The John Birch Society: Last, Best Hope for the Right?


Wendy Kaminer in an Atlantic piece somewhat shapelessly takes on the whole "is libertarianism dominating the out-of-power GOP?" (see Matt Welch's cutting words on David Brooks' totally foolish take on the theme of supposed libertarian dominance of the polity from early today) theme that is so hot nowadays.

While I think slightly overestimating the efficacy of Democrats in power at actually curbing the national security state, she has kind words for the libertarian streak in that good ol' fashioned liberal whipping boy, the John Birch Society:

like pixie dust, a little libertarianism has been scattered over the right…sprinkling even the John Birch Society. ….it opposes the post 9/11 security state—not that many rational people would rely on the judgment of the John Birch Society…

But, at least the JBS has denounced the "Enemy Belligerent Interrogation, Detention and Prosecution Act;" (finally, an issue about which Glenn Greenwald and John Birchers can agree).  Marc Ambinder raised the alarm about this bill here.  Introduced in the Senate by John McCain and Joe Lieberman and co-sponsored by (among others) freedom loving tea party pin-up, Scott Brown, it provides that anyone suspected of terrorism or material support for terrorism (including an American citizen on American soil) may be placed in military custody and labeled a "high-value detainee," for virtually any reason, including the detainee's "potential intelligence value," or for any "matters the President considers appropriate."  High value detainees are subject to interrogation by a special "high value detainee interrogation group," which will determine if they are "Unprivileged Enemy Belligerents" to be imprisoned indefinitely, without charges or trials.  The president has final approval power over that determination, which is subject to no judicial review.

Given that the absurd beliefs of the JBS are less powerful, and less hazardous to the country's health, then the absurd beliefs of the Democrats currently running the country, Kaminer's polite pointing to the Society's take on the Enemy Belligerent Interrogation etc. Act is only fitting.

Kaminer is not suffering from Bob Dylan's Talkin' John Birch Society Blues: