Nazis, Communists, Klansmen, and Others on the Fringe: Political Extremism in America

By John George; Laird Wilcox | Go to book overview

26 Willis Carto and Liberty Lobby

The period from 1955 to 1959 marked a low point in the activities of the extreme right in America. Senator Joseph McCarthy had finished a poor second in his nationally televised duel with the U.S. Army and its counsel, Joseph Welch, and his career in the headlines came to a dismal finish when his fellow senators condemned him in late 1954. The John Birch Society was organized in December 1958 but had not yet achieved national notoriety. Merwin K. Hart, Billy James Hargis, Carl McIntire, and many other right-wing stalwarts were busy during this period, but they received comparatively little publicity and the ordinary citizen hardly knew they existed.

It was during this period of relative quiescence that a California businessman named Willis Carto started a monthly newsletter called Right. With the organization "Liberty and Property" listed as publisher, it lasted only about five years, from late 1955 to late 1960. Summarizing materials from a large number of rightwing sources, throughout most of its existence the ideological line of Right placed major emphasis on anti-Communism and conspiracy theories, delivered in a style that prevails in Liberty Lobby publications today.

Frank P. Mintz, in his detailed Liberty Lobby and the American Right, describes the publication:

Right, in the five' years of its existence . . . drew not only from racial theories but from the wider stock of conspiracy and culture doctrine to fashion a propaganda style which anticipated the tactical and ideological tenor of Liberty Lobby. 1

Right had strong anti-Semitic overtones, claiming, for example, that the "Bolshevik conspiracy was hatched and led by Bronx Jews and financed to a great extent by Wall Street Jews." The November 1956 issue claimed that the interests supporting the Eisenhower administration were

closely associated with the big international banks which have brought so much grief to the world by their financing of the Russian boishevik revolution and their unsuccessful agitation for wars which have all but destroyed Western civilization. 2

Other issues railed against the Wall Street "Communist-Zionist financiers," contained articles by Ernest Sevier Cox on racial theories, opposed racial "mongrelization," and carried alarmist accounts of the "Communist conspiracy," which Carto said "should be outlawed and all Communists given the traditional penalty

-251-

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