Racism and the John Birch Society
Written by Dennis Behreandt   
Thursday, 29 May 2008 10:50

The John Birch Society was falsely accused of racism and anti-Semitism by an Associated Press reporter, who offers no proof. The article appeared in 125+ news outlets over the 2008 Memorial Day weekend.

Associated PressIt is often suggested in the media that the John Birch Society harbors some elements of racism and anti-Semitism. That's a curious thing, particularly since the John Birch Society is always likewise noted as staunchly ultraconservative and anti-Communist.

A case in point comes from a recent Associated Press article by Shelia Byrd entitled "AP engages pastors, parishoners about racism in US." Midway through the article, discussing a church located in the Los Angeles suburb of San Marino, Byrd writes: "Before the 1960s, it was common for properties in San Marino to have a legal stipulation banning sales to blacks and Jews, and until 1989 the city was national headquarters to the ultraconservative, anti-communist John Birch Society."

Byrd and the Associated Press clearly want readers to take away one thought from this sentence: San Marino is a racist community, the anti-Communist John Birch Society had a headquarters (actually, it was just a regional office) there, therfore, the John Birch Society, like anti-communists generally, is racist.

There is more than one fallacy at work in this type of propagandistic construction. First, though two indicators, in a general sense, may be seen as rising in tandem, it is not necessarily the case that there is a causal relationship between the two. This is elementary logic. Consider the following syllogism as an example: Fish swim. Scuba divers swim. Ergo, scuba divers are fish.

Obviously, scuba divers are not fish, and anyone using such an argument to claim that they are is a fool. And yet, this is exactly the type of specious reasoning employed by Byrd in attempting to impute racism to the John Birch Society by leveling an ugly insult at the community in which the organization's headquarters were once located. By that standard, every resident and every business in that community is also racist, according to Byrd.

But the fallacious reasoning does not end there. Byrd implies that anti-communists are racists. On the contrary, anyone who knows anything about communism would know immediately that real anti-communists can never be racists.

Communism, like any other variant of socialism, is by its very nature collectivist. That means that communists, and communist theory, consider people at the level of the group. To a communist there are only groups of people like the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. But committed communists don't stop at those two classifications. The communist dialectic requires groups to pit against each other in order to form an ultimate synthesis. Thus, wherever communists are active, they seek to define victim groups and oppressors. These are arbitrary and are as often based on ethnicities and religions as on economics. In simple terms, communist rhetoric and theory is little more than an embrace of crude tribalism.

To be anti-communist, then, is to be opposed to the brute classification of individuals by group. Because racism is nothing more than an arbitrary classification of individuals, real anti-communists must invariably oppose racism. As such, the John Birch Society has always held that racism and anti-Semitism are not only morally repugnant, but are the tools used by communists to sow discord and rancor amongst the citizens of a nation.

Byrd and the Associated Press, it should be noted, also use the label "ultraconservative" in an attempt to discredit the John Birch Society. In the context of the United States of America, however, "ultraconservative" is not a pejorative. In fact, it should be viewed as a form of praise.

To be a conservative in any nation is to desire to respect and, if necessary, to conserve those institutions that have proven their worth over time. Consequently, the word "conservative" can mean many different things in different places. An ultraconservative in London might conceivably be a strong advocate of British imperial ambition and monarchical power. In Moscow during the Gorbachev era (and even today), a conservative will likely be a supporter of Soviet-style secular tyranny.

In the United States, however, a conservative is one who seeks to support and retain the traditional institutions of the U.S. government, including the rule of law under the Constitution, and the political doctrines of individual rights and freedom as espoused by the Founding Fathers.

In celebrating and upholding the latter, The John Birch Society, as the Associated Press notes, is both anti-communist and ultraconservative. As a natural consequence, the Society both opposes collectivism in all its forms, including racism and anti-Semitism, and strongly supports the doctrines of individual freedom that have made this nation the greatest on Earth. Anyone who doubts this can ask any of our members, speakers and writers, including those who are African American and Jewish.

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Author of this article: Dennis Behreandt

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