Part One of Two
by Arthur R. Thompson, CEO—John Birch Society
The Number One Priority
There is no solution to our country’s problems short of
an informed electorate. Nothing else will work. Unless
sufficient numbers of the American people are made
aware not only of the problems but also of the solutions,
the problems will remain and get worse.
Think about it: All politicians bow to public pressure
because they want to be elected and then re-elected.
• Only an informed electorate will elect statesmen
• Only an informed electorate will apply the necessary
pressure on an elected official to ensure that they will
abide by their solemn oath to the Constitution.
• All solutions offered to address our country’s problems
won’t work without an informed electorate.
For instance, consider term limits. Replacing an old
problem — an incumbent — with a new office holder
for the sake of change doesn’t make sense. Voter ignorance
can almost always be counted on to ensure that
the type of change really needed won’t occur.
Limiting a president to two four-year terms, something
required after 1951 by the 22nd Amendment,
hasn’t improved the quality of presidents because
voters remain unaware. Without an informed electorate,
they will keep returning the same type of person
to office even though he or she might be new, and
have a different party affiliation from the person being
The Founders of our country thought term limits
would work and placed this practice in the Articles
of Confederation. When they found out they didn’t
work, term limits were excluded in what became the
U.S. Constitution. The reason they didn’t work was
that, when many office holders knew they couldn’t be
re-elected, they used their remaining time in office to
There is not now and never has been any quick fix.
Name any scheme offered to remedy America’s problems
and be assured that it will fail in the long run if
the electorate remains uninformed.
What do we mean by informed?
Being informed goes beyond understanding the issues,
as important as that is. Being truly informed means
understanding the principles on which our country was
founded. It means understanding the Constitution and
its original intent. And it means understanding what it
will take for the American people to remain free and
And, just as important, it means understanding why
these principles are under attack, ―and by whom.
Understanding is the key word. If a citizen understands
all of what we are pointing to, no amount of
propaganda can sway him. Lies might, but only until
the next election when the liar is discovered to be
untruthful and is replaced.
Along with understanding, there is another paramount
need: moral responsibility, ―doing what is right
simply because it is right.
Many will recognize that a solution to a problem
exists. But, because of fear, or because of being
locked into some comfort zone, they will be reluctant
to actively turn to the solution. This is where moral
responsibility plays the key role. Prime examples are
retirement and medical care.
It is obvious to all that Social Security and government
medical care programs have long been steering
our nation into bankruptcy. Yet politicians promise voters
more of these “entitlements” and they win reelection.
They can count on this because not enough voters
are willing to avert inevitable disaster by forcing their
representatives to phase out these programs.
All they think about is the devil they know versus
the greater fear of the devil they don’t know.
Too many Americans fear the unknown because
they lack the necessary understanding to realize what
can be done is so much better for them, their children,
and all Americans.
Assessing these programs into the future means
either phasing them out as humanely as possible with
the least amount of hardship to the people, or facing
economic collapse of the nation when all will suffer,
and government dependency will be the solution of last
resort for everyone.
In his Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx was discussing
such government programs as retirement and
healthcare when he wrote the following statement just
prior to listing the more well-known steps (planks)
that would lead to a communist or socialist society. He
knew that, once begun, government programs are hard
to rescind because people become dependent on them.
If the people deem them inadequate, they will demand
more, not less, as they speed toward complete dependence,
abandoning all personal responsibility. As a way
to gain total government dominance, Marx wrote:
… in the beginning, this cannot be effected
except by means of despotic inroads … by
means of measures, therefore, which appear
economically insufficient and untenable, but
which, in the course of the movement, outstrip
themselves, necessitate further inroads upon the
old social order….
Marx was telling his revolutionary brethren that the
programs needed to gain totalitarian control would “in
the beginning” be “insufficient and untenable.” But,
because they were known to be failing, and because the
people were given a taste of government paternalism,
the failures would “necessitate further inroads” and
lead to total dominance. In other worlds, the people
will be given a sampling of socialism/communism that
would be deemed inadequate by the people who would
then ignorantly clamor for much more domination.
The kind of understanding needed in our nation (and
all nations) includes an education about the issues, the
underlying principles, the people behind the problems,
and why all of what is happening is indeed occurring.
It also means having the intestinal fortitude to turn to
a real solution and then have the moral responsibility
to see it through.
Creating an informed electorate is considered too
much like work for most people. But an organized,
dedicated few can accomplish miracles.
As is obvious, advocating a real solution may
involve a great deal of effort to educate our fellow citizens.
Most are without the kind of knowledge needed
— of the Constitution and classic liberal arts such as
In addition, we may think fellow citizens understand
the problem when they really do not. We may understand
the principles involved, whereas they might look
at the problem and think it results only from faulty
Consider our nation’s involvement in the United
Nations. If one thinks that the problems inherent in the
UN result from faulty operation or flawed leadership,
then the solution becomes reform or reorganization of
the UN, not withdrawal.
If the problem at the UN is one involving the
sovereignty of our nation and the freedom of the
American people, then the solution is to get out of the
UN because it erodes and will ultimately destroy both
independence and freedom.
We could be talking to each other about the problem,
in total agreement, but have two totally different solutions
in mind. Solutions should always be part of the
discussion of any problem for the above reason as well
as to demonstrate that there is something that can be
done, something positive, thereby instilling hope.
Let me give another example of the need for understanding.
I recently engaged in a conversation with a prominent
staff member of a very prestigious conservative
foundation. The conversation rapidly developed into a
discussion about ObamaCare. The man had an extensive
knowledge of the problems presented by this huge
piece of legislation, but his awareness dwelled only on
economics and the measure’s skewed and conflicting
It isn’t my intention to disparage the man or his
work, but his analysis of ObamaCare will not correct
the fundamental problem in the long run if he doesn’t
understand that we are not just dealing with poor economics
and onerous regulations.
It was when he described Obama that I saw his
failure to understand the real problem. He said that
Obama could be described with the Three I’s: Ideology,
Ignorance, and Incompetence.
But when discussing what motivates Obama, it isn’t
ignorance or incompetence, it’s design that is consistent
with a totally un-American ideology. If people do
not understand this, they will never understand people
like Obama. In a court of law, the prosecution always
seeks to demonstrate motive. Yet we see conservatives
rarely discussing motive because it will lead them to
conspiracy: a lust for power over all the people on the
part of a few. Once one understands this, he will also
understand that we face a conspiracy that has to work
both sides of the aisle to be successful.
Why do they want to control healthcare? Why do
they want any new law that completely circumvents
the Constitution? It is because of this lust. And if you
understand that, you will comprehend the law and you
will educate people on the problem in that light, rather
than simply dwelling how much it’s going to cost and
what a rotten set of regulations it contains. These features
are obvious to anyone who has a little common
sense. The real agenda becomes obvious when it is
understood that a lust for power drives the enemy.
If people believe that we are dealing just with
increased taxes and unsound regulations, they will
likely rationalize that they can live with all of it rather
than fight like patriots to stop an immense power grab
that will mean ending the American dream and all that
it entails. This “economics” approach to fighting our
enemy is one of the most dangerous hurdles impeding
our attempts to rally Americans to get into the fight.
Without the fear factor, fewer people get involved;
however, the fear factor must be sold intelligently, particularly
to opinion molders.
Several organizations have been started, some even
by former friends of our Founder, Robert Welch, to
fight bad economics, professing to take a kind of “high
road” instead of what they consider the low road —
combating conspiracy. These organizers or financiers
have never really understood, or have deliberately put
out of their minds, that we are not fighting bad economics.
Instead, we are fighting evil men, people who
ultimately seek to kill or enslave us. We get fleeting
glimpses from time to time of the depth of intolerance
and hatred of those on the Left whom we fight against.
Let us not forget that some of these people have advocated
population reduction, not simply population
“control,” in their writings.
The mass murders that have already occurred in
France, Germany, Russia, China, Rwanda, Cambodia,
and other places, ad nauseam, can happen here. The
economic aspect of the battle is simply a weapon
wielded by clever Insiders and their dupes to place us
in an accelerating position of not being able to fight
them because we need to spend increasing amounts of
time to make ends meet. Finally, if we are not successful,
each of us will be forced to fall back on government
just to survive.
There are times when the long-range consequences
of ideas that appear to contain an immediate solution
can, in reality, be harmful to the future freedom of the
American people — when the supposed cure will actually
turn out to be more of backward step instead of the
solution it was intended to be.
There is a quip that goes something like this: The
young are idealistic liberals until they receive their first
paycheck and see how much of their wages are taken
out in various taxes. Then, they become conservatives.
But I add: I fear that they remain conservative only until
they receive their first Social Security check. Then they
become liberal again, voting for those who promise to
maintain the system they are now dependent on.
The end result of all government programs is
dependency on government.
These programs, some obvious such as the War on
Poverty, some not so obvious such as the War on
Drugs, all end up spawning more of what they were
designed to cure because that was the end game all
along. The number classified to be living in poverty
today is higher than when the supposed war on poverty
began. As for the war on drugs, we all know that drug
usage isn’t down, it’s up. Again, government programs
are designed to increase the number of people dependent
on government, not to solve the ostensive problems
they were created to solve. Most conservatives do
not understand this.
At the risk of sounding redundant, let me say that
only by understanding the basic principles on which
the Constitution was based can any real solution be
implemented. This takes an informed electorate.
No solution should be advocated that curtails the
freedom of the American people, even in an emergency.
Emergency legislation tends to become permanent.
Consider: Was Hadrian’s Wall built to keep the Picts
out or the Britons in? Was the Great Wall of China built
to keep the barbarians out or to isolate the Chinese
citizenry? Was the Iron Curtain built to keep freedom
out or communist-ruled citizens in? Didn’t these walls
all succeed in curtailing the freedom of those they were
ostensibly designed to protect?
The same would apply to a fence along our borders.
The measure of a free people is one of being able to
come and go freely across their border. A fence keeps
people in as well as out. We have lived for over two
centuries without a fence. What has changed to make
the illegal immigrant situation a problem today are
the conditions within our country that invite illegal
border crossings. Change these conditions and illegal
immigration will dwindle to a trickle. We are speaking
of public assistance, free schooling, free medical care,
and a host of other enticements.
More important in the illegal immigration picture
is the desire on the part of our own leaders to allow
entry to those who will create future violence among
the people. We discussed this in a previous Bulletin.
We would not have an immigration problem except
for the deficiencies of our leaders: politicians, judges,
journalists, clergymen, et al. It isn’t the Mexicans who
constitute the problem, it is our own leaders who are
at fault for creating the conditions that invite massive
Also, the problem exists because of Mexican
Insiders who push illegals north into the United States
with their policies. It is time to get tough and treat the
Mexican authorities realistically and let them know
there are consequences to aiding and abetting the
Aztlan movement for one, and encouraging illegal
crossings into the United States for another.
Finally, when considering border fences, I ask:
Why on Earth would we entrust the building of fences
along our border to those in Washington who mean to
Back to the Constitution
Our politicians pay scant attention to the Constitution,
passing unconstitutional legislation and allowing the
Executive Branch to create regulations with impunity.
Changing the Constitution by amendment or through
a Constitutional Convention will not change this.
Ignoring the Constitution is not the problem; it is
only a manifestation of the problem. The problem is
that we face a deliberate plot on the part of those in
power to change America. This is why they ignore the
Changing something in the Constitution will not alter
that fact. It’s not the Constitution that’s deficient and in
need of repair. Nor are the problems we face the product
of ignorance or stupidity. Call them what you will, our
politicians are not stupid. What they are doing is following
a plan established by a conspiratorial force.
The majority of politicians already ignore their
oath to abide by the Constitution’s limitations. The
Constitution is a very explicit document, defining what
government may or may not do. What makes anyone
believe that these office holders will do anything different
by adding another clause or amendment? They
already ignore the current and very explicit Supreme
Law of the Land!
In addition, the entire process for a Constitutional
Convention would be in the hands of the very people
who are the problem to begin with. They will define the
method of appointing or electing the delegates. If an
informed electorate could elect sound Americanists to
be delegates to such a convention, assuming there were
a sufficient number of informed voters to do so, the
problem could have already been solved by these same
voters who could elect statesmen to serve in Congress.
No convention would be needed.
Likewise, if the qualifications for election as delegates
to a convention were to be set by the state legislatures,
with each state’s legislators recognizing the
need for forcing the federal officials to live up to the
oath to the Constitution, then they could simply use the
Tenth Amendment already present in the Constitution
to handle the problems without a Con-Con.
Also, if legislatures appointed the delegates, then the
appointments would be made in a political atmosphere.
The delegations would contain a sizeable number of
those who are the problem now. We do not have men
of the caliber of Washington, Madison, Hamilton, and
Jay. We have those who are the problem now trying to
give advice and consent to everything done in the name
of “conservatism” or of meeting the demands of people
who would rather be dependent than free.
If the delegates to the Con-Con are elected by the
same uninformed electorate that elects our current
politicians, we will witness a Con-Con where nothing
good will result.
As long as unconstitutional-thinking politicians are
in power, nothing will change in the long run. Only an
informed electorate can change who serves in elected
office. Only an informed electorate can hold any
newly elected officials responsible to the oath to the
Concerted Action Organization
A real solution to our nation’s problems can be gained
only by many more Americans joining in a concerted
campaign to first inform and then to activate our fellow
citizens. Without that as the necessary first step, nothing
will change in the long run.
In addition, if everyone works independently, educating
and activating per their own agenda, the efforts
of many concerned citizens will be diffused to the
point of ineffectiveness. Only by having enough people
working in concert toward the same goal can that goal
Many claim to be working on solutions but most
only discuss the problem in an attempt to raise money.
Few have true outreach programs aimed at reaching
new people, particularly opinion molders. Too many
reach out only to the opinion molders who agree with
them but rarely reach out to new people. It is new
people we need to reach and inform.
There are some media conservatives who reach out
to the public and tell a good story, even attempt to organize
their listeners or readers into some form of organization,
or some sort of demonstration. But because they
have little or no experience at organization, they simply
duplicate the style of groups that do not have a central
focus, do not have staff personnel to train and motivate
volunteer leaders, and do not have a concerted action
program with tools designed to reach many more who
are not yet involved in anything.
The John Birch Society was designed to be, and
remains today, the organization to accomplish what is
so desperately needed. We are primarily an educational
organization with action programs designed to enhance
both the education of the people and the solution to
Our JBS has been instrumental in keeping alive the
basic principles of Americanism and an understanding
of the American system. It has been a long-term effort
by many to keep alive the simple fact that we are a
republic and not a democracy, and what that means.
This fundamental fact has spread increasingly among
many newly awakened people and organizations.
An important aspect of our work has been our
influence on other organizations to inspire them to
promote sound principles. Through our members and
publications (disseminating well over 100 million
pieces of literature), we have influenced the formation
of constitutional and morally-based groups from the
1960s to the present, some of which have developed
In just the past few years, our videos and DVDs
have been viewed by many millions. If that was all
we accomplished, we would be failures. We produce
DVDs for educational and organizational purposes,
asking members to organize newly aroused people into
neighborhood chapters where they can heighten the
effectiveness of their efforts.
It is safe to say that due to our educational/action
programs, the communist/socialist agenda has been
slowed by at least 40 years.
Educating and informing people works. Just like the
ripples resulting when a rock is thrown into a pond, the
cumulative effects of our efforts keep going and going,
sometimes even unnoticeably. And at other times, some
of the ripples we create have become waves.
As Robert Welch stated at the close of our Society’s
founding meeting, “All we must find and build and use,
to win, is sufficient understanding.” With it, and with
the leadership we can provide, the people will turn to
real solutions. Without it, there will be an unthinkable
loss of our country and our freedom.
To create sufficient understanding, the need is for
enough good people to get involved in an effective
program. For an informed electorate is the ultimate
solution to all of our problems.
If, by some miracle, there happened to be some
“quick fix,” we would soon have the same problems
back again if the voters lack understanding.
The number one priority, the primary solution,
therefore, remains recruiting more members who will
actively work to create an informed electorate. ©