There is indeed a vast right-wing conspiracy at work. That is, it was begun by those on the political Right. However, for the purposes of this article, it must be pointed out that gradually over the last several decades the definition of "Right" has come to mean "the wealthy powers that be," and those powers are represented by politicians on both sides of the isle.
More and more Americans have become politically aware of this situation. In fact, long ago many Americans realized who both Republicans and Democrats served above all, and simply voted for the presidential candidate who they thought was "the lesser of two evils."
However, most Americans do not know how this pervasive conspiracy favoring, enabling and entitling the wealthiest few crept up on us so successfully and has almost completely taken over America, regardless of which party controls Congress, and regardless of who is in the White House.
The majority of those who control the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government are in on it in one way or another, and there are few politicians who do not go along with the political and economic status quo, and go along to get along.
That is why, despite the fact that the government should be of, by and for the people, ensure justice for all, and promote the general welfare, government is of, by and for the wealthiest few, and ensures that they keep getting richer regardless of how the consequences of that negatively impact the majority of people in the nation, its infrastructure and environment, and even the world.
It was not that way when the the progressive Democratic ideals of President Roosevelt's New Deal saved the country, and ultimately made it and its middle class great. But the seeds of change were planted by a conspiracy that began in the 1950s by very wealthy right-wing extremists that were dead set on destroying the great legacy of Roosevelt's New Deal. They labeled it as "socialist tyranny," despite the fact that the vast majority of Americans loved Roosevelt and were very grateful for the New Deal.
However, the extremist Right pretended that their agenda was about something else. They knew it would not be popular to speak against Roosevelt or his New Deal, because he was so loved by most Americans. Therefore, the agenda of the right-wing extremism of the John Birch Society, and also of "McCarthyism," was to start the second "red scare" and accuse liberal progressives of being "socialists" and "communists" -- simply because they were advocates for social justice and for the working poor, the elderly, the disabled, and the poor.
That was the beginning tactic used by John Birch Society and other extreme right-wing Republicans, especially in the 1950s but also many times ever since, and even recently and currently by right-wing Republicans, Libertarians and "Tea Party" zealots, especially since President Obama was elected.
By the way, regarding the John Birch Society (JBS), most Americans now know little of nothing about it. But we now have evidence from an insider who has revealed that the Libertarian Party and today's Tea Party are both just a repackaging of the John Birch Society.
The insider is Claire Connor, a 68 year old daughter of an early national John Birch Society operative who also sat on its executive council in the 1950s and '60s. Ms. Connor is apparently the first insider to effectively blow the whistle on the JBS (though it has had many critics since it began that it was written off by the pundits some time ago). And she has written a book that connects the dots from 1934 right up to the present regarding right-wing extremism in America.
Ms. Connor’s book is Wrapped in the Flag: A Personal History of America's Radical Right. (There has since been an article in The Nation titled Growing Up in the John Birch Society, but the article isn't as revealing as the book.) It's listed with Amazon.com and among many other things it reveals that Fred Koch was an early member, and he was the father of Charles and David Koch, two of the most powerful Billionaires in America today who fund and support extreme right-wing campaigns and causes.
What is also revealing is that many of the book's reviews were written by recovering adults who as children were raised within the JBS culture, and they too clearly state and warn us that both the Libertarian Party and the Tea Party closely resemble the John Birch Society teachings that were imposed on them as children by their parents.
Those who have researched the JBS and its impact during the last 60 years have learned that in the late 1960s and early 1970s very wealthy Birch Society leaders went to “Plan B” because the name John Birch had become synonymous with ultra-right extremism. And their Plan B first became the Libertarian Party and then, during the last years of the Bush Regime and especially after Barack Obama became president, they took the name “Tea Party,” obviously to make it seem as if they were patriots staging a righteous rebellion against a "tyrannical, socialist" government. Same old tactics, but this time there was a new twist and new tactics as well.
The vast right-wing conspiracy had expediently adopted other aspects and tactics, and one of the motivating factors was the old Hamiltonian idea that was somewhat expressed by the McCarthyites but later emphasized by the Reaganites. That idea or ideology was and still is that the wealthiest few in the “upper” class who profess to be patriotic Christians deserve to rule in a "Christian Meritocracy," and that lower classes and the poor simply deserve their lot because are "lazy and lacked faith," as Ronald Reagan said.
That idea, as is discussed thoroughly in other articles (like Poverty: America's Greatest Shame), is essentially based on a couple of sentences from the New Testament of the Christian Bible. And even though those sentences are taken out of context and misinterpreted, they have been used by many of the rich to justify themselves and the right-wing partisan politicians in America who do their bidding.
It is true, as the saying goes, that "God helps those who help themselves." However, it is not true that Jesus said that the rich deserve more and the poor deserve less. In fact, he said the poor are blessed and the souls of the rich are in jeopardy. And the Founders of the United States of America said that government should "promote the general welfare" in order to ensure domestic tranquility and justice for all.
But, in spite of the truth, wealthy Reaganites have been enabled by Reaganism to proudly claim they are both "patriotic and religious."
Now granted, there's nothing wrong with being rich. Also granted, most of them actually believe they are patriotic and religious, and many of them think they are doing the "right" thing. But greed and selfishness are wrong. And those who are greedy and motivated by self-interest to the detriment of others unwittingly perpetuate the same false doctrines that have made "Christian" emperors, monarchs and aristocrats extremely rich at the expense of the vast majority since the fourth century.
However, even though the vast right-wing conspiracy actually started many centuries ago, here we are talking about the one that began in the 1950s. It is particularly significant because it mainly targeted the regulations, reforms and New Deal programs (like Social Security) established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s.
Of course, the right-wing forces have other, related goals as well, like getting rid of organized labor unions. You see, many wealthy industrialists and corporate executives believed, and no doubt still believe, that workers should not get more than they "deserved," and that they should be grateful to their superiors who "gave" them jobs. That is the aristocratic mind set of the wealthy who think they are entitled to rule.
Therefore, other related goals were to eliminate government regulation of banks and corporations, cut or eliminate government human services, and try to destroy the idea that government should "promote the general welfare" (even though that is what America's Founders intended).
In spite of the fact that it was Roosevelt's New Deal and labor unions that saved America from the Great Depression and made America and its middle class great, those who began the right-wing conspiracy saw those things as being against the interests of the “greatest” Americans -- that is, rich Americans who believed their great wealth entitled them to rule meritoriously.
Consequently, in the 1950s, mostly due to the slanderous activities of Senators Joseph McCarthy and Richard Nixon, along with their "red-baiting" Hollywood cohort Ronald Reagan, they succeeded in silencing and even destroying the lives of many progressives and New Deal Democrats.
In the 1960s, though, most Americans realized the evils of McCarthyism, along with many other related evils. Thus it was difficult for the greediest of the richest Americans to carry out their agenda in the 1960s, since there was a very active “New Left” hard at work trying to establish worker’s rights, civil rights, women’s rights, peace, and justice.
However, by 1979, the greediest of the giant corporations and the wealthiest few found their champion – Ronald Reagan – and because they had groomed him well as a very charming television pitch man, and because they had planned very effective organizations to execute their agenda, Reaganism has succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.
Most Americans have never heard of ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, but it is the most financially powerful and influential corporate-funded political force in America. And ALEC, like The Federalist Society – two of the largest and most influential right-wing organizations in America – were founded by Reaganites.
Such organizations grew from the same roots nourished and cultivated in the 1980s by Reaganism, and those roots grew from the seeds planted originally in the 1950s by the John Birch Society, which spawned Libertarianism and McCarthyism.
One of the main founders of ALEC was Paul Weyrich, who gained prominence in the early 1980s as a Reaganite on the “Religious Right.” Weyrich was a Fundamentalist Christian Dominionist who believed that only well-to-do Christians deserved to rule and govern --- which is thinking on the lines of the banker Alexander Hamilton's idea of a "Christian Meritocracy," the idea to which Ronald Reagan also subscribed even though it is not actually a Christian idea, but one established by those who serve Mammon and only claim to serve God.
Weyrich was a vehement partisan political activist. He also co-founded the “Heritage Foundation” and the “Free Congress Foundation,” both of which are right-wing conservative think tanks that are not only closely aligned with ALEC, but with many other right-wing organizations like the Libertarian Cato Institute, the Hoover Institution, the Federalist Society, and others with similar right-wing ideological agendas.
Ronald Reagan enthusiastically endorsed ALEC, and most of its members are Reaganites. But members of ALEC would like us to believe it is a “nonpartisan public-private partnership,” and perhaps that is what its members like to think it is. However, the truth is that it is actually a national consortium of state and federal politicians and powerful corporations that support them, and it has built a vast network of corporate lobbying and right-wing political action groups, all of which aim to increase corporate profits at public expense without public knowledge.
The great investigative journalist Bill Moyers and Company has produced a very informative documentary on The United States of ALEC, as well as a June 21, 2013 followup, expansion and update of that great video story. The original was broadcast on public TV in September 2012, and the improved and updated version has revealed numerous further examples of corporate influence on state legislation and lawmakers. It exposes ALEC’s huge corporate agenda that favors the wealthiest few and their corporations to our detriment, and reveals the emerging public concern and protest against ALEC’s agenda, and the expanding internal tactics ALEC is using to further hide its actions and intentions from the public rather than address public concerns.
Thank God for Bill Moyers and Company, because they are moderate progressives and true and honest investigative journalists providing much need information. For the public needs to know that the ALEC network wants to operate without the public knowing about it, because it operates mainly to influence and even create legislation in state governments all over the country.
ALEC creates hundreds of boilerplate pieces of legislation that are proposed, and often enacted, that are designed to dilute collective bargaining rights, make it more difficult for poor and low income Americans to vote, limit corporate liability for harm caused to consumers, and decrease corporate regulations. And it’s all done without public knowledge of who’s behind it.
This is undemocratic. It smacks of greed-driven conspiracy behind closed doors, and of influence peddling and bribery of legislators. It is simply wrong. People should know where their laws originate, and why. And Americans elected legislators to legislate. Our legislators are not supposed to be paid stooges and puppets who introduce and pass bills of legislation that actually came from a national corporate-funded and corporate driven organization that wrote, voted on and approved the bills because they stand to profit by their passage. That is not fair or democratic, and it is not acceptable.
The problem is that most Americans don’t even know about ALEC, just as they don’t know about many other clandestine right-wing organizations that subvert democracy, equity and justice.
For example, most Americans don’t know about the right-wing American Action Network (ANN), which has paid for all the slanderous, misleading and often false attack ads on television against Democrats in all the elections that have taken place since the right-wing dominated U.S. Supreme Court enabled the ultra wealthy and their corporations to spend more money than ever influencing elections. That suited ANN’s board perfectly, because like ALEC, ANN is run by right-wing Republican politicians and millionaire and billionaire businessmen, corporate executives, industrialists and financiers who believe their wealth entitles them to rule.
They’ve been able to do that since, January 2010, when in deciding the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case, the right-wing dominated U. S. Supreme Court ruled (in a 5 to 4 decision) that the 2002 the McCain–Feingold Campaign Reform Act was unconstitutional and that wealthy people and corporations could spend as much money as they wanted on political campaigns and political ads on television. That’s why Republicans won the House in the 2010 election, and it's why since 2010 we’ve been barraged by attack ads, most of which have been bought by right-wing groups like ANN.
The forces behind right-wing organizations like ALEC and ANN have virtually won their war against the New Deal, the middle class, the working poor, labor organizers, and labor unions. And, consequently, money rules in America more than ever before.
Furthermore, while they have taken over the political and legislative systems, The Federalist Society has effectively ensured that the judicial system serves their interests as well.
A Right-Wing Conservative Power Base Controlling the Legal and Justice Systems
Not many Americans know about The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, but they should because it is actually one of the most powerful parts of the power base of the right-wing neo-conservative movement in America. And it too was established, not coincidentally, shortly after Ronald Reagan and the Reaganite Neo-Conservatives and the “Religious Right” rose to political power in 1981.
The Federalist Society is an organization with membership that includes politicians, attorneys, judges and law school faculty members and students of like mind regarding the legal system. They claim to be experts on the U.S. Constitution, and they claim that “the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be.”
That assertion is problematic, though, because the judiciary is supposed to interpret the Constitution and the law, and lawyers and judges can and do differ in their interpretations. The divided U.S. Supreme Court is an example of that, and it is not by coincidence that four right-wing justices on the Court (Scalia, Roberts, Thomas and Alito) are Federalist Society members who believe they “know what the law is.”
That has led to abuses of power, and one example of that involves the National Security Agency (NSA), which has come under fire recently for its overzealous spying. That has become a problem because of the eleven member Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, known as the FISA court, which was created by Congress in 1978 as a check against federal government wire tapping abuses. Unfortunately, the FISA law stipulates that the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court has the exclusive power to appoint all FISA court members, and over time because of right-wing Republican chief justices and certain changes in legislation, the FISA court has become merely a rubber stamp for the NSA at the expense of American civil liberties and freedoms.
That is why the judiciary should be non-partisan, impartial, objective and fair, which is why “Justice” is often symbolized by a blindfolded woman with the scales of justice in her hand.
Contrary to that principle and ideal, the Federalist Society has made their assertions specifically to counter more impartial progressive interpretations of the Constitution, and they assume that their point of view is “right” and that progressive points of view merely reflect unrealistic, wishful thinking about what the law “should be.”
Now, it shouldn’t be surprising that the modern Federalist Society was established shortly after Ronald Reagan and the Reaganites rose to political power. However, it takes its name from The Federalist, a late 18th Century publication of Alexander Hamilton, who was a banker, the first Secretary of the Treasury, the principal writer of “The Federalists Papers,” and essentially the leader of the Federalist Party.
Hamilton’s writings submitted a right-wing interpretation of the U.S. Constitution that has been cited ever since by Republicans. But, the Federalist Papers are in part bi-partisan, because one of the two other Founders who wrote some of them, James Madison, was a moderate progressive. And even though Madison agreed with Hamilton on some things, we should realize the deep ideological differences in their thinking and opinions on crucial matters.
James Madison was a not only a moderate progressive. He was very liberal in some ways. In fact, Madison was an ally and protege of Thomas Jefferson, perhaps the most progressive Founding Father. Jefferson had been sharply opposed by Alexander Hamilton since they were in the cabinet of the first President, George Washington. Jefferson was the first Secretary of State and Hamilton was the first Secretary of the Treasury, and their conflict and rivalry was well known. In fact, because Thomas Jefferson was very much against Hamilton’s right-wing beliefs, Jefferson and Madison formed the Democratic Republican Party to counter Hamilton’s Federalist Party.
John Jay was the third author of some of the Federalist Papers. He was the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and he and Alexander Hamilton were what we would call right-wing conservatives. And they were not much different from their modern counterparts.
Basically, Hamilton believed that the U.S. should be a “Christian Meritocracy,” and that if a person was a rich Christian they deserved to rule. And John Jay said: “Providence has given our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as privilege and interest, of a Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.”
That of course violates Article 6 of the Constitution, as well as the First Amendment, but that didn't bother Jay. Furthermore, John Jay also said that: “The people who own the country ought to govern it.”
Sounds familiar today, doesn’t it?
Unfortunately, while that sounds great to Reaganites today who would like to believe they are “Patriotic Christians,” Hamilton’s and Jay’s interpretation and definition of the Constitution in that regard was in violation of the most essential teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, in violation of the intent of most of the Founding Fathers, and in violation of both the letter and the spirit of the Constitution.
In the first place, even the Federalist John Adams wrote: “Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity and happiness of the people; and not for the profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men. Therefore the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity and happiness require.”
Secondly, as already mentioned, the idea that only Christians should rule was and still is in direct violation of Article 6 of the Constitution (which states that there must be no religious test or requirement for office), and in direct violation of the First Amendment, which states there shall be no law concerning the establishment of religion. And that was clarified by Thomas Jefferson, who clearly wrote that the freedom of religion clause in the Constitution was to “build a wall of separation between church and state.”
Of course, most of the other Founding Fathers agreed with Jefferson about that (and much later during the 1940s the U.S. Supreme Court officially agreed). And most of the other Founding Fathers agreed with Jefferson that the Hamiltonian Federalists were "Royalists" akin to those of the British Empire, because they advocated and supported theocratic, aristocratic rule of "Christian Nobility."
Jeffersonian ideals and principles of democracy, religious freedom and pluralism were the ideals America was actually built upon and around. And, that is why later Republican President Abraham Lincoln said: "The principles of Jefferson are the axioms of a free society."
Reaganite Republicans and Libertarians disagree. Since 1982 many Reaganites on the “Religious Right” have taken the Hamiltonian Federalist view. And that has been disastrous because the Federalist Society has increasingly over the last 30 years been using the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government to rig the political economic judicial system so that it serves the interests of the wealthiest few. After all, in addition to certain U.S. Supreme Court members, many members of Congress, state legislatures and state and federal judiciaries are members of the Federalist Society.
Many of them are on the “Religious Right,” which selects isolated words, phrases and statements from the Bible to justify their hypocritical, prideful boasting, bigotry and theocratic political crusade for worldly power. And the Federalist Society selects isolated words, phrases and statements of certain Founders and Framers of the Constitution to justify their "conservative" right-wing ideology and agenda. However, they simply ignore the full context, the spirit of the law and essential facts, and they misunderstand the testimony, messages, proposals and declarations that were intended for the benefit of all of us – not just the wealthiest few.
Their Laissez Faire right-wing political ideology wrongly assumes that the wealthiest few and their large banks, businesses, corporations and insurance companies will operate honestly, ethically and fairly. But, the truth is that, given free rein, they usually do not actually earn their income honestly and fairly. Furthermore, private charitable organizations cannot possibly provide all the help that is needed.
This truth has been painfully evident many times, especially between 1920 and 1931, and increasingly again during the last 30 years. It has been proven that it is simply not true that if you legislate to enable the rich get richer, what’s good for them will be good for everyone. That has always been a false, misleading claim, just as it has been since 1980 when Ronald Reagan began to gain power by making that claim.
That’s why the rich have gotten so much richer, the middle class has shrunk, the working poor population has grown, and poverty, hunger and homelessness increased.
What's happened to America and its economy is similar to the historical consequences of Republican dominance in the 1910s and ‘20s, when the rich got richer and corrupt and caused the financial crisis and stock market crash of 1929, followed by the Great Depression.
That is why those who believe in Jeffersonian Democracy and in Roosevelt’s New Deal believe that government must properly and sufficiently regulate and oversee big businesses, corporations and banks; that we must legislate to make the vast majority prosperous, because widespread prosperity will benefit the whole country in many ways.
That’s been proven many times. Roosevelt’s New Deal and progressive successes in the 1930s and ‘40s enabled the Middle Class to grow very large and great by the late 1940s and ‘50s, making it very clear that widespread prosperity produces widespread well being. Moreover, it produces more prosperous taxpayers who can contribute more to make the whole country better.
The agenda of Reaganism is contrary to that, and Americans should know why because the right-wing neo-conservative conspiracy that propelled Ronald Reagan into the White House in 1981 has been pushing the nation to the right ever since.
The conspiracy really began early in Ronald Reagan’s political career, when he was the Screen Actor’s Guild President and joined Republican Senators Joseph McCarthy and Richard Nixon in slandering and “black listing” liberal progressives, labeling them as “Socialists” and “Communists.”
That, by the way, is called the "Second Red Scare" -- the first being in the 1920s, which slandered progressives and enabled Republicans to rule. And, not coincidentally, it was very similar to what the Libertarian Republican “Tea Party” has been doing ever since 2008 when Barack Obama became the front runner for president.The right-wing conspiracy was furthered when Reagan became the television spokesman for the General Electric Corporation, and from 1954 to 1962 Reagan was carefully groomed and prepared as a politician by its top executives. (See Ronald Reagan’s Real Legacy.) And that conspiracy started to expand and grow when General Electric sent Ronald Reagan out on speaking tours to spread pro-corporate and anti-labor union propaganda around the country.
Now, what could be called the Third Red Scare really got underway in 1971. That was when corporate interests ironically accused the New Left Peace and Freedom movement of the 1960s of being a left-wing communist conspiracy.