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The Not-So-Far Right: Radical Right-Wing Politics in the United States, 1941-1977

Reynolds, Colin (2016)
Dissertation (252 pages)
Committee Chair / Thesis Adviser: Crespino, Joseph
Committee Members: Allitt, Patrick ; Dudziak, Mary L.
Research Fields: American history
Keywords: radical right; anti-Communism; United States politics; John Birch Society; conservatism
Program: Laney Graduate School, History
Permanent url: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/rq2gb

Abstract

Abstract

The Not-So-Far Right: Radical Right-Wing Politics in the United States, 1941-1977

By Colin E. Reynolds

This dissertation examines how U.S. anti-Communist conspiracy theorists, particularly those involved in and close to the John Birch Society, contributed to and helped to shape conservative political positions and ideas about social change during the second half of the twentieth century. It examines the long political diaspora of what is usually called "McCarthyism." While most Americans thought of themselves as anti-Communists during the Cold War, radical rightists were uniquely focused on subversion in American government, culture, and social institutions. They believed that American policymakers would accomplish little by "containing" Communism militarily because Communism spread not by military force, but by subversion. This dissertation argues that radical rightists were a significant force on the right of American politics for several decades, and it traces several ways that radical rightists interpreted social and cultural changes, as well as foreign and domestic government policies, during the second half of the twentieth century. Ultimately, this dissertation argues that ideas about Communist cultural and institutional subversion helped to shape the conservative perspective in what later became known as the "culture wars."

Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction

Chapter 1: Building Birchism: China, Anti-Statist Isolationism, and Anti-Communist Interventionism after World War II..................17

Chapter 2: Capturing the American Mind: "Brainwashing" and Anti-Communism in the 1950s......................................................55

Chapter 3: The Business of Birchism: The John Birch Society Shapes Its Message, 1960-1963.....................................................93

Chapter 4: Civil Rights and "Civil Riots": The Radical Right and the Civil Rights Movement.........................................................131

Chapter 5: Riots and Civilization: The Radical Right's Characterization of the Communist Assault on "Law and Order"...................168

Chapter 6: Smut Peddlers in the Classroom: MOTOREDE and the Rise of the Culture Wars in the 1970s......................................197

Epilogue: Criminalizing the Enlightenment..........................................................................................................................238

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