The Kochs call themselves free-market, libertarian-infused conservatives. A quick translation of that wonky jargon means that most of us will not prosper in Kochs’ version of America.
Most John Birch Society leaders are buried deep in the recesses of American history, known only to politics junkies, history wonks and me, a Birch kid.
There is one exception however, a Birch name that echoes across today’s political landscape: Fred C. Koch, founding member and national council member. Before Koch’s sons―David and Charles―became synonymous with corporate political power, Koch built a fortune from an oil drilling techniques he developed. But it didn’t happen immediately. In the early days, oil companies in the United States were not interested in Koch’s new methods. Fred looked elsewhere for contracts that would keep his fledgling company in business.
In 1929, he landed a $5,000,000 contract for his company to build fifteen oil refineries in Russia, Joseph Stalin’s Communist Russia.
Koch supervised the refinery installations, traveling extensively across the country over three years. He claimed that his hatred for Communism grew out of his Russian experiences, but he had pocketed $500,000 (his part of the company’s profits) before his outrage set in. That money, $8,000,000 in today’s dollars made Fred Koch a very rich man.
But Stalin was not the only totalitarian dictator Fred Koch supported. During the 1930s, Fred’s company, Winkler-Koch Engineering planned and oversaw the construction of a huge oil refinery in Hamburg, Germany. This facility became essential to the Nazi War Machine. (details in Dark Money by Jane Mayer, Chapter One: Radicals: A Koch Family History)
According to Jane Mayer, “Fred Koch’s willingness to work with the Soviets and the Nazis was a major factor in creating the Koch family’s early fortune.” (Dark Money p. 31) This history is certainly not the image of “free enterprise” and an “unfettered free market” that the Kochs defend.
In 1960, thirty years after he took Communist and Nazi money and parleyed it into an even bigger fortune, Koch wrote his book, A Businessman Looks at Communism, in which he rails against labor unions and the Civil Rights Movement as part of the Communist plot to take over America.
“Labor Unions have long been a Communist goal,” Koch wrote. “The effort is frequently made to have the worker do as little as possible for the money he receives. This practice alone can destroy our country.” (p. 16)
My father, Stillwell J Conner, who served on the John Birch Society National Council with Fred Koch, had identical views on labor unions. As long as there is breath in my body,” Dad vowed, “there will never be a union in my company. I’ll board it up first. Fred (Koch) sees it like I do, one hundred percent.”
Koch was equally damning views of civil rights. “The colored man looms large in the Communist plan to take over America,” he said (p. 25) and “it will use the colored people by getting a vicious race war started.”
Koch’s views on civil rights were identical to those of the John Birch Society. Early in the civil rights movement, the Birch founder labeled Dr. Martin Luther King a Communist and marshaled the Birch leadership to fight every piece of civil rights legislation.
Fred Koch died in 1967, leaving his company and his vast fortune to his four sons: Freddie, Charles, David and Bill who spent the next twenty years battling over the estate. Eventually, David and Charles emerged with control over Koch Industries, one of the largest privately-held corporations in the country.
The sons acquired dozens of companies and diversified their fossil fuel assets into every commodity from silicon chips to toilet paper. Koch Industries continues to build its corporate wealth (and the Koch brothers’ personal wealth) with government contracts and government tax breaks.
Like their father, the Koch Brothers have no problem doing business with enemies of the United States. Koch Industries subsidiaries have engaged in very profitable business with Iran–despite federal sanctions against such trade.
The Koch brothers have enormous personal fortunes, somewhere around $40 billion dollars each in net worth. They are investing hundreds of millions of dollars in their favorite causes, right-wing, libertarian, anti-government ones. David identified himself as the wallet behind Americans for Prosperity, the big umbrella for Freedom Works and the Tea Party. Charles founded the Cato Institute, a powerful think-tank specializing in selling right-wing policies on everything from taxes to entitlements.
Let’s not kid ourselves about the radical ideas that the Koch Brothers are selling. Despite their contributions to cultural organizations including the ballet, museums, and the opera, the Kochs have a burning desire to dismantle a large portion of the structures of the United States. They were taught to dislike the government by their father. Charles expanded the dislike into hate.
Brian Doherty, who chronicled the rise of American libertarianism in his book Radicals for Capitalism, interviewed Charles Koch. Charles made no secret of his political aim : “tear the government out at the root.” An unpublished history of the Koch family, written by Clayton Coppin and accessed by Jane Mayer for her book, Dark Money, looked at Koch’s hatred of the government. According to Coppin, Charles was “driven by some deeper urge to smash the one thing left in the world that could discipline him: the government.” (Mayer, pp 53-55)
Read more: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/01/charles-koch-political-ascent-jane-mayer-213541#ixzz3zc4ihFwq
Following in the footsteps of their father and the John Birch Society, David and Charles Koch are spending huge amounts of money to turn the United States into a country with a pint-sized federal government and none of the expenses of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid or any other social program. Oh, and very low taxes, especially for rich billionaires like them.
This libertarian utopia would free businesses to make a profit unrestrained by regulation. Corporate taxes and taxes on the rich would be tiny, allowing vast accumulations of wealth for the wealthy. Workers incomes would be set by corporations without the requirements of minimum wages and union scale.
The ultimate irony of the Koch Brothers is this: they are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to wreck the country that helped make them so fabulously wealthy.
I talk in detail about the Kochs and their plans for America in an interview with Jen Senko for her new documentary, “The Brainwashing of My Dad,” premiering in March 2016. Click the arrow below:
Check these books out for much, much more
- Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right by Jane Mayer. Doubleday, 2016, available in hardcover and in ebook
- Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America’s Most Powerful and Private Dynasty by Daniel Schulman, Grand Central Publishing, 2014, available in hardcover, paperback, and ebook.
- Wrapped in the Flag: What I Learned Growing Up in the Radical Right, How I Escaped, and Why My Story Matters Today by Claire Conner, Beacon 2013, available in hardcover, paperback, ebook, and Audible
You are a shelter from the storm. Your experiences are heart wrenching. I hope you continue to share your wisdom and analysis of your life experiences with us.
James Dunbar says
Citizens United is the beginning of the end of freedom for the 99% of us who cannot influence who is tapped to run, what opinion can be swayed via videos. The Koch Brothers are symptoms of a society bought and paid for by corporate greed. It is not enough to have $35B when for a few hundred thousand dollars more you can buy another senator who in turn will deregulate and enable you to make another $5B.
The Koch Brothers. Philanthropists…yes! Also great polluters.
John Bevilaqua says
More information is coming out every year about the role of Maj Gen Edwin A. Walker of the Dallas John Birch Society in the JFK Assassination. I think you are on to something very important here. Walker was the grandson of Fred Koch’s financial patron and sponsor Charles de Ganahl and in return Fred named his first born son Charles de Ganahl Koch. And Walker was a contributor to The American Mercury Magazine when it was published right in Wichita, KS where the Koch headquarters were located. I believe that it was Fred Koch who really owned or sponsored that magazine during that period when it was run by Rev. Gordon Winrod from Defenders of the Christian Faith in Wichita, KS. http://karws.gso.uri.edu/jfk/the_critics/Whitmey/Man.html Here is the citation about Walker and the de Ganahl family links: “[Dr. Charles de Ganahl], whose father came to America from the Austrian Tyrolean region, remained loyal to the Confederacy after the Civil War and moved to Mexico for several years.” “The Ganahls can be traced back to the 1300s in Austria. They owned various enterprises, among them, cotton spinning and milling. Of his 10 children, Johann Ulrich Ganahl (1725-1772) had two sons — Johann and Joseph — who rose to prominence. Joseph’s descendants were those who struck out to America. In 1803, Charles Ganahl’s grandfather, Joseph Ganahl Von Zanzenberg (1754-1833), an Austrian doctor of law and town clerk, received his Patent of Nobility from Holy Roman Emperor Francis II for service during the war with Napoleon. In 1816, his son, Johann Joseph, came to Augusta, and then Savannah, Ga. for the Ganahl Mills. He opted to drop the noble title and only use Ganahl, as a sign of his democratic beliefs. He married Charlotte Elizabeth Conn of Augusta, and of their nine children, four lived past childhood — John Henry, Charles, Joseph and Frank.” One of Dr. Charles de Ganahl’s grandsons was right-wing Maj. Gen. Edwin Anderson Walker, whom Lee Harvey Oswald attempted to assassinate. (Life was rarely dull for members of the Ganahl family. By Irene Van Winkle. West Kerr Current, 2006.)
cynthia curran says
True, people tend to forget the book Suburban Warriors are here the John Birch Society was popular in Orange County Ca. The OC had few minorities in those days mainly Mexican and in the 1940’s they sometimes went to different schools than Whites.. The right had a n hold in Orange County until about the last decade since it was rural unitl the late 1960’s. The Republican Registered has slipped from 55 in 1990 to about 43 percent today because a lot of whites that supported more the hard right moved to cheaper places like Texas. There is still a hard right in Orange County Ca but not like the old days. Also, the OC has the smallest black population about 2 percent while Asians are now abut 18 percent and Hispanics about 34 percent. it could be in the John Schmitz-Unz era that blacks were afraid to moved to Orange County like immigrant Hispanics and Asians did later on. In fact some of the Conservative congressmen in OC that are pretty conservative are aging and districts are now more white which means they probably have another decade but democratic have majorities in Anaheim and Santa and the more Asian city of Irvine leans more toward the Democrats.
Gail James says
I was a Birch kid too. My dad loved Ayn Rand and was one of the tiny group of ministers who preached free enterprise “coming straight from the Bible and Jesus” so was popular with Walter Knott (founder of Knott’s Berry Farm in CA.) My dad was funded by rich folks who printed a Faith and Freedom pamphlet they sent to all the ministers in the land. (I know…I stuffed the envelopes. These were the olden days, the 1960’s.) McCarthy was on our TV from start to finish. My dad died in 1964 and missed seeing all the “fruits” of his labor. Oh, he worked tirelessly to get Right to Work (actually, no rights in work,) laws in Indiana. I moan about all that’s going on now but I watched the rich funding stuff I had no idea would bear so much misery now.
Claire Conner says
Thanks for sharing your story, Gail. I hope you’ll share my story with your friends and invite them to read Wrapped in the Flag. Hopefully, my book and witness like your will help Americans understand extremism and why it’s bad for all of us.
Gail James says
Oh dear, I thought I was sharing my story with your blog readers. I am really not very good with tech stuff…obviously. So sorry.
Claire Conner says
It is shared, Gail. Thanks again.
Gail James says
Thanks! I did post a “like” of your page on my Facebook page.
Emily Davlin says
I was a Birch kid, too. Between JBS and fanatical Lutheran parents,
My teen years were miserable. There was much unrest and suspicion
all the time…There were books laying around about spies, and one called
“I found God in Soviet Russia” I was expected to read all of it….
.I also remember the Cuban Missile crisis…..I was dragged to meetings
with my parents, who were finding out about fallout shelters and
storing food underground….. I hated all of it! It made me nervous and
isolated from other kids, because it was all “Secret”……
. Very depressing and disorienting time in my life.
I developed deep depression, and I’m still being treated for it
to this day….My folks weren’t there for me…Just like Claire’s
they were first and foremost dedicated to the “Cause”
Julia Simmons says
I’m so sorry you went through that; it must have been truly awful. It is imperative, I believe, for those of us who did not experience that extremism to understand what these people have I store for humanity. I’m still mourning the loss of my country. Thank you very much Emily for sharing. I wish you much peace and happiness.
Julia Simmons says
I’m so sorry you went through that; it must have been truly awful. It is imperative, I believe, for those of us who did not experience that extremism to understand what these people have in store for humanity. I’m still mourning the loss of my country. Thank you very much Emily for sharing. I wish you much peace and happiness.
“you gotta know your enemy.. you gotta get them in the background..” Gary Dunne – Amerikan Folk Song. You gotta know who’s a corporate Koch-sucker before you make a deal…
Blue Wolf Bosh says
“This libertarian utopia would free businesses and individuals to produce, unrestrained by regulation. Corporate taxes and taxes on the rich would be tiny, allowing vast accumulations of wealth for the wealthy. Workers incomes would be set by corporations without the requirements of minimum wages and union scale.”
If the workers salaries are continually sacrificed for more and more corporate profits, then they won’t be able to afford any of the products they work to produce.
They thought of that problem though, which is one reason they globalized the corporations to ensure other markets in countries where they haven’t destroyed the economy by creating a feudal society.
Peter T says
That’s not the reason why they globalised. The economic collapse and the recession triggered by bailing out the banks has indentured the entire worlds labour force for a decade. They don’t care if domestic workers can’t afford the products they produce (or even if they starve/get sick/injured at work) as long as there are currency imbalances (and by extension wage imbalances) the cheapest labour will be utilised either outsourced overseas or imported (migrant) labour to drive established labour costs down. The feudal society is an archaic model which would cost corporations dear to re-establish. As property, there is an implied responsibility to maintain and look after your labour force. Sure, an owner doesn’t have to, but it makes no sense for a farmer not to “look after” his herd ensuring good grazing and innoculating against disease etc. The current situation enables Corporate owners to enjoy most of the benefits of serfdom/slavery with none of the responsibilities for the workforce outside of working hours. Ok. the labour isn’t free, but the exchange of a few paltry coins gives an illusion of self determination and absolves the leasor of any responsibility for the condition of the property being leased
So …. WORSE than Feudalism!
That’s what I try to tell people, this “FREEDUMB” you think you’re supporting? It is THEIR freedom to absolutely *bone YOU*!
Slavery is a better deal than we are all going to get. A Master was supposed to feed and house his slaves.
Is Robert Welch related to the former WI State Senator Bob Welch from Red Granite? He is currently a lobbyist for Right Wing causes.
Claire Conner says
Robert Welch had two sons, but I don’t see any connection between the family and your WI Bob Welch. Thanks for asking.
I was horrified to see that Fred’s middle name was Chase. Any idea how that came about?
Claire Conner says
I don’t know. I’m guessing it might have been a family name — but I didn’t find the source.
Judy M. Stock says
I just finished your book and was almost blown away when your oarents and you moved to Marshfield. I graduated from MHS in 1972 and lived there for many years. My mother still lives in the nearby town of Chili. What was the name of your fathers furniture factory?
Claire Conner says
Originally: Modern of Marshfield. In the mid 80s, name changed to Marshfield Furniture. The business still operates under that name.
Tom Richards MAmoderate says
Thank you Claire Connor and Gail James, et al, for shaing these important historical factors in the under-taxing of wealth-shifters, destroying our USA’s middle class.
Gail James says
I was a child at the time of the Birch Society’s ascendance and so one must take that into consideration. What I do recall vividly was the sense that “conservatives are special, persecuted, unique and deserving of favors” and sometimes that happened via Ike who had the “under God” inserted into the Pledge of Allegiance as an olive branch for the Birch Society’s being a little quiet about something else Ike wanted and if memory (again, I was a child,) serves me, was civil rights concessions. The Birch Society is very, very subliminal and quieter now but I’m sure Claire and I would agree, they are working under new umbrellas and names…ALEC, Super Pacs, and on and on and as the 99% is cowed in the somewhat rightful assumption that their job could be shipped overseas in the global economy so the 1% controls us all in fear. I live in WA state and the Boeing contract is exhibit one. I support unions BUT if Boeing plane construction were shipped to SC or MO (and many other states were salivating over the 777X thing,) WA state’s economy would have rippled with convulsions and it would not have been pretty. Caught between the devil and the deep blue sea, I guess. For fun, watch IFC’s new Spoils of Babylon with parody of right wing conservatism and economy. I have to have some fun.
Loved the book. I’ve coined the term “TeaBircher” to describe the current political offspring of the JBS.
Growing up in Birmingham, Alabama during Jim Crow and the Struggle for Civil Rights era when Martin Luther King came to town was not easy. Fred Koch was a prominent presence in those days. He posted billboards around town urging us to Impeach Chief Justice Earl Warren, because Warren upheld Civil Rights Laws. A political relative of mine unseated Bull Connor, the dog and hose brute, who tried to end the protests with acts of sheer insanity. This uncle was one of the “nice” segregationists. On the surface, he appeared to be gentle, reasonable, and kind. Underneath all that, “niceness” laid the heart of a pure supremacist. He spent a lifetime legislating Separate but Equal laws that kept the black man in his proper “place”. This uncle exemplifies the kind of “looking good” racists who even today hide behind expensive suits and smiles. Today they continue to exploit and demonize the poor regardless of race.
Claire Conner is a paranoid alarmist. If you’re so afraid of capitalism and free enterprise, then move to Russia.
She LIVED this, buddy. It is obvious you have NO idea what this entire Birch Society stood for ! Do you even know what Libertarianism is? Long before today’s Fanatical Right, this cult campaigned against Communism that did not exist here, against gays, abortion, Unions , Environment, Immigrants, Social programs, the UN, gun control, etc. Do not embarass yourself out in public. READ the book, and be afraid—be very afraid of the new branch, called the TParty……
Are you upset? Let me tell you what I am more afraid of.. far left paranoid, fanatical liberals. The Tea Party is the least of your worries. You should be afraid of the regime now in place in the White House which you probably voted for. Right now there isn’t anything more anti-American freedoms than that.
Ben… You have no grasp on reality. I grew up with parents who were in the same ultra-conservative-fear mongering -communist watching JOHN BIRCH SOCIETY… That Claire did. I am 67 yrs old and retired now. I was always a union member. Honey, you better read the book and study all over the internet and everywhere else about these CROOKED-ASS KOCH BROTHERS. Yoiu better open your eyes to the duplicity these people are perpetrating on everyday , middle class , working people and Those who have been dumped into poverty when their jobs were shipped overseas by these greedy biggoted , selfish and self-serving creeps!!!!!
Gail James says
Thanks you Emily. I knew I loved that name for more reasons than one. You said just the right things to Ben. I too grew up in a John Birch Society loving family. Not so pretty.
Ben, Clare Conners is speaking of events in history she witnessed firsthand. In case you did not notice, she is an American. You cannot tell her if she doesn’t like things to go back to Russia. Though you may be used to telling blacks to go back to Africa when you feel threatened…you’re very sophomoric in your attacks. As Americans we have a constitutional right, though eroded by such evil forces, on our side. And if enough people are educated to what the problem is and moral enough we can turn back the tide to what was once a great country and could still be. If you mind is not concreted by hate and fear and misinformation…you might read some of these books for the truths they reveal
Elizabeth McCoy says
Your book brings the missing piece to the gradual destruction of the middle class and why and how it is occurring. Your book should be required reading for every voter in this country. Thank you for your work.
E. Crist says
Since 1980, government is bad, greed is good. And those in great wealth and power have continued to purchase our politics. Wages have stagnated while more and more of our wealth goes to few at the top. Personal debt skyrocketed. NAFTA, Telecommunications Act, Repeal of Glass-Steagle, high stakes gambling by the wealthy with our deposits, homes becomes ATM’s….2008 crash…banks strap on suicide vests threatening to blow up our economy unless we bail them out from their gambling…long term jobless…we fight among each other about god, and guns, and abortions, and gays…and those continuing to steal our wealth laugh at us and know full well that we will do nothing to stop them.
Neo-feudalism is fast approaching and we’ll accept it as long as we can get the newest iPhone….I’m not hopeful of our future.
Government isn’t bad as a principle and Reagan never said it was. Bad leaders make it bad and Reagan warned of this kind of leadership. The founding fathers meant it to be small in it’s function and stay out of the way of peoples lives. Since 2008, it is now being transformed into a huge machine like the Matrix. It will control everyone and everything. The old adage “all good things must come to an end” is true. There is hope for a future, but if you’ve placed your hope on what happens on this earth only, then you’re short sighted and you’ve doomed yourself.
Ben: It is odd that you refer to Ronald Reagan since Mrs. Robert Welch (Marian Welch) ended her relationship with the Birch Society because she was angered by the way new leaders of the JBS were savaging Reagan in the pages of the JBS magazine, The New American. Furthermore, the JBS has described Reagan as “a phony conservative” and the current President of the JBS (John McManus) declared at one time that Reagan was “a lackey of the Communists”.
Ben: You refer to Reagan as if he were Jesus. “Reagan warned of this kind of leadership”. Reagan said “government is not the solution, government is the problem”. I’m not a follower of, or a believer in, Reagan.
For Ben: http://claireconner.com/2013/11/13/koch-john-birch-society-a-love-story/#comment-8488
Since 2008? Really? Nothing before 2008 that shows how govt has destroyed the economy and taken control of people’s lives..
Nothing like Big Ag subsidies under Reagan that destroyed thousands of family farms and the businesses linked to them? Nothing like using new ban laws to foreclose on those farms and use tax dollars to give to the giant Ag Businesses so they could use your taxes to buy those farms for pennies on the dollar.. all the while their hollywood puppet is chanting “free-enterprise” every three minutes like the mindless news reader he was? Are you kidding.
HOw about the “just say no” war on drugs while they had that hollywood cokewhore whatshername get on TV acting all demure and duplicitous like an evil wasp telling us all “just say no”? Because they knew they’d never be able to over turn the civil rights act? What about those examples, there Ben.
Jonathan Albrecht says
“founding fathers meant it to be small…”. Its unfortunate that so few Americans know anything about our history and how ideas evolved here. No the founders did not mean for the government to be small. They meant it to be limited (not absolute like Monarchy) by personal rights ie natural rights including popular sovereignty. They meant for government to stay out of their private lives (religion for example) not their public lives. For example, at the founding corporations were municipalities and businesses chartered by specific legislation by the state legislature and authorized to do one and only one thing such as build a road or grind flour. Business then was a family affair not a shareholder controlled limited liability business (all that changed between 1815-1861). All businesses are public organizations involved in public functions created by government. Any business that is chartered and employs non-shareowners is purely public not private and has only those powers given to it by government. Therefore, any and all government regulation of or intervention in business (commerce) is appropriate. And none of the foregoing is “socialist” which only deals with government or popular ownership of the means of production not the regulation of public relationships.
cynthia curran says
On trade, some of the Birchers are anti-free trade agreements and are called paleo-conservatives, Pat Buchnaan would come to mind and I believe Ron Paul opposed NAFTA since it was a government agreed trade treaty. Also, the more anti-immirgant stance is with the paleo-conservatives that want more tougher e-verify and fining companies compared to the more libertarian elements. The right does have some splits on guest worker programs and trade agreements. Pat Buchanan wants to get rid of federal income state and replaced it with lots of different tariffs which is a hard position on the right because about 70 percent is in the free trade camp.
John Bevilaqua says
“When the roles of Wickliffe Draper and his Pioneer Fund in shaping and influencing world events to advance their Agendas are fully recognized (Eugenics, anti-Immigration, Segregation, World Wars, Assassinations and anti-unionism) are fully understood, every history book ever written will have to be re-written from scratch.” – Paul Weyrich
John Bevilaqua says
Forgot to mention that Wickliffe Draper of The Pioneer Fund from Hopedale, MA about 15-20 miles from the Belmont, MA headquarters of Robert Welch was one of the principal financial backers of The John Birch Society, Human Events Magazine in Washington, DC, The American Mercury, The Liberty Lobby and almost every other Right Wing extremist publication of that era. The deGanahls (via Chalres deGanahl Koch) at Ganahl Mills in Georgia would have been customers of the Draper Company which had a world-wide monopoly on automated textile loom equipment for almost 100 years from perhaps 1860 to about 1960. Wickliffe Draper was probably the paradigm and model used by Charles Koch and the Koch family to emulate how to advance the Right Wing agenda in America. Draper Company was the main reason why child labor laws were instituted in America. The Draper agenda included anti-Immigration, anti-Social Security, anti-Union activity, anti-Integration, anti-Communism, McCarthyism, anti-Liberalism, pro-Hitlerism and many more Right Wing causes. Draper sponsored the Model Eugenics Laws in America which led to the involuntary sterilization of almost 250,000 individuals from 1926-1976. See: Against Their Will by the Winston-Salem Journal. http://againsttheirwillbook.com/Against_Their_Will/Home.html
Kathleen Wallace says
Characteristics Of Fascism
By Dr. Lawrence Britt
Source Free Inquiry.co
Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each:
1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism – Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.
2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights – Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.
3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause – The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.
4. Supremacy of the Military – Even when there are widespread
domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.
5. Rampant Sexism – The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.
6. Controlled Mass Media – Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.
7. Obsession with National Security – Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.
8. Religion and Government are Intertwined – Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government’s policies or actions.
9. Corporate Power is Protected – The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.
10. Labor Power is Suppressed – Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.
11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts – Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.
12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment – Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.
13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption – Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.
14. Fraudulent Elections – Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.
Kathleen Wallace, thank you for these fourteen points. I see we have achieved all the points. Frightening. So
few people bother to explore what is going on. It is difficult to see how we could overcome such a framework which has been in place for such a long time. Thank you for opening my eyes.
Alyssa and Kathleen,… Fraudulent Elections v/s Full Voting Rights…
It is interesting that Dr. Britt found 14 defining characteristics to bad governments.
Dr Britt saved number # 14. Fraudulent Elections – as the last issue; but, is it a keystone of how the
rulers keep the people pinned down and locked under their control.
We the voters in all 50 state do NOT enjoy/have “FULL Voting Rights”. Our country is 239 years
old and none of us have our full voting rights, YET!!! Our full voting rights consist of 30 rights.
Have been an active election worker, an election official, an elected official on a part time basis
for the last some 40 years…and, have observed yes we have only about 4 of these rights…and. the
ruling class is happy we don’t have all 30 rights.
We will have these “Full Voting Rights” after they are written into our US and 50 states constitutions
and election laws.
Thanks and Good Luck,
Full Voting Rights Advocate
e-mail: [email protected]
Jack Ruhe says
Recntly I lost my oldest brother who professed strongly the many principles of the Birch Society. Despite denying any association with the Birch Society, his 2 sons in California remember vividly of many Birch members coming to his house. He was so brainwashed that he left 80% of his very large estate to off-shoots of the Birch Society to be used to teach others in this brand of liberatarianism. The remaining 20% went to agencies to combat dementia and leukemia, and nothing for his two sons or grandsons. Despite the beneficiary of many government programs, he denied it, and resisted paying taxes.
cynthia curran says
Not unbelievable La was much more conservative about 40 years ago and Orange and San Diego where known as far right counties in the 1960’s compared to even today with demographic changes. A lot of the hard right while still in southern California has moved to Texas and places like ID, a story was on it on a religious conservative that left the OC for ID since Orange County changed a lot.
Mathew Rule says
Kathleen Wallace’s synopsis of Dr. Britts work is the most compelling and frightening description of current right wing tenants that I have read in a very long time. All of the mechanisms described are boldly and baldly in place in the U.S. today. I would add one to our present situation: hostility to science, whether it be established economic theory, inconvenient climate science or facts in conflict with religious beliefs.
Robert Caldwell says
Thank youi, this is informative and important.
John Bevilaqua says
I have recently completed an Amazon paperback documenting what Richard Condon described in his novel (1959) and movie (1962), The Manchurian Candidate, about the roles of several members of The John Birch Society in the plot to assassinate President John F. Kennedy as early as 1958 when he was a Senator from Massachusetts. Richard Condon identifies prominent Birchers like Maj. Gen. Edwin A. Walker involved later with the Ole Miss Riots, Gen. Charles A. Willoughby who was Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s Intelligence head for decades and Robert J. Morris who was called “the real force behind McCarthyism” by Whittaker Chambers. All of them were prominent in the Dallas John Birch Society leadership hierarchy. It has been recently discovered that Gen. Walker was related to the deGanahl family from Austria who provided the Koch family with financial support during their early years. As a sign of gratitude Fred Koch named his son Charles deGanahl Koch. The JFK plotters made plans to hold a meeting in Wichita, KS shortly after the assassination, the home of Rock Island Oil and Gas, the Koch’s oil company and the location where The American Mercury was being published at the time by Rev. Gerald B. Winrod, known as “The Jayhawk Nazi” during World War II. Please consider reading either the Kindle, Nook or paperback version available at: http://www.amazon.com/JFK-Final-Solution-Scares-ebook/dp/B008QRVYHC/ref=pd_rhf_se_p_t_1
Gail James says
Good information and the little missteps of history are intriguing. To me the fact that Lee Harvey Oswald attempted to assassinate Gen. Walker (he survived and the police never figured out who his attacker was but Oswald now had the practice he needed to make a better shot at JFK,) makes me go, “What if?” Gen. Walker was not a friend to America at all.
John Bevilaqua says
Gail, surely you must be kidding. The Walker shooter drove away from the scene and Oswald could not even drive a car. And Gen. Walker was NOT a friend to America. He was accused of Insurrection against the U.S. Government during the Ole Miss Riots, and he was arrested several times for morals offenses in Texas and he was a leader of the Dallas John Birch Society along with Maj Gen Charles Willoughby and Robert Morris both of whom joined with him in the plot to assassinate JFK. You have almost everything about him backwards.
That’s true. Gay Powers and Lee Harvey Oswald served in the same unit, and were in the former Soviet Union during part of the same period. Oswald wasn’t even a Communist. That’s a joke. For one thing, he was getting paid, what, 250 a month as an undercover FBI agent. I’m sure he was CIA counterintelligence, or maybe ONI, or all three.
John: You are referring to a persistent hoax which came about because of the public relations activities of one person — Harry Dean — who falsely has claimed for decades that he was an FBI informant or undercover operative who reported on the JBS and other rightwing groups. Dean claims that he told Los Angeles Special Agent Wesley Grapp in September 1963 about a “John Birch Society plot” to murder President Kennedy. However, Wesley Grapp was not even assigned to the FBI’s Los Angeles field office until March of 1964. Furthermore, Dean claims that he drove around with Grapp “for hours” in Los Angeles and Orange Counties when Grapp was supposedly Special Agent in Charge of the Los Angeles office. This is obviously a falsehood because FBI SAC’s perform administrative function — not field work. One FBI Agent in Los Angeles (William McCaulley — who had the most contacts with Dean) described Dean as “a mental case”.
You can get a full picture regarding Harry in my online Report about him here:
John Bevilaqua says
Ernie, Au Contraire. Where did you ever get that ridiculous idea? I am not as you claim “referring to a persistent hoax… from Harry Dean” regarding the well documented plot by The John Birch Society to murder with prejudice the President of the United States, John F. Kennedy. My research conclusions were formulated not only on the work of former FBI Agent William S. Turner (from Southern California) in “Power on the Right” (1970) and his other articles co-authored without attribution by Mae Brussel. They were the 2nd wave of persons to implicate the 3 persons who ran the Dallas chapter of The John Birch Society in the plot to assassinate JFK, quite accurately I should add, Robert J. Morris, “the real power behind McCarthyism” according to Whittaker Chambers and Major General Charles Willoughby who was referred to by General Douglas MacArthur as “…my little Fascist” plus Maj. Gen. Edwin A. Walker who was arrested for Insurrection following the Ole Miss Riots. The 1st wave of accusations came from Richard Condon in The Manchurian Candidate (1959) who identified both Morris and Walker as being behind the attempt in 1958 to murder then Senator John F. Kennedy in California as documented by Professor Jerry D. Rose in the Third Decade journal he published in an article titled: “The California Bombers.” Dick Russell’s informant in “The Man Who Knew Too Much (Carrol and Graf, 1993) identified Adolph Tscheppe-Weidenbach, Willoughby’s birth name as one of the leaders of the plot to assassinate JFK as well. I grew up in Miami only 4 doors from the winter home of Dr. Robert Morris and can confirm his participation in the plot against JFK with self-confessed plotters E. Howard Hunt and Frank Sturgis as well. I only heard of Harry Dean’s rendition of events in the late 1990’s and have never used his statements to either originate or corroborate my independent research. So it looks like it is your research which is fatally flawed due to your persistent attempts to shovel against the tide of at least 5 independently corroborated, professional, reliable, trustworthy and accurate researchers. What your agenda is in trying to debunk their consummately detailed research by choosing Harry Dean as a “Straw Man” target is totally beyond me. I won’t even venture to speculate on your motivations. I would suggest that you put your trust instead in the likes of first hand observers and professional writers like Bill Turner, Mae Brussell, Richard Condon, Dick Russell and myself to re-evaluate your fatally biased and totally flawed opinions about the role of The John Birch Society in the conspiracy to murder JFK. History has already proved the fallacy of your feeble arguments and your flawed research based on targeting a single “eyewitness” testimonial from a single person. I have often suggested that you read my manuscript on the subject and you have yet to do so apparently because you know that the combined works of Turner, Brussel, Condon, Russell and myself in the aggregate make your conclusions about The Birch Society and JFK out to be the ranting and raving of a misguided and totally uniformed amateur. http://www.amazon.com/JFK-Final-Solution-Scares-ebook/dp/B008QRVYHC/ref=pd_rhf_se_p_t_1 Ernie, if anyone is a hoaxster, it is you. Just look in the mirror.
Mark Gibbons says
This is truly chilling…. I hated JBS. IMHO they forced the Vietnam WAR and gladly sacrificed 60,000 Americans.
Claire Conner says
Mark, I understand your sentiment and no doubt, the anti-Communist drumbeat escalated our involvement in Vietnam. Ironically, the John Birch Society opposed the war. Here’s the simple way to explain their theory — pro-Communist presidents (JFK and LBJ) could NOT run an anti-Communist war. Now, all of that would have changed had George Wallace and Gen Curtis LeMay won election. Then, in my opinion, the Birchers would have been all for Vietnam. My father was okay with nuking Hanoi –and so was Lemay. By the way, they’ve used this same reasoning regarding the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I think the Birch society, like the American Communist Party has become irrelevant. They have purged themselves into obscurity.
Conservatives,like Progressives have recast themselves into other organizations. The Koch’s and the Soros’s have kept the right and left equally well funded. It is up to the people to wade through the well funded groups on each side to decipher the truth.
Richard La France says
I followed this link which was posted by one of my FB friends. I’m truly grateful to her for leading me in this direction (and I hope other readers of her posts).
It is so good to read both the story by Claire Connor and the excellent comments that followed. I have quite given up on the news feeds for misleading headlines that have caused me to defend people with whom I disagree entirely, such as Senator Paul Ryan and Supreme Court Justice Scalia. The headlines were made to anger those of us on the left and rant about them. Many people don’t read the articles that go with the headlines and that’s a huge mistake.
But this page, the lead author, the contributors via comments, is hearing a conversation among people in the know who have literally experienced the past and are passing on the truth here and now.
Since learning about the Koch family, I’ve spent hours of my time trying to find enough information about them to satisfy my desire to have them arrested. There open behavior and outright betrayal of the American middle class has angered me to no end. I’ve learned that writing to my representatives doesn’t help in the least. Each time I’ve written to them I’ve been ignored. I want to know why Charles and David Koch are still walking free when they exemplify the narrow meaning of what treason is in the Constitution. Article III, Section Three – Treason: The Constitution defines treason as specific acts, namely “levying War against [the people of the United States], or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.”
With their infiltration of Congress, the Supreme Court, state governments, and probably every organization our taxes pay to support; with their writing bills and paying Tea Party members of Congress to push them through or paying Supreme Court Justices to decide in the favor of corporations, is that not war against the people of the United States? They have forced the Tea Party/John Birch Society agenda upon us against our will and day by day life for the middle class is chipped away at by their supporters in the fundamentalist churches and the right wing red states. It is their intent to have this country’s government overtaken by corporate rule which, by and large, has already happened.
So, when I write and ask my Democratic representatives in Congress why the Koch Brothers Charles and David are allowed to get away with so much, why they haven’t been arrested, etc., first I was sent a form letter by both of my Senators thanking me for my interest in protecting wildlife in America. Secondly, My emails were blocked by both Senators. Since Senator Bernie Sanders, the great Independent from Vermont, was already railing against the Kochs, I have been sending all my communications to him from California. He doesn’t reply to me but he doesn’t block me, either. And I can be sure that the subjects I bring up will be shouted out on the floor in Congress. It should be noted that the silence on both sides of the aisle regarding the Kochs, except from Bernier Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, is evidence that no one wants to handle the issue at all. They seem to all live in fear of the Koch agenda. I’m extremely angry that Wall Street and the big banks can walk right in and write their own bills, pay the Tea Party to pass them and go on their happy…way at our expense. Yet no one of any authority who earns their salary from our tax dollars will move an inch to protect us from the crimes being committed within our system every day. The Tea Party and now pretty much every Republican have aided and abetted these major criminals every step of the way, as well as the so-called “Gang of Five” in the Supreme Court, two of whom have been seen at Koch Brother fundraisers along with Senators Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Senator Lee of California.
How is it, all of you people of more knowledge than I’ve been capable of accumulating, that these matters are going unchecked and a takeover of this country which Congress is literally giving away to the wealthy is imminent? How?
I’m a Vietnam Veteran and a retired person living solely on Social Security and a tiny pension from 10 years at a railroad during the 1970s. My money, on the California cost of living scale, is gone within the first week after I receive it. Multiply my situation by thousands of elderly Americans and tell me how Paul Ryan can openly state that he’s going to end Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, use those funds to deposit on Wall Street for the wealthy, and leave us to drop dead for all he cares. How dare he use Ayn Rand as an excuse to do the bidding of the Tea Party/John Birch Society? How dare he remain as a Senator when his business acumen is severely lacking when it comes to making a budget? With two Houses coming up in 2015, just a week and three days from now, having a majority of Koch assistants, there is no question in my mind that only a few people in the current Congress are on the people’s side and the rest, to include the President, the Supreme Court, the FBI and CIA, are in allegiance with the extreme right wing fascists who will finally bring this nation to its knees.
Aside from being a Vietnam Veteran, I am a life-long gay man who now expects to be carried off to death camps once the Fundamentalists, who gladly threaten the LGBT on a daily basis and say how the Bible has given them a reason to kill us, have their way with our laws.
I would go back to work to support my needs were it not for my decision that I’d rather starve to death than to give this country one more cent of taxes when none of us are represented except the 1% wealthy. Taxation without representation was what brought our war against the British. Now we’re nothing but a bunch of cowards waiting for the other goddamned shoe to fall.
Richard La France says
I just spent about an hour leaving a comment here both praising this page and the people commenting for useful knowledge being given. I had questions and comments of my own. But when I pressed the submit button my comment disappeared completely and has yet to appear. Are only people who knew the villains entertained in this page allowed to comment?
I spend hours every day trying to get through to other people the problems wrought upon us by the Koch Brothers. I found this page very informative and helpful in my understanding of our situation.
Gail James says
Good comments, Richard. It is frustrating to work hard on comments and then have them disappear but you kept at the task so good on you.
me too.. i have tried leaving positive comments to no avail.
the libertarian party is libertarian in name only, because libertarianism is keeping business and govt. separate, while these people want business to control govt. the next time you meet someone that supports these policies, and they tell you they are “libertarian”, tell them that they are contradicting themselves, because it is impossible to at once use the force of government to control business and labor policy, and be libertarian. in libertarianism, the role of govt,. is to protect the individual, not collectivize industry and business at the expense of individual rights. you do not have to be libertarian to know what the word means, and when you conflate fascism and libertarianism, you only help the koch brothers. you will do better to expose their ruse, not fall in line behind it.
testing? comments not going through.. but thanks for your hard work if you see this.
Mike Hindin says
My family was persecuted by these bastards. My father was dragged before the ArmyMcCarthy Hearings in 1953. The couldn’t even ask pertinent questions.
Claire Conner says
McCarthy was dead before the John Birch Society was founded. I am sorry for our father’s pain and I share your outrage at the witch hunts McCarthy conducted. But, we really can’t blame the Birchers for the Army McCarthy hearings. It is true that the John Birch Society saw McCarthy as a hero. In fact, the national headquarters of the Birch Society are now in Appleton Wisconsin — hometown of McCarthy. Birchers were looking for Commies everywhere, and in many ways, they still are. They use the label Socialist, Marxist, Collectivist along with Communist and liberal to rile up the right wingers.
Michael Hindin says
I’m the other kind of birch society kid. They couldn’t attack me any earlier? I was inutero when my father’s security clearance at the Army Signal Corps, Fort Monmouth was canceled with no due process of any kind. He had to tell friends to avoid our small farm or the might be accused. He had a pregnant wife and 3 sons to feed and shelter. After reinstatement and back pay they did it again in 1952 and he was dragged before the Army mccarthy hearings in 1953. He came to America in 1923 at age 13 from Minsk. He brought his radio repair skills to the Signal Corps to aid the war effort. I was old enough the second time to remember how his hands were swollen from installing windows in New York City. Carpel tunnel syndrome was medically unknown then. My parents never felt truely safe after that. An unknown individual with an agenda could threaten his job at any time.
Claire Conner says
Thanks for sharing your father’s experiences during the McCarthy era when fear of Communism trumped (no pun intended) all common sense and all decency. I just want to correct one thing, Michael. The John Birch Society — who did love McCarthy — was not founded until 1958 after McCarthy was dead. That said, the Society was looking for Commies everywhere and I’m sure they would have looked with suspicion at your dad.
It was very disconcerting to discover that David Barton and the Texas School Board are rewriting history. Specifically, they want students all over the country to believe McCarthy was not such a bad man after all. The Bircher doctrine can be found in many of the fraudulent teachings of ‘historian’ David Barton. These are unspeakably evil people.