Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Is The John Birch Society the "Intellectual Seed Bank of the Right"?

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JBSHuffingtonPost.com columnist Andrew Reinbach expressed concern September 12 that the Tea Party is propagating the ideas of The John Birch Society. In an article entitled "The John Birch Society's Reality," Reinbach noted that the JBS is "a group Barry Goldwater and William F. Buckley Jr once thought too extreme, but which has since become the intellectual seed bank of the right."

Reinbach warned his fellow leftists that "if you really want to understand why so many Republicans are the way they are these days, an outline of JBS beliefs is a good place to start." The columnist from the highly trafficked left-wing website then goes into a long excerpt from one of JBS Founder Robert Welch's writings in 1966:

"The one great job left for the Communists is the subjugation of the people of the United States," wrote Welch. "So their exhaustive strategy for achieving their final goal includes the following methods."

"a) The deliberate and insidious breaking down of all morality and of every sound sense of values;

(b) the distortion and destruction of religious influences, especially on the lives of the young;

(c) the constant indoctrination of young and old alike, through our educational system, and through our communications and entertainment media, in a preference for "welfare" and "security" against responsibility and opportunity;

"d) making an ever larger and larger percentage of American industry, commerce, agriculture, education, and individuals accustomed to receiving, and dependent on, government checks;

(e) a constant increase in legislation, taxation, and bureaucracy, leading directly towards one hundred percent government....

Of course, anyone who's paid attention during the more than 35 years since Robert Welch wrote those words realizes that all of the above has happened, and is still happening, if not under the communist hammer and sickle banner.

Moreover, the JBS motto, "Less government, more responsibility, and — with God's help — a better world," fits in perfectly with the Tea Party message of lower taxes and less government. Reinbach frets that "Among other things, the JBS has been active in creating and training the Tea Party."

For its part, John Birch Society officials admit that its members have acted as inspiration and occasional trainers within the Tea Party movement. "The John Birch Society is absolutely delighted at the Tea Party movement because it got so many people off the couch," John Birch Society President John F. McManus told The New American. "Many of the Tea Party people are asking good questions, and they are finding out that the best place to get good answers is the JBS."

McManus told The New American that earlier this month he had been a speaker on a New York City harbor cruise with 250 people — sponsored by five tea party organizations — and found the crowd very supportive. "These people, most of them, are saying to themselves, we've got to start listening to the Birch Society," McManus said. Many already have.

But Reinbach of the Huffington Post is worried about the Tea Party and its John Birch Society ideological ancestors. "I myself have nothing to say about this perspective, aside from observing that I'd prefer its believers didn't try to impose it on me, or my country."

Of course, The John Birch Society and the Tea Party don't seek to impose anything on Reinbach's nation. Rather, they want to stop big government officials from imposing the nation a top-down, one-size-fits-all socialist solution on the nation. McManus noted that the JBS would not "impose" anything on any individual. "Facts that are ignored are still facts," McManus said. "People who are opposed to The John Birch Society simply don't want to look at the facts. An honest survey of what Society Founder Robert Welch has stated in the past would lead any honest person to say he was a prophet."

Indeed, Robert Welch pegged Fidel Castro as a communist in the 1958 founding document of the John Birch Society, while the New York Times was still lauding Castro as an agrarian reformer and Time magazine calling him an anti-communist. Welch also accurately summed up the political career of Richard Nixon in the same 1958 document, 16 years before the Watergate scandal became public knowledge:

He is an extremely smart man. He is one of the ablest, shrewdest, most disingenuous, and slipperiest politicians that ever showed up on the American scene.... He has been a rider of waves, so far as public support was concerned, without caring whether the particular wave at any given time was moving left or right; and a manipulator, of uncanny skill, behind the scenes.... I don't think Nixon is committed to anything other than the career of Richard Nixon.

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