The John Birch Society was originally founded in 1958 as an anti-Communist organization, named after a Baptist missionary who was killed in China by communists. Since its founding, the society has drifted further and further into the extreme right of American politics. During the upheavals of the '60s and '70s, the Birchers were the front line of pro-Vietnam War and anti-New Left action. Following the fall of Communism in the former Soviet Union, they have, one might say, lost a bit of their focus, and drifted, more or less by default, further and further into the position of standard conspiracies-behind-every-bush paranoia which they helped to invent, and which most American political extremists seem to drift to given enough time (c.f. the putatively Democratic but otherwise indistinguishable Lyndon LaRouche).

Historically the Birchers' favorite tactic has been to accuse any political figure they dissaprove of of being a Commie plant, though with the declining shock value and impact of that accusation, their new favorite accusation is of being a creeping One-Worlder, or a sinister Insider. They tend to spread their venom equally, at least, and are at least as critical of every Republican presidential nominee since World War II (except possibly Barry Goldwater) as their Democratic counterparts.

Some (admittedly context-less) quotes from one of the John Birch Society websites (www.thenewamerican.com)

  • "Under General Pinochet’s leadership, an incipient Communist dictatorship in Chile was stopped cold. Rather than suffer excoriation at the hands of the media, this man should be honored as a hero."
  • "The urge to destroy and defile Western culture represents the true spirit of Kwanzaa."
  • "Joe McCarthy was a brave and honest man. There was nothing cynical or devious about him. He said and did things for only one reason - he thought they were the right things to say and do."

I recently went to the Iowa State Fair, and one of the exhibition booths I saw was for the John Birch Society. I had heard of them, thought couldn't exactly recall what I had heard about them, and was curious enough to go talk to the people manning the booth as well as pick up some literature.

Along with the pamplets available for free, there were several books for sale, most of which seemed to be against the United Nations, and other world bodies. While I do have some problems with organizations such as the UN and the WTO, some of this material was just plain rabid.

Some of this literature was also from TRIM. Here's the description of TRIM given in the subscription information on the Summer 2001 TRIM Bulletin for the 4th Congressional district of Iowa:

TRIM is a nonpartisan network of educational committees and individuals, organized by The John Birch Society to bring about lower taxes through less government. If you're fed up with high taxes and big government, join our crusade!

I have to say they do bring up some pretty interesting and substancial issues. The John Birch Society's literature seems to press for less goverment (or limited government) and more personal responsibility, which I certainly support.

However, with all the good issues that the John Birch Society addresses, they unfortunatly add the trimmings (no pun intended) of an extremely right-wing organization. They heavily promote the "morals" of "Judeo-Christian heritage", or more accuratly, religion, usually supporting the positions of the more restrictive and conservative denominations and sects of the two religions. This is why I could never support them because, especially in light of some of the statments made in their literature, including these paragraphs in a Summer 2001 Trim bulletin for the 4th congressional district of Iowa:

"Global warming" is another fear campaign based on bogus science. If America is snookered into signing the Kyoto Treaty (which requires major cutbacks by U.S. inductry), we'll wind up paying 50% more for gasoline and 80% more for electricity.

Many of the most vocal greenies are pagan nature worshipers, hateful toward all things human. Let's send this Chicken Little gang packing and put America back on the road toward energy independence. Let your rep know where you stand on unchaining the free market to meet America's energy needs.

The TRIM Bulletin quoted above is (as of this writing) avaliable online at http://www.trimonline.org/bulletin/summer_2001/iowa/ia_04.htm

I don't think Global Warming is a farce. One of the people at the state fair booth told me that volcanic eruptions spew far more "pollution" into the air then all of our industries and automobiles. However, I have to imagine that the composition of the gasses, ashes, and other material belched out by volcanoes are much different than those emitted by the combustion of coal, gasoline, diesel fuel, and the like.

As for Pagans being "hateful towards all things human," I know better. Some pagans I know act more Christ-like toward other people than a lot of Christians.

But don't take my word for it: Take a look at http://www.trimonline.org/ as well as http://www.jbs.org/, and make up your own mind.

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.