The Far-Right John Birch Society was set up in 1958 in the heat of the McCarthy witch-hunts. They believed that Communism and Socialism was infiltrating into American society and had to be rooted out and eliminated. They were extreme, paranoid and saw conspiracy in everything. They were totally opposed to big government, opposed to civil rights (a very white group), and opposed to any form of redistribution of wealth.
Back in the early 60s the John Birch Society was the antithesis of everything the sixties represented. We were pushing for equality, freedom, civil rights, and a fairer society. They were paranoid dinosaurs trying to hand on to an establishment under threat. They wanted a nice white society, based on unbridled capitalism, ruled by an elite, and based on strict conformist conservative values. We were the new vanguard of liberalism and a society that was not full of greed, warmongering and run by a wealthy elite.
Hence Dylan’s ridiculing of the fear-ridden extremists.
The irony is, that in the age of Trump, this extremism, paranoia, racism and hatred of socialism has become mainstream!
Talkin’ John Birch Society Blues – Bob Dylan
Well, I was feelin’ lowdown and blue,
I didn’t know what in the world I was gonna do,
Them Communists they wus comin’ around,
They wus in the air,
They wus on the ground.
They wouldn’t gimme no peace…
So I run down most hurriedly
And joined up with the John Birch Society,
I got me a secret membership card
And started off a-walkin’ down the road.
Woah boy, I’m a real John Bircher now!
Look out you Commies!
Now we all agree with Hitlers’ views,
Although he killed six million Jews.
It don’t matter too much that he was a Fascist,
At least you can’t say he was a Communist!
That’s to say like if you got a cold take a shot of malaria.
I got up in the mornin’ ‘n’ looked under my bed,
Well, I wus lookin’ everywhere for them gol-darned Reds.
Looked in the stove, behind the door,
Looked in the glove compartment of my car.
Couldn’t find ’em…
I wus lookin’ for them Reds everywhere,
I wus lookin’ in the sink an’ underneath the chair.
I looked way up my chimney hole,
I even looked deep inside my toilet bowl.
They got away…
Well, I wus sittin’ home an’ started to sweat,
Figured they wus in my T.V. set.
Peeked behind the picture frame,
Got a shock from my feet, right up in the brain.
Them Reds caused it!
I know they did… them hard-core ones.
Well, I quit my job so I could work alone,
Then I changed my name to Sherlock Holmes.
Followed some clues from my detective bag
And discovered they wus red stripes on the American flag!
Ol’ Betty Ross…
Well, I investigated all the books in the library,
Ninety percent of ’em gotta be thrown away.
I investigated all the people that I knowed,
Ninety-eight percent of them gotta go.
The other two percent are fellow Birchers… just like me.
Now Eisenhower, he’s a Russian spy,
Roosevelt, Lincoln, and that Jefferson guy.
To my knowledge there’s just one man
That’s really a true American: George Lincoln Rockwell.
I know for a fact he hates Commies cus he picketed the movie
Well, I finally started thinkin’ straight
When I run outa things to investigate.
Couldn’t imagine doin’ anything else,
So now I’m sittin’ home investigatin’ myself!
Hope I don’t find out nothing… good God!