A note to right-wing extremists: When the John Birch Society (JBS) condemns your movement as a “fringe group” whose followers are “paranoid” “conspiracy theorists” who “occasionally go off the deep end … when confronted with reality,” it’s time for some serious soul-searching.
An article published yesterday in The New American, JBS’s magazine, used exactly those terms to describe the “sovereign citizens” movement, whose radically antigovernment adherents generally believe they don’t have to obey most laws or pay taxes. Outlining the movement’s basic principles and citing the 2010 slayings of two West Memphis, Ark., police officers by sovereign citizens during a routine traffic stop, the article warned that sovereigns have a “twisted and confused” perception of reality and should be avoided entirely.
Strong words indeed – especially considering their source’s own tenuous grasp on the difference between fantasy and truth.
Famously described as “paranoid” and “idiotic” by William F. Buckley Jr., the intellectual architect of postwar conservatism, the JBS is best known for accusing President Dwight D. Eisenhower of being a secret communist and for opining that fluoridated water is a communist plot to poison America. These days, it frets about door-to-door gun confiscations, FEMA concentration camps and martial law; claims the Federal Reserve is a massive conspiracy “born in secrecy and secrecy has been its byword ever since”; and warns of plans to create a “North American Union” that will subvert U.S. interests and destroy the Constitution.
The article’s author is New American politics and economics correspondent Bob Adelmann, who in 2010 wrote, “In America, the freedom fight, at least on the surface, seems to heavily favor the armed citizen,” and warned, “There are some who doubt that many will stand, in that final moment, if necessary, to defend their own lives, liberties, and property.”
Fittingly, Adelmann ended his article on sovereign citizens with a quote from Gary North, a leading Christian theocrat who once urged anti-abortion organizations to band together and form a movement that might eventually force “a political and military” confrontation.
“Fringe groups that take up arms against the state attract people without good sense,” North said of sovereigns. “It is wise to avoid them.”