Getting It Wrong
I spend a lot of time driving, so I have been downloading audio books from the local library to listen to. My latest book was the novel Getting It Right, by the conservative writer William F. Buckley. I was not so interested in the topic of the book, in fact I didn't even know what it was, as curious as to what type of fiction Buckley wrote. I am familiar with Buckley of course from the National Review, as well as the Firing Line television series.
In any case, the novel is an historical drama about factions within the conservative movement in the late 50's and early 60's. While somewhat interesting if you have an interest in political history, it is not that great of a novel, and not of general interest to the readers here, but part of the plot really stood out.
Buckley goes into great detail on the antics of the John Birch Society. The JBS, was originally founded in the 50's, with the relatively reasonable goal of opposing global communism. Buckley in fact, initially supported them. It did not stop there however, they quickly fell into madness, and started accusing just about every government official (including President Eisenhower) of being part of a global communist plot. In their eyes the communists secretly pulled the strings of western society, and the US was little more than a puppet government, a charade put on to disguise their true intentions of global hegemony. In their eyes even the Korean and the Vietnam Wars were little more than a sham, or a diversion.
So after a few years of this insanity, the conservative movement, led largely by Buckley's own magazine, denounced the John Birch Society as the paranoid crackpots they were, and largely purged them from any respectful status in American political life. How does the JBS respond of course? By denouncing their critics, claiming that they too were corrupt, that they were part of the conspiracy, that they were either communists themselves, or bought off by communist money. The Society insisted that the attempts people made to attack them, only further proved the truth of their claims of conspiracy.
The entire time I was reading this, I couldn't help but think, "Why does this sound so familiar?"