Most Americans don't realize that the right wing's main ideas have been pushed for 50 years by the John Birch Society (JBS), a group Barry Goldwater and William F. Buckley Jr once thought too extreme, but which has since become the intellectual seed bank of the right.
Among other things, the JBS has been active in creating and training the Tea Party, and the sons of a JBS founder, David and Charles Koch, have been a major force within it (they say they're not JBS members).
So if you really want to understand why so many Republicans are the way they are these days, an outline of JBS beliefs is a good place to start.
Asked about it, a spokesman emailed that "Robert Welch's 'The Truth in Time: If You Want it Straight...' was written as an essay in 1966 to provide a step-by-step outline of significant Communist events and tactics during the previous 200 years to help explain to members what was taking place around them in 1966.... The information in 'The Truth in Time' is as true today as it was in 1966...."
I've created an edited summary -- all quotes from the piece -- which you can find below. If you want, you can watch Welch lay out his ideas in this 110-minute video.
In the essay and the film, Welch says that a group founded in the 18th century, variously called the Insiders or The Illuminati, has been plotting ever since to force a totalitarian government on the world.
How? Mainly, he says, through Communism -- but also by infiltrating western politics, culture, and governments, including creating the Progressive movement. Among other things, he says, it's been plotting to make people depend less on themselves and more on government for most things -- snuffing out freedom in the process.
Among his more bemusing claims: "Since early in 1945 the most powerful single force in promoting Communism everywhere, and in turning one nation after another over to Communist tyranny... has been the help of the United States Government to that end."
Bet you didn't know that.
Along with his explanation of how world history had brought us to the brink of a one-world dictatorship is this list, which appears at the end of the essay. Under the heading "Calling it Conspiracy," it explains the premise of a lot of the right wing agenda, and philosophy, today. You've got nothing to lose by reading it.
"The one great job left for the Communists is the subjugation of the people of the United States," wrote Welch. "So their exhaustive strategy for achieving their final goal includes the following methods.
(a) The deliberate and insidious breaking down of all morality and of every sound sense of values;
(b) the distortion and destruction of religious influences, especially on the lives of the young;
(c) the constant indoctrination of young and old alike, through our educational system, and through our communications and entertainment media, in a preference for "welfare" and "security" against responsibility and opportunity;
(d) making an ever larger and larger percentage of American industry, commerce, agriculture, education, and individuals accustomed to receiving, and dependent on, government checks;
(e) a constant increase in legislation, taxation, and bureaucracy, leading directly towards one hundred percent government;
(f) the gradual conversion by judicial fiat of our republic into a democracy, as the one best legalistic road to a mobocratic dictatorship;
(g) the creation of riots and the semblance of revolution under the guise and excuse of promoting "civil rights";
(h) developing this "Negro Revolutionary Movement," as the Communists describe it, into a broader "proletarian revolution" of the "have-nots" against the "haves";
(i) destroying the power of local police forces to preserve law and order;
(j) carrying on and steadily "escalating" a completely phony foreign war in Vietnam (because the Communists are actually running both sides of it), as an excuse for gradually establishing more and tighter government controls over every detail of our dally lives;
(k) under carefully contrived conditions of famine and the threat of starvation, using ration cards as leverage to bribe and coerce the heads of families to submit to a Communist regime....
(1), eventually bringing about "peace" -- a few years from now -- by surrendering all remaining American sovereignty to the United Nations, and enabling that Communist one-world government to "police" our country with foreign troops and mercilessly suppress all opposition, with exactly the same cruelties and terror that have already been used in dozens of other countries.
...today Moscow and Washington are, and for many years have been, but two hands of one body controlled by one brain....
These cunning megalomaniacs seek to make themselves the absolute rulers of a human race of enslaved robots, in which every civilized trait has been destroyed."
It's useful to keep in mind that this world-view is the premise of today's right wing politics; it explains why right wing politicians of all stripes, Tea Party or no, are so passionate in their beliefs, why they often seem to be referring to an alternate reality, and why it's so difficult to find common ground with them..
Below you'll find quotes, under the original headings, from Robert Welch's essay, laying out his -- and the John Birch Society's -- concept of history, and explanation of what's gone wrong with the world and with America.
"By 1789 the Illuminati... had a great deal to do with planning... the French Revolution."
"During the Nineteenth Century some of these secret societies and subversive groups appear to have grown... into the Communist conspiracy...."
"But the Communist movement is only a tool of the total conspiracy...."
"To avoid as much dispute as possible... let's call this ruling clique simply the Insiders."
In the Name of Progress
"One broad avenue down which these conspiratorial forces advanced was known as "progressive legislation."
The Hidden Purpose
"...its hidden purpose [is]... always and by all means, to reduce the responsibilities and rights of individual citizens, while steadily increasing the quantity, the reach, and the potential tyranny of governments...."
"So by 1914 the Insiders... brought about in our own country such decisively important measures in their program as central banking, a graduated personal income tax, and the direct election of senators."
The Fed and the Income Tax
"...the Federal Reserve System would inevitably come to mean... the control of credit, the control of the money supply, the ability to spend with increasing profligacy, and the means to steal continuously from the people by the debasement of our currency, on the part of the Federal Government"
"The graduated income tax, of course, was the second plank in Karl Marx's program for imposing Communism on any country...."
Direct Election of Senators
"For as long as the senators for any state had been elected by the legislature of that state, they clearly represented the state itself as a sovereign entity within a federal union.... The Insiders, however wanted gradually and eventually to bring a concentration of all governmental power into the hands of the executive department of one central government. And the direct election of senators was actually their first huge legalistic step in that direction."
World War I
"But the decisive success of the Insiders, and of the various groups and forces through which they have worked, in this more shadowy period of their machinations and advance prior to 1917, lay in their instigation of the first World War...."
"For in 1917 Lenin, Trotsky, and a relative handful of ruthless criminals, financed and directed by Insiders in various European countries and in the United States, seized power in Russia."
"In 1933... they achieved their next tremendous victory. The United States, under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, officially recognized the Soviet regime, thus saving it from impending financial collapse, and at the same time opening our doors to an ever increasing army of Communist diplomats, agents, and spies."
World War II
"Stalin's next great success was in bringing on World War II."
"... in Washington (as in London) from 1941 through 1945, Communist agents and sympathizers... entrenched themselves so solidly that Communist influences became dominant in our government.... At the same time the Communist infiltration into positions of power in our Press, our educational system, and every other division of our national life... was given new impetus and new openings by the official pro-Communist attitude of the war-time Administration."
"It is the very purpose of the Insiders who control and use the Communist movement to turn the world upside down. They seek everywhere and always to replace truth with falsehood, construction with destruction, religious ideals with satanic amorality, government by consent with tyranny by force, freedom with slavery, man's upward reach with complete surrender to his most bestial appetites, compassion with cruelty, and love with hate."
"By the end of World War II many other important uses of this whole principle of reversal were being initiated... one was the American foreign aid program. It was conceived by Communists, started and nourished along by Communists, and built eventually by Communist influences and propaganda into colossal proportions, as a means of helping the Communists and their socialist forerunners all over the world in taking over their respective countries."
"Another manifestation of the same principle at work was the establishment of the United Nations. This organization was conceived by Communists, founded by Communists, has always been controlled by Communists, and has been used increasingly -- and ever more brazenly -- to carry out Communist purposes."
"Most important of all of these gigantic reversals of the truth, in the realm of strategy, has been the cruel pretense, all over the world and to the American people, that the United States was the one great enemy of Communism. The fact has been exactly the opposite. Since early in 1945 the most powerful single force in promoting Communism everywhere, and in turning one nation after another over to Communist tyranny... has been the help of the United States Government to that end."
I myself have nothing to say about this perspective, aside from observing that I'd prefer its believers didn't try to impose it on me, or my country.