What Was The Right Brewing Before The Tea Party?

Right wing propaganda book cover  The Road Ahead

“Every citizen must read this as it tells what you and every American can do to save our constitutional freedom and competitive economic system from destruction.”
“The Road Ahead: America’s Creeping Revolution” by John T. Flynn 1949 A vintage propaganda booklet distributed by the Fighters of Freedom , a right-wing reactionary group in post war America



George Washington Small’s biggest bugaboo was big government.

It was, he felt, the duty of every American to build down Washington’s bloated bureaucratic government.

Alarmed that the expansion of the government to regulate almost every aspect of American life meant only one thing- Socialism- George was convinced that Moscow-directed Marxist’s dressed in Robert Hall suits were infiltrating our government!

America was traveling on a road to its own destruction.

A Rocky Road

Mr. Small feared the country was turning into something foreign and frankly un-American. He understood all too well that the “welfare state” was  politicians gobbledygook for socialism.

In 1949, he was certain the American way of life was under siege.

Was George W. Small a member of the Tea Party? Hardly, since that movement wouldn’t evolve for another 60 year. But this post-war patriot was a member in good standing of the Fighters For Freedom, a branch of a larger right-wing group called The Committee for Constitutional Government.

Everything Old is New Again

Illustration Boston Tea Party and editorial cartoon of US taxpayer

Taxes, taxes, taxes-What Our Government Takes From Us
(L) Illustration of Boston Tea Party -Taxation without representation is tyranny. 1773 The nation fought for a principle and won! Illustration from James Pepper Whiskey Ad 1940 (R) Illustration of US Taxpayer by Artzybasheff for Time magazine 3/10/52

Today’s conspiracy-loving, big federal government despising, environmentally-bashing, Glenn Beck-watching, true believers of the Tea Party may well be the progeny of George W. Small.

The unhinged right-wing ideas we hear today were generated generations ago. The Tea Party is merely the new kid on the block.

The Tea Party is clearly a descendent  not of the original first American fighters for freedom who created the American Republic, but of a right-wing reactionary group formed in the 1940’s called Fighters for Freedom. Exploiting people’s fears, its members were convinced that there was a conspiracy  in the highest places of government to get rid of American Constitutional rule and replace it with a Marxist dictatorship.

On The Fringes of Freedom

In 1949 the NYC group published The Road Ahead:  America’s Creeping Revolution written by  conservative American journalist John T. Flynn and distributed by The Committee for Constitutional Government.

The purpose in writing this book he explained. “is to describe the road along which this country is traveling to its destruction. The American government has in recent years changed its character. It has become an overwhelming  and omnipresent machine of controls and compulsions.”

The book had at least 3 printings totaling over 500,000 copies. The National Committee to Uphold Constitutional Government (also known as the Committee for the Constitutional Government) was founded in 1937 in opposition to many of FDR’s “socialist” New Deal Legislation. John T. Flynn wrote extensively opposing FDR and interventionist foreign policies, shifting his focus to fight  Communism. During his last years some of Flynn’s books were promoted by and reprinted by the right-wing reactionary group John Birch Society.

illustration of vintage  men community development

“The door opener to socialism is ‘FEDERAL AID’ for services which citizens can as well or better perform for themselves and for which, in the long run, they themselves must pay. Federal Aid aids mostly the politicians to extend, centralize and firmly fasten their controls on the lives of its citizens.” Quote from: The Road Ahead: Americas Creeping Revolution By John T. Flynn 1949
Vintage Illustration from Men’s Lee Work Clothes Ad 1953

The hope of the book was “ to dispel the mass delusions that have been fastened upon national consciousness by decades of propaganda portraying the welfare state as something desirable.”

“Fighters for Freedom realize that those who have lost their freedom have not the strength to regain it,” the book explained, “and those who have it seldom realize until too late how easily their freedom can be lost beyond recall.” They were there to heal a sick America.

What Ails America

politics texaco cropSWScan07382 - Copy

“The American Government has in recent years changed it’s character. It has become an overwhelming and omnipresent machine of controls and compulsions”-
from “The Road Ahead America’s Creeping Revolution” by John T Flynn

Like today’s freedom worshiping Republicans who are desperate to rescue the mistreated public who are being enslaved by Obamacare, the Freedom Fighters wanted to protect the poor American citizen from the evils of socialized medicine.

Then as now both groups excelled in spreading misinformation.

Not limited to the fringes of political life , groups with these beliefs  had close ties to members of Congress.

A reprint of a speech given in the hallowed halls of Congress by the Honorable Ralph W. Gwinn of NY. was printed in The Road Ahead. After espousing on the perils of government control of minimum wages and hours, education, housing, etc. the  Republican Congressman tackled socialized medicine:

Socialized Medicine

Vintage Illustration doctor visiting patients in a hospital

Health Care as we know it will vanish under Socialized medicine. Under Socialized medicine“There will be no more need to excel in skill and devotion to patients; there will be no more competitive effort for public favor.”
“The Road Ahead :Americas Creeping Revolution” by John T. Flynn
Vintage illustration from Wyeth Drugs Advertisement 1944

“Our Socialists propose to continue the march down the road to Marxist serfdom by bribing our doctors to socialize health and medicine from Washington just as the British Marxist government  has done.”

“The procedures are almost identical. 750,000 doctors nurses and hospital personnel would enter our government employment and cease free practice of medicine.”

“Washington would guide and control it all, drying up the voluntary source of skill, mercy, health and hospitalization.”

“There will be no more need to excel in skill and devotion to patients; there will be no more competitive effort for public favor.”

“Payments by government will be for quantity, not quality of service.”

“Yet as a doctor in Nashville said recently, ‘Socialism is the syphilis of medicine. It is easy to take but rots the body to death.’”

“Government medicine is sterile. It never invents or discovers new cures.”

“It can but appropriate and try to take by force what the individual alone can give as a voluntary free servant of the people. He alone can have the heart of sacrifice and devotion and love of service. Without freedom in medicine, the art of healing itself disappears.”


Vintage Illustration of 2 men talking on street

“Politicians who ask you to turn over to them more of your paycheck and to let them be the guardian of your children in what they tell you will be a “social welfare state’ are only forging “new instruments of power’ which in the end will shackle the liberties of the people.” From “The Road Ahead: Americas Creeping Revolution” by John T. Flynn
Vintage illustration from Imperial Whiskey Ad 1949

A true believer, George Washington Small worked tirelessly spreading the word, distributing pamphlets, booklets wherever he went.

Fighters For Freedom believed “it was imperative that millions of copies of  The Road Ahead must be distributed quickly, every citizen must read this as it tells what you and every American can do to save our constitutional freedom and competitive economic system from destruction.”

In a final burst of self-importance, the book declared: “Timely informative books like this have swayed the destiny of nations- as did “Uncle Toms Cabin” before the Civil War. Use the Road Ahead to project and multiply many fold your citizens influence to save our form of government for yourself and your children.”

© Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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  1. William Harasym

    Reblogged this on Oxygen in Use! Smoking is OK! and commented:
    One really great article!


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