Posted by | February 18, 2010 12:12 | Filed under: Top Stories

John Avlon, whose new book, Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America is newly released, reveals at The Daily Beast that the co-sponsor of this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference is the John Birch Society.

The John Birch Society—a stridently anti-communist, paleo-conservative group—was exiled from the mainstream conservative movement back in the 1960s because of its penchant for conspiracy theories. The group had a starring role in Richard Hofstadter’s classic The Paranoid Style in American Politics, and founder Robert Welch infamously described President Dwight D. Eisenhower as a “dedicated, conscious agent of the communist conspiracy.”

And that’s just for starters. As Avlon properly notes, this is not exactly a signal that the right wing is forward-thinking, but rather a throwback to a dark past. Disavowed by William F. Buckley, Jr. and disavowing of Ronald Reagan, the Birchers are now trying to mainstream themselves. But behind the facade of their new website with multi-hued children festooned with American flags lies its true message.

…inside, the forums offer support for the 9/11 Truth-associated Texas gubernatorial candidate Debra Medina and tales that “the fall of the Berlin Wall and the ‘collapse of communism’ were not planned and implemented by the Soviet Union’s KGB.” DVDs for sale purport to tell the truth about alleged conservative impostor Newt Gingrich. Even Nelson Mandela is described as “nothing more than a communist, terrorist thug.”

Robert Welch (pictured) founded the group in 1958, naming it after a fundamentalist missionary who became an intelligence agent during WWII and was killed by Chinese communist soldiers.

According to the JBS theory, liberals provide the cover for the gradual process of collectivism, therefore many liberals and their allies must actually be secret communist traitors whose ultimate goal is to replace the nations of western civilization with one-world socialist government. “There are many stages of` welfarism, socialism, and collectivism in general,” wrote Welch, “but communism is the ultimate state of them all, and they all lead inevitably in that direction.”

One has to wonder, says Avlon, why conservatives would align themselves with a fringe group that has been even more fringy for the last 45 years.

The re-emergence of the John Birch Society with a veneer of respectability given to it by co-sponsorship of CPAC is a troubling sign of the times, a decision on par with the National Tea Party Convention giving prime-time speaking slots to Tom Tancredo and WorldNet Daily editor Joseph Farah. It is an invitation to isolation and ridicule. As a report by the California attorney general’s office on the John Birch Society in 1961 stated, “In America, preposterousness prevents the acceptance but not the expression of ideas.” The question for those at CPAC is: Are they tolerating the Birchers? Or accepting them?

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By: Alan

Alan Colmes is the publisher of Liberaland.