The John Birch Society, alive and well?

Based on my memory of where we lived at the time, remembering our living-room as the site, in 1973 I hosted a meeting of the John Birch Society (JBS). I only did that once, and my reasons for never doing it again, never participating again, had more to do with a lack of moral courage than anything about them. In my youthful and naive political state, I felt they were on to the right messages, but that I would be stigmatized by belonging and participating. For a brief while I had a bumper sticker supporting JBS, but when my older brother Steve snickered at it and me, it went away.

First, a brief history of JBS from Wikipedia. Surprisingly, it is littered with usual suspects and spook markers. The Society, founded in 1958, was named after John Birch, the “first American casualty of the Cold War.” During World War II, he was a military intelligence officer under General Claire Chennault. He was part of the “Doolittle Raid,” a subject that rings a bell but is off-topic here. In 1942, Birch, who spoke Chinese, became an Army Intelligence officer. In 1945, Birch was promoted to Captain and worked for the OSS, Office of Strategic Services, forerunner of the CIA. He led confrontations against renegade groups of Chinese Communists ordered to surrender. In one such confrontation, Birch was ordered to give up his sidearm, and refused. He was beaten and then shot, and his corpse was bayoneted.

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