The Roots of Right Wing Paranoia

The Roots of Right Wing Paranoia April 20, 2015

I have long wished there was an online archive of documents from the John Birch Society to search through (there is a big archive at Brown University, but it’s not online and requires permission to access on site). I found one that has some of the early documents and…wow. Here’s what JBS founder Robert Welch said at the first meeting of the national council on Jan. 9, 1960:

“From a careful and realistic study of the mountainous pile of evidence that is there for all to see, certain terrifying conclusions are objectively inescapable. Among them are:

(1) The Communists are winning their large victories, as they always have, through the cumulative effect of small gains;

(2) They make these gains chiefly through the conniving assistance of many of the very diplomats and officials who are supposed to be opposing them;

(3) Communist influences are now in almost complete working control of our government;

(4) And hence, the United States Government is today, as it has been for many years, the most important and powerful single force promoting the world-wide Communist advance.” A Confidential Report To Members Of The COUNCIL of The John Birch Society – minutes of 1/9/60 meeting held at Union League Club in Chicago IL, page 1-2; minutes signed by Robert Welch.]


“Today, gentlemen, I can assure you, without the slightest doubt in my own mind, that the takeover at the top is, for all practical purposes, virtually complete. Whether you like it or not, or whether you believe it or not, our Federal Government is already, literally in the hands of the Communists.” (Ibid, page 2)

“In our two states with the largest population, New York and California…already the two present Governors are almost certainly actual Communists…Our Congress now contains a number of men like Adam Clayton Powell of New York and Charles Porter of Oregon, who are certainly actual Communists, and plenty more who are sympathetic to Communist purposes for either ideological or opportunistic reasons.” (Ibid, page 7) (Note: the reference to Governors refers to Edmund G. Brown of California and Nelson Rockefeller of New York.)

“In the Senate, there are men like Stephen Young of Ohio, and Wayne Morse of Oregon, McNamara of Michigan, and Clifford Case of New Jersey and Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota and Estes Kefauver of Tennessee and John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts, whom it is utter folly to think of as just liberals. Every one of those men is either an actual Communist or so completely a Communist sympathizer or agent that it makes no practical difference…” (Ibid, page 8)

“Our Supreme Court, dominated by Earl Warren and Felix Frankfurter and Hugo Black, is so visibly pro-Communist that no argument is even needed…And our federal courts below that level…are in many cases just as bad.” (Ibid, page 8)

“Our State Department is loaded with Communists from top to bottom, to the extent that our roll call of Ambassadors almost sounds like a list somebody has put together to start a Communist front.” … [Ibid, page 8]

“It is estimated from many reliable sources that from 70% to 90% of the responsible personnel in the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare are Communists.”

“Our Central Intelligence Agency under Allen Dulles is nothing more or less than an agency to promote Communism throughout the world…Almost all the other Departments are loaded with Communists and Communist sympathizers. And this generalization most specifically does include our whole Defense Department.”

Gee, where do we see this kind of ridiculous, paranoid rhetoric today? On the far right, only today it’s Muslims who have allegedly taken over the government and are part of a grand conspiracy involving President Obama to help the terrorists win. This is one reason why I want access to more documents from the JBS, especially pamphlets and fliers, because I think they would read like they were written this week if you just changed the targets of the paranoia. In the 60s, it was the Chinese who were alleged to be massing on the Mexican border and coming to invade us; today it’s Muslim terrorists (and immigrants themselves, all of whom supposedly pose a mortal threat to America).

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