As I write this on Sunday morning there's a diary on the Rec List (and a very recommendable one too) that proposes that the Republicans in Congress are now divided into two groups: Business Republicans and Bircher republicans. I am not even vaguely in disagreement with this analysis, but in the diary its writer says this:
The Koch family founded the John Birch Society.Technically correct, because Fred Koch, the father of the current Koch Brothers was one of the founders, but not the MAIN founder, as I know because my father worked with the son of the founder for many years in Boston.
It's not helpful if we get ANY of the facts wrong. So, apparently in yet another recovery effort, let me introduce you to Robert Welch (not even related to the Koch brothers) and an anti-communist movement that was considered dangerously rightist during the 1950s and 1960s, and should STILL be considered so.
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The John Birch society is named after, as the society's website says,
a devoted Christian missionary who heroically served in World War II and was killed by Chinese Communists 10 days after the end of the war, when he was only 27. Communists that were supposedly WWII allies with the U.S.His murder (naturally, according to the website, something that was covered up by "the government") was exposed by the anticommunist senator William Knowland (R-California) because Birch, according to Knowland, was the first casualty of the Cold War. After investigating these incidents, Robert W. Welch, Jr., an owner of the Welch Candy Company (they made Junior Mints,among other products), who had retired a wealthy man, formed a society to memorialize John Birch with eleven other men, one of whom was Fred Koch (it's an innocent error).
Welch, according to Wikipedia, believed that
the American people consisted of four groups: "Communists, communist dupes or sympathizers, the uninformed who have yet to be awakened to the communist danger, and the ignorant."Naturally, after Barry Goldwater was skunked in the election of 1964, William F. Buckley, Jr., who as I'm sure you know founded the National Review, denounced Welch as an extremist who believed in conspiracy theories. By that time, Welch wasn't even sure the Communists were the major threat, rather a group he called the Master Conspirators, and I'll let the historian Sean Wilentz, who is quoted in the Wikipedia entry, explain:
Wherever he looked, Welch saw Communist forces manipulating American economic and foreign policy on behalf of totalitarianism. But within the United States, he believed, the subversion had actually begun years before the Bolshevik Revolution. Conflating modern liberalism and totalitarianism, Welch described government as 'always and inevitably an enemy of individual freedom.' Consequently, he charged, the Progressive era, which expanded the federal government’s role in curbing social and economic ills, was a dire period in our history, and Woodrow Wilson 'more than any other one man started this nation on its present road to totalitarianism' ... In the 1960's, Welch became convinced that even the Communist movement was but 'a tool of the total conspiracy.' This master conspiracy, he said, had forerunners in ancient Sparta, and sprang fully to life in the 18th century, in the 'uniformly Satanic creed and program' of the Bavarian Illuminati. Run by those he called 'the Insiders,' the conspiracy resided chiefly in international families of financiers, such as the Rothschilds and the Rockefellers, government agencies like the Federal Reserve System and the Internal Revenue Service, and nongovernmental organizations like the Bilderberg Group, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Trilateral CommissionWelch believed that Harry Truman AND Dwight David Eisenhower were Communist sympathizers.
The society is still very much in existence. The Southern Poverty Law Center describes it as a "Patriot group"
Generally, Patriot groups define themselves as opposed to the “New World Order,” engage in groundless conspiracy theorizing, or advocate or adhere to extreme antigovernment doctrines. Listing here does not imply that the groups themselves advocate or engage in violence or other criminal activities, or are racist.The John Birch Society in fact insists it isn't racist (you know, it has black members) and rejects the extremist label
Fact: JBS is dedicated to restoring the Republic according to the vision of the Founding Fathers: limited government, individual liberty, and the rule of law. Along with America's Founders, we believe that governments are instituted to protect individual rights and liberties, and are not formed to provide for the wants of individuals. To label JBS radical or extreme for agreeing with our nation's Founders is to place that same label on them.Uh-huh. I guess the founders didn't write the preamble to the Constitution, at least the part that says
provide for the general welfare.I wonder who they think wrote that.
To close, here's how they describe John Kerry:
Senator John Kerry's impeccable credentials as a "climate hawk," membership in Yale's secret society Skull and Bones, and a voting record that almost completely ignores the Constitution, qualify him to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state.So there we are. These people would NEVER have survived the banhammer here at the GOS. Major H/T to JekyllnHyde who posted the cartoon below in the diary that prompted this one.
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