Most of us have heard of the John Birch Society. Over the years, the publicity surrounding the Society has been a mixture of negative and positive attributes. They’ve been admired and ridiculed, they’ve been held in high esteem and with extreme distaste.
Is this perception justified? Who are the members of the John Birch Society? What is their purpose and what are their goals? Are they an anachronistic group with no place in the 21st century…
… or have they been perceptive foretellers of the direction of our nation from the beginning?
Please join Bill Heid on today’s Off the Grid Radio with his guest John McManus, the president of the John Birch Society, as they discuss the humble beginnings of the Society, the misconceptions surrounding JBS, their stated goals, and how America is following ancient Rome’s lead from republic to tyranny.
Off The Grid Radio
Release Date December 6, 2012
Bill: Here is today’s show. It is Bill Heid. I am your host and our very special guest today is John Birch Society President John McManus. John, welcome.
John: Nice to be with you. Thank you.
Bill: It’s great to have you here and I guess one of the things I wanted to talk a little bit about—I had mentioned before when we were just chatting before the show—I kind of wanted to talk a little bit about the Birch Society in general, sort of past, present and where we see the world going. Just years ago, when I was younger, you could talk about the John Birch Society and everyone in the world—because so much money by the insiders had been spent sort of trying to hammer the society—everybody thought you were a deranged crazy. Today I don’t think as many people really have that instinct and so I think there are some more open minds but let’s go back in time and talk a little bit about how the John Birch Society started—I think it’s a fascinating story—in Indianapolis, is it not?
John: Correct. It was started at a meeting in Indianapolis that Robert Welch spoke to 11 men for 17 hours over two days. The transcript of what he said on that occasion became The Blue Book of the John Birch Society. But to know when the society founded, you have to go back to find out why Robert Welch did what he did and who John Birch was and all of that. So maybe that’s something we can get into if that’s what you want.
Bill: Sure. I think you should talk a little bit about who John Birch was because people just hear that name and they have… There is no connectivity. Nobody knows who he was or what he was doing and why Mr. Welch picked up on him.
John: Well first of all, I should tell you that I don’t know how many times I’ve been on radio shows—even television shows—when I was asked, “When did John Birch start the John Birch Society?”
John: But that’s not so. John Birch was a young Christian missionary. He went to China in 1940 and when war broke out—Pearl Harbor in December of 1941—he eventually volunteered for service with the US forces in China. He had been made known to General Claire Chennault that headed the famous Flying Tiger Air Wing by General Jimmy Doolittle, who himself had been rescued by John Birch after making the famous raid over Tokyo in 1942, flying their planes to China, bailing out when they ran out of fuel and so forth.
John Birch brought Jimmy Doolittle back to safety and as a result of that, General Chennault got a hold of John Birch, said, “I’d like you to join our forces. You can speak the Chinese language, live amongst the Chinese people,” so forth so… And John said, “Well, I’ll be happy to do that. I’d like to be your chaplain” and Chennault said, “I don’t need a chaplain. I already have one. I need you as an intelligence operator.” So John became a lieutenant in the United States Army Air Corps. I think it was on the fourth of July of 1942 and he served with distinction for more than three years—became a legend in China. Anybody who served in the US mission in China during World War II had heard about the exploits of John Birch. But he was killed by Chinese communists ten days after the war ended because he was such a leader of the Chinese people and he would have been a block to the communist Chinese seizing control of that country, which they eventually did.
Robert Welch heard about the life and the death of John Birch—Robert Welch, the man who formed the John Birch Society years later. He got in touch with their parents—did his own investigation—and wrote a little book in 1954 called The Life of John Birch, which is a wonderful biography. So many high school students today are told, “Well, you have to read a biography and do a report on it.” I would always suggest to them that one of the best that they could do and learn some history in the process was to read The Life of John Birch.
Well anyhow, Robert Welch was quite concerned about the drift of our country into socialism and pro-communism, totalitarianism that he decided to form an organization to alert the American people and to preserve the American dream and he called it the John Birch Society after talking with the parents, asking John Birch’s parents if he could use their son’s name as a symbol. They happily said yes, became members right from the beginning and that’s how we became the John Birch Society.
Bill: What was going on John at the time, in the ‘50s, that had Mr. Welch so concerned in order to call this meeting in Indianapolis?
John: Well, part of his concern was the growth of government but also the presence within the government of a lot of communists. Senator Joseph McCarthy in Wisconsin was trying very hard to expose a lot of these people. He caught the full brunt of an attack on himself. Every charge that he ever made has been vindicated, especially when the Soviet archives were opened up and people could go there and do some research and find out that yes, Alger Hiss was a communist and yes, Harry Dexter White was a communist as McCarthy had been charging. Robert Welch was friendly with McCarthy. He appeared on several occasions as a Speaker. When McCarthy was a Speaker, Robert Welch was a Preliminary Speaker on the same programs.
But… So the society when it was formed was mainly known to be an anticommunist organization and that’s correct. But it was more than just anticommunist. It was anti-big government. We wanted to get back to the Constitution. We wanted to have limited government. We didn’t want to have a lot of the agencies that have been spawned since in worse form during the [inaudible 0:06:52.8] administration. So the society has an agenda that includes being opposed to totalitarianism under any form—communism, socialism, Nazism, fascism, you name it—and also to promote the wisdom of our founding fathers who gave us a limited government.
Bill: Well, that’s an amazing beginning and it’s an amazing foundation. As I said today John, it seems like so many people have sort of taken Birch Society stuff… And now it’s not exclusively Birch Society stuff but just the whole conspiracy idea that there were… Listen, there are conspiracies and as you talked about—whether it’s exposing… paying attention to Elizabeth Bentley’s trial or whatever it was—there… I mean these things that McCarthy said were true. And so people started to say, “Hey, wait a minute. Maybe we’re not getting the full boar from the media, from our public schools” or whatever in this big search but I mean you guys plowed the way and I think that’s what I want our listeners to take from this. There are so many radio shows on now that really have this… a similar motif but geez… You were talking about this stuff in the ‘50s.
John: That’s correct. Yep. Our society was formed in December of 1958 and it very quickly attracted quite a few people who were concerned about the way our country was being led. And then a smear campaign began and the John Birch Society was given the tar brush of tar brushes, I guess you could say. Every nasty thing you could say about anybody was said about the John Birch Society—anti-Semitism and racism and like the communists and like the clan and on and on you go. None of it had any basis in fact.
But a curious thing happened because of all the attention being paid the society. A lot of Americans decided to take a look at the John Birch Society maybe out of fear of what they had been told or maybe saying, ‘Well you know, the people who are saying this about the John Birch Society have said it about others as well. It wasn’t true then.” And our growth during that period of smear was quite substantial. In fact, we’ve never been able to approximate the influx of new people into the society that we did when we were being smeared and smeared on a daily basis.
Well, once the smear was discovered as to causing that—that result—then it stopped and there has been sniping at the society over the years and there will continue to be so but nothing like what was happening then. We would probably benefit from another broad attack on us in the media, the radio, the television, the newspapers, which occurred in the early ‘60s but I don’t think it’s going to happen. Unfortunately, even though a lot of people in our country are disturbed and concerned about the way we’re going, they are not being directed toward the John Birch Society by smear activity or by anything else. We have to go and reach out ourselves. And we are growing although never growing as much as we’d like to.
Bill: And you’ve got an amazing—I would even say fierce—sort of following, fierce meaning I think that your members as they’re committed are pretty courageous. I’ll never forget… I don’t know if you remember John B. Anderson during the 1980 election. Well, our chapter—this is… I’m in district—so Warren Parker and Lyle Osterday and myself and some of our chapter members, we went everywhere he went, right? And I mean we just—I won’t say harassed—but we were there all the time, refuting everything he did. And that’s just an example.
These older men that were in the Birch Society at the time were… I mean I looked at them and said, “What makes you tick? Why are you so courageous and fierce about this? You could be home watching TV.” Well, that’s what I found in the Birch Society is just a bunch of dedicated… And I’ve never found a better bunch of human beings as a group. And you probably concur, don’t you? I mean it’s a little bit in your favor to just say, “Yeah, that’s true” but really, all kidding aside; don’t you really have one of the finest groups of people in the world?
John: Well, I agree. I agree very, very emphatically—a determined group of people, determined to preserve the American dream, get government back under its restrictions and so forth. And these are people who are not 100% every hour of every day working on Birch Society activities. They are people who raise good families and people who know how to have fun in addition to all of the work that needs to be done. The John Birch Society is not a bunch of robots or automatons in any way. We’re regular human beings who do spend a lot of time trying to protect what they were given with no effort on their own. They were given freedom. They were given a good government. They were given a wonderful country. And they have decided that they want to protect that and they want to have it be able to be… pass it on to their children and grandchildren and so forth.
Bill: Yeah, that’s exactly what I’ve… There is such an—inside the society—there is such a care for the next generation and I think that’s… We talked about the summer camps and we talked about some of the other activities but I really found that as a young parent very helpful just that there were people—and this was long before homeschooling became popular or even too much of a possibility—that the Birch Society was there. Let’s fast-forward a little bit. Here we find ourselves in the age of Barack Obama and how do you kind of see…? We used to call it, in the old days when Gary Allan was alive, CFR Team A and CFR Team B and I think there’s still a sense in which that’s the case. How do you see things today? How did this election play out from your perspective?
John: Well, I have to say that it was a choice of CFR-A and CFR-B again, even though Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney—neither one of them is a member of the CFR—Council on Foreign Relations. But they were surrounded by people who were. I remember when the Wall Street Journal published 20 advisors to Mitt Romney and 11 of them were members of the Council on Foreign Relations—led by Henry Kissinger by the way. It was quite a revelation to anybody.
John: If you understood who Henry Kissinger was and what he spent his life doing. But our attitude is we’re not going to steal the presidency. The way we take our country back is through the House of Representatives. And why we say that is because the Constitution says—Article One, Section 7—“All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House.” So if the House of Representatives won’t originate a bill to fund the United Nations or foreign aid or the Department of Education, Housing, Energy, on and on you go—all these things, which we should never have been involved in and should get… stop doing—then that’s it.
The power of the purse belongs in the House and the House can spot the juggernaut that’s taking us into the New World Order and we’re glad to say that a lot of progress has been made in that regard, although still not enough. We were hoping for more of an influx of right thinking people into the House of Representatives in the 2012 elections. There were some but not enough. We’ve still got some work ahead of us and members of the society read the results of the election in 2012 and say, “Okay, we’ve still got more work to do” and get back doing it.
Bill: Yeah, there is a lot of work to do and sometimes… Do you remember in 1980—one of the things that I think really sort of at least crippled our little area where we were working—our chapter was—when Reagan came in? It’s funny what things do. Reagan came in and everybody thought it was over and of course Reagan really, while a great rhetorician, probably had a few things going on under the surface as well. But it’s amazing how people will go back to sleep, wake up. I would think with Barack Obama being reelected it would be an opportune time as we move into this next stage of perhaps tyranny or higher taxes or a combination of all those things, that it would be… the ground would be fertile for opening people’s minds and eyes.
John: Oh, well yes. Yes. It… I don’t know what the numbers were but tens of millions of people voted against Barack Obama and he was reelected. He was reelected because of all of the people who are on welfare and the black people who were voting for him because he’s black and the Hispanics voting for him because he’s got goodies for them and the government workers don’t want to see their positions abolished, which should happen and so on. And I used… I was telling people for the past two years—“Don’t expect to steal the presidency. You’ve got too much against you. Work on getting yourself a decent member in the House of Representatives to start—a Senator if you can find somebody to vote for” and I guess the folks there in Texas went ahead and they put somebody in the Senate that’s probably going to be very, very helpful. So we’re glad about that. And there were some gains in this recent election although not as many as I would hope.
What’s also true is that the gains for the good guys—the gains for the people who want less government and who want our country to mind its own business and stop being the policeman of the world—gains for those views are made much more in a non-presidential year when about one-third fewer people vote. When you get a presidential race, you get a tremendous turnout at the polls—although it wasn’t as many as what had been expected—but in a non-presidential year when every member of the House of Representatives and one-third of the Senators have to be up for reelection, then you could see a lot more progress. So we look forward now to 2014 and more progress towards getting the government back under what Thomas Jefferson referred to as the “chains of the Constitution.”
Bill: You bet. You bet. I’ve always been sort of a fan of the Birch Society’s slogan—“Less government, more responsibility, and—with God’s help—a better world.” I can’t think of a better slogan John, than that. I am curious, how did that slogan…? What was the origin of it?
John: Well, it originated with Robert Welch. When he first started the John Birch Society, he actually proposed that as a slogan. But it was only “Less government, more responsibility and a better world.” He was persuaded at one point to add “and with God’s help—a better world” so he happily did that and the slogan then became “Less government, more responsibility, and—with God’s help—a better world.”
I know one of the members of the council—I got to know very, very well—who is a Catholic priest named Father Francis Fenton and he took that slogan and he went on and gave a speech around the country and the title of his speech was “If We Be Worthy”—so less government, more responsibility, and—with God’s help if we be worthy of His help—a better world would result. And I agree with that. Now that never became part of the slogan of the John Birch Society but the “if we be worthy” thought of Father Francis Fenton is something that was shared by Catholics, Protestants and anybody else in the John Birch Society, it had to be worthy of asking God’s help. It’s not a case of sitting back and saying, “God, we’ve got a bad problem here. You come and please solve it.” Not at all.
John: You know?
Bill: Sure. I always admired that sort of… of his. And I like his writing, where he’s a little bit sort of an Augustinian. He’s always emphasizing, “Well, what does God require of us?” where I think in many circles that seems to just be gone—but not in his writing. And so I’m glad you touched on that because don’t you think…? Like I was watching… I would watch Tea Party and I’m—believe me—I’m all for Tea Party stuff and… But I would think in my mind, “I wonder out of all the people here at this Tea Party rally, how many of these people have their mothers or grandmothers in a nursing home that are being paid for by the state.”
And so here we go—less government—but how are we going to do that? More responsibility. In other words, there is always going to be the needy and the poor. There is always going to be something that needs to be done. But if we’re going to say the government’s not going to do that John, then don’t we have to say we’re going to do it?
John: Yes. Yeah. That’s part of being responsible. The breakup of the family is something that’s been very helpful to the New World Order advocates. They want that very much. Then getting onto this subject, I’ve run into people who are Bible students and who are not doing a thing to help preserve our country. They are praying. They are trying to pray the problem away. And I always say, “Well you know, one of my favorite portions of scripture is the wedding feast of Cana” and I said—and they all know about that—they all know what happened there, that the family that was sponsoring the wedding, they ran out of wine and so they came to Jesus and they asked if he could do something and help them.
So now Jesus could have said, “Oh, well you already have wine. I’ve just miraculously created a whole bunch of it somewhere—a lot of it—but no. What happened? He told them to arrange the earthen jars—the big pots—he told them to fill them with water, he told them to do everything they could do up to the point that they could do no more and then he changed the water to wine. But the point that I drive in is you’ve got to do the preliminaries before you can ask for God’s help. And a lot of those people say, “Well, you know I haven’t been doing many of these preliminaries” and I say, “Well, it’s okay. It’s a good time to start. Let’s start doing the preliminaries and then we ask God’s help.” So we pray as if everything depends on God but we work as if everything depends on us and we do them both at the same time.
Bill: Yeah, I think that’s brilliant. And you know, I sort of missed that “less government, more responsibility, and—with God’s help—a better world” in the Romney campaign. It just seemed like he was a version of Obama that was going to hand out Republican versions of what… So didn’t it kind of seem like—and I know this is your motif—but really, didn’t it seem like there was only one sort of issue? And there two different sides—maybe one campaign—they were both running on the same issue, basically.
John: Well, that’s true. I mean ObamaCare should have been a major campaign item for Republicans but ObamaCare was started because of Romney having RomneyCare in the state of Massachusetts. So you don’t put somebody up to repeal ObamaCare who is already in favor of government involvement in the healthcare business. Now I have a copy of a newspaper report that had a picture of a Romney campaign and there was the big Romney’s campaign slogan up on the wall and it said, “Repeal and replace ObamaCare—repeal and replace.”
So you know that if Romney got his way, he would repeal ObamaCare but he would put in its place something under a different name that’s probably the same thing. And it certainly didn’t make any sense for people who realize how dangerous and how harmful ObamaCare can be not only in the health field but also monetarily and control of government over our lives and so on. You don’t put him in as an opponent of that, who is already in favor of it, which is what happened in the year 2012 in the presidential election.
Bill: And I was thinking too that I’m not sure Reagan could run on the Republican platform anymore. I’m not even sure John Kennedy could run as a Republican. Don’t you think in a way they are way too conservative to run on the Republican platform?
John: Well, I do. Well, you get back to Ronald Reagan and you’ve got to realize that he chose for his running mate George HW Bush who was as much a favorite of the insiders in the conspiracy as anybody in our country and he had more credentials than anybody and it was even considered a betrayal. But I remember early in the Reagan administration, I was writing—as I’ve done all during my career in the Birch Society—and I wrote a little piece and I pointed out that Ronald Reagan had just come out and said, “We’re not here to do away with government spending. We’re here simply to cut the rate of increase in the amount of spending that’s being proposed.”
He was supposedly going to roll back government. He was going to abolish the Department of Education, Department of Energy. He never even lifted a finger. And as for adding to the government’s funding and the government’s indebtedness, he was just as good at doing that as was Carter before him and Clinton after him. So unfortunately, I think that the Reagan administration was very good at rhetoric—very appealing rhetoric—but performance left a lot to be desired.
Bill: Yeah, and behind the scenes maybe. Yeah. And of course the beginning of the Bush dynasty—or dynasties—I mean it’s been a sad… Because don’t you think in some sense is at least… But at least John, Reagan had the rhetoric right and if you listened to Reagan, you felt glad to be an American. He extolled the Constitution. If you remember at Christmas he said, “Gee, guess what Christmas is about? It’s about Jesus Christ dying for sinful mankind—coming in time and space—the incarnation.” That was his Christmas message to all of us. I mean he wasn’t hanging Chairman Mao Christmas bulbs on his tree like this guy.
John: Right. Yeah. And you’re not likely to get that kind of rhetoric from the current President either.
Bill: Yeah. So you’ve seen a lot of this coming back and forth as… And as I can hear you saying, “Look, here’s what even in Reagan’s administration we really didn’t get what we had hoped for.” So how do you place—if you were to put us on a… Do you remember Gary Allan’s old chart where instead of having the right and the left, we had total anarchy on one side and it was sort of totalitarianism on the other side? Where are we with Obama? And I you’re… I mean you’re a guy that studied history. You’re a guy that studied world history, our history of our country in-depth, you’re around all these amazing people, you’re just educated. Where do you—from the insider’s standpoint especially—where do you think we are in this greater scheme?
John: I think we’re moving very slowly piece by piece, step by step toward the socialist goal, the socialist goal being total government power and economic and political power. And at the same time, I think the people of our country are moving more to the right. The political spectrum that you mentioned there is something that Gary Allan took from a program that I did way back in the early 1970s called “Overview of America.”
Bill: Oh yes. Yes.
John: It’s there where I defined the political spectrum as going from zero government on one side to 100% on the other, the zero side being no government, which we don’t want, the 100% side being communism, socialism, fascism, Nazism and princes, potentates, dictators, kings—whatever. And the Americans should be in the middle. We should have a limited government under a Constitution—under some sort of a law—which is what the Constitution is. So if you’re a believer, as I am, you’re a Constitutional moderate. You’re not an extremist. You’re not an advocate of no government. You’re not an advocate of total government. But our country is moving more towards the totalitarian side of the political spectrum and that’s very dangerous and it’s something that we work against very hard in the John Birch Society.
Bill: John, I remember early on when I was a young man picking up a copy of the tract about republics and democracies that the Birch Society offered and I think it’s important for people to understand too—if you want to talk a little bit about—how the more we get democratized, the more dangerous things are and how you don’t need a Caesar, a Pharaoh, a Hitler to create total tyranny. This can be done by the people—by 51% of the people. Do you want to just spend a few minutes sort of articulating your view of republics and democracies and our founders as well?
John: Oh certainly. I’d be happy to do that. The founding fathers of the United States greatly feared democracy. They stated very clearly their preference for the republic form of government. So what’s the difference? Well, democracy—the word comes from the Greek “demos” and “kratia,” demos—people, kratia—to rule and it means the majority rule. And there is no bounds that the majority can’t go towards. There is no limit on what they want. You can persuade the people that they want this kind of government, that kind of government or they want socialism, they want this. Then in fact, that’s what you get because there is no standard. The founding fathers feared that. James Madison, the father of the Constitution, he once said, “Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention, have ever been found incompatible with the rights of free people and in general are as short in their lives as they are violent in their deaths.”
Yet Americans are told over and over again every day that we are a democracy and that we’ve never been [inaudible 0:31:25.2]. The reality is just the opposite. We’re a republic. Where did that come from? Republic is from the Latin “res publica,” res—thing, publica—public. The public thing—the law. And a true republic is one that starts off with a law that limits government through proper functions—mostly negative functions—and leaves the people alone. The model for a republic was the early republic in Rome and it led to Rome becoming dominant throughout most of the world. And then the Roman people began to scream for more bread and more circuses and so forth and the Roman republic was converted into a democracy and it led to the Caesars that led to totalitarian government, some very vicious people—the Diocletians of the time—and so on. Same thing can happen here and it is happening here. We are not a democracy. John Birch Society slogan—this is a republic, not a democracy—let’s keep it that way.
Robert Welch gave a famous speech on that subject shortly after the society had been formed. It was in Chicago and I think it was about 1961 and he had some of the best people in our country, some of the most well informed people—even members of the Birch Society. And he told them what a democracy was. He told them what a republic was. He told them the difference between them and how we were getting away from a republic and heading towards democracy, which leads to tyranny and he blew them away. Even the best people in our country in 1961 had no idea of the difference between a republic and a democracy. So what we’ve done is we’ve reprinted his speech. I’ve done little things, little pamphlets on the subject.
I have one now out—“A Republic, If You Can Keep It,” which was a famous statement of Ben Franklin. Came outside the Constitutional Convention in 1787. A woman met him on the sidewalk and said, “Sir, what have you given us?” and he said, “A republic ma’am, if you can keep it.” And there is a lot of wisdom in that. So we started off that way—limited government. There were people that wanted this, they wanted that, they wanted something else—“No, we can’t do that. The chains of the Constitution forbid it.” If you wanted to get it done in your own state and so on…
But the Constitution of the United States even requires that every state have a republic as its form of government. It says that in the Constitution and the word “democracy” does not appear in the Constitution or in the constitutions of any of the 50 states in our country, though it’s quite a lesson. We have a DVD out today called “Overview of Our World.” It’s 29 minutes long, written and narrated by myself and it’s probably been viewed by as many as 7-10 million people in our country, continues to simply open up the minds of a lot of people. I’ve seen young people who sat through 29 minutes of that and said, “That’s not what they’re teaching us in school.” I said, “Okay. You’re correct. They’re not teaching that in school and you’ve got to be careful of what else they might be trying to teach you.”
Bill: How can people get a hold of “Overview of Our World”?
John: Very simple. Go to JBS.org on the internet. Go to “Shop JBS,” which is one of the alternatives you’re given. And just order it. It costs $1.00. And I always tell people… You’ve got to pay $1.00, you’ve got to pay a shipping charge—I don’t know– $3.00 or $3.50 or something like that. So I say, “Well, get five of them and…”
Bill: Pass them around—yeah.
John: It’s going to… It’ll still cost you less than $10.00 and the people who get that will shake their head and say, “I’ve never heard any of this” but obviously it’s true. It’s the case. If we can quote Madison as I did and we quote other founding fathers and so on. We are a republic. And of course people do pledge allegiance to the flag still and to the what? “To the republic for which it stands.” And I’ve told people over and over again, I say, “I never heard anybody sing the Battle Hymn of the Democracy.”
Bill: Well, the problem with the Pledge of Allegiance John—and Pastor Doug Wilson has said—when you say it you kind of feel like you’re dating a girl that’s seeing five other guys.
John: Well, that could be.
Bill: Yeah, I think he’s kind of hit it. Is there a way to get…? Now I’ve still got my copy of Mr. Welch’s speech on cassette tapes. Some people listening to this probably don’t know what a cassette tape is. I’ve got that. Is there a way that folks could listen to that speech still?
John: I think so. Go to the internet. Go to the John Birch Society. Plug in the different things that you get and I think the “Overview of America” is available. You could listen to it for 29 minutes. Or you can send a $10.00 bill to the John Birch Society and you’ll get back five copies of the DVD and you can share them with others. The way to address us is John Birch Society, PO Box 8040, Appleton Wisconsin, 54912. Or you can order them over the internet and pay with a credit card.
Bill: Probably the easiest way—yeah.
Bill: A couple other quick questions—almost like little Bill Heid housekeeping questions—is…? Are…? The American Opinion—is that anywhere to be found—the old copies? I’d love to buy a set of that.
John: Well, the old American Opinion was our magazine. We changed in 1985. We had a monthly and a weekly magazine. The Review of the News was our weekly. And we decided that we didn’t need two magazines—we needed one. And so we combined the two and we came out with a new magazine called The New American. And as far as getting back issues of the old American Opinion, I think if you find an older member you might find that his garage is full of them.
Bill: That’s how I’ve acquired most of them John, that I’ve got so far. It’s older members.
John: Yeah. That’s right and I don’t know of any source where you could go and get the old copies.
Bill: But if you want to talk about prophetic—just reading Susan Hawke and Gary Allan and some of these guys—it’s really just amazing how germane the stuff that was written years and years ago is to today. And I guess this is a perfect segue for us to talk about finances and we had folks writing and Birch Society was really—before any group that I knew—the Birch Society was talking about what inflation… Remember the filmstrip that was available years ago? I can’t think of… The Incredible Bread Machine? Was that the title of it?
John: Yes, that was put out by a Libertarian group. We had our own. We called it Dollars and Sense.
Bill: Dollars and Sense. I think we showed that in the chapter that I was in for a while. And just drawing attention to the fact that not only from the constitutional standpoint you can’t do that but also from the standpoint—the pragmatic standpoint—because you’re going to destroy your country. You talked about bread and circuses before—coin clipping—how can we make this all work? How can we spend the money and not… and still have the money and so forth? So I think it’s a good opportunity for us to segue into a little bit of what happens when you do to your currency what we’re doing to our currency? And there is history here before. We don’t have to… It’s not like we’re reinventing anything, John. This has been done and it’s been tried before and it always ends up in disaster.
John: That’s right. Sound money is the basis of a thriving nation. There are people who want to turn that around and say a thriving nation has sound money. No—the sound money comes first. The Constitution of the United States did not allow the federal government to issue money. Congress shall have power to coin money, right? People take their precious metals to the Mint, which they started in 1792 and have it stamped into coinage of a fixed size, weight and purity and that helped our country to take off, as you could say.
Today we are the most heavily indebted nation in the history of mankind. They admit to $16 trillion but if you add up all of the unfunded obligations that the federal government already has—Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, highway trust funds, all this—all that money has been spent. There is no money. And if you add it all up, you’re well over $100 trillion—an incomprehensible amount of money. So what we are seeing is that in order to cover expenses, the federal government is simply—with its partner, the Federal Reserve—printing money and the printed money takes on value by robbing a little bit of the value of everybody else’s money.
That’s what inflation is. And if you can remember buying five gallons of gasoline for your car for $1.00 and now you’re paying $3.50 for one gallon, you would say, “Whoa. The price of gasoline has really gone up.” No. What has happened is the value of the dollar has really gone down.
John: And what can it lead to? Well, it can lead to chaos—economic chaos—and there are already people suggesting that what we’re really going to have is the United Nations issued currency, special drawing rights, the world… some UN agency issuing the world’s money. If you had that happen, you’ve lost your sovereignty and the United Nations will be totally in control. So I’ve often said that the most serious threat facing our country is not this program or that program or whatever. It’s the destruction of the dollar. The dollar that when the Federal Reserve started in 1913 was worth 100 cents is now worth less than 2 cents and it continues to decline.
What should be done in order to stop that? Well, stop deficit spending. Start paying off the national debt. How are you going to stop deficit spending? You’re going to get rid of agencies of the federal government that are not authorized by the Constitution. You’re going to get rid of the Department of Education, Energy, Housing, Welfare, government medicine and so forth. You’re going to get rid of undeclared wars. You’re going to get rid of foreign aid. I always like to say… I do this in speeches that I give.
Almost without—in any subject—I’ll finally get around to it and I say, “I talked to a fourth grader recently and I asked the fourth grader if you’re heavily in debt should you give away money like our foreign aid program? And the fourth grader will look at me quizzically like I am nuts and say, ‘Of course not. You shouldn’t give away money if you’re heavily in debt.’” And I always say at that point—“How would you like to run for Congress?” I think the fourth grader mentality would be very, very good in Congress.
Bill: Yeah. That’s… That’s for sure because at that level you… It just makes so much sense and you don’t have all of these pressures for bread and circuses and it’s easy for someone to understand that the laws of gravity or whatever laws that exist in the universe can’t be… They can’t be messed with for long. You can kind of mess around with them for a while. I was thinking about the Weimar Republic as you were talking and here’s some guys that messed with this whole thing and the tragedy is you don’t just get a hyperinflationary currency and the value of everything you own go to nothing.
The tragedy is on the heels—as you have been articulating so well, John—on the heels of this destruction comes Hitler because you’re going to want a strong… People are going to say, “Is there a strong man? Can he put this whole… this Humpty Dumpty back together again? Because it’s broke.” And the temptation is just for whoever has the best Power Point presentation you’re going to say, “Bring that guy in. I don’t care how many Jews he kills,” right? And…
Bill: That’s a tragedy.
John: He went… He’s got to have government power. Right. Well, you talked about the Weimar Republic—exactly the scenario we’re describing that’s happening to America happened in the 1920s. At the end of World War I the German people were required to pay reparations for the war. They didn’t have the money so what did they do? They printed their money. They just kept printing and printing and printing and you could get a whole bundle full of Reich marks and you couldn’t buy a loaf of bread with it. And finally everything collapsed and the people lost their homes and their businesses and they were very, very saddened and angry.
A guy named Hitler came along and said, “I can restore German pride. Give me power and I will restore German pride.” And they did. And everybody knows the rest of that story. Inflation has always been used by aspiring tyrants. It was used by Diocletian. It was used by Hitler. It was used in France in the French Revolution. It was over and over again. History confirms that you give somebody the power to inflate the currency and he will and inflation is not rising prices. As Gary Allan once said—and I’ve quoted that many, many times—“If you believe inflation is rising prices you believe wet streets cause rain.”
Bill: That’s exactly what it is. Yes.
John: The rising prices is the effect of inflation. Inflation is an increase in the quantity of currency that destroys its value and consequently people raise their prices to get more of that currency for their goods and their services and eventually if you don’t stop it, the currency becomes absolutely worth nothing and then you want a strong man to come and to take care of everything and set everything back in order. And what you get is a strong man who gives you tyranny.
Bill: And John, what’s that strong guy going to do? He’s going to pick some group to blame. So Hitler picked Jews, right? Because you’ve got to… It couldn’t be my fault. So in an Obama administration David Axelrod or whoever it is is going to have to pick somebody—if you would have a blow-off during the next four years—it could be further out than that but someone is going to have to be blamed for this, right?
John: Well, they’ll blame the rich people. The rich people are already being blamed. Now what do rich people…? What does a rich person do with his wealth? Well, he invests it in somebody else’s business, doesn’t he?
John: And he fuels the free enterprise system. Are there some rich people who are working through socialism to build power for themselves and their cronies? Yeah. There are some that do that. But to be wealthy is not to be evil. It may be you’ve worked harder than others. It may mean that you’ve accumulated the ability to help others start businesses and so on. Imagine… And people think that a wealthy person is just somebody who sits around and has his table full of stocks and bonds and coins and whatever else and just sits there and gloats. That’s exactly what does not happen. Even some people that I know who are quite wealthy, they put their time and effort into building a business, investing in somebody else’s business and…
Bill: Which creates jobs.
John: Which creates jobs, which keeps our country free and independent and so on. So there is the scapegoat there. The scapegoat isn’t going to be Jews. It’s going to be wealthy people. Maybe some of the will be Jews. Maybe some of them will be Catholics or Lutherans or whatever. I don’t know. But there will be scapegoats if we go into tyranny and you’ll see that happen.
Bill: Well John, we’re kind of running out of time. I want to give a little bit of a shameless plug for a great Christmas gift that you’re involved with. First of all, before that, if you just want more information on the organization that John’s been talking about just go to JBS.org and start looking around. There is some great stuff. Again, our good friend Alex Jones talks about a lot of this stuff but the Birch Society was doing these things before Alex was born—was talking about these things and producing books and sort of exposing the conspiracy, as it were, long… a long, long time ago.
But my shameless plug for a great Christmas gift, John, is a gift to one of your friends or family for The New American. One of the things that I do personally is send this out to people that may not sort of—I don’t like preaching to people the stuff all the time—but just members of my family and I’m telling you, they get accustomed to the truth that is in The New American and then when we get back together again—Thanksgiving, Christmas or whatever—it’s funny because these people that I’ll give these gifts to, they’ll see me and they’ll say, “Well, did you read that article that John McManus wrote?” or whoever and I’ll say, “Yeah. Yeah.” And then so it becomes something that’s on their mind and they become sort of adapted to what a counter view would be.
Is that a good way to say that, John—just an off the grid counter view of what the mainstream media is providing? If we need anything at this point in history it’s that counter view. And I think a subscription… You can buy one subscription for $39.00. I don’t get anything out of this so this is again, a shameless plug for me that has nothing to do with our organization but it has everything to do with an organization that I think is extremely worthy. I think you can get additional ones for $29.00 and so we’ll give five or six, seven, eight—whatever—to as many people as we can think of that might enjoy reading it. So that’s something to think about for Christmas that would have meaning—Constitutional meaning—and just talking about some of the things that we’ve been talking about John, what better gift could you give somebody than just…? And it’s going to give.
John: A gift subscription to The New American magazine would be something that… It’s a gift that continues… You continue to give it all throughout the year. It’s not just one little thing that you get at Christmas, you open up the package, you throw away the wrapping and then you have a gift. But if you give a gift of The New American magazine, then the gift continues coming all during the year.
Bill: All during the year. And it could cause a little domestic problem. One of the things that my wife does—and her grandpa was a chapter leader so she probably learned this years ago—when our issue comes she hides it so that I don’t see it so that she can read it first. So… And I’ll find her little places where she hides it and so I’m thinking, “What kind of game is being played here Kim?” So anyway, John we’re winding down as… Do you want to say anything else at the end here as we close?
John: I’m glad to have the plug for The New American magazine because I’m the publisher.
Bill: You’re the publisher and you do a great job. Again, I wouldn’t say this stuff… I don’t promise stuff that I don’t think is worthy.
John: The hard work is done by the editor. That’s Gary Benoit. But I write articles for The New American magazine and we have a wonderful team. I know people in and around Washington who are in conservative organizations and whenever I get together with some of these people they have their own smaller organizations and they always say, “Your magazine is far and away the best—absolutely the best. Keep up the good work.” And we’re happy to be able to do that with them—to keep up the good work and have the magazine.
So you can even get a sample of the magazine. Again, go to the internet. You can get an idea of what the magazine is saying. Some of the articles are already posted. Every second week when we publish, we post some of the articles on the internet and you can get a sense of what’s really going on there. Find out about Agenda 21. Find out about the economic travails of our country. Find out about these free trade agreements that our country wants to start when free trade isn’t really free and the economic integration is always followed by political integration—a step toward world government—that’s what these free trade things are all about.
So there is plenty of perspective there. We’re always glad to provide it. We’ve reinvigorated our campaign to support your local police and keep them independent of the federal government. We don’t want to see federal police power. If you say that in German it’s “Gestapo.”
John: Say it in Russia—it’s NKVD or one of the other names that they put on theirs. So yes, we’re very proud of our magazine. It does have a tremendous impact and quite frequently we reprint articles out of it in small pamphlet form and then distribute those throughout the country. So we have the DVDs, we have the magazine, we have the reprints, we have books, we have everything you’d expect of an educational organization but we also are an action organization.
We’re not just sitting around stewing about the things we don’t like. We have programs that say, “Here is what you can do to stop the juggernaut towards the New World Order and to start rolling back the big government that we have.” We want to get out of the United Nations. We eventually want to see a demise of the Federal Reserve System. People say, “Okay, you want to get rid of the Federal Reserve? What are you going to put in its place?” and the answer is “Nothing.” Federal government should never have given power to the Federal Reserve to do to our monetary system what’s being done today. It’s just absolutely criminal.
So there is a lot there and I certainly appreciate the chance to talk to your audience, give a little bit about the history of the John Birch Society and what we do and how we would love to have more members. More members will make us able to solve more problems faster and also then to begin to roll back some of the things that have been done that are so harmful to the country.
Bill: Well John, well said and we know you are a busy man and we want to thank you for spending the last hour with us and I want to join the accolades and say to you well done and keep up the good work. And to our listeners we want to also say the same thing. Thanks for spending the last hour with us. We know your time is valuable and we really do appreciate you spending it with us. Thanks again.
John: Thank you.