Talk:John Birch Society

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"Opposes fascism"?[edit]

Given that their views could arguably be considered kissing cousins with fascism, there needs to be some serious citations if we're to let the article say, with no qualifications, that the Birchers oppose it. If reliable third party sources can be found where they CLAIM that they oppose fascism, it should be included with severe caveats, i.e. make it clear that this is what they CLAIM about themselves, and that others would seriously contest this. PenitentWhaler (talk) 03:05, 14 June 2013 (UTC)

Should not be in there and I will remove it. TFD (talk) 03:25, 14 June 2013 (UTC)

The John Birch Society promotes a "Constitutional Republic" and opposes Socialism, Communism, and Fascism. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Vitacore (talkcontribs) 04:53, 18 November 2013 (UTC)

The onus is on those who claim JBS views "could arguably be considered kissing cousins with fascism" to cite examples to support their accusation. While the silence in response to this challenge should be loud and clear enough to end the discussion, let’s put the matter to bed for good. The motto they have used since their founding in the 50’s should be enough - “Less government, more responsibility, and — with God’s help — a better world.” Fascism relies on the steel fist of government.

In addition, here are just a few of the plethora of specific examples proving their long commitment to opposing fascism, with url’s to the source:

“At any rate, the Western economy has long been an unsavory mixture of government and business, which some call corporatism and others call fascism. Indeed, it is essentially the economic system introduced by Mussolini, with the difference that Mussolini did not use it to harm banks or businesses.” Source: http://www.jbs.org/jbs-news-feed/one-nation-under-materialism

“Since its founding, The John Birch Society has always opposed racism, anti-Semitism, communism, socialism, fascism, and Nazism — all of which are forms of collectivism that seek to deny the God-given rights of a person based on group traits of race, color, creed, or socio-economic class. Members of the Birch Society are staunch individualists and believe in judging each person as an individual based on his or her character, not according to collectivist notions of "groupthink" and judging people according to benign group characteristics.” Source: http://www.jbs.org/jbs-news-feed/media-jump-to-smear-right-with-extremist-label

“But Welch and the organization he created have always targeted any form of total government, including not only communism but socialism, fascism, Nazism, and total government under any label.” Source: http://www.jbs.org/jbs-news-feed/happy-anniversary-john-birch-society

“Whether it is fascism or full-blown socialism, the stated objective is to control the economy. But, the basic problem is that an economy can not be managed or controlled. Call it whatever you will, but what government intervention in the economy ends up controlling is the people themselves.” Source: http://www.jbs.org/jbs-news-feed/real-solutions-for-the-economy 67.189.166.173 (talk) 17:50, 19 March 2014 (UTC)


Maybe we should not try to operate with labels. Read yesterday that they ask people to contact members of Congress to prevent the "NAFTA-like TTIP and TPP trade proposals". These proposals take legislative powers away from Congress (and the other nations' parliamentarians) through enabling companies to sue the governments in secret tribunals for compensation, which of course means that legislators buckle and enact the legislation that the corporation wants. This shrinks government alright, but the individual loses all power to influence anything. This proposal to transfer all powers to the corporations through this mechanism doesn't fit to any label, I don't think, so it may not be appropriate to find one single label for them. 121.209.56.81 (talk) 04:01, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
The label it fits is "neoliberalism", although the JBS does not use that term. TFD (talk) 04:27, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
The JBS is very conservative, that is the antithesis of fascism or far right politics - which like the far left are inherently radical and revolutionary. It would surprise me if any objective non communist observer would call the JBS either fascist or far right.Royalcourtier (talk) 06:25, 9 July 2016 (UTC)
The JBS certainly is NOT fascist or Nazi. However it is far right, and it appears to have Anti-Jewish tendencies. So I would still say its far right although Anti-Nazi and Anti-Fascist. RandomScholar30 (talk) 03:43, 19 August 2016 (UTC)

It is an incorrect statement to claim that JBS has anti-jewish tendencies. They have members of their board along with members who are Jewish and they make that well known in various Youtube videos and on their website. In 1965 the California Senate conducted an investigation into JBS to see if it had racist tendencies or was anti-jewish and found that it is not. [1] Wisco55 (talk) 15:04, 1 February 2018 (UTC)

That was 53 years ago and only applies to the JBS in California, something I presume you know because it says that on your link. So that really doesn't prove anything. And did you really not see the expressed concern about a "dangerous increase of anti-Semitism among a minority of the membership." Doug Weller (talkcontribs) 14:42, 14 March 2018 (UTC)

Is there any accurate source that says JBS is currently anti-jewish? No there is not because JBS has Jewish members including members of leadership who are Jewish. JBS does does not discriminate against any race or religion, all of the "evidence" saying otherwise are opinion pieces that are meant to smear the JBS name. Wisco55 (talk) 17:05, 14 March 2018 (UTC)

I was talking about the 60s and the way you presented that report. The SPLC and the ADL do not say that today's JBS is anti-semitic.[1][2] Doug Weller (talkcontribs) 19:23, 14 March 2018 (UTC)

JBS never thought fluoridation was a Communist conspiracy[edit]

The cited source on this seems to be hearsay. JBS themselves categorically deny that they ever said it was a Communist plot. http://www.jbs.org/about-jbs/myths-vs-facts I can't find a first hand source on the Communist conspiracy mongering, so I suggest we remove it. 38.104.236.242 (talk) 15:34, 4 December 2014 (UTC)

The conspiracy theory pre-dates the Society and the source says it was embraced by some members. I don't think any sources have been found that the Society ever claimed it was true. TFD (talk) 15:57, 4 December 2014 (UTC)
We can't take the JBS website as proof of this. They have a vested interest in not looking like a bunch of lunatics. Without an independent source one way or another, the best we can do is say that the JBS claims it never held this position. Krychek (talk) 21:24, 8 December 2016 (UTC)
I said: "the source says it was embraced by some members." Your edit says "but the JBS website now claims that it never purported fluoridation was a communist conspiracy." That implies that at some time they claimed it was, although no sources say that. I now note that the original source was a column not a news report and hence fails rs. I will remove it and of course the JBS comment. TFD (talk) 23:05, 8 December 2016 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Edit request 1-FEB-20181[edit]


When it claims that the Southern Poverty Law Center lists The John Birch Society as a hate group, that information is incorrect. Not only is JBS not a hate group, but if you look at the SPLC website, specifically their "hate map," they do not list JBS as one of their hate groups. [2] Wisco55 (talk) 17:12, 1 February 2018 (UTC)

References

Reply1[edit]

The template appears to straddle two post entries, and it's unknown whether this covers the one above it or the one below it. In any event, there is no actionable request that can be deciphered amongst either of them. Spintendo ᔦᔭ 18:37, 1 February 2018 (UTC)


Edit request 1-FEB-20182[edit]


There is a sentence in the post "The Southern Poverty Law Center, for example, lists the society as a 'Patriot' Group while including it in the national, combined number of Hate Groups. [25]" However, it is untrue that The Southern Poverty Law Center lists JBS at a "Hate Group." So please remove the mention of JBS being listed as a Hate Group, there is nothing that needs to replace it. Wisco55 (talk) 21:49, 1 February 2018 (UTC)

Reply2[edit]

While their hatred is of the government, according to SPLC's own narrow designations it doesnt fall under hate group, rather, it lists them as an antigovernment patriot group. Spintendo ᔦᔭ 22:50, 1 February 2018 (UTC)

A few important edits[edit]

I would like to propose a few very important edits to this page, because as it stands it leaves readers with several incorrect impressions that could have important implications for all Americans.

1) The idea that the JBS is a "fringe element" of the conservative movement is no longer true and helps the JBS stay under the radar and in the shadows, when we need to be having a national discussion on the extent of its influence. In fact according to many very prominent analysts, including liberals, the JBS now dominates the conservative movement and has had a huge role in creating Trump.

Here are a few examples that I think would be worth including at least some of.

-From Mother Jones' Jeet Heer: “Far from belonging merely to the lunatic fringe, the Birchers were important precursors to what is now the governing ideology of the Republican Party: Trumpism.... Far from being drummed out of conservatism, it has become the dominant strain.” Here is the link to this: https://newrepublic.com/article/134257/donald-trumps-united-states-conspiracy

-From Salon's Daniel Denvir: “These sorts of conspiracies are not limited to immigration: the far right that has taken over the Republican Party incorporates a whole range of extreme theories rooted in the Cold War paranoia of the John Birch Society ..."

-From Huffington Post's Robert McElvaine: “The Trump candidacy is the culmination of the long campaign begun by McCarthyism and the John Birch Society in the 1950s and aimed at discrediting virtually every institution in the United States.” https://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-s-mcelvaine/the-anti-american_b_11836982.html

-From Huffington Post's Andrew Reinbach: “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.” https://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-reinbach/john-birch-society_b_958207.html

-From Infowars' Alex Jones, who is close to Trump: "Trump is more John Birch Society than the John Birch Society": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUt7tqsLtW0&lc=z22bgrgqtlbcuxjtzacdp43apepn34z4ogdrgquxqslw03c010c

-We also know that at least one of Trump's cabinet members has been very friendly with JBS and spoke to their meetings and secret recordings reveal they are on the same page ideologically: https://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/mick-mulvaney-john-birch-society

-We also know from Trump advisor Roger Stone that Trump's father was a major financial contributor to the society and a close friend of JBS founder Robert Welch: "People don't know it, but Trump comes from a long line of anti-communists. His father was a quiet funder of the John Birch Society, his father was a personal friend of Billy Graham, a personal friend of [JBS founder] Robert Welch, a supporter of Dr. Fred Schwarz's [Christian] Anti-Communism Crusade, and had been a major, major fundraiser and donor for Barry Goldwater." https://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/politics/item/27847-deep-state-plan-c-is-to-kill-trump-advisor-roger-stone-warns

2) I think we need to make it more clear why the John Birch Society opposed the civil rights movement. As it stands, readers could easily come away with an incorrect understanding. That is why I proposed a small edit noting that many black members of JBS helped in the campaign to discredit the civil rights movement. George Schuyler and Julia Brown were two of the better known examples. Please see my proposed edit here: The society, including its prominent black members such as George Schuyler [1], opposed the 1960s civil rights movement and claimed the movement had Communists in important positions. For some reason my edit was removed, but I think it's important for people to understand. If Americans are going to understand the influence of the JBS, they have to know the facts, otherwise it allows JBS to discredit all their critics. — Preceding unsigned comment added by PaulaFernandez92 (talkcontribs) 23:00, 9 February 2018 (UTC)

Hello. I removed your edit for multiple reasons.
For one, Townhall.com isn't a reliable source. It should only be used for directly attributed opinions in limited cases, such as when the opinion is established as significant by other, reliable sources.
For another, it was clear from your edit (and now also your comments above) that you added this content as a rebuttal to the unstated accusation that JBS was racist. This is a form of editorializing, which is not appropriate on Wikipedia. If a reliable source says that the JBS is or isn't racist, let's discuss that source on its own merits. If it then goes on to say that it was less racist because they had a "black friend", so be it. Using a source that merely mentions Shuyler's blackness and his membership as part of the same sentence discussing their opposition to civil rights is WP:SYNTH. Find a WP:RS which discusses these issues exactly, and we can go from there.
As for the many other sources you've presented, opinion pieces are only of limited usefulness on Wikipedia, and several of those sources are not reliable at all. Searching for sources which support a prior assumption is not the best approach, because it leads to cherry-picking, among other problems. Grayfell (talk) 23:22, 9 February 2018 (UTC)
It's certainly true that some of the extreme views held by the Birchers are still held by some people today, but you would need a source that specifically talks about that, we cannot make the connections ourselves, per no original research. Your mention that one of their members who opposed the Civil Rights Act was black is implicit synthesis. It implies that the Society could not possibly have been racist because they had black members. That argument is frequently made by defenders of the KKK, another group btw that Fred Trump supported. As you are a new editor, I would like to point out that Wikipedia has policies and guidelines on article content, which dictates how articles are constructed. They are not supposed to advocate or disparage, but to reflect informed opinion. That can be frustrating if you find those opinions ill-founded. TFD (talk) 01:33, 10 February 2018 (UTC)

References

  1. ^ Kerwick, Jack (2018-02-06). "George S. Schuyler: Someone You Should Know". Townhall.com. Retrieved 2018-02-08. 

Response to Grayfell:

Townhall is certainly a reliable source as defined on the page you linked, and there is no dispute on any of the facts. It is well known that George Schuyler was a prominent John Birch Society member and a writer for its magazine, and that in this magazine he published many critiques of the civil rights movement. Here is what Wikipedia says about sources: "However, reliable sources are not required to be neutral, unbiased, or objective. Sometimes non-neutral sources are the best possible sources for supporting information about the different viewpoints held on a subject."

In any case, if you prefer another source, we can list NPR: https://www.npr.org/2018/01/30/581795960/3-harlem-renaissance-novels-deliver-an-ingenious-take-on-race You wrote: "such as when the opinion is established as significant by other, reliable sources." Obviously, if NPR and Townhall are still talking about Schuyler and his role in JBS to this day, his opinions on JBS and the civil rights movement are established as significant. Or am I missing something?

It's interesting you acknowledge "the unstated accusation that JBS was racist." Because it is objectively true that the JBS was not racist and is not today, one would think that if there are going to be unstated accusations of racism, it should be firmly rebutted so that nobody gets the wrong idea. Unstated accusations are just as much a form of editorializing as stated rebuttals to unstated accusations, so again I believe my point should remain in the article.

Either way, there are plenty of reliable sources that point out that the JBS is not and never has been racist. Here is a report from the California Senate Fact-Finding Committee in 1963: “The organ­ization is open to people of all religions, all races, all political persuasions except those deemed subversive.... At any rate, our investigations have disclosed no evidence of anti-Semitism on the part of anyone connected with the John Birch Society in California, and much evidence to the effect that it opposes racism in all forms.”

We clearly don't want inaccurate unstated accusations to remain unrebutted, lest people become misinformed and Wikipedia lose credibility. One simple way to ensure that is to point out that many leading black JBS members were at the forefront of the Society's rejection of what came to be known as the civil rights movement. Here is the link to the California report: https://archive.org/stream/reportofsenatefa1963cali/reportofsenatefa1963cali_djvu.txt

As for the wide array of comments on JBS influence in the conservative movement, many of them are not opinion pieces but news articles. Additionally, the notion of JBS being identified as a "fringe element" of the conservative movement is certainly the opinion of Alfred Regnery and Roger Chapman, the two sources cited. Incidentally, their opinions are outdated, and no longer reflect conventional wisdom. If nothing else, it makes sense to offer more recent opinions by commentators on various points of the political spectrum on this issue. Finally, even Politico has highlighted the resurgence of JBS influence in recent years: https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/07/16/the-john-birch-society-is-alive-and-well-in-the-lone-star-state-215377 I think it is important that readers receive objective information, and claiming the JBS was identified as a "fringe element" and then refusing to highlight the JBS being identified as the dominant force behind modern-day conservatism is the very essence of cherry-picking.

To The Four Deuces: A few things. 1) It was not simply that one JBS member who was black opposed the civil rights movement. The JBS actually produced a documentary that contains many black JBS members explaining the problems with racism in the south, but then arguing that the civil rights movement should be rejected due to communist infiltration among leadership, subversive goals, etc. The documentary can be viewed here on C-Span: https://www.c-span.org/video/?420311-1/anarchy-usa

Since we're on this subject, it might be prudent to point out that recently declassified FBI documents about Martin Luther King confirm everything the JBS said about him, including the fact that his lead advisor, speechwriter, and ghost writer for his books (Stanley Levison) was a known Communist Party operative. The full FBI document from 1968 is available here in the government's archives: https://www.archives.gov/files/research/jfk/releases/104-10125-10133.pdf

The JBS was always very clear in its reasons for opposing the civil rights act and the voting rights act: the Constitution does not delegate those powers to the federal government. The Supreme Court recently upheld this view when it struck down part of the VRA. If we're going to get into these things in the article on JBS, I think it's important and only fair to note that the U.S. Supreme Court agreed with the JBS view on this important legislation. Here is an article on the Court's ruling in the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/26/us/supreme-court-ruling.html

It seems to me that at least some of the writers/editors on this page have a blatant anti-JBS bias. For example, the Four Deuces talks about the JBS' "extreme" opinions. I may agree with that statement too, but it illustrates an extreme bias. How does one define extreme vis a vis political viewpoints? What is the reference point? Is the U.S. Constitution extreme? Is the JBS understanding of it extreme? In what way? Certainly plenty of Americans believe your views are extreme. As I see it, whether I agree with JBS or not, they seem to have articulated practically the same things as Trump, so if they are extreme, that means America is extreme for voting in Trump.

Another example: Why is "liberal/progressive historian" Richard Perlstein's understanding of JBS given so much weight that it is included in the second paragraph, but not the opinion of somebody who is conservative/libertarian? This strikes me a unfair and I think a neutral editor should review this. Is there a way to summon one? Why is the section on "values" dominated by the civil rights topic, when the JBS has not even talked about this issue in decades and especially when Greyfell acknowledges that it represents an unstated accusation (that is demonstrably false)? Shouldn't something more contemporary be included at least? Why in characterizations are there only negative opinions by others about JBS, but no opinions by somebody who supports JBS? Are the opinions of JBS supporters not as valuable as those of JBS critics? This comes across as obviously biased to anyone reading it, and it discredits the entire Wikipedia entry.

Perhaps we could meet in the middle somehow? As somebody who was misled by a previous version of this Wikipedia article in college research prior to conducting my own in-depth research, I think it's important that we ensure that readers are getting the truth, the full truth, and nothing but the truth. Is there some way we can find the right balance? Since I'm new here, I would very much appreciate further guidance in improving this entry and others in the future, especially because I intend to stick around. Thanks in advance for any help anyone can offer. — Preceding unsigned comment added by PaulaFernandez92 (talkcontribs) 05:49, 10 February 2018 (UTC)

There is not way to say this without being rude. It would be helpful it, as a courtesy to other editors, you could make your posts much sorter and to the point. When you make posts this long, don't be surprised if other people decide not to read them.
Townhall.com's opinion pieces, such as this one, are not reliable for statements of fact, even if they are sometimes reliable for opinions. The site has also republished news from reliable outlets, such as the Associated Press, but those are obviously treated differently. This is my assessment of the site, and is supported by past discussions of other Wikipedia editors, such as at WP:RSN and elsewhere. Townhall's opinions don't have the reputation for accuracy and fact-checking required of reliable sources. Opinions (political or not) rarely do. That this particular one is also biased doesn't help, but that's not the reason it's unreliable.
It is not an objective truth that the JBS is not racist. It is not an objective truth that they are racist, either, because that's not really what "objective" means. To the extent this could be considered an objective fact at all, reliable sources are divided on how racist the organization was (and still is). The facts speak for themselves, and "state's rights" are regarded by reliable sources as arbitrarily applied at best, and an untenable justification for segregation at worst, and this has been understood since George Wallace at least. The California State Senate is a primary source of historical significance, but Wikipedia aims to reflect the modern academic consensus on the subject. Primary sources are of limited value.
The NPR source is a good example of one of the problems with this proposal. It does not mention the phrase "civil rights", nor anything at all about Schuyler's position on Civil Rights, nor on the JBS's position on Civil rights. The article isn't about any of those things, it's about three fiction writers, specifically a work of fiction Schuyler wrote in 1931, decades before the JBS was formed. Using a passing mention of Schuyler's membership to include him in a sentence about civil rights is original research. It is using a source to imply something not explicitly stated by that source. The implication is that Schuyler's membership is vitally significant to understanding the JBS's position on civil rights. If you have a reliable source specifically saying that, let's see it.
This is one example of the problem, but not by any stretch the only issue that needs to be addressed here. This does, however, bring up an important issue that should be addressed, which is the over-reliance on the JBS's own documents. Wikipedia isn't a platform for disseminating an organization's materials, it is a place to summarize reliable coverage, with a strong emphasis on independent coverage. Put another way, we do not treat the JBS as an organization, we treat it as a topic. If sources on the topic treat it as an organization, we reflect how they treat it. Does that make sense?
So, to answer your question: No, the opinions of JBS supporters are not necessarily as valuable as critic ones. We reflect sources in proportion to due weight and coverage. We do not use false balance. Grayfell (talk) 07:05, 10 February 2018 (UTC)
It's not that I have a bias against the JBS, but that they are seen in reliable sources as extremists. As long as this article resembles what a similar article in a reliable source says, it meets the criteria of content policy. Whether or not the mainstream assessment is fair or accurate is entirely irrelevant to how the article should be constructed. Incidentally, doesn't the JBS claim that mainstream sources are controlled by the globalists? TFD (talk) 21:34, 10 February 2018 (UTC)