The US and Democracy: National Center for Constitutional Studies. A recent Alternet carries a report by Alexander Zaitchik on an extreme Mormon movement supported by Glenn Beck (“The Bizarre Religious Myths Mormon Right-Wingers Are Pushing on Tea Partiers — With Glenn Beck’s Help”
One of the movement’s organizations is the National Center for Constitutional Studies that runs seminars and publishes study guides and whose founder, Cleon Skousen, founded the John Birch Society. According to Zaitchik, “NCCS worldview and program were based on three major pillars: understanding the divine guidance that has allowed the United States to thrive; rejecting the tyrannical, implicitly sinful, nature of the modern federal government; and preparing for a divine reckoning that will bring down America’s government and possibly tear society as we know it asunder, thus allowing those with sound principles — i.e., godly NCCS graduates — to rebuild the republic along “sounder,” more pious lines.” Zaitchik claims there is an “exploding interest” in the NCCS among Tea Party Groups, the “9.12 Project” and “TP Patriots”.
In a NCCS seminar, “Making of America”, lecturer Randall McNeely (no academic qualifications) argued that the current federal government is guilty of a “usurpation of power.” According to McNeely government should be limited largely to defense and the elimination of “debauchery and vice”.
Leaving aside defense, a government whose role is to eliminate “debauchery and vice” is not a democratic government. It is authoritarian clerical rule (whatever they are calling the clerics). There no way to soften the point. A religion that wants to use democracy to overthrow democracy must be explicitly rejected – a religion that does not believe in religious tolerance and does believe in entrusting political power to a particular religion to enforce its own laws must be rejected. Republicans that support the NCCS extreme views must be challenged, not only on specific policies, but on their fundamentally undemocratic nature. What does it mean to talk about “compromise” on the budget or even about “the deficit” or “jobs” when the other side wants to destroy the federal government or have it serve religious objectives?
Welcome your comments below. How do we deal with extreme political/religious ideas in the United State?