians are--Not. At. All.

Unknown said...

Comparing this to the Mosque in NY is silly. Had he tried to open a skin head bar called James Earl Rays across the street from Ebaneezer Baptist Church, you may have a point.

Harold said...

I remember the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh case from when it happened. If I remember correctly, they also took over a few churches, becoming members of the congregation, then voting in new and improved directors, or whatever the particular church called its local ruling committee.

Any small group can be taken over in a similar manner- infiltrate members and change the groups direction. And over time, Pournelles Iron Law of Bureaucracy ensures that all organizations are eventually taken over by people who have an interest in expanding their own power, not the group's goals. I believe the addendum to that is that any group that isn't specifically conservative will become liberal. Interesting discussion on that over in other blogs about the SFWA, which should be concerned with SciFi authors making a living, not what SciFi authors are thinking...

And as far as deliberately moving to an area to reshape it it, look at libertarians and their plans for new Hampshire at http://freestateproject.org/ . Taking over a state by popular vote is a perfectly legal thing to do as far as the constitution goes, as long as it maintains a republican form of government. Not Republican party, republican form.

TMLutas said...

Amusingly, his Wikipedia article says his name is Craig Paul Cobb, not Paul Craig Cobb. Now who has more credibility, Wikipedia or the New York Times?

Erik Robert Nelson said...

The most amusing thing is that it's a town of, what, 24? Doesn't it say something about how far past racism America is when white supremacists are looking for a place to live, and they set their sights on a town of ... twenty four people? And how much you want to bet the guy couldn't fill half of it with his friends.

What a joke. I get why the locals might not like it, but tough. There's no functional difference between them buying him out and forcing him out than there is in the reverse. Either both are wrong or neither is. I vote for the larter.

Unknown said...

In America, today, you've got to know the right people and contribute to the right political campaign, go the right school, in red states - attend the right church, live in the right part of town, drive the right kind of car, war the right kind of clothes, shop at the right stores, etc., etc. ...or you'll just get screwed over...again and again and again.

Even money says that if you dig a little bit, you'll find the local politicos and bureaucrats ruined their economy, and now that someone is taking advantage of an economic opportunity...

Cloudbuster said...

So a group of people want to gather with like minded people and settle. Isn't that the American way. Don't we have Mormon communites, Amish Communities, Quaker communities, communes, black communities (whole black cities, doing a bang-up job with Detroit), asian communities and so forth all around the U.S.?

People who think people don't gather to be with similar people are people who are incapable of observing reality.

I expect that 20-40 years from now, white children and grandchildren of commenters here will be wishing some people now had spent more time guarding the interests of the traditional white American community.

Bandit said...

A colony in a town of 24 people? What's that his house and another one?