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Opinion | Pundits continue to spread misinformation about John Birch Society

“The fact, for anyone interested in true information, is that JBS is and always has been inclusive.”

The logo of the John Birch Society.

On March 2, the Alabama Political Reporter published an impassioned column by its investigative journalist Josh Moon titled, “The revival of John Birch in the Alabama GOP.” Mr. Moon pulled no punches as to what he thinks about Alabama Republicans and, apparently, the JBS.  

Moon wrote that in 2016 America essentially put a JBS member in the White House, “and Bircherism was rebranded Trumpism. The hate, racism, bigotry and greed were all the same. … And, finally, Alabama Republicans heard someone singing their song again.” 

Moon’s thoughts are sad for multiple reasons. Among them is his casual characterization of so many people—all Alabama Republicans —as something as serious as racist. This careless, incessant labeling of those on one particular side of the political spectrum has become very trendy, mitigating the seriousness of such an allegation. By Moon’s calculation, Alabama Republicans are racist because they support Trump, who magically became a racist after becoming president. (Isn’t it amazing we never heard he was racist before, despite his pre-presidential ultra-high profile?) 

Moon, the investigative journalist, calls the John Birch Society of the 1950s and 60s “an extremist, rightwing group that was known for its ultra-conservative, overtly racist views.” The irony is that one of the very flaws he attributes to Alabama Republicans –they believe misinformation—is the very thing he is guilty of.   

After reading his opinion, I asked Mr. Moon if he knew that the John Birch Society was integrated and even had all black chapters before the 1964 Civil Rights Act became law. I asked him if he knew that our founder, Robert Welch, openly promoted and supported an end to segregation. For support, I provided a link to a letter (A Letter to the South on Segregation–Robert Welch) written by Welch as well as one to an investigative report (Full text of “Report of the Senate Fact-Finding Subcommittee on Un-American Activities”) by a California Senate fact-finding subcommittee. The report also concluded we weren’t racist or anti-Semitic. His answer in part indicated he probably didn’t read the report. “While it’s true that JBS has gone out of its way to defend itself against allegations of racism — and point to its history of saying it allows minorities into its group,” he replied, “its history of actions and public support of causes and candidates that divide on race and stoke anger and fear by using racist stereotypes tell a much different story.” 

We aren’t just saying we are inclusive. It’s been collaborated by third-party investigators. The fact, for anyone interested in true information, is that JBS is and always has been inclusive. The simple evidence of our members, our speakers and our employees also attest to the easily verifiable fact.  

Our only member criteria is good character. We reserve the right to cancel anyone’s membership because we want to incur no legal barriers to ousting troublesome members. Sure, for as long as we’ve been around, we’ve had a relatively small number of racists join our organization, as they have others, including the Democratic Party. But when we learn that a member has racist views, we oust them from membership and keep such people out.  

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The media has been perpetuating lies about the JBS since the first hit piece came out against us in 1961, interestingly from “People’s World,” the newspaper of the Communist Party USA. The good news is that millions of people now realize pundits and reporters often lie; they do so wittingly, or they justify their assertions with faux reasons. 

The JBS is intentionally and fundamentally egalitarian in outlook. We strongly support the importance of the individual over the group, recognizing that rights and responsibilities are individual and personal and have absolutely nothing to do with irrelevant and unimportant physical characteristics. We reject all forms of collectivism, including identity politics, as dehumanizing of the individual and as dangerously divisive. We firmly believe in the natural rights of every person to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and that these rights cannot be modified or abridged for any reason whatsoever. People of all colors and ethnicities join the JBS because that’s what we believe.  

Furthermore, they join because JBS is the most effective way to fight statism and perpetuate freedom.  

Lastly, we are not ashamed to admit that we see socialism and communism as a legitimate threat. As long as the punditry class continues to attribute Americans’ concern for tyranny to unfounded paranoia and “misinformation,” they will continue to rattle out frustrated, emotional diatribes evidence of their faulty perception of their surroundings. 

Any reasonable person who’s read the “Communist Manifesto” can see the parallels between its contents and America’s frightening trajectory. Also, freedom-cherishing people who experienced 2020 saw in real time that we aren’t immune to aspiring tyrants. Free societies do not put law-abiding citizens on house arrest, shutter our businesses, or prevent us from worshipping freely—for any reason. Freedom-cherishing elected leaders do not condone mass chaos while demonizing those who protest peacefully. Free societies do not cancel books. They do not silence ideas—or an elected president. They don’t stifle public conversation about highly complicated matters such as new diseases and vaccines for new diseases. And free societies certainly don’t erase their history. These are exact actions openly communist countries are perpetuating today.  

And it’s what’s begun happening in the United States.  

We live in an America that is fast plunging into the abyss of tyranny. And the John Birch Society welcomes all people of good character who see the obvious and want to organize against these very real threats and work for freedom for all Americans.

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