I agree pretty much with all of this: <i>We believe the American system of government, a Constitutional Republic, is the finest yet developed by man. We believe the traditional moral values of our Judeo-Christian heritage form the cornerstone of Western Civilization, and that the family is the basic and most vital unit of society. We believe the free market system, competitive capitalism, and private enterprise afford the widest opportunity and highest standard of living for all. We believe in the dignity of the individual. The Society welcomes and enjoys the participation in its ranks of individuals from every walk of life and from all ethnic, racial, and religious backgrounds. Judging others only by character and ability -- as we wish to be judged ourselves -- our common bond is a love for liberty and our rejection of totalitarianism under any label. We believe that the rights of the individual are endowed by his Creator, not by governments; that the proper function of government should be limited to the protection of the rights to life, liberty, and property; and that individual rights are inseparably linked to individual responsibility. We believe in patriotism based on principle, not on pragmatism, personality, or partisan politics. </i> So why, exactly, does the John Birch Society give me the heebie-jeebies? How can seemingly reasonable precepts give way to such radical, right-wing rhetoric? What is it about the things people believe that can sound so rational, yet turn out so wrong when applied?