Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Of Birthers Birchers and Flat Earthers

To be honest I really hesitated before posting on this subject. I mean why do anything to even acknowledge these wingnuts? But I am seeing too many people buying into the urban-legend that Barack Obama is not a natural born citizen. It is getting to the point where these off the wall conspiracy types are starting to bring discredit on mainstream conservatives. People (especially on the left) are starting to conflate the word "conservative" with flaky tin foil hat nut jobs. This is a serious issue which conservative Bill Pasco addresses in his recent column ...
In January 1962, conservative leaders faced a similar problem: How to deal with the members of the John Birch Society, whose leader, Robert Welch, believed that the former president of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower, was a a conscious agent of the International Communist Conspiracy.

National Review Founder William F. Buckley, Jr., Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater, conservative historian and philosopher Russell Kirk, and American Enterprise Institute President William Baroody took it upon themselves secretly to meet at The Breakers hotel in Palm Beach, where they decided Welch and the Birchers would have to be excommunicated from the Conservative Movement, lest their lunacy taint reasonable and responsible conservative political activity.

Were Buckley alive today, is there any doubt he would have the same response to the "Birthers"?

I think not.
The Honolulu Star Bulletin said it well when they wrote in part...
An online posting of his official certificate of birth hasn't quelled the ridiculous accusation that he is ineligible for the presidency. Hawaii officials' verification of the certificate's authenticity has been challenged repeatedly as dubious.
Independent reviews and confirmation of the certificate also have been dismissed as a vast conspiracy involving Obama's parents, state officials, the news media, the Secret Service, think tanks and a host of yet-to-be-uncovered others who have connived since Obama's birth to build a false record so that he could eventually seek the presidency 47 years later.
Seriously folks. When entities as hostile to Obama as FOX News and even Ann Coulter come out and unequivocally state that Obama is in fact a natural born citizen, and STILL the so called birthers refuse to concede, one is well entitled to ask... Where are you people getting your drugs from? As is true of urban legends in general, there reaches a point where the "true believers" become impervious to facts or reason.

But at the risk of wasting my time; here are some facts...
  • Barack Obama's birth certificate has been made available for inspection by the State of Hawaii. It has been repeatedly examined by government officials of both political parties (the governor is a Republican) as well as investigative journalists and other experts. Without exception it has been deemed valid and authentic.
  • His birth certificate DOES have both a signature and a raised seal contrary to widespread reports.
  • His birth certificate meets the standards of the United States State Department for issuing a U.S. Passport.
  • Announcements of his birth were published in both of Honolulu's daily newspapers in August of 1961. Maybe the newspapers back then were already complicit in the vast conspiracy to install Obama as the 44th President of the United States.
  • Multiple lawsuits filed in an effort to challenge Obama's eligibility to serve as president have been repeatedly dismissed by the Federal Courts. In the most important case (October of 2008) the presiding judge issued a 34 page ruling in which he referred to claims presented by the plaintiff as "frivolous and not worthy of discussion." He specifically stated that the plaintiff's arguments "ventured into the unreasonable." Translated from legalese into plain English the judge was calling the plaintiff a nut and laughing him out of court.
Subscribers to the birther movement must by necessity believe that there is a vast conspiracy at every level of government in the State of Hawaii as also the press dating back to at least 1961 (recall those inconvenient birth announcements in the newspapers). And further that this plot extends into both political parties, the press and mass media at every level, the FBI, Secret Service and other Federal agencies, all engaged in one of the most elaborate conspiracies in the history of the world. This would dwarf the cover up when Bill Clinton had Vince Foster murdered or the cover up when the Navy accidentally shot down TWA flight 800. It would even be bigger than the vast conspiracy launched by George Bush and Israel to carry out the 9/11 attacks and blame it on the Arabs.

In fact the only conspiracy that could possibly compare to it was the one uncovered by General Jack Ripper and revealed to Group Captain Lionel Mandrake in the following memorable conversation...

Of course if we were merely talking about some harmless eccentrics, the sort of people I observed in a recent conversation, who are inclined to believe that the moonshot was faked and professional wrestling is real, it would really be a non-issue. But when you have a group of people standing up and publicly challenging the legitimacy of the President of the United States; that's on a rather different level altogether. In most political societies throughout history such would usually constitute some form of High Treason, and not without good cause.

While I am not arguing that we should take such an extreme view of this, I do think it is harmful and to a certain degree even dangerous to the body politic. Sinister conspiracy theories are not a phenomenon limited to our modern age. There have always been people willing to suspend reason and ignore facts when it comes to believing the worst of public officials who they were predisposed to dislike. History has shown the effects of this sort of paranoid extremism to be corrosive. It impairs the ability to debate real issues if you can't move beyond the validity of the government. It serves to radicalize a political environment that is already dangerously polarized. And as I noted at the beginning of this post; it provides ammunition for the political left to dismiss the President's legitimate conservative critics as cranks. All of which leads me to believe that it is time and indeed past time for respectable conservatives to publicly repudiate these purveyors of dark fantasy and relegate them to their true home, the political fringe.

(Note: This post has been slightly edited for grammar and typos.)


The Anti-Gnostic said...

It impairs the ability to debate legitimate issues if you can't move beyond the legitimacy of the government.

I'd say the majority of federal government acts at this point are in violation of its constitution. And government agents are presently engaged in what has historically been the last official act of failed states: the looting of the Treasury.

Not on this issue, but otherwise it is high time for a debate on the very legitimacy of the federal government.

Anonymous said...

The comment above proves the main point of the post.

alban said...

An excellent brief reflection. Thank you. The loonies who promote the nonsense you mention do great damage to the conservative cause.

As for those who maintain that President Obama's election was planned almost since his birth - yes, there are people who are so stupid (and I use this word intentionally) that they believe even official records have been altered. I have tried to point out their lack of logic, but it is useless. President Obama could die from throwing himself in front of a car to save the life of a child and there are some so narrow-minded that they would find fault with the act of sacrifice.

Conservative leaders and radio presenters need to distance themselves from these non-thinking conspiracy theorists. If they do not then Mr Obama may well serve 2 terms as president.

Visibilium said...

I'm with Reactionary.

I quite happily accept Obama's US citizenship without examining any docs, but I'm also happy about this lingering controversy--since I detest the man.

John (Ad Orientem) said...

Unfortunatly this lingering controversy is not in any way harming Obama. It is only harming hiis critics who are now being painted by the political left as a bunch of screwballs in need of some quality time in a padded room with a "I love me" suit.


John (Ad Orientem) said...

typos... arrggghhh

David said...

I work for the California Attorney Generals Office, just today we received yet another correspondence from a person (this one from Texas) demanding the AG investigate the claim. You would not believe the nut cases we see in a day, the conspiracy theories, etc. I am a conservative/libertarian but I am almost embarrassed to admit so when these letters come through. The other great one is the people declaring they are sovereign entities separate from the USA and not subject to the laws of it. They claim their biologic unit (body) is a nation unto itself. We receive about a dozen a month from random citizens and inmates from around the state.

Another thing I have noticed is forensic legal consultatns from around the country are trying to get the AG to hire them to help with the eventual case re: Michael Jackson. I also get to read all about the Diocese of San Joaquin's battle with the Episcopal Church as well as one Ms. Britney Spears conservatorship paper work. It can be a sometimes interesting job.

John (Ad Orientem) said...

You have my deepest sympathies. I would not last long in your job.


David said...

Well I did have a heart attack only several months into it. It is an ugly job sometimes having to see I graphic cases of child rape. spousal abuse, etc. I find praying throughout the day is most helpful. Now if I can find a new parish to attend and perhaps some friends in the Sacto/Bay Area. I am new to Orthodoxy and I amd my daughter would love to visit some of the cathedrals maybe make some friends with other Christians.

John (Ad Orientem) said...

Check out the parish locator in the sidebar of the blog. There are a lot of parishes in the area to choose from. If you haven't been there already be sure to visit the ROCOR cathedral on Geary in San Francisco. It is stunning and the relics of St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco are there.


Michael said...

Over at the Huffington Post Mark Joseph writes:

The only thing weirder than the Birthers are the anti-Birthers, who blame the Birthers for being conspiracy theorists yet actively feed the conspiracy by refusing to call for President Obama to release his birth certificate.

The state official in Hawaii who manages such things has reiterated that there is indeed an original birth certificate on file which would confirm President Obama’s having been born in Hawaii and that she has seen it, but state law won’t allow her to release it unless the president authorizes it.

So what’s the problem here? Release the original and let’s be done with this madness.

I realize there are some faith-based Obama supporters who believe without seeing, but the rest of us in the reality-based world are starting to get that strange feeling we got when Mark Sanford tried to convince us that he was away from his family on Father's Day, hiking the Appalachian trail in order to clear his head and write a book.

During the last campaign, John McCain faced similar questions and promptly responded by releasing his original birth certificate. That's how normal people with nothing to hide handle these things.

Most American's aren't Birthers or anti-Birthers, but we are beginning to wonder why the president doesn't put this one to rest once and for all. Every day he allows this circus to continue is another day that he behaves less like the President of the United States facing weird accusations from fringe groups and more like a strange politician flying to Argentina to visit his soul-mate while pretending to be hiking the Appalachians.


basilbeast said...


then Mr Obama may well serve 2 terms as president.

From your lips to God's Ear.


Any other *ahem* "liberal" Orthodox lying around here who wishes to see our president Obama succeed in his goals?

Anyone like his choice of beer?


John (Ad Orientem) said...

Re-read my post. Obama's birth certificate HAS been made available for inspection by the state of Hawaii (repeatedly). I am not sure where you are getting your information from. There is a ton of just plain crap out there on this subject via people who are ill-informed or who are only interested in stirring things up.

If you are suggesting he "release" his original birth certificate from the custody of the state of Hawaii, he can't do that. I know of no jurisdiction which permits original vital records to be removed from their custody. Hawaiian law expressly forbids it it. Obama has no say in the matter.

On the other side of the coin Obama's staff are quietly enjoying this circus (as you so aptly describe it). They are getting tons of political mileage out of it. Every time a conservative opens his mouth to criticize Obama they are being questioned about their views on the birther movement. Some members of Congress are apparently afraid of offending these moon-bats and their evasive answers are handing ammunition to the lefties with which to paint all conservatives as nut jobs. This has been a political gold mine for Obama and he is laughing all the way to the bank.

Unknown said...

I never thought birth of Obama will become such a big discussion topic. I am following this closely to see where this conspiracy ends. Meanwhile I have collected some good articles and sites related to Barack Obama (more than 200 sites or articles). If you are interested take a look at the below link

Sophocles said...


I think you may find this of interest:


In Christ,

and a blessed Dormition

Ingemar said...

I wonder how you find this post, given the publicity Hawaii Gov. Abercrombie has given it. Lawrence Auster has followed the issue and believes there are shenanigans involved from the FedGov, but not enough evidence to support the birthers' case.

John (Ad Orientem) said...

Nothing I have read gives me any reason to change the views expressed in this post. There is absolutely no credible evidence that Obama was born anywhere else. If he had been it is utterly unimaginable that someone would not have come forward and said so or produced evidence.

Irrespective of the form length, HI has a birth certificate on file that is accepted by the US State Dept. and that has been declared official by the state. Further it has been declared valid by the government under a Republican Governor.

To believe otherwise is to willfully embrace beliefs that are without any foundation in fact and that would require a conspiracy of breathtaking size and complexity going back decades. Such is simply unreasonable.

Bluntly these people are divorced from reality and are so blinded by their personal prejudices that they have suspended all reason when it comes to Obama. It lends new meaning to the term "blind hatred."