The John Birch Society nearly changed the face of America during the 1964 Republican presidential race with their abominable brand of anti-semantic, racist, sexist and anti-government rage. Over a half a century later, the Birchers are back and stronger than ever thanks to the efforts of the Koch Brothers, the Tea Party, the rise of Alt-Right and of course, the shocking nomination of Donald Trump as the Republican candidate for President.
“The extremists feed on fear, hate and terror,” warned Governor Nelson Rockefeller at the 1964 Republican National Convention. Rockefeller was booed along the same lines that Ted Cruz was at the 2016 Convention. “There is no place in this Republican Party for those who would infiltrate its ranks, distort its aims, and convert it into a cloak of apparent respectability for a dangerous extremism. And make no mistake about it – the hidden members of the John Birch Society and others like them are out to do just that!”
This was over fifty years ago when the John Birch Society and KKK unsuccessfully tried taking over the White House with a Goldwater nomination.
While the Birchers stayed out of the mainstream for decades, their anger and paranoia stayed intact as they focused on “educating” their youth so one day they could try again.
Since its inception in 1958, the radical and extreme John Birch Society has been brainwashing its members and followers to not trust anyone but them and their many off-shoot organizations. The John Birch Society is the inspiration and original extreme right-wing organization in America which brought us the Tea Party, the Alt-Right, the Sovereign Citizen Movement, the Minutemen and others.
In a nutshell, the John Birch Society is by far the most radical anti-communist and anti-government organization on the planet. It was created by a few wealthy extremists who wish to preserve their interpretation of America by putting the fear of totalitarian slavery and misery into the hearts and minds of many illogical and unhappy American fools.
The John Birch Society, despite their rhetoric, is not a pro-American organization. They’re not all Republicans. They’ll tell you that there are commies and traitors in both major political parties. They are a radical anti-government cult who embody and embrace fear and hate to maintain their false sense of patriotism. Birchers know that they are right about everything and attack anyone who states the opposite.
None of America’s right-wing heroes such as Donald Trump, Alex Jones, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, David Duke, Sarah Palin, the Koch Brothers or Steve Bannon admit to being members of the John Birch Society, but each one of them echo the same bigotry, racism, sexism and antisemitism I’ve experienced first-hand for most of my life. I know this all to be true because I grew up in the John Birch Society where I learned fear, paranoia and hate as a way of life.
Growing up in the ‘80s, Dad always said we’d be lucky to survive another year before something would destroy America. He’s been saying this every year for as long I can remember and still does to this day.
Dad is no longer a kook and crazy old man. He’s now a mainstream Republican in the party of hate.
He’s been a chapter leader in the John Birch Society for decades and subjected me to a childhood of extremism and right-wing brainwashing. He’s now among millions of Americans these days who have forgotten what it means to be free, to be decent, and to let other Americans, who aren’t like them, enjoy the same freedoms they relish.
In 1985, I received my formal “training” at a John Birch Society summer camp located at the YMCA Campgrounds in Lake Wenatchee, WA. I would be one among hundreds of teenagers sent to your not-so-average summer camp to learn the secrets of the Grand Communist Conspiracy.
The week-long John Birch Society summer camp featured daily lectures about how rock and roll was going to make me love Satan, how the United Nations was created to take away our freedoms and ultimately destroy America with the “New World Order,” how the liberal media lies to us, how our high school teachers try to brainwash us and why civil rights is a lie, among plenty of other fringe topics. I was taught that Democrats, liberals, bankers, the government, celebrities and the media were all working together with the Illuminati to trick us into becoming communist slaves. Most importantly, however, I was taught that the John Birch Society was the only organization which could save America from the communist threat and preserve our freedoms. I was taught they were our only hope to make America great again. I didn’t believe everything I was told, but a lot of it I did.
If the John Birch Society said there were five hundred million Chinese soldiers hiding near the US/Mexico border getting ready to invade us, Dad would believe it and would be warning you about it, without any proof or evidence. If you didn’t believe him, he’d think you were an idiot.
The John Birch Society believes that the Illuminati are the forefathers of communism and that they work hand in hand with Satan in a conspiracy to eliminate America.
Birchers warn that we have little time left and if we don’t act soon to save America, all will be lost. They’ve been saying this with great panic and fear for over half a century now.
The leadership in the John Birch Society does this with constant brainwashing of their followers. They do this with scare tactics and a conspiracy philosophy that preaches to anyone who will listen to them that America will surely perish if you don’t join them in the fight now. They want you to invest in them with your money and time. They’ll “educate” you on whom to vote for and they’ll tell you to get your friends and family to do the same.
The John Birch Society is very much like a cult, except that it boasts a private and secret membership. They’re an organization with cells set up in each and every state. They have regular meetings in living rooms and town halls all over the country. They are now extremely active on the internet with social media and email alerts. They encourage home-schooling and provide their own curriculum so children can avoid the indoctrination of communism in public schools.
Birchers assert that the U.S. government is controlled by a group of Satan-loving internationalists, bankers, Jews and corrupt politicians who seek a “one-world socialist government.” They believe that this will come about, gradually, through the decline of Western Civilization, but mostly, they believe that secret traitors in the United States will tear up the Constitution and, one day soon, hand over our sovereignty to the United Nations. They believe that the United Nations was created for one reason and that was to eliminate the United States of America.
It was only a matter of time, Dad would constantly warn me, until America would cease to exist. The Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution would just be pieces of failed history. We’d all be slaves in a socialistic or Marxist state, or even worse, full-blown commies.
The Communist Manifesto would be our new bible and the United Nations’ Declaration of Interdependence would be our new constitution. Religion and gun ownership would be illegal. Freedom of speech wouldn’t exist. There would be no countries, no borders and no America.
To think that the UN only exists to enable the overthrow of America is ludicrous, foolish and, sadly, a very real story for millions of paranoid Americans including 2016 Republican Presidential candidate Ted Cruz. “What President Obama wants to do is, he’s run to the United Nations and wants to use the United Nations to bind the United States and take away our sovereignty.”
The John Birch Society said the same thing about President Kennedy just before he was assassinated in 1963.
The John Birch Society uses the illusion that we are all oppressed victims of evil (taxes, regulations, equality, immigration, foreign aid and gun control) and that our own government is out to control all aspects of our lives. Birchers see all of this as good versus evil, us versus them, right versus wrong, white versus black, freedom versus slavery, and ultimately, God versus the Devil.
I was taught that we were being persecuted for believing in the Constitution and for loving Jesus. Yet we had God and the Constitution on our side, and if we worked hard enough we would ultimately prevail in keeping America free. God loves America and our Constitution more than anything I was taught.
Birchers believe that the Civil Rights Movement and the efforts of Martin Luther King Jr. and others existed only to spread communism throughout America. They said the same thing about the ERA, the EPA and gay rights amongst many others. Welch even stated that President Eisenhower was a dedicated, conscious agent of the Communist Conspiracy.
Like 2016 Republican Presidential candidate Rand Paul, Birchers would like to eliminate the Departments of Education, Commerce, Energy and Housing along with Homeland Security, the IRS and the EPA among other agencies. “The greatest enemy of man is and always has been government. And the larger, the more extensive that government, the greater the enemy,” said Robert Welch, founder of the John Birch Society.
Birchers are no different than the young men being suckered in to join gangs. They feel helpless, lonely and angry. My dad fit this profile and sadly, even though he’s been a member for over forty years now, he stills feels helpless, lonely and angry. Yet, once anyone is accepted among others of similar negative projections, they immediately feel justification in an almost sociopathic narcissistic way. This is why people clap at Trump rallies.
The wealthy men who helped Welch create the John Birch Society also included an exceptionally rich man named Fred Koch. He is the father of the two sons who currently run Koch Industries and are involved in numerous extreme right-wing causes in America.
Like Welch, Koch was severely extreme in his fear mongering. “Maybe you don’t want to be controversial by getting mixed up in this anti-communist battle,” Koch said in a speech to a Women’s Republican Club in 1961. “But you won’t be very controversial lying in a ditch with a bullet in your brain.”
William F. Buckley, largely known as the godfather to America’s conservative movement for the past half century, has said the John Birch Society was “so far removed from common sense,” and dismissed the Society as dangerous to our Republic. He was so offended by Robert Welch and his John Birch Society that he ran a six-page editorial attacking them in his National Review in 1962, even though he knew it would alienate a lot of his readers and Birch members (including his own mother).
The FBI and J. Edgar Hoover described the Birch Society as “extremist,” “irrational,” “irresponsible,” “fanatic,” and “lunatic fringe.”
Prior to the 2008 presidential election, right-wing extremists and racists like my father
and Donald Trump were still in the closet for the most part. That presidential election revealed a lot about America when extremism began making the gradual shift to mainstream and their cause gained a serious amount of traction. The extreme right was still kooky and a minority-fringe of the Republican Party until a black man became president.
The strength that the Ron Paul movement gained along with the support he received from the KKK, the John Birch Society, the Tea Party, militia groups and others signaled that our country was very much in trouble and a new civil war was brewing. People were told that they should be angry because they were getting screwed by the government and of course they all believe this.
“From the start, Donald Trump has built his campaign on prejudice and paranoia. He is taking hate groups mainstream and helping a radical fringe take over the Republican Party. His disregard for the values that make our country great is profoundly dangerous,” said Hillary Clinton in a speech in August, 2016 sounding very much like a certain Republican from 1964.
Birchers adored Joseph McCarthy, George Wallace, Barry Goldwater, Ron Paul and now they’re embracing and loving Donald Trump’s enormous ego, his raging entitlement issues and the fact that he’s a greedy white man filled with hate. The Birch Society has found one of their own in Donald Trump.
JG Daniel is the author of “Hate or Be Hated: How I Survived Right-Wing Extremism.”