Prosecute the torture.

February 5, 2011

C'Mon! BIRCHERS On The Front Page Of The P-G?

Yep - front page, above the fold and, truth be told, Dan Majors went wa-a-a-a-a-ay too easy on the John Birch Society. Here' his description of the Birchers:
The John Birch Society, since its founding, has promoted reading of its literature as the best way to enlighten others and advance its cause. It has expanded its message from books, magazines and pamphlets to DVDs and the Internet.

The society is opposed to economic intervention and wealth distribution. It calls for America to get out of the United Nations and wants to bring our troops home.

But it has always been a minority voice. And sometimes, because of stands it has taken, the Birchers have been seen as paranoid believers in radical conspiracy theories.
That's it.

So let's take a look at some of that literature, shall we?

Here's a Bircher essay from 1965 that was published in newspapers across the country. While the writers of the essay do admit that "there are injustices to our Negro population" that should be eliminated and that "a huge majority of the American people of both races, who now give their support to the civil rights movement are good people, with idealistic motives" they go on to oppose the civil rights movement on a couple of bases. First is that the problem is "exaggerated". Some points to ponder (and these are direct quotes from the JBS essay):
  • The average American Negro has a tremendously higher material standard of living than Negroes anywhere else; and far higher, in fact, than at least four-fifths of the earth's population of all races combined.
  • The average American Negro not only has a far higher standard of literacy and better educational opportunities than Negroes anywhere else; and far higher, but a higher level of literacy than the average for all races on at least four-fifths on the earth.
  • The average American Negro complete freedom of religion, freedom of movement, and freedom to run his own life as he pleases. [emphasis in original]
This was 1965 - only about a year (or so) after the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But can we really say that in 1965 there was a complete freedom of, for example, movement for the nation's African-Americans? I don't even think you can say that now. Ask Jordan Miles. Ask anyone pulled over for dwb.

Back to the Birchers. They followed their glowing assessment of America in 1965 with this:
  • So what is all of the complaining about? Basically, the answer is very simple. It is through the opportunities originally provided by the economic enterprise of the American whites, through emulation by the American Negro of his white neighbor's ways, and through gradual adoption and absorption of the various spiritual, material, and political elements of the white American's culture, that the American Negro has been able in a brief hundred years to raise himself to this level so far above the vast body of mankind. With the inevitable result, under the circumstances, that he has not yet achieved a par with the very leadership he was emulating; and that there still remain differences, as a general rule, in the economic, literate, and social levels of the two races.
That was the John Birch Society in 1965. Can we point out that the society opposed the Civil Rights Act because (in part) it violated the Tenth Amendment? Or that they, as seen in the above essay, opposed the Civil Rights movement because it was infiltrated and run by communists?

In Majors' piece John McManus, head of the JBS, responded to the charge that the society stoo by some "radical conspiracy theories" with a clear:
They're not conspiracy theories when they're facts.
Really? So when Robert Welch, then head of the JBS, said that President Eisenhower was a tool of the communists and guilty of treason, that was a fact? Or when Welch wrote that it was "beyond any reasonable doubt" that Eisenhower was "a conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy" that was a fact, too?

That triggered the more or less wholesale separation of the Birchers from mainstream, rational conservatism. That separation, no surprise, has been bridged in part by the Tea Partiers. Lucky us.

William F Buckley thought that and his National Review long ago pointed out some of the Birchers' weirder tales. It's worth a read. Also of note: he wrote in 1965:
The John Birch Society is engaged in a nationwide drive to convince the skeptics of its respectability.
I guess that's still going on.

Front page, P-G? THE FRONT PAGE??


Vannevar said...


not that different.

Hal Shurtleff said...

Robert Welch's comment on Eisenhower was his opinion based upon facts that he presented in "The Politician." Two recent books, independent of The JBS, depicted Eisenhower in a less than favorable light: "Other Losses," and "Target Patton." Look up Operation Keelhaul and then defend Mr, Eisenhower.

Conspiracy theories: David Rockefeller admitted that The JBS was right. He said that he is guilty and proud of his role in building a one world government. The mass media missed this one.

A collection of Robert Welch's writings are available on

ernie1241 said...

JBS Coordinator Hal Shurtleff recommends two books which are critical of Eisenhower.

Perhaps before we invest our time in them we should ask Hal to tell us what success the JBS had in convincing JBS members, JBS endorsers, JBS sympathizers, and friends of Robert Welch who totally rejected Welch's thesis about Eisenhower?

For example: Cong. Gordon H. Scherer of the House Committee on Un-American Activities was quoted as saying that if Welch made the charge that President Eisenhower was a Communist sympathizer, then it was “perfectly asinine and ridiculous.”

For example: Cong. Martin Dies testified that:

"Well, I certainly would say that a statement that any President of the United States was a conscious agent of a foreign power and serving the interest of that foreign power would be serving—what did you say?”

Q: “Un-American purposes”

Dies: “Yes, I would say it would be un-American in the sense that I do not believe that any man was ever President of the United States that would become the conscious agent and, of course I do not know that that statement was made.”

For example: Cong. John Rousselot who later became National Public Relations Director for the JBS told reporters that if Welch's views about Eisenhower were ever adopted by the JBS, he (Rousselot) would resign from the JBS.

Or perhaps Hal could tell us what success Welch and the JBS had with convincing the person whom they explicitly stated was our nation's most knowledgeable, authoritative, and reliable expert about the communist movement, J. Edgar Hoover?

Hoover testified that:

"I think the extreme right is just as much a danger to the freedom of this country as the extreme left. There are groups, organizations, and individuals on the extreme right who make these very violent statements, allegations that General Eisenhower was a Communist, disparaging references to the Chief Justice and at the other end of the spectrum you have these leftists who make wild statements charging almost anybody with being a Fascist or belonging to some of these so-called extreme right societies. Now, I have felt, and I have said publicly in speeches, that they are just as much a danger, at either end of the spectrum. They don't deal with facts. Anybody who will allege that General Eisenhower was a Communist agent, has something wrong with him.

A lot of people read such allegations because I get some of the weirdest letters wanting to know whether we have inquired to find out whether that is true. I have known General Eisenhower quite well myself and I have found him to be a sound, level-headed man."