On a buzzing boulevard in this busy shopping town, across from a supermarket and not far from a PetSmart, there sits a building that might be mistaken for a place where you can have your teeth cleaned, were it not for the name affixed to the brick: The John Birch Society.
YOur teeth, maybe not; your brain, definitely.
For some, that name means nothing. Or it sparks flashbacks to the 1960s, when the John Birch Society was synonymous with seeing red here, there and everywhere. Maybe you displayed a Birch bumper sticker on your car; maybe you enjoyed the Chad Mitchell Trio song mocking the Birch obsession with communism:
You cannot trust your neighbor or even next of kin
If mommy is a commie then you gotta turn her in.
Yet for others, the John Birch Society is urgently relevant to the matters of today, in its support of secure borders and limited government, its distrust of the Federal Reserve and the United Nations, and its belief in a conspiracy to merge Mexico, Canada and the United States.
They must have a black-helicopter-spotter on duty 24 hours a day.
This so-called North American Union, it asserts, is part of a larger plot by an amorphous, amoral group of powerful elite — including but not limited to the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission and the Rockefellers — to take over planet Earth. Call it the New World Order.
Well, the Trilateral Commission is composed of about 325 members: 170 European, 120 North American (20 Canadian members, 13 Mexican members and 87 U.S. members), 100 Pacific Asian (Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, ASEAN nations, and, beginning recently, the Commission recently began admitting members from China and India. Rockefellers? Wrong century.
Some of these theories may sound like cable television chatter, or the synopsis of a Dan Brown bestseller. But Birch leaders say this plot is real, with roots going back more than 200 years to a secret, insidious brotherhood called the Illuminati, and with most American presidents among its many dupes and abettors.
George W. Bush a dupe? Nah!
The John Birch Society — whose name honors a missionary and American intelligence officer killed by Chinese communists in 1945 — still holds meetings in living rooms and public libraries. But it also maintains a handsome Web site that invites the curious to download literature and join a chapter. (“Click here to find like-minded people.”)