Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Thunder on the Right

Schramm’s mention of the Politically Incorrect Guide to American History reminded me of a notice I received recently about the opening of the new Robert Welch University. An online degree-granting institution (its web address is a dot-org rather than a dot-edu), it is committed to "providing a liberal arts education combined with an emphasis on the timeless principles of limited constitutional government." Many of the new institution’s history courses will be taught by the author of the book Schramm was talking about.

Some of you might be familiar with the name of Robert Welch; in 1958 he founded an organization called the John Birch Society.

In 2000 the official magazine of the JBS, The New American, published a series on twenty five "Heroes for All Time." Among them were such advocates of "the timeless principles of limited constitutional government" as Joseph McCarthy, Augusto Pinochet, Francisco Franco, and Chiang Kai-shek.

Discussions - 4 Comments


I hold no brief for the Birch Society.
And indeed, it is embarrassing and pathetic for them to call any of these individuals "timeless advocates for limited constitutional government."

But conservatives should never swallow liberal conventional wisdom about history uncritically. This goes for their demons, too. I’d call readers’ attention to the fact that one impeccably mainstream conservative, William F. Buckley, referred to Franco as an authentic national hero (who, regrettably, chose to remain in power far too long). And Bill Rusher -- something of an expert on Taiwan --
certainly does not accept the standard liberal contempt for Chiang Kai-shek.
Again, Rusher is hardly a John Bircher.

I’m reminded of something that another solid conservative, perhaps Buckley, said something like this of Joe McCarthy during his time:

"The American people know this about Joe McCarthy -- he is unequivocally anti-communist. About his enemies among the liberal Establishment, they feel that they know no such thing."

So, are you guys fans of McCarthy, or not? Didn’t John Ashbrook know him or even work with him? Ashbrook DID work on the House Internal Security Committee (previously known as the House Committee on Un-American Activities), right??

I have no idea if Ashbrook ever met McCarthy, but I am quite certain that they did not work together, for two reasons:

1. Ashbrook served in the House, McCarthy in the Senate.

2. Ashbrook wasn’t elected to Congress until 1960, by which time McCarthy had been dead for three years.

And while I won’t presume to speak for my fellow NLT contributors, I will not hesitate to say that I’m not a fan of McCarthy, who, thanks to his bullying tactics and his reckless accusations, managed to discredit the entire anti-communist cause. I question whether he was ever really sincere; the evidence suggests that he was passionately committed to little except for power (and perhaps liquor), and in embracing anti-communism he was merely looking for an issue to help get him reelected to the Senate.

John Moser writes: "the evidence suggests that he was passionately committed to little except for power..."

If indeed McCarthy was only interested in power then wouldn’t you say there were easier ways to achieve that end? I.e. by going along with the Rockefellerites and the "Military Industrial Complex" instead of fighting it?

You people talk through your hats.

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