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John Birch Society


  • Originally published 09/08/2014

    The overestimation of the John Birch Society

    "Liberals loved the John Birch Society—almost as much as Moscow must have loved it. Liberals secretly enjoy being terrified of right-wing-extremist threats."

  • Originally published 09/29/2013

    Let's Drink to Good Grades

    Students think of college as a opportunity to improve social skills and network, not study.

  • Originally published 05/22/2013

    America’s fluoride wars

    “A few things remain constant in America – death, taxes, baseball and, since the 1950s, widespread, often successful efforts by a passionate minority to keep fluoride out of drinking water,” Donald R. McNeil wrote in Wilson Quarterly. McNeil has written one of the more complete histories of the fluoridation wars that I was able to find. It starts on Jan. 26, 1945 when the city of Grand Rapids, Mich. became the first city to fluoridate its water supply. It was meant to be a public health experiment, to test whether fluoridation could protect against tooth decay, especially among younger children.It would take decades to have any results and, therefore, ”the pioneers of fluoridation were generally a cautious lot,” McNeil writes, noting that they thought “that communities should at first fluoridate only on a test-batch basis.”...

  • Originally published 05/12/2013

    The Tea Party Isn't Conservative

    Credit: Wiki Commons.Who, or what, is the Tea Party? Its leaders claim to be conservative, yet the regularity with which the movement and its supporters stray from traditional American conservatism is, frankly, shocking.This claim isn’t based on wild presumption or anecdotal evidence. Rather, this conclusion is based upon the most complete empirical study of the Tea Party, and its supporters, to date.The Tea Party, and its supporters, claim they’re about core conservative principles such as small government and fiscal responsibility. They claim to resist the policies of the Obama administration on ideological grounds: Government, they say, is too big and spends too much.

  • Originally published 07/24/2014

    Review of Claire Conner’s Wrapped in the Flag

    I recently posted a review at Amazon of Claire Conner’s Wrapped in the Flag: A Personal History of America’s Radical Right. (The paperback edition changed the subtitle to What I Learned Growing Up in America’s Radical Right, How I Escaped, and Why My Story Matters Today.) The review begins below and continues under the fold. The review unfortunately is buried within a stack of over a hundred favorable reviews. But anyone who wants to read it at Amazon can go here. Then if you find it worthy, you can click the button that says the review is helpful and move it up in the queue: I thoroughly enjoyed this book despite myself. The author, Claire Conner, entertainingly interweaves a personal story of her growing up with parents who were avid and prominent members of the John Birch Society with a history of the Birch Society itself. I am only four years younger than Conner, and my own story has many intriguing parallels to hers. My parents never joined “the Society,” as its members referred to it, but they (particularly my mother) became what could be called Birch Society “fellow travelers,” involved in right-wing politics after the election of 1960. Many of their friends were Society members. I therefore imbibed much of the same literature as Conner, listened to similar public lectures, and was taken to and participated in similar events. She and I both, for example, were peripherally involved in the 1964 Goldwater campaign.

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