Robert Welch, Jr.
Robert Welch, Jr. is the founder of the John Birch Society.
"Welch was born in 1899 and worked "in the candy manufacturing business all of his adult life," for many years as the vice president for sales and advertising of the James O. Welch Company, founded by his brother. He was on the board of directors of the ultraconservative National Association of Manufacturers for seven years starting in 1950, and chaired NAM's Educational Advisory Committee for two years. It was at NAM, during the height of the Red Menace hysteria, that Welch honed his Americanist philosophy. Welch toured the country chairing meetings on the state of American education, and producing a 32-page brochure "This We Believe About Education," that "concluded that in America parents--and not the State--have the ultimate responsibility for the education of their children." 200,000 copies of the brochure were distributed by NAM.
"Welch served as vice chairman of the Massachusetts Republican Party finance committee in 1948, and unsuccessfully ran for Lt. Governor in the 1950 Republican primary. Welch supported the ultraconservative Taft over the more moderate Eisenhower by running as a Massachusetts Taft delegate to the 1952 Republican convention. In 1952 Welch wrote May God Forgive Us, a study alleging "subversive influences" by government officials and their allies to shape "public opinion and governmental policies to favor the Communist advance." The book was published by the ultraconservative Henry Regnery Company, which in 1954 also published Welch's The Life of John Birch, which told the story of a fundamentalist missionary in China who became an intelligence agent for General Claire Chennault's Flying Tigers. Birch was killed by Chinese communist soldiers while he was on a mission at the end of WWII. In February of 1956 Welch started publishing a magazine, One Man's Opinion, and in January 1957 he left the candy business to devote his energies to "the anti-Communist cause."" 
"Perhaps the most significant supporter of Reason magazine is Charles Koch, head of the world's largest private corporation. While company patriarch Fred Koch called Robert Welch a friend and supported The John Birch Society, the younger Koch has fallen rather far from the tree of liberty." 
Resources and articles
Related Sourcewatch articles
- John Birch Society, PublicEye, accessed February 3, 2008.
- The Road to Serfdom Is Indeed a Conspiratorial Highway, JBS, accessed February 4, 2008.
- Franklin Foer, "Ur-Conservatives", The Washington Monthly, 2001.
- John A. Andrew, "The Other Side of the Sixties: Young Americans for Freedom and the Rise of Conservative Politics", 1997.
- Sara Diamond, "Roads to Dominion: Right-Wing Movements and Political Power in the United States"