Liberty Lobby was an American political advocacy organization founded in 1958 that went bankrupt in 2001. It was founded by Willis Carto and described itself as "a pressure group for patriotism; the only lobby in Washington, D.C., registered with Congress which is wholly dedicated to the advancement of government policies based on our Constitution and conservative principles. Carto is noted for his strong anti-semitic views.
Liberty Lobby was the subject of much criticism from all quarters of the political spectrum from the first day of its founding. Liberty Lobby described itself as a conservative political organization, but its founder, Willis Carto, was known to hold strongly antisemitic views, and to be a devotee of the writings of Francis Parker Yockey, who was one of a handful of esoteric post-World War II writers who revered Adolf Hitler. Yockey, writing under the pseudonym of Ulick Varange, wrote a book entitled Imperium: The Philosophy of History and Politics, which Carto adopted as his own guiding ideology.
Many critics, including disgruntled former Carto associates as well as the Anti-Defamation League, have noted that Carto, more than anybody else, was responsible for keeping organized antisemitism alive as a viable political movement during the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, when it was otherwise completely discredited.
Evidence for the antisemitic stance of Liberty Lobby began to mount when numerous letters by Carto excoriating the Jews (and blaming them for world miseries) began to surface. "How could the West [have] been so blind. It was the Jews and their lies that blinded the West as to what Germany was doing. Hitler's defeat was the defeat of Europe and America." Carto's letters eventually became the subject of a federal civil lawsuit (LIBERTY LOBBY, INC., et al., Appellants, v. Drew PEARSON et al., Appellees. No. 20690. United States Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit provides an accurate account of the case - bulk.resource.org/courts.gov/c/F2/390/390.F2d.489.20690_1.html.). Liberty Lobby Inc. v. Pearson (D.D.C., Dec. 20, 1966) 261 F.Supp. 726 aff'd (DC Cir., Dec. 27, 1967) 129 U.S.App.D.C. 74, 390 F.2d 489. There were several other defamation lawsuits arising from publications that described Liberty Lobby as anti-semitic or racist, but it appears that Liberty Lobby never won any of these cases. Liberty Lobby Inc. v. Dow Jones & Co. Inc. (DC Cir., Feb. 5, 1988) 267 U.S.App.D.C. 337, 838 F.2d 1287 cert.den. 488 U.S. 825.
Other cited evidence of the group's antisemitic views includes the charge that the group's file cabinets contained extensive pro-Nazi and Ku Klux Klan literature. In 1969, True magazine ran a story by Joe Trento entitled "How Nazi Nut Power Has Invaded Capitol Hill".
Repatriation of blacks back to Africa
Starting in October 1966 two American journalists, Drew Pearson and Jack Anderson, published a series of stories under "The Washington Merry-go-round" that recounted the findings of a former employee, Jeremy Horne. Horne said he had discovered a box of correspondence between Carto and numerous government officials establishing the Joint Council of Repatriation (JCR), a forerunner organization to the Liberty Lobby. The JCR stated that their fundamental purpose was to "repatriate" blacks "back to Africa". Ex-Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Tom Brady and various members of the White Citizens' Councils who had worked to established the JCR, also contributed to the founding of Liberty Lobby. Other correspondence referred to U.S. Congressional support for the emerging Liberty Lobby, such as from South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond (Dixiecrat presidential candidate in 1948) and California U.S. Representative James B. Utt.
The Liberty Lobby sued for libel based on the stories in a case that went to the U.S. Supreme Court, Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc. The case is the most cited Supreme Court precedent because it established the guidelines for issuing summary judgment to end frivolous lawsuits.
Public image management, internal strife, and ultimate demise
Liberty Lobby attempted to promote a public image of being a conservative group with an emphasis on anti-communism, similar to the John Birch Society. However, while the John Birch Society publicly rejected white supremacy and antisemitism, Liberty Lobby promoted them. Francis Parker Yockey's Imperium was republished by Carto's Noontide Press, which also published a number of other books and pamphlets promoting a racialist and white supremacist world view, and Liberty Lobby in turn sold and promoted these books.
While Liberty Lobby was intended to occupy the niche of a conservative anti-Communist group, Carto was meanwhile building other organizations which would take a much more explicit neo-Nazi orientation. Among these were the National Youth Alliance, a Carto-founded organization that eventually became the National Alliance. Eventually, however, Carto lost control of this organization and it fell into the hands of William Pierce. Also founded by Carto was the Institute for Historical Review, a group known for publishing Holocaust denial books and articles. As with the National Youth Alliance and Noontide Press, the Institute for Historical Review fell out of Carto's hands in a hostile internal struggle. Liberty Lobby, however, remained under the control of Carto until it was disbanded in 2001.
During the 1970s, as the old anti-Communism of the 1950s and 1960s fell out of favor, Carto redefined the public image of Liberty Lobby, and began to describe it as a politically populist organization, rather than conservative or right-wing. In that time, Liberty Lobby also tried to create connections to the American political left by redistributing a report critical of President Jimmy Carter authored by frequent third-party presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche and his NCLC.
In 1975, Liberty Lobby began publishing a weekly newspaper called The Spotlight, which ran news and opinion articles with a very populist and anti-establishment slant on a variety of subjects, but gave little indication of being extreme-right or neo-Nazi. However, critics charged The Spotlight was intended as a subtle recruiting tool for the extreme right, using populist-sounding articles to attract people from all points on the political spectrum including liberals, moderates, and conservatives, and special-interest articles to attract people interested in such subjects as alternative medicine. Critics also charged the newspaper with subtly incorporating antisemitic and white racialist undertones in its articles, and with carrying advertisements in the classified section for openly neo-Nazi groups and books. The Spotlight's circulation peaked around 200,000 in the early 1980s, and although it experienced a steady drop after that, it continued to be published until the Liberty Lobby's demise in 2001.
In 2001, Liberty Lobby and Carto lost a civil lawsuit brought by a rival far-right group which had earlier gained control of the Institute for Historical Review, and the ensuing judgment for damages bankrupted the organization. Carto and others who had been involved in publishing The Spotlight have since started a new newspaper, the American Free Press, which is very similar in overall tone to The Spotlight. As of 2008[update], the political organization called Liberty Lobby remains defunct.
- "Why Did the Spotlight and Liberty Lobby Attack Real Conservatives?" by Larry McDonald, from the Congressional Record
- Liberty Lobby 1987 U.S. Congress Handbook, 100th Congress (First Session)
- "Willis Carto". Anti-Defamation League. 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-15.
- Trento, Joseph and Joseph Spear. "How Nazi Nut Power Has Invaded Capitol Hill". True (November 1969): 39.
- "The Washington Merry-Go-Round". "Liberty Lobby working furiously for right-wing cause; its secret files reveal conspiracy against Jews and Negroes; Carto's correspondents are lurid lot"
- List of Most-Quoted Cases
- "When Left reaches Right." The Washington Post. August 16, 1977.
- "Willis A. Carto: Fabricating History". Anti-Defamation League. Retrieved 2008-11-17. "The Spotlight announced in August 1994 that Liberty Lobby was launching a new publication devoted to historical revisionism called The Barnes Review (after the 20th century revisionist historian Harry Elmer Barnes)."
- Eringer, Robert. "The Force of Willis Carto." Mother Jones 6 (April 1981): 6.
- U.S. Supreme Court ANDERSON v. LIBERTY LOBBY, INC., 477 U.S. 242 (1986)
- Frank P. Mintz, The Liberty Lobby and the American Right: Race, Conspiracy, and Culture. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1985.
- Francis Parker Yockey, Imperium: The Philosophy of History and Politics. Noontide Press, 1962.