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US Capital by From Clicker with permission
US Capital by From Clicker with permission
Ever since billionaires like the Koch Brothers began funding fake grassroots movements under the Tea Party banner we've heard a lot of talk about "Freedom" and "Liberty." Ron Paul almost always finds a way to decorate his vision of a libertarian paradise in the rhetoric of liberty and freedom. Many of the angry faces we've seen at Tea Party events weave their idea of "taking our country back" as a vision to "restore" liberty and freedom from those (Communists and evil Kenyan Socialists) who've kidnapped our nation.
It's a clever word game that fools many Americans. The first deception is to define liberty and freedom in ways that fit the kind of government they want, but bear no relation to what the Forefathers actually created.
The second deception is the idea that the far-right's "liberty groupies" want a nation where the idea of one-person, one-vote is a sacred principle and majority rule regardless of the outcome is respected. The belief that these people favor this notion is another giant hoax.
While the Tea Party is a phenomenon of the last few years the far right, backed by conservative wealthy businessmen as far back as the 1950s, began an effort to push back against Roosevelt's New Deal. They hated FDR's support of Labor's right to organize and negotiate fair treatment with employers. They opposed minimum wage laws, child labor laws, the income tax, and virtually any tax on corporate income. They fought New Deal programs to pull the nation out of depression. Many fought the civil rights movement and actively campaigned to block the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Much of their opposition to these things was masked in the rhetoric of anti-communism.
Joe McCarthy's demagogic technique of branding political opponents as communists without any proof, helped the far right advance the idea that communism was a real domestic threat, and that campaigns for civil rights, stronger laws to protect workers, and similar "progressive" efforts, were really part of a "communist conspiracy" to bring socialism and then communism to American shores and create a Soviet-like police state.
Enter the John Birch Society, established in 1959 and founded by candy company executive Robert H. W. Welch. Welch was most notable as the right-wing figure who branded President Dwight D. Eisenhower as a possible "conscious dedicated agent of the Communist Conspiracy." This language combined with the fact that Welch criticized politicians like Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan as being too liberal, gives you a sense of Welch's extreme views.
In starting the Birch Society Welch set forth in what became known as the "Blue Book of the John Birch Society" his ideas about the goals of the Society, the organizational structure it would embrace, and the tactics it would employ. One of the basic "operational rules" of the Society is that monthly chapter meetings are led by a "Chapter Leader" who follows the agenda set forth in the monthly (at least it was monthly back in the day...) Bulletin of the Society. Welch's Blue Book was quite explicit in stating that the goals of the Society in saving the nation from communism were far too serious to permit the use of Robert's Rules on any other form of parliamentary procedure. It was his belief that you joined because you believed in him and any form of the democratic process was only an opening that Commies and their sympathizers would exploit to disrupt a meeting and infiltrate the organization.
Consider the following language extracted exactly without out editing from Welch's Blue Book:
"Those members who cease to feel the necessary degree of loyalty can either resign or will be put out before they build up any splintering following of their own inside the Society. As I have said, we mean business every step of the way. We can allow for differences of opinion. We shall need and welcome advice. And we expect to use the normal measure of diplomacy always called for in dealing with human beings. But whenever differences of opinion become translated into a lack of loyal support, we shall have short cuts for eliminating both without going through any congress of so-called democratic processes."
My point in all this is to make clear that the kinds of people who support the Birch Society then and now, which are largely the same folks electing Tea Party radicals to Congress today, have no use for freedom and liberty when it doesn't suit their purpose.
I noted in an earlier article that the GOP's attack that
President Obama and the Democrats won't negotiate is just
another verbal scam. The fact there is nothing to negotiate
in terms of opening the government. The first rule the police
use when dealing with hostage takers is to insist that the hostages
be released "and then we'll talk." The current GOP strategy
is to hold the government hostage buy refusing to fund the
Affordable Care Act until the President agrees to nullify this
valid law he and the Democrats fought hard to adopt and the Supreme
Court had determined to be Constitutional.
Where were these Members of Congress when Republican Governors like Scott Walker, John Kasich, Rick Snyder were repealing virtually every negotiating right their state government workers had earned over the years?
The bottom line is clear. The current Republican leadership in the House and Senate have no desire to negotiate with anyone, much less the President Obama or the Democrats in Congress. They seek to impose their will through gerrymandered districts (a uniquely American form of Apartheid), abuse of longstanding rules and understandings, and the sheer power of being backed by an eager cadre of millionaires who seek a one-party state with them in control. Their idea of freedom and liberty and the rhetoric they so frequently use to hide their real agenda, is one huge hoax the American people need to understand.
If you have an interest in learning more about the Birch Society and how the radical right got where it is today I suggest the book Wrapped in the Flag: A Personal History of America's Radical Right