Conservatism

Former Bircher No Longer Believes in Vast Communist Conspiracy, Fears Vast Conservative Conspiracy Instead

Jeffrey Rogers Hummel reviews Claire Conner's memoir.

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The economist and historian Jeffrey Rogers Hummel, who sometimes contributes to Reason, has reviewed Claire Conner's Wrapped in the Flag, a memoir of growing up in a family of John Birch Society believers. Conner, he concludes,

To see more of James Gill's collage art, click on the pic.
James Gill

is unable to separate fully her wrenching childhood from the ideas and opinions of those she generally identifies as right wing. While there is always a note of tenderness in her writing about her parents, their fanatical harshness becomes the template for her damning of not only all Birchers but also most conservatives and even libertarians.

This makes her utterly oblivious to the extent to which she is still trapped in a conspiratorial worldview, but one of the Left rather than of the Right. She has graduated from her parents' belief that America was threatened by a giant left-wing conspiracy, in which every liberal was either a Communist or a Communist fellow-traveler, to a belief that America is threatened by a giant radical-right conspiracy, stretching from the 1950s to the present. She lumps together with the Birch Society in this gigantic, ongoing, and diffuse conspiracy such disparate individuals and organizations as Bill Buckley and his conservative National Review; politicians such as Barry Goldwater, George Wallace, and Ronald Reagan; Ayn Rand and her Objectivist followers; the libertarian Cato Institute; the modern Tea Party; and white supremacists of the Klan.

To support this portrayal, Conner engages in the same kind of guilt by association that Birchers employed to charge, for instance, that Martin Luther King was a secret Soviet agent.

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  1. At this point, what difference does it make?

      1. What’s the diff at this point?

      2. Does it make a difference at this point?

      3. My pedantry stems from listening to Limbaugh and Hannity fuck it up on the radio EVERY SINGLE TIME.

        I figure if you are going to make fun of something someone said, you should, at the very least, KNOW what they said.

    1. The difference at this point is not made?

  2. Didnt Buckley try to expelbthe birchers from the GOP? I wonder how that ties in?

    1. Somehow, no doubt!

    2. Oh, he’s largely credited with completely running them out of the respectable conservative movement.

      I bet it ties just a bit…

    3. Sure, to throw people off the scent, to give the rubes a “nice” conservative movement to fall for while the hardcore haters became Bircherites.

  3. It’s funny how we attract people who believe in some kind of libertarian conspiracy. Or one person, at least.

    1. Funny is one word to describe it. Or tedious. You could use that word too.

    2. A libertarian conspiracy as in a conspiracy of libertarians? Are you referring to Mary? Indio Blanco? Tony? Shrike?

      1. I move that “conspiracy” be the official term to describe a group of libertarians, as gaggle is to geese.

      2. I think it is very possible that Mary and Tony are the same person.

        Shrike is either Weigel, or a poor little retard that got lost on his way to Glenn Beck’s blog.

        1. I think it is very possible that Mary and Tony are the same person.

          I don’t think so.

          Mary is batshit crazy, and has multiple outlets for that crazy, including a YouTube channel.

          I lean back and forth between Tony being a long-running troll account of one of the regulars, or a sockpuppet used by various lefty fucknuts (I think, if it is a sock, that it has more than one “hand” because it’s posting style has changed significantly several times).

      3. Tony doesn’t think it is a conspiracy.

        He just thinks we are Evil cuz we do not hate people enough to bring the full power of the state down on them.

        He really is a weird fuck.

    3. Please. We can barely conspire on where to get have meetups.

    4. No no no, a conspiracy is just the word for a group of libertarians. Like a murder of crows or a Flock of Seagulls.

      1. ?a Shitpile of Lawyers?

  4. What?! Not a single mention of your seminal work on paranoia? http://www.amazon.com/United-S…..00BATIIZY/

    Kindle edition is overpriced by the way.

    1. Do you realize that “ASIN/B00BATIIZY” Is part of that hyperlink???

      1. Seriously, say that shit outloud. I defy you not to laugh uproariously!

    2. Please. It’d be a bargain at twice the price.

    3. What?! Not a single mention of your seminal work on paranoia?

      I thought it would be easier to brainwash you folks into mentioning it for me. As you can see, I even programmed you to include the link. Thanks!

      1. Deliciously diabolical. I salute you, sir.

      2. Walker – you resilient bastard….

        /Cliffhanger

  5. Honestly, I think this is exactly the sort of the thing that drives most progressives’ mindsets, especially the younger ones. They see it as an act of rebellion against their parents or family without ever once taking a moment to recognize the insanity and irrationality of it all.

  6. You gotta believe in something. Which is more acceptable, to believe that your life sucks because you suck or because there’s some Other that keeps you from achieving your destiny? Even if it’s Robot Hitler controlling everything and making the world a shitty place, it’s better than thinking that perhaps this shitty place is as good as it gets as long as us human beings freely acting all together run the place.

    1. Say what you will about the programming of Robot Hitler, at least it’s an operating system.

      1. +one toe

    2. YES. The other thing is that people measure themselves by their enemies. I am so damned important that there are vast conspiracies at work to stop me.

  7. Goddammit Walker, nothing about the Illuminati Lizard people?! How can you seriously discuss the secret conspiracy that controls the world without talking about who is really behind it all?

    1. What about the Pentavirate?

      The Queen, The Vatican, The Gettys, The Rothschilds, *and* Colonel Sanders before he went tits up. Oh, I hated the Colonel with his wee *beady* eyes, and that smug look on his face. “Oh, you’re gonna buy my chicken! Ohhhhh!”

      Why?

      Because he puts an addictive chemical in his chicken that makes ya crave it fortnightly, smartass!

      1. Wouldn’t it have been better to put in an addictive chemical that makes one crave it daily, instead of just fortnightly?

        1. Its all about subtlety – one a day has too many obvious effects.

  8. She has graduated from her parents’ belief that America was threatened by a giant left-wing conspiracy…to a belief that America is threatened by a giant radical-right conspiracy, stretching from the 1950s to the present.

    The difference being that where the former would earn you a fair amount of deserved scorn, ridicule and dismissal from polite society, the latter will get you a book deal and an eventual slot on PMSNBC. It’s why I have less antipathy toward conservatives than I do progressives. Conservatism has been consistently forced to come to terms with the loonier elements of their movement. The loonier elements of progressivism get whitewashed.

    1. If by whitewashed you mean “we’re going to cheer them on as they get positions of influence and foam at the mouth in public,” then yes.

      1. The loonies on both sides get positions of influence and foam at the mouth in public. It’s just that on the left the loonies are collectivists so they get position of influence in the governement, whereas the on right the loonies are corporatists so they get positions of influence in business.

        1. Most of the loonies I’ve known who are businessmen have tended to be progressives…. just sayin’

        2. whereas the on right the loonies are corporatists so they get positions of influence in business.

          Very few businesspeople are right-wing. Don’t get me wrong, they exist, especially in smaller businesses, but the prevailing mentality in large businesses is mainstream left. That means compliance with the rules and regulations (if only on paper) and a view in the general beneficence of top men, government and business alike (if only superficially).

          1. the prevailing mentality in large businesses is mainstream left

            So is this why I find the management styles in corporate america so fucking retarded?

          2. It depends what you mean by right-wing. There have always been a lot of authoritarian right-wing groups. The original right wing was monarchist and aristocratic, can’t get much more top men than that

        3. If by business you mean working as a talking head on radio/FOX, then yes.

        4. Except the genuine loonies on the right don’t really end up in positions of influence in business. Business people have to have some tether to reality to succeed.

      2. No, not really. I’m not talking about your average hardline proggie or neo-con. I’m talking frothing-at-the-mouth batshit crazy. I’m talking the kind of batshit crazy that the would be a real problem for the left if the public ever became aware of their arguments. I mean, take Noam Chomsky. Your average person knows he’s a lefty and a real smart guy. They don’t know he fucking supported the Khmer Rouge! I mean the fact that Milton Friedman had marginal dealings with the Pinochet regime, even though he expressed strong disagreement with their policies, gets airtime in every discussion of the guy. But sing the praises of Pol Pot and you get a pass.

        1. This.

          Stormy, as usual is playing false equivalence, backed up by well, bullshit.

          The closest thing you can get to a “right-wing” loony in a high position in business is/was Ross Perot. But Perot wasn’t exactly right-wing, he was the same kind of third-way populist that would have been quite comfortable in the pre-’68 Democrat party.

  9. Displace personal responsibility by any means necessary.

  10. “Jeffrey Rogers Hummel, who sometimes contributes to Reason, has reviewed Claire Conner’s Wrapped in the Flag, a memoir of growing up in a family of John Birch Society believers”

    Moar proof of REASONS ties to the Birch/Kochs/Racist-Corporate-Imperialist Network of Earth Destroyers!

  11. I love ‘Road to Damascus’ stories. I get lots of them on facebook – christian, muslim, conservative, progressive – even a few libertarians.

    Remember, they are not meant to convince unbelievers that they must see the light and change their heathen ways. They are meant to reassure believers that they have made the correct choice and are on righteous path.

  12. OSU band director fired for “hostile” culture. In other words he pissed off one the parents.

    http://www.nbc4i.com/story/261…..llegations

    1. The probe was prompted by the complaint of a parent, who said members must swear secrecy oaths “about objectionable traditions and customs,” including members marching across the field in their underwear under the supervision of band directors and staff. One female student said more senior members of the band warn new members about the event, and advise them to wear items that provide “fuller coverage.”

      1. “Well, I just wore my usual banana hammock today, so I guess you guys are gonna get a better show than usual.”

        /Tuba section

    2. Ah, the Cult of Columbus eats another one of its own.

      Delicious. Go Bucks!!

    3. This one time, at band camp . . .

  13. Yegads – I’ll see what my brothers think when I attend Masonic Lodge next week.

    *adjusts apron*

  14. This makes her utterly oblivious to the extent to which she is still trapped in a conspiratorial worldview, but one of the Left rather than of the Right.

    Which is why dogmatic former fundamentalists make for the most obnoxious atheists (and vice versa). Assholes are assholes and sweethearts sweethearts regardless of political or religious affiliation, and changing your allegiances is a whole lot easier than changing your personality.

  15. The Trilateral Commission did it.

  16. Speaking of vast communist conspiracies.

    Massachusetts police chiefs rally for right to control long-gun permits

    Fuck Massachusetts police chiefs.

    1. Give them credit for boldness.

      1. Sir, may I measure your gun?

  17. I hadn’t thought of DAR since I was teenager back in the 20th century.
    DAR: Daughters of the American Revolution. They’re alive and well. They’re on the Internet. And a bit more eclectic now.

    http://www.dar.org/

    But you can tell they’re still right-wing nutjobs by not having a paunchy ten-thumbed pasty white guy in their group photo.

    1. But you can tell they’re still right-wing nutjobs by not having a paunchy ten-thumbed pasty white guy in their group photo.

      Sarc? Derp?

      My mother and aunt are both DAR members, I’ve attended some of their meetings, they hardly struck me as political. I will say that most of the individual members struck me as right-leaning politically. Of course, it’s generally hard to have any significant knowledge of the Revolution and be a lefty.

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