Via PaperwightTristero has a nice post on the John Birch Society. Maybe we don’t hear so much about them, he suggests, because their platform has become that of the modern Republican Party.

The John Birch Society arose in the late 50’s and rapidly grew to considerable prominence. (The Birch Society doesn’t get much attention these days, but the group is still around.) It is worth noting that the Birchers and Welch were thought to be so extreme that William F. Buckley himself denounced them in the pages of National Review. Among their goals were:

1. The abolition of the graduated income tax.
2. The repeal of social security legislation.
3. The impeachment of various high government officials,
4..The end to busing for the purpose of school integration.
5. The end to U.S. membership in the United Nations.

As you can see, these goals, which were, 40 years ago, the platform of an extremist group on the fringes of American politics, are the all but spoken platform of the Bush administration and the modern Republican party. We have seen numerous attempts to eliminate the income tax; Bush has proposed changes to Social Security that will send it down the road to extinction; Bill Clinton was impeached and Governor Gray Davis of California removed from office; the busing issue has morphed into an intense focus of the easier-to-frame affirmative action; and the Bush administration, on the issue of Iraq and in many other ways, great and small, has worked assiduously to bypass the United Nations and make the actions of the UN worthless.

For more on the Birchers and their impact on the Republican Party, read Before the Storm, by Rick Perlstein.

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