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View Diary: Top Comments: The John Birch Society Edition (170 comments)

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  •  Before Pat Robertson, it was Vernon Grounds (1+ / 0-)
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    Dave in Northridge

    a founder of a Conservative Baptist movement that one of the first to promote political activism by the church. His teachings began in 1950, eight years before the JBS was effectively organized. This got a lot of pushback initially, so the movement eventually split from the mainstream Baptist organizations.

    Michael Lind isn't wrong because the JBS did promote these ideas among various conservative religious leaders, Pat Robertson, Oral Roberts, and others. But that was in the 60's and later.

    It's just that the early far right conservative movements were already promoting political activism and those ideas were picked up as part of the JBS strategy.

    It's Vernon Grounds' movement at the Denver Seminary that influenced the Coors family, original funders of the Heritage Foundation. Paul Weyrich met the Coors through Vernon Grounds and his seminarians. Even Gov. Scott Walker's father, Llewellyn, is a former student of Grounds. I won't elaborate. Bad words would be written here.

    John Birch was, first and foremost, a Fundamentalist Baptist missionary. He attended the Fundamental Baptist Bible Institute in Texas where friends of Vernon Grounds were teaching at the time. In 1940, Birch was a missionary in China. After Pearl Harbor, Birch retreated to Eastern China and continued his missionary activities.

    Amazingly, Jimmy Doolittle's successful bombing of Tokyo resulted in several bombers making emergency landings near Birch's mission. Birch came to the rescue and led the flyers to safety. He became an instant hero. He accepted a commission and joined the US military. He was one of the early OSS (CIA) spies. In 1945, his holier-than-thou brazen arrogance got him shot and killed by the Chinese Communists. He stupidly refused to surrender when captured.

    John Birch was the ideal martyr that fit the JBS founders' anti-communist heroic Bible-thumping arrogant asshole conspiracy theorist ideology.

    It was Paul Weyrich (and many supporters and wealthy donors) who formulated and executed the big tent strategy of the right wing we see today. Weyrich was a right wing talk radio and TV fear-mongerer more than a decade before Rush Limbaugh started spewing his nonsense.

    I'm fascinated by how all this crap came to be. It isn't just because I was born and grew up in Wisconsin and have even met some of these right wing gasbags. No, not just that.

    "Never wrestle with a pig: you get dirty and the pig enjoys it"

    by GrumpyOldGeek on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 01:19:44 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Paul Weyrich recognized "Bircher Madness" (2+ / 0-)

      as the tag that kept Far Right ideas from gaining ground.

      Welch had bottomless amounts of Koch money to spend. But Welch was crazy, possibly legally insane. John Birch Society had big help from Southern Baptist Convention, LDS, and conservative Catholics. But Welch was a rant-and-rave mad man.

      By 1972, Paul was able to convince Adolph Coors and others that a new approach was needed. Lewis Powell had written up a conceptual plan -- the Powell Memo -- that resulted in Heritage and another twenty 'think tank" operations.

      Bircher Madness.

      They don't have Paul Weyrich any more. They do have a system for camouflaging their positions, their voting records particularly, and they rarely sound off as to how Samuel Alito is their favorite Associate Justice on SCOTUS.

      They still have bottomless billionaire money. And there's more paranoid billionaires these days, apparently. Getting to 150 seats, the Bircher Republicans are a major party.

      "We have done nothing to be ashamed of. We have nothing to apologize for." NRA 12/14/2012

      by bontemps2012 on Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 05:35:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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