Tuesday, December 22, 2009

CPAC and the John Birch Society

I just finished Ryan Mauro's essay, "CPAC: Consciously Providing Ammo to Critics." It's a repudiation of the John Birch Society's sponsorship of the 2010 meeting of the Conservative Political Action Committee, scheduled for February. This is the first I've heard of the JBS sponsorship. I'm from Orange County, and the group has long-standing ties to the area, a historic conservative stronghold. Mauro argues the CPAC's turning itself into a laughing stock, and he concludes:

CPAC has made a major PR mistake in forming this alliance with JBS. It won’t be long until the media puts all those taking part on the defensive, forcing the organizers to spend precious time explaining this move. From now on, when I hear the acronym “CPAC,” I won’t think “Conservative Political Action Conference.” I’ll think “Consciously Providing Ammo to Critics.”
The thing is, the only time people hear of the John Birch Society is when folks are dissing the right. I don't even think about JBS when going about my business everyday. The group is essentially meaningless to me, except as a historical footnote. Its anticommunism was considered over the top (especially the claim the Eisenhower was commie), but leftists say the same thing about the right-wing today, when conservatives defend aggressive anti-terrorism policies (think John Yoo). Indeed, if Rachel Maddow's going after the John Birch Society, along with Charles Johnson, I'm all the more inclined to give JBS the benefit of the doubt (and for proof of the point, check Gawker's piece, "The '60s Are Back! Birchers Sponsor Conservative Conference"). As it is, the administration's declared all tea partiers as right-wing terrorists. Leftists don't disaggregate conservatives -- right-wingers are "racist teabaggers" out to kill the next abortion doctor, Compared to that, I can handle a little overreaction to hyper-globalization on the right (what some call "one-worldism"). That's less worrisome than the demonic ideological terrorism of today's radical left. The Democrats in Washington, the liberal press, leftist talking heads, and radical bloggers are way more of a threat to society that a has-been conservative lobbying group trying to make a comeback:

See also, William Buckley, "Goldwater, the John Birch Society, and Me."


ernie1241 said...

All interested individuals should study why J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI described Birch Society founder Robert Welch and the John Birch Society in FBI memos as "extremist", "irrational", "irresponsible", "fanatics" and "lunatic fringe".

And then learn why giants within the conservative intellectual and political activist communities (such as Barry Goldwater, Russell Kirk, James Burnham, Frank Meyer, Ronald Reagan) rejected the JBS as inept, ignorant, and harmful.

If the JBS merely was offering unorthodox alternative public policy proposals, there would be no problem.

But my experience has been that 99% of readers are not familiar with the underlying premises of JBS ideology. For more than 50 years, the JBS has defamed and attacked the patriotism, character, integrity, and loyalty of virtually our entire national leadership -- and it refers to our national political leaders as "a conspiracy of gangsters".

The following report is based primarily upon first-time-released FBI files and documents on the JBS and its assertions.

Since the Birch Society has always effusively praised Hoover and the FBI as our nation's most knowledgeable, authoritative and reliable source of factual information on the communist movement as well as on what constitutes legitimate and effective anti-communist activities --Birchers now have the opportunity to compare their assertions and conclusions to the statements and evaluations made by the person (Hoover) and the institution (FBI) they have enthusiastically recommended for 5 decades.


FBI FILES on W. CLEON SKOUSEN (former FBI Special Agent who endorsed the JBS)

FBI FILES on DAN SMOOT (former FBI Special Agent who endorsed the JBS)

AmPowerBlog said...

Ernie: Where'd you come from? Who freakin' cares about the files? This "fringe" isn't even an ounce of the problem that we've got with the freakin' radical left. And did you even read anything I wrote here? Rachel Maddow et al. couldn't care less about J. Edgar. All they want is to stay in power, and if JBS demonization helps 'em do it all the better. Sheesh.

John said...

I'm pretty liberal in my political views, but I don't see what the big deal is about JBS sponsoring CPAC. Yes they had some crazy ideas in the past, but who cares? Out of all the awful things going on in the conservative movement, that is pretty unimportant. I'd rather see the media focus on the horrible things the conservatives are saying at CPAC than who the sponsors are.

Doug1943 said...

Surely the important issue is: does the JBS today retain the paranoid worldview that it had fifty years ago?

The conservative movement has, at least since the founding of National Review, had in its leadership people who began as Marxists. They learned from experience.

People can change. Has the JBS?

The JBS are, so far as I can see, paleo-conservatives in a formal sense, with an understanding (with which I agree)of the importance of having a disciplined committed organization in order to advance your political views.

However, I don't know if they have evolved from their origins, or not.

So let's hear from them.