Jewish World Review May 1, 2013/ 21 Iyar, 5773
The rise of the neo-Birchers
By Paul Greenberg
A cancer is eating away at a once
Somewhere there must still be a remnant of the
Or take the long view and see what has befallen Islamic civilization since it was once renowned for its arts and sciences, its tolerance and hospitality, its architecture -- and its poetry! The civilization that gave us Ibn Khaldun and
There's a lesson in all this if we in the West will ever learn it -- and act. Whether it's "Mein Kampf" or the Communist Manifesto or today's fatwas coming out of the Arab world, words can lead to acts. Horrible acts. And shouldn't be lightly dismissed.
Consider a couple of recent rhetorical performances here in bucolic
Right in the middle of the citywide shutdown in
Happily, that state legislator was rewarded by a flood of responses -- not just from
About the same time, a Republican couple in the hills of picturesque
At one point the article in the newsletter referred to legislators who don't agree with its views as "bullet backstops." The article asserted that the Second Amendment "means nothing unless those in power believe you would have no problem simply walking up and shooting them...." No reservations or context can justify that kind of trash talk. Which has a way of leading to trashy actions. Or worse.
The head of that country's Republican organization wasted no time demanding these people's resignations from the party's county committee, which may be the best news about this whole mess. Because if Republicans aren't vigilant, loudmouths like these will become the voice of their party -- and decent Americans of all political persuasions will be repelled. Rightly so. And react. Which is what happened to the Birchers in their less than glorious heyday.
Lest we forget, the
For what is conservatism except an attachment to the tried and true, to the wisdom of hard-earned experience over the zealotry of empty theory, to custom and tradition, to the civilities and grace notes of life, to tolerance and manners rather than the crudities of the moment? For conservatism is more a civilized inclination than a point-by-point program to be outlined in some party newsletter or elaborated to death in one of
These neo-Birchers aren't conservatives. They're the opposite: radicals who believe they've got the true faith and all the rest of us are infidels.
Unless the Republican party's leaders -- and its grass roots, too -- get a grip on this slithering danger and proceed to rise up and root it out, someday Americans may wonder what ever happened to the party of
At that point, Republicans will have become like the old man in a dark shop that
Both the Birchers and now these neo-Birchers represent the greatest obstacle to a Republican comeback in American politics, which is Republicans themselves. Or at least the kind who fall for this load of ideology, or who think they can safely ignore these fanatics out to hijack their party. Remember: Silence gives consent.
Republicans out to save their country might consider saving their party first.
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