The term “McCarthyism” makes a come back in The Oz. But like everywhere, they use McCarthyism as if it had been a bad thing. But before I go on, let me remind you of my review of Diana West’s astounding book, American Betrayal. If you haven’t read it and are interested in some historical perspective on the Fake News Industry, along with the reality of the communist menace in the 1950s, this is a primary source. Here’s the conclusion from my review, and this was written in 2014 before the phase “Deep State” was ever mentioned by anyone:
As a result of reading West’s book, I now look on the United States as a big dumb ox, led around by a cabal of its enemies whose intent is to take the beast out to slaughter. It is a very large beast and will not go quietly. But given what you will learn from this book, you will be in some despair in trying to work out what can be done. This is a very troubling book which I nevertheless encourage you to read.
Much of the point of the book is that Senator Joe McCarthy was absolutely right about the infiltration of communists inside the American Government back in the 1940s and 1950s. Ever heard of Alger Hiss? The mere tip of an iceberg which has only grown in size since those days then when at least Americans would have been ashamed to admit in public that they were socialists. As for today’s Australian, first there’s this: Voters stick by the teflon Donald where the author somehow thinks that is a bad thing. In his inane fact-free report, he writes:
To establish why the Trump base has proved so resolute, it is instructive to turn back to a much darker period in American politics; to McCarthyism in the early 1950s. There is a direct and decisive link between that period and now, in the person of Roy Cohn. Cohn was a trusted adviser to the junior Republican senator for Wisconsin, Joseph R. McCarthy. Cohn was also an influential mentor to Trump, who learned from Cohn’s street-fighting ways how to win in the New York property markets.
McCarthy was a demagogue for whom the truth was of little or no consequence. A practitioner of the brutal smear, he elevated US postwar concerns about Soviet communism into hysteria, claiming there were red agents everywhere in Washington, DC.
McCarthy’s principal weapon was the unsubstantiated allegation of treason directed at respected and leading figures in the Truman administration, including General George Marshall and secretary of state Dean Acheson.
McCarthy’s recklessness, including ruthless manipulation of the new medium of television, eventually led to a bipartisan censure in the US Senate, with senator Prescott Bush, father and grandfather of future US presidents, prominent among McCarthy’s critics. The censure was carried on bipartisan lines 67-22.
But, as Jon Meacham notes in his masterly new work, The Soul of America, in the national opinion poll immediately following, some 34 per cent of Americans still believed McCarthy was on the right track. McCarthy’s base support was cultural and religious, unmoved by elite opinion. The same may be said of Trump.
Must say, I remain unmoved by elite opinion, idiocy through and through. And then there’s this: Intolerance spreads as cultural wowsers shut down ‘dangerous’ debate although in this instance the author is on the right side of the divide, but once again invokes McCarthy. He is discussing the efforts made to shut down Lauren Southern’s presentations in Australia.
Social media and reporting of it in mainstream news are producing intolerance not seen since anti-communist senator Joe McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee in the 1940s and 50s.
The free-thinking rebelliousness of the 60s grew out of a backlash against McCarthyist repression of what was regarded as seditious activities, literature, plays and movies inspired by communism to undermine American values.
The usual shallow ignorance. Senator McCarthy was a Republican and his focus was on foreign policy and the State Department. The House Un-American Actitivies Committee was in the House of Representatives and was dominated by Democrats. More to the point, McCarthy would have been on the same side of the free speech issue as us.
Knowing more about McCarthy and how he was dealt with by the media and even some Republicans are lessons that still need to be understood.