JULY 2018

JULY 2018
One Hundred Years Later, Same Message. 1916 - 2017


Wednesday, December 02, 2009


I would not have gotten along with John Birch. Probably, whatever your politics, neither would you have. One of his college professors described Birch as “a one-way valve; everything coming out and no room to take anything in”. Honestly I think the odds were pretty good that eventually somebody somewhere was going to shoot him for shooting his mouth off at the wrong time. Politics had nothing to do with it. It just so happened that the bull finally met his china shop on a road in northern China, and that the hot head that pulled the trigger happened to have been a communist. It was just as likely the shooter would have been his next door neighbor.

“Oh, we're meetin' at the courthouse at eight o'clock tonight. You just walk in the door and take the first turn to the right. Be careful when you get there, we hate to be bereft. But we're taking down the names of everybody turning left. Oh, we're the John Birch Society, the John Birch Society. Here to save our country from a communistic plot. Join the John Birch Society, help us fill the ranks. To get this movement started we need lots of tools and cranks.” (lyrics and music by Michael Brown) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pG6taS9R1KM

His commanding officer in the forerunner of the CIA, Major Gustav Krause, described the situation rather simply; “Militarily, John Birch brought about his own death.” Birch was a life long missionary on a military mission on August 25, 1945, when he ran into a patrol of Mao’s Red Army. The commander asked Birch to hand over his revolver, and, surrounded by nervous soldiers, Birch decided to argue about it. Eventually, embarrassed and frustrated, the officer shot him. The other members of Birch’s group were held for a few hours and then released unharmed. But the missed opportunity for the application of simple common sense did nothing to stop candy-king Robert Welch from building an elaborate conspiracy theory around Birch’s death; a virtual black hole of paranoia and invective that eventually sucked into it everything Welch came in contact with, including the Republican Party, the Republican President and former five star general and war hero Dwight David Eisenhower –whom Welch accused of being a “conscious, dedicated agent of the Communist Conspiracy” - tooth decay and, believe it or not, the state of Alaska.

I’m not kidding about the Alaska thing. Conservative deity William F. Buckley even mentioned it in a column posthumously published in March of 2008, entitled “Goldwater, the John Birch Society, and Me.” In discussing how to distance conservatism from Welch, Buckley made a joke, which he explained this way; “The wisecrack traced to Robert Welch’s expressed conviction...that the state of Alaska was being prepared to house anyone who doubted his doctrine that fluoridated water was a Communist-backed plot to weaken the minds of the American public.” I like to think of Alaska as the new Texas, that way.

There is a celebration of insanity that stains the American psyche, from the anti-French and anti-Irish ‘Alien and Sedition Acts’ of 1798, through the “Order of United Americans”, the “Know Nothing Party”, the Immigration Restriction League, the anarchists scare, the “Yellow Peril”, the imaginary Pearl Harbor betrayal plots, the Black helicopters hiding in our national parks, the militia movement and the mythical bombs planted in the twin towers. Well, the John Birch Society cemented all that lunacy together on a firm foundation of anti-Semitism. And this legacy of lunacy and head up your exclusion duct paranoia officially began in Indianapolis on December 9, 1958.

Welch organized and financed the meeting. He had made his fortune by inventing “Sugar Babies”, “Junior Mints” and “Pom Poms”. And that wealth gave him the authority to lecture to 12 true believers for two days straight. Welch spewed out such gems of wisdom as, “When Woodrow Wilson, cajoled and guided even then by the collectivists of Europe, took us into the first World War, while solemnly swearing that he would never do so, he did much more than end America's great period of happy and wholesome independence of Europe. He put his healthy young country in the same house, and for a while in the same bed, with this parent who was already yielding to the collectivist cancer. We never got out of that house again. We were once more put back even in the same bed by Franklin D. Roosevelt, also while lying in his teeth about his intentions, and we have never been able to get out of that bed since.” In fact there is disturbing repetition of bed (and parent) analogies throughout Welch’s ideology, whether the commies are in the bed or under the bed, alone in the bed or sharing the bed, there are a lot of beds. And cancer - he refers to cancer a lot.

Warned, Mr Welch, “…both the U.S. and Soviet governments are controlled by the same furtive conspiratorial cabal of internationalists, greedy bankers, and corrupt politicians. If left unexposed, the traitors inside the U.S. government would betray the country's sovereignty to the United Nations for a collectivist New World Order, managed by a 'one-world socialist government.'” Did I mention that the JBS was anti-Semitic? Ayn Rand, no Semitic lover herself, complained, “What is wrong with them (the JBS) is that they don't seem to have any specific, clearly defined political philosophy.” She might have been talking about the Tea Baggers, who, in fact, have been encouraged by the JBS. In fact, ideologically, the John Birch Society was (and is) a sort of thinking man’s Klu Klux Klan, where the KKK remains a sort of the thinking bigots version of the “Tea Baggers”.

In 1966 the New York Times described the JBS as “…the most successful and 'respectable' radical right organization in the country”, which, if you think about it, is the equivalent of being named Miss Congeniality in a mental institution; she even brings smiles to the faces of the invisible people. Robert Welch died in 1985. He left most of his still accumulating fortune to the JBS, which continues to produce cadres of indoctrinated Johnny Apple Seeds, planting fear in every dark nook and cranny where it might take root – sort of like tooth decay.

But the thing about Johnny was that the all the apples which grew from his seeds were sour. Edible apples are possible only through a knowledge of grafting – which puts a whole different light on the apple in the Garden Eden, doesn’t it?

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