Howdy, neighbors. Rajah Bill, here. Your go-to guy in the Society For Making People Better. Y'all pull up a chair and sit a spell. We got us some catching up to do.
First thing you'll notice is that I no longer go by the title "Grand Marshal." I've had a hankering to change the plaque on my office door to read "Rajah," so at our mid-winter potluck, I pulled the board of directors aside and got the required two-thirds to go along. (It wasn't so hard, really. The only director other than me currently serving on the SFMPB board is my wife, whose response to virtually everything I propose is "whatever.")
The next big difference you'll see is that The Flutter has a new slogan. I was never entirely happy with the old one, "The Official Organ of the Society For Making People Better," as I could never say the whole thing without pausing midway through for a breath. So after chewing it over for weeks, I came up with what I believe to be the perfect slogan: "100 Percent Koch-Free Since 2007!" And I think you'll agree when I tell you why I think so.
Remember how I once theorized that if there's a Society For Making People Better, then it stands to reason there is a Society For Making People Worse? To me, it's a simple matter of Yin/Yang physics, but I also offered up plenty of circumstantial evidence that some dark, malignant force is loose in the universe, doing everything it can to pervert the souls of humankind and twist the very meaning of life.
Well, by golly, I believe I have identified that malignant force. This beast has many heads and wears many masks: the Heritage Foundation, the Club For Growth, the Tea Party, the Cato Institute, the Federalist Society, etc.--and to the casual observer, it might appear that so many varied and sundry manifestations of ultraconservatism is only a symptom of how dissatisfied a great many Americans are with the current state of affairs, yes?
Ah, but then we learn that there is a common thread tying together all of the organizations mentioned above--along with many more--like turds on a string. And further, when we realize the common thread is one family, Charles and David Koch, who supply an inordinate portion of the funds it takes to keep those organizations going, we must ask: Is it really that Americans are so dissatisfied with the current state of affairs? Or is it just a handful of secretive, mega-rich, manipulating tycoons who shell out great gobs of cash to create the impression that a squeaky wheel is a revolutionary roar?
You've surely heard of the grim Brothers Koch by now, as their fingers have been caught sticky in recent flubbubs--i.e. Wisconsin, Ohio and Clarence Thomas' complete absence of honor. And certainly, you've heard of the John Birch Society, that Cold War relic of which the Koch boys' father Fred was a founding member. But how much do you really know about these kind of people and the kind of people they associate with?
We here in the SFMPB information center thought it might be illuminating to dedicate this issue of The Flutter to a closer look at the Birchers, their legacy and the suffocating gravity they exert over current American politics. And if you can't imagine they are germane to your own private Idaho, think again. The story arc I relate might have begun 53 years ago and 3,000 miles away, but it ends over in Canyon County, at a back-slapping ceremony put on a mere three weeks ago by a man who doesn't have the integrity to admit to Idaho citizens who puts the paycheck in his pocket or the ideas in his head.
The John Birch Society first drew breath in Massachusetts in 1958. Outwardly, they claimed to be a response to what they saw as a creeping communist presence in American politics and culture, but from the beginning, their racism was virulent and unmistakable. A quote from an early Birch pamphlet: "The civil rights movement in the United States ... has not been infiltrated by the communists, as you now frequently hear. It has been deliberately and almost wholly created by the communists, patiently building up to this present stage for more than 40 years."
William Pierce was a Bircher long before he founded the National Alliance, a venomous neo-Nazi, white supremacist group. (Pierce also wrote The Turner Diaries, which subsequently became an inspiration for Timothy McVeigh. It told of a future race war in which blacks, Jews and liberals will be hung by the thousands from trees.) Other notable racists on the Birch Society rosters were Gen. Edwin Walker, who led protests of James Meredith's acceptance into the University of Mississippi, and Tom Metzger, founder of the White Aryan Resistance, a favorite hangout for murderous skinheads.
The Birch Society also seems to have had more than its share of sexual aberrations, including Roy Cohn and the Rev. Billy James Hargis, who didn't seem to care what gender the divinity students he screwed happened to be.
And this is the club old Fred Koch helped found and bankroll: a collection of barking dogs so beyond the fringe they accused Dwight Eisenhower, Martin Luther King Jr. and John Kennedy of being communist agents. A loon posse so dripping with kook juice that even William Buckley and Barry Goldwater wanted nothing to do with them.
Keep reading next week to find out what Rajah Bill thinks the Koch boys are likely up to in Idaho.