John Birch Society

  • The John Birch Society's North Texas Renaissance

    The ideas and conspiratorial mindset central to Bircherism have become part of mainstream conservatism, with booming popularity in the Dallas-Fort Worth suburbs. Historian Edward H. Miller explains the group's ideas have been more tenacious than the organization itself. 

  • Ultras: The Rise of America's Far Right (Review)

    by Kim Phillips-Fein

    Kim Phillips-Fein reviews John Huntington's "Far-Right Vanguard," calling his history of the far right a needed reminder of the porousness of boundaries between the right-wing fringe and mainstream conservatism in the 20th century. 

  • We All Live in the John Birch Society's World Now

    Edward Miller's new book presents the case that the John Birch Society was not a retrograde reactionary force but the vanguard of modern conservative culture war politics. 

  • The John Birch Society Never Left

    by Rick Perlstein and Edward H. Miller

    Journalists are calling for the Republicans to follow the lead of William F. Buckley and stand up to far-right extremists in their ranks. The problem is that neither Buckley nor the GOP of the 1960s did any such thing, instead perfecting the technique of speaking to two audiences. 

  • Marjorie Taylor Greene Knows Exactly What She's Doing

    by Jamelle Bouie

    Historians Lisa McGirr, Sara Diamond, and Daniel Schlozman and Sam Rosenfeld argue that the Republican Party has always had to keep a porous border between itself and the hard right groups who led its activist base since the Goldwater years. The borders today seem to be dissolving.

  • How the GOP Surrendered to Extremism

    by Ronald Brownstein

    Historian Matthew Dallek says that the prominence of conspiracy theorists and the far right in the Republican Party's base means that there will be no move to push extremists out like there was after Barry Goldwater's 1964 candidacy. 

  • The overestimation of the John Birch Society

    by Steven F. Hayward

    "Liberals loved the John Birch Society—almost as much as Moscow must have loved it. Liberals secretly enjoy being terrified of right-wing-extremist threats."

  • America’s fluoride wars

    “A few things remain constant in America – death, taxes, baseball and, since the 1950s, widespread, often successful efforts by a passionate minority to keep fluoride out of drinking water,” Donald R. McNeil wrote in Wilson Quarterly. McNeil has written one of the more complete histories of the fluoridation wars that I was able to find. It starts on Jan. 26, 1945 when the city of Grand Rapids, Mich. became the first city to fluoridate its water supply. It was meant to be a public health experiment, to test whether fluoridation could protect against tooth decay, especially among younger children.It would take decades to have any results and, therefore, ”the pioneers of fluoridation were generally a cautious lot,” McNeil writes, noting that they thought “that communities should at first fluoridate only on a test-batch basis.”...

  • The Tea Party Isn't Conservative

    by Christopher S. Parker

    Credit: Wiki Commons.Who, or what, is the Tea Party? Its leaders claim to be conservative, yet the regularity with which the movement and its supporters stray from traditional American conservatism is, frankly, shocking.This claim isn’t based on wild presumption or anecdotal evidence. Rather, this conclusion is based upon the most complete empirical study of the Tea Party, and its supporters, to date.The Tea Party, and its supporters, claim they’re about core conservative principles such as small government and fiscal responsibility. They claim to resist the policies of the Obama administration on ideological grounds: Government, they say, is too big and spends too much.