12/15/2010 08:37 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Boston Tea Party Group Lurches Far Right


Tea Party enthusiasts in Massachusetts are falling off the right side of the wharf.   A recent event featured a bevy of well-known aggressive right-wingers and conspiracy mongers. Meeting in Boston's Faneuil Hall, near where the first Tea Party protest took place in 1773, some 200 people gathered Sunday, December 12, to stage the “Boston Tea Party 2010.”

According to the event publicity, the Tea Parties “are being pandered to by neo cons and RINO's because this movement is making a difference. Many political pundits have stated that the next political force in our country will be the TEA Party, creating viable third party candidates.” RINO’s in case you are a newbie to right-wing reality, are “Republicans in Name Only.” For more from the event supporters, see here, and here.

The event was organized and sponsored by the Liberty Preservation Association of Massachusetts ( MassLPA), primarily a collection of right-wing libertarian Ron Paul enthusiasts.

A featured co-sponsor was the John Birch Society, whose president and official spokesperson is John F. McManus, author of William F. Buckley, Jr.: Pied Piper for the Establishment, (2002). It was Buckley, the uber conservative and co-founder of National Review, who declared the JBS to be too whacko to be part of the conservative coalition back in the 1960s. “How can the John Birch Society be an effective political instrument while it is led by a man whose views on current affairs are, at so many critical points . . . so far removed from common sense?” wrote Buckley. The JBS official response to Buckley is illuminating.

Today, as then, the Birchers believe that since the late 1700s there has been a conspiracy of liberal cosmopolitan secret elites to impose collectivism and tyranny on behalf of a global government and New World Order. This type of conspiracist worldview appeared to be widely popular at the Boston Tea Party 2010 meetup.

Speakers at the event included:

G. Edward Griffin - author of "The Creature from Jekyll Island," a favorite of Birchers because it “exposes” the alleged secret conspiracy behind the creation of the Federal Reserve System. This crusty old conspiracy theory has been repeatedly debunked. [Speech video here, interview video here].

Stewart Rhodes - founder of Oath Keepers, a group of sworn law enforcement officers who have pledged to violate federal laws and refuse to enforce them if they personally think they conflict with their largely deranged and fictitious views on U.S. Constitutional Law. [Speech video here].

Sheriff Richard Mack - author of County Sheriff, America's Last Hope and a member of the Oath Keepers. Mack is a hero to right-wing fanatics from the Birchers to the armed militia movements for his anti-federalist views. More on Mack in a follow-up post. [Speech video here, interview video here].

The Boston Globe article on the Tea Party event was bilithely superficial and missed key elements of the story. It was headlined "Spirited get-together thrown by Tea Partiers" and the main speaker, G. Edward Griffin, was described as an "opponent" of the Federal Reserve, and according to the Globe Griffin got "thunderous applause." Yes, but…

Edward Flaherty, an expert on the Federal Reserve who taught economics at the College of Charleston, S.C., explains that G. Edward Griffin lays out a “conspiratorial version of history in his book The Creature from Jekyll Island. His amateurish take on history is highly suspect, however.  Gerry Rough. in a series of well-researched essays on U.S. banking history, reveals many historical inaccuracies, inconsistencies, and even contradictions in Griffin's book and others of its genre.”

Griffin’s ideas are promoted by an event co-sponsor, the John Birch Society. On the JBS website is a video segment where “Mr. Griffin explains that global warming is an excuse for the United Nations to promote fear in order to expand its power.” You bet!

The JBS believes that a conspiracy of secret elites runs the world and traces this back as far as the alleged Illuminati/Freemason conspiracy of the late 1700s.  These are core themes repeated by Glenn Beck on Fox News, which promotes the Tea Party movement.

The fact that major media figures and popular socio-political movements are promoting JBS conspiracy theories denounced as nonsense by conservative Republicans 50 years ago is a story that deserves better coverage.

Read more about conspiracy theories as Toxic to Democracy