Skip to comments.'Radical, Far-Right, Extremists' of the John Birch Society Exonerated by History
Posted on 01/31/2013 2:58:06 AM PST by Reaganite Republican
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Birchers like Welch might have been right in general, but calling Eisenhower “a dedicated... agent of the communist conspiracy” or anyone who supported flouridated water a communist was nutzo. And it helped the left portray all conservatives as nutzo. Even W.F. Buckley and other big-name conservatives considered Welch a lunatic.
I`m too sleepy this morning, read this to fast. I thought it was from our HQ. I am a member of the Birch John Society. We are a group dedicated to the preservation of wooden toilet seats.
Defending groups like this, which history has pretty irrevocably labelled nutso is a no-win situation. First because you must begin by saying they were wrong, at least in certain circumstances. Butchers way overplayed the communism card, even if our descent into socialism bears them out. Environmentalists every day make far more insane claims than that water flouridation was inspired by communism, though I’m not sure they went so far as calling it a Russian conspiracy.
The one thing that really bugs me about McCarthy is how he made the case for George Marshall as an objective communist, if not a paid agent. And I don’t even particularly like Marshall. Butchers made a similar claim with Eisenhower, and it’s stuff like that which forever marginalizes them.
Opposing such overstatements is the long history of libs being wrong about everything, especially about stuff that mattered like tens of millions of people dying. But you won’t hear about it, except for a few of the more out there groups. Textbooks talk about fools like Walter Duranty not only without mentioning their lies and/or gross incompetent, but without properly identifying them as having any political bent whatsoever.
Meanwhile conservatism STILL gets associated with McCarthyism and Bircherism despite our movement very publicly repudiating them. And it’s supposed to be a bad thing despite both being quite a bit more right than various other trusted sources.
The attacks on the John Birch Society by the Wm F Buckley types always bugged me....because if you were truly conservative...you sure would not try to disavow the JBS
Of course, all the cheerleaders for Wm F Buckley (who was actually a NeoLiberal Globalist) sure have piped down as his son has shown the true Buckley family liberal colors
I agree on the Eisenhower part. That’s a silly way to argue against people in general. The flouridation thing is way overblown, though. Mass medication is socialistic, as is state control of the ware supply. Also, there aren’t really any benefits to it, so it’s pointless socialism.
Even if pretending it’s a communist plot, if that’s what they did, is bad politics, I do so hate it when one side steamrolls a debate by painting all opposition as nuts. Sometimes, very seldom, all opposition is nuts. But forced dozing through the water supply is not so common sense as it now seems.
The very fact that we remember the Bircher position on flouridation, seems to me, is evidence that there was an opposition to discredit. Otherwise they wouldn’t have bothered discrediting them.
Meanwhile conservatism STILL gets associated with McCarthyism and Bircherism despite our movement very publicly repudiating them. And its supposed to be a bad thing despite both being quite a bit more right than various other trusted sources.
I would rather be compared to McCarthy or John Birch than compared to Obama or Clinton
If you look at today’s “conservatives”, many of them share the same international views as Obama (especially Free Trade and Globalism), share the same views on Illegal Aliens (Rubio-Obama Amnesty), and supported Obama over those challenging his eligibility to be President.
Unfortunately, too many people who claim to be conservative think that conservatism is only Fox News, Sean Hannity, and Rush Limbaugh. I can still remember when many Democrats were more conservative than the FNC/Hannity/Limbaugh troika that passes as “conservative” today
That's the bottom line.
NO man says all the right things all the time, nor does all the right things all the time.
(Easy now, I'm a born again Chridtian .. these comments are from a man's point of view)
We'd do well to remember that we're fallible and that our views and opinions often change with varying circumstances during life ... while living it.
I was an idealistic hippy once.
You can’t visit the sins of the son upon the father, necessarily. Old Bill wouldn’t ever have voted Obama, methinks. I don’t know what you mean by “neoliberal,” exactly, whether it goes back to people like Bastiat, or maybe is some clever attempt at parodying “neocon.” By “globalist” I’m going to assume you mean free trader, and therefore unreconstructed Jeffersonianism it is.
It may amuse you to know libertarians repudiate him just as strongly. I’ve heard him accused of being a CIA mouthpiece. A funny book, “The Probability Broach,” posits an alternate timeline wherein the Whiskey Rebellion succeeded in overthrowing the constitutional government, and things end up much better. Hamiltonians get to be the Big Bads, but special mention goes to followers of, if I recall correctly, Buckley F. Williams and his followers, who want what the Hamiltonians want, only a little less.
He had some of those tendencies you might call “neoliberal,” such as opposition to the Drug War and shortly before his death opposition to the Iraq War (despite his magazine’s position). But I place him as more of a statist than myself.
Some are more fallible than others. It angers me that Duranty is in the history books as a first class journalist and Lord Keynes is considered the greatest economist of the twentieth century, but Birchers are crazy. Where’s the justice?
Then again, everyone still thinks Nero fiddled while Rome burned, Marie Antoinette said “Let them eat cake,” and FDR got us out of the Great Depression. Probably most of what I know is BS, too. Why would expect any kind of justice?
When we live in a time where the best defense the enemies of this Republic have is to commit such outrageous acts against our laws and Constitution that they read like "conspiracy theories", I am not so willing to label anyone a "nutcase" who believes our Liberty should be jealously guarded.
Odd that the same people who ignored Romney's far more recent liberal acts would reach back to Ike's administration for ammo against the JBS.
Read "The Polititian" - JBS tome on Eisenhower (still have an original printing) - didn't agree with most of the suppositions - but they were right on a lot of things.
WFB and Goldwater were not perfect Conservatives (by far) - everyone has "stuff" (log in own eye....).
If memory serves me, I believe that John Wayne was a member of the John Birch Society.
If The Duke believed in it, it had to be as American as apple pie.
I don’t repudiate McCarthy, because he was far more right than wrong (the Marshall smear being an exception) and actually did the country a great service. Because there were a lot of commies in the government, and he made them run for cover. Although I’m sure that most Birchers were patriotic Americans, prominent Birch leaders making absurd claims about Eisenhower and others made things worse.
I don’t know what a “perfect conservative” is supposed to be. Since the intellectual recrudescence of the postwar era, there have been three interlocking but independent tendancies fighting for turf in the conservative mind (in no particular order):
1). Libertarianism, best exemplified by books like “The Road to Serfdom”
2). Traditionalism, best exemplified by books like “The Conservative Mind” and “Natural Right and History”
3). Anticommunism, best exemplified by books like “Witness”
Birchers were way, way over on the anticommunist side. Buckley was more on the libertarian side when he was younger, and to my mind grew more traditionalist as time went by. Anticommunism is tricky, given that communism no longer dominates foreign policy. Some former anticommunists today think like neocons, others shrunk back into isolationism.
Free trade has always been a wedge issue. Obviously libertarians are all-in. We follow them when it’s the two of us contra socialism. However, some of us fear communist China most of all, and therefore anticomminism dictates protectionism.
Russell Kirk thought libertarians might as well be socialists for being utilitarians, and as such drummed them out of the movement in his head. Libertarians notice the fellow feeling of traditionalists and socialists in personalities like Henry Adams and Hillaire Belloc, or contemporary progressive Pubs like Juan, Mitt, and Newt. So the two can act like they are mutually exclusive.
Goldwater today sounds like a lib on a lot of issues. Reagan was both too far to the right and left, simultaneously, to win Pub nomination today.
It’s all very confusing.
It all depends upon who writes the history. The MSM has written the history of the conservative/progressive debate for the past 100 years.
So why aren’t we busy creating our own media system, instead of pelting the MSM with spitballs, which has absolutely no effect on them? All we ever do is react.
We cannot win that way.
Goldwater was a pioneer of true civil rights. He supported limited time and scope affirmative action in government but vehemently opposed forcing it on the private sector.
Looking at the world today its a little hard to deny that he was correct when government has increasingly heavy control of private business. After all, we now have government dictating that a photographer must photograph a gay wedding party despite his opposition to gay marriage.
I don’t repudiate him, either. It’s a losing effort, is all. Not that it should matter to a conservative, since we’re always losing. But I prefer to defend more worthwhile losers.
The story is out on our creeping socialism and the abominable history of communist infiltration of government and direction of policy in the twentieth century. Do we have to salvage Birchers and McCarthy too, specifically? I won’t waste much time trying.
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