Based on the Preface, Introduction, and Chapters 1-4 of Ian Haney López's "Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class," what role did the John Birch Society play in politics?      

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According to the author, the John Birch Society spearheaded the anti-liberal revolt against New Deal politics. To recap, the John Birch Society was founded by Robert Welch in 1958 to combat communism in American society.

Although the John Birch Society stressed its support for welfare reform and for free market capitalism, it doomed its political efforts because of its penchant for entertaining spurious conspiracy theories. Welch's promotion of the idea that the Illuminati was leading communist efforts to subjugate America was less than helpful.

However, what the John Birch Society did do was to promote the argument that the entertainment media and education system were promoting a preference for "welfare" and "security" against responsibility and opportunity; making an ever larger...percentage of American industry, commerce, agriculture, education, and individuals accustomed to receiving, and dependent on government checks..." The Society maintained that New Deal policies led to a "constant increase in legislation, taxation, and bureaucracy..."

In due time, supporters of the John Birch Society funded think tanks that promoted anti-liberal views about welfare reform and capitalism to mainstream society. So, the John Birch Society's main role in politics was to introduce counter-arguments against what it considered the financially irresponsible policies of the New Deal.


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