The John Birch Society and National Review

An interesting episode in political history: The Inside Story of William F. Buckley Jr.’s Crusade against the John Birch Society. It begins:

Of all the crusades William F. Buckley took on in his half century on the national political stage, none did more to cement his reputation as a gatekeeper of the conservative movement — or consumed more of his time — than that which he launched against the John Birch Society, an organization Robert Welch founded in 1958 and used as his personal vehicle to influence public policy. In 1961, Buckley complained to a supporter of both National Review and the JBS, “I have had more discussions about the John Birch Society in the past year than I have about the existence of God or the financial difficulties of National Review.”

Do read on. It may well be that the JBS was a step or two too far in the 1950s and early 1960s, but they were not the enemy Buckley made them out to be.

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