The exaltation of the rights of property over the rights of people is a common denominator of the entire right wing
is the result of the confluence of the far-
right tax resistance movement, regressive Populism, and Identity
doctrine. The Christian Patriot branch of white supremacy traces
its explosive growth back to the rise of William Potter Gale's
Posse Comitatus, a virulently anti-Semitic paramilitary movement
which began operating publicly in 1968. Founded on the principle
of all-out resistance to federal authority -- which has marked all
white supremacy since the rise of the Ku Klux Klan at the end of
the Civil War -- the Posse carries the notion of anti-federalism to
Most racist politics has its legal and philosophical roots in the "property rights" and "states rights" clauses in the Constitution. These sections of the Constitution were a compromise necessary to enlist the cooperation of the slave-holding states in replacing the unworkable Articles of Confederation with the federal Constitution. The exaltation of the rights of property over the rights of people is a common denominator of the entire right wing of American politics.
Robison's fictional view of history as a Satanic conspiracy has become a paranoid pinball
political movements and establishments have been the
norm, rather than the exception, in America since the founding of
the Republic. The Anti-Masonic movement of the early 1800's
spawned the modern school of history as conspiracy. Anti-Masonic
theories -- particularly those which created the myth of the
Bavarian Illuminatti's responsibility for nearly everything that
has gone wrong for aristocrats, landowners, reactionary Christian
hierarchies, and other inhabitants of the far right since the
French Revolution -- mutated in the late 1800's from traditional
Christian religious anti-Semitism into the virulent racist anti-
Semitism which formed the core of international fascism's support
for the Nazis rise to power.
The book which started the Illuminatti myth, John Robison's 1797 "Proofs of a Conspiracy Against All the Religions and Governments of Europe, carried on in the Secret Meetings of Freemasons, Illuminatti and Reading Societies," is still popular fare among the politically paranoid. I have in my collection of right-wing literature several flyers promoting Robison's Proofs prepared and distributed in 1996 by Ben Hinkle, the leader of a Northwest Washington Populist Party splinter group called Citizens for Liberty.
Robison's fictional view of history as a Satanic conspiracy has become a paranoid pinball, banging around in history for over two hundred years and picking up momentum from the bumpers and flippers of each succeeding wave of reaction against social progress.
Towards the end of the 19th century, traditional religious anti- Semitism suddenly mutated to an explicitly racist form: the "two seed" theory. This theory is the central tenet of Identity doctrine and the basic justification for Christian Patriots' racism and anti-Semitism. The essence of the "two seed" theory is that there are two races on earth: one godly and one satanic.
Jews are the literal "spawn of Satan" and intent on the extermination of all Christians
In an anonymous
document titled, "Our de jure county government,"
and attributed to the Justus Township Freemen, there is an example
of "two seed" theory:
...one must understand that "Baal", is the false chief god of the Canaanities,[sic] the descendants of 'Cain', a.k.a., the "jews", none other than "Satan", the father of Cain.According to the racist and anti-Semitic "two seed" theory, the white "Adamic" peoples descended from the union of Adam and Eve. But there was also another race beginning with Cain whose father was not Adam, but Satan -- who mated with Eve in the guise of a serpent. The descendants of Cain became known as the Jews. The Adamic peoples became the Aryans or Anglo-Saxons. The Pre-Adamic (non-white) races were not human at all, but descendants of the "beasts of the fields" described in Genesis, without souls and no more than cattle in the eyes of their Aryan betters. All three races could interbreed, but the non-Adamic blood acted like a poison to exterminate the Aryan race. In the eyes of white supremacists, race-mixing became a Satanic plot to exterminate God's chosen people, the white race.
By the "two seed" theory, Jesus was not a Jew, but an Aryan. The Adamic people were the lost tribes of Israel, fled to northern Europe and later became the Christian nations. There are many corollaries to the "two seed" theory which provide justification for racists to claim God's favor:
The most recent resurgence of the Robison Illuminatti mythos is Rev. Pat Robertson's The New World Order
of the Illuminatti and "two seed" theories combined
race and religion into a doctrine of hate and intolerance at a time
that Western society was beginning to accept notions of cultural
assimilation and cross-fertilization as normal and healthy. The
conspiratorial viewpoint -- with the Satanic Jewish Illuminatti as
the focus of fear and dread -- has spawned a substantial occult
body of literature. These books are rarely seen or read outside of
extreme right-wing circles, but they continue to be circulated,
quoted and adapted to the present day.
Nesta Webster, a British fascist and anti-Semite, revived Robison at the turn of the century and recast his book in explicitly anti- Semitic terms. At about the same time, the wholly fictitious The Protocals of the Elders of Zion also appeared. The Protocals are an anti-Semitic forgery which claims to provide details of a Jewish conspiracy for world domination. This short book continues to be a staple of anti-Semitic literature and is frequently included in neo-nazi and Christian Patriot books, such as Phillip Marsh's The Complete Patriot.
After the defeat of Nazism, the Jewish Satanic conspiracy was recast as anti-communism in a book by American Col. John Beatty, Iron Curtain Over America. Canadian writer William Guy Carr contributed Red Fog Over America and other conspiracy books which emphasized the role of the Illuminatti. In the 1960's the John Birch Society retold the tale in a sanitized version -- the Illuminatti are replaced with "Insiders" -- in Gary Allen's None Dare Call It Conspiracy. The third printing of Allen's book states that over 5,000,000 copies were printed.
These are only a few of the books, but these titles trace the literary descent from Robison to the present day. Most of these books, with the exception of Nesta Webster's which are quite rare, can be found in almost any town in America. They frequently show up at rummage sales and used book stores. Many of the titles in the anti-Semitic canon have never gone out of print.
The most recent resurgence of the Robison Illuminatti mythos is Rev. Pat Robertson's The New World Order, which draws on both Robison and the more explicitly racist anti-Semites Nesta Webster and Eustace Mullins. One of the more irresponsible statements contained in Robertson's tome is the claim that both Karl Marx and Frederick Engels learned of communism from a "communist rabbi" who was "linked" to the Illuminatti. This passage can be found on pages 69 and 70 in The New World Order. The only "link" mentioned in Robertson's book is that the "communist rabbi" was Jewish.
The "organic Constitution"
Illuminatti, the next major advance in the right-
wing mythos came in the aftermath of the Civil War. In seeking
ratification of the 13th and 14th Amendments to the Constitution,
the victorious Unionists were confronted by the near insurmountable
obstacle of Article V, which requires the consent of three quarters
of the states in order to ratify an amendment to the Constitution.
The recently conquered Confederacy -- now rejoined to the Union -- possessed sufficient votes to block the amendments abolishing slavery, extending the full rights of citizenship to all people born in the United States and granting equal protection of the laws to all people within the United States' jurisdiction. The Unionists solution was to impose military occupation governments in a sufficient number of the former Confederate states long enough to ratify the new amendments. Immediately after ratification, the military governments were replaced with civilian ones.
This historical fact is little known outside of the South. The response to the forcible alteration of the Constitution was a conspiracy theory which asserts all amendments beginning with the 13th and 14th Amendments were never properly ratified and thus are not part of "the supreme Law of the Land" as described in Article VI. This conspiracy theory has become the central myth of Christian Patriot "common law" -- the "organic Constitution."
James Aho, a professor of sociology at the University of Idaho, points out the role of the organic Constitution in justifying disobeying the law:
Christian patriots distinguish between Law and legality, Morality and legalese. The former of these pairs is determined, respectively, by their readings of the so- called organic Constitution (the original Articles of Constitution plus the Bill of Rights) and selected edicts from the Pentateuch the first five books of the Bible). They believe they have little, if any, moral obligation to obey legal statutes inconsistent with Law or Morality.The most widespread common law handbook is a little pamphlet titled Citizens Rule Book: A Palladium of Liberty. The Rule Book is a pocket-sized Constitution and guide to common law theory. The following quotation is from its index to the Constitution. The first twelve amendments are described as "adopted" and all amendments past that are described as "took effect." A footnote on page 25 explains the difference:
Took effect is used as there is a great deal of suspicion as to the nature of these amendments (common law vs equity), also whether these last 16 amendments are legal, how many were ratified correctly, do they create a federal constitution in opposition the original, etc.In its most concise form, the myth of the organic Constitution can be summarized as follows:
The Constitution is a divinely inspired document in which human agency is secondary to God's will. Only the original Constitution and Bill of Rights as signed by the Founders is the supreme Law of the Land and this law should be interpreted in the light of Biblical understanding. All later amendments, laws and regulations are "unconstitutional" in the sense that they "create a federal constitution in opposition to the original."There are several corollaries to the myth of the organic Constitution which inform Christian Patriot "common law." In the following statements can be found much of the meaning of the catch- phrases and slogans of Christian Patriots:
The upshot of the myth of the divinely inspired organic Constitution is that Christian Patriot sovereigns can do whatever they want if they convince other sovereigns that such an action is "constitutional." According to the Christian Patriots, no other laws apply but the ones that they recognize.
Albion Monitor April 15, 1996 (http://www.monitor.net/monitor)
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