Daily Archives: January 19, 2010

A Bad Decision by the American Conservative Union: The John Birch Society Co-Sponsors CPAC by Gregory Hilton

The annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) is one of the nations most prominent right wing gatherings. The event is organized by the American Conservative Union (ACU) and the three day CPAC conference begins on February 18th. For the first time in CPAC history the John Birch Society (JBS) has become a co-sponsor.
In my view the inclusion of this extremist group tarnishes the entire event. The keynote speaker is radio host Glenn Beck, and the conference will also hear addresses from Senators Jim DeMint (R-SC), Tom Coburn (R-OK), John Barasso (R-WY), Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA).
The annual presidential straw poll has been won by Romney for the past three years, and always receives prominent media coverage. My fear is that the news media spotlight will on the JBS role which will district from the positive CPAC atmosphere.
I can not understand what motivated the American Conservative Union to reach out to the JBS. Last year there was a very strong libertarian presence at CPAC. Many of these libertarians were very vocal about their opposition to America’s role in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was strange to hear this anti-war rhetoric at a conservative conference. It was similar to having CPAC co-sponsored by Code Pink.
This week JBS is attacking former Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) because she is an “internationalist rather than a constitutionalist.” They go on to say, “The real question is whether or not Sarah Palin really represents grassroots conservative America or if she is a creature of the ‘establishment.’
“On this point, certain questions present themselves. For one, why would a Council on Foreign Relations-run McCain campaign pick Palin to begin with? And why would Palin, if she is anti-establishment, run on McCain’s establishment ticket?” They also say Palin’s “support for our troops” shows how she has “entered unconstitutional waters.”
In preparing for his 1964 presidential campaign, the late Senator Barry Goldwater (R-AZ) thought it was essential to excommunicate the John Birch Society from the conservative movement. In discussing the JBS, Goldwater said “We cannot allow the emblem of irresponsibility to attach to the conservative banner.” Now ACU wants to attach the JBS and to bring them to the head table.
The JBS was established in 1958 and reached its peak in 1965 with 60,000 members. The founder was candy maker Robert Welch and his brother’s company is best known for the “Sugar Daddy.” Welch often spoke of the dangers of fluoridated water which he claimed was a Communist-backed plot to weaken the minds of the American public.
The organization was long headquartered in the birthplace of Joe McCarthy, Appleton, Wisconsin. For the past five decades they have attacked and defamed practically every major political figure in the United States.
In his book “The Politician,” Welch said President Dwight Eisenhower was “a dedicated and conscious agent of the international communist conspiracy,” and the U.S. government was “under operational control of the Communist party.” He later amended this statement to say Communists only had “50-70 percent” control of the government.
The JBS does not denounce its late founder and continues to promote his strange speeches which are now on Youtube. Among the few national candidates the JBS admires are isolationists Pat Buchanan and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX). The Texas lawmaker refused to endorse John McCain in 2008 but he readily endorses the John Birch Society as a “a great patriotic organization.” He was the keynote speaker at their 50th anniversary celebration.
JBS is often described as a radical right wing group, but in foreign policy many of their “anti-war” positions are readily embraced by the extreme left of the Democratic Party. The Society believes “just four years from now. . . the United States may cease to exist as an independent political entity” because of the North American Union and the Council on Foreign Relations. The North American Union does not exist and never has, and the Council is a think tank which has never taken a position on any issue.
The JBS says it number one selling DVD, “9/11 Press For Truth,” presents “some of the most glaring discrepancies, lies, and cover-ups concerning the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil.” The DVD says Israel and President Bush had advance knowledge of the attack and building 7 at the World Trade Center was actually destroyed by dynamite. They claim the Bush Administration allowed Osama bin Laden to escape.
The below link is to an FBI report on the JBS which has now been made public. The report explains why the late FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and his top subordinates routinely described them as “irrational”, “extremist”, “irresponsible”, “fanatics” and “lunatic fringe”.
Many officials of the White Citizens Councils were prominent JBS members — including Medford Evans. According to the FBI document, the JBS routinely circulated falsehoods about numerous people, organizations, and issues. The JBS and its surrogates have been sued for libel and lost. A common theme in JBS articles and seminars is that there is a secret conspiracy to establish a one world government.
They promote many books and DVD’s on this theme which dates back to their founding. They believe the United States is being manipulated by a small group of bankers and investors. There is no evidence to support their claim so they point to organizations such as the Council on Foreign Relations and the Bilderberg Group, an annual conference of 130 people in the Netherlands. No resolutions are proposed, no votes are taken, and no policy statements are issued.
These organizations are not promoting a one world government and they have no desire to infringe on the sovereignty of the United States. They have been attacked for decades by the JBS because of the participation of prominent people.
The best selling JBS book is “The Invisible Government” by Dan Smoot. It claims World War II was staged by international bankers. They say the same thing about every subsequent military conflict. For example, the September 16, 1996 issue of the “New American” says: “Not only was the Gulf War undeclared, unconstitutional, and unwarranted, but there are many indications that it was as phonily fomented as its predecessors.”
The JBS believes affluent individuals of various political beliefs are secretly working together, and their goal is make American citizens into slaves. In their view this is all part of a massive conspiracy to defraud the American people of their economic well being and freedom. They say the UN is part of this conspiracy to “overthrow” the U.S. Constitution. Another JBS claim is that the Christian faith is a primary target of this imaginary conspiracy.
The JBS was cast out of the conservative movement in 1963 when a 5,000 word essay by William F. Buckley, Jr., received prominent attention. Buckley’s warning remains valid today: “How can the John Birch Society be an effective political instrument while it is led by a man whose views on current affairs are, at so many critical points . . . so far removed from common sense?”
PHOTO CAPTIONS: The John Birch Society will be joining Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) and participating in “Conservatives Against War” events at next months CPAC conference. The JBS was exiled by the right wing for four decades, but now the American Conservative Union has decided to welcome them back. It is very bad decision.
(2) The John Birch Society believed President Kennedy was guilty of treason because among other things he sent troops to Alabama to desegregate schools.