Exposing the Electorate to the foundation of democracy - The John birch society
By Chai Gallahun for LNNUSA.com
PETERSBURG – Many people may not have heard about the John Birch Society (JBS), and further that there is a chapter in the city. What exactly is the JBS?
The Petersburg chapter leader Tom Redfern explained that the JBS was founded in December, 1958, by Robert Welch. “His idea was that the only way to save our country was to have an informed electorate by educating and informing people” about the government, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
One might wonder why JBS founder Robert Welch would want to found a society after a man named John Birch. Redfern explained that Birch was a brave war hero.
Redfern explained that while a lot of people believe that our rights come from “government,” they really come from the Creator. “Governments exist to secure these rights,” said Redfern. “These are God-given rights.”
Members of the JBS are encouraged to get politically active in promoting the Constitution, and to even run for public office. One of the foundational areas of the JBS, Redfern explained, is to educate one’s self and others about the founding documents of the United States. One way to learn about the Constitution.
“The Constitution class,” explained Redfern, “is a big chance to really learn about that.” In fact, he hosts “The Constitution is the Solution” class held in Petersburg. The class consists of a two-hour session of including pre-lecture discussion, a DVD lecture, and post-lecture discussion with materials and optional additional reading.
“I learn something every time I host [the class] again.” Redfern said that there are several people in his current class that drive out from King William.
You might imagine why people would drive all the way from King William to attend a Constitution class in Petersburg. Redfern said that many people have established fundamental misconceptions about their knowledge the United States – in other words, what people think they know about the country is actually quite opposite of the truth.
One such basic misconception about the United States, Redfern illustrated, concerns the question of whether or not the United States is a democracy. When answering the question: “Do we live in a democracy?” he answered that the founders created a “constitutional republic.” Further, he explained, “The word ‘democracy’ doesn’t show up in the Declaration [of Independence], the Constitution or any of the state constitutions. It’s not there.”
He continued, saying that a republic means “rule of law,” and that laws come first. “There’s some majority rule within that, but it’s constrained by the Constitution, where in a democracy it’s ‘anything goes,’” meaning that if simply 51% of people, a majority of people, decided to do anything, then they can do it. However, even if 99% of the people in a constitutional republic voted to do something, they must obey “the rule of law” and “due process,” which keeps the majority from taking unconstitutional actions as formalized by the founding documents of the United States crafted to prevent tyranny.
Redfern explained how mainstream media, and military and political leaders still openly call the United States a “democracy.” The question about why so many public and media people would characterize and describe the United States as a “democracy,” then, might come up.
Redfern shared a quote from JBS founder Robert Welch given on a Constitution Day 60 years ago, “So from the very beginning the whole drive to convert our republic in to a democracy was in two parts. One part was to make our people come to believe that we had, and were supposed to have, a democracy. The second part was actually, and insidiously, to be changing the republic into a democracy.”
“It’s our responsibility to educate our children and our grandchildren about what’s going on,” said Redfern. “It’s our responsibility.”
“Once you learn the principles about the government, and where it came from and where we’re supposed to be, you start looking at the world in a different way. It changes your mindset about reality and where the country should be,” said Redfern.