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No one loves America more than the John Birch Society and no one understands it less," Gordon Hall, lecturer and expert of American extremism, said last night at the Episcopal Theological Seminary.
Hall has worked for twenty years, both alone and with the FBI, infiltrating extremist groups of both the left and right. Most recently he published an expose of the Black Muslims.
Last night Hall drew up a convenient one for differentiating among the four sides of political thought: the radical left, liberalism, conservatism, and the radical right.
Liberalism, Hall said, is the "slow and only politics of reform, with a basic belief in the goodness of man." While liberals have faith in the system, leftist radicals "hate the system, and seek ways of disruptive change."
A rightist radical's hates are directed toward people, Hall said, because the rightest is "a passionate system lover." The reactionary vocabulary is "the symbolism of the middle class," he added, because its power comes from a set of unreal American ideals.
Hall played part of a tape made last summer in Cuba from a meeting of the Black Liberation Front, a small Negro extremist group which tried yesterday to blow up the Statue of Liberty. Hall, whose income comes entirely from his lectures, works through volunteers who join such groups and report to him.
The audience of over 100 included one voluble Bircher, who explained that he was there to keep Hall "as close to the truth as possible." "What do you have to say about FDR's remark that 'Some of my best friends are Communists'?", he demanded at one point.
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