Joe McCarthy was not a McCarthyist

Joe McCarthy is a name so long gone into history that all that remains is that he was the bad kind of defender of our values against totalitarian tyranny. Yes, we are told, there were a few communist spies in the West but however bad Stalinism and communism might have been, what McCarthy did was much much worse. So if we were going to rate McCarthyism and Stalinism on the Political Richter Scale, Stalin would come in at around a 6 but Senator Joe would be a 9. A very handy scaling for the left since at various times when someone attempts to draw attention to what it does and where it aims to go, out comes the handy dandy McCarthyist tag. Sometimes it works better than other times, but since the conservative side of politics has adopted the left’s view of McCarthy, it is a very effective tactic. But it will only work if you think McCarthy was in the wrong.

McCarthyist tactics are, in fact, the preserve of the left. They are the experts in labelling others with some kind of tag that may or may not fit but does cause those they attack to retreat. A very interesting example of the effect such labelling can have may be found just the other day. Andrew Bolt put up a post which he titled, Called racist just once too often. To fight or to hide? and whose point may be found in the opening paras:

STRANGE, after all I’ve been through, but Monday on the ABC may have been finally too much for me.

You see, I was denounced on Q&A – on national television – as a racist. I watched in horror as Aboriginal academic Marcia Langton falsely accused me of subjecting one of her colleagues – “very fair-skinned, like my children” – to “foul abuse … simply racial abuse”.

Langton falsely claimed I was a “fool” who believed in “race theories” and had “argued that (her colleague) had no right to claim that she was Aboriginal”. I had so hurt this woman she “withdrew from public life” and had given up working with students (something seemingly contradicted by the CV on her website).

And when Attorney-General George Brandis hotly insisted I was not racist, the ABC audience laughed in derision. . . .

My wife now wants me to play safe and stop fighting this new racism, and this time I’m listening.

This time I was so bruised by Q&A that I didn’t go into work on Tuesday. I couldn’t stand any sympathy – which you get only when you’re meant to feel hurt.

Andrew Bolt is not a racist but the label does penetrate. Call him a racist and some of the mud will stick and it will undermine his willingness to take on the various issues he does. It will also tend to undermine his authority and ability to communicate. Andrew is unique in the country, not only for the clarity of his thought, but because of just how effective he is in bringing his message into the light. Shutting him up is a major aim of the left and calling him a racist is one of the ways this might be done.

Joe McCarthy was not a McCarthyist. Virtually every accusation he made has been established since his time. His interest was in the Roosevelt and Truman administrations and the government of the United States. Understanding the extent to which the White House was infiltrated with Soviet agents is still only in its infancy, with more revelations coming out year by year. That Senator McCarthy is bundled with the Democrats who ran the House UnAmerican Activities Committee (HUAC) is part of the way in which the issues are confused, again only to the benefit of the Democrats and the left.

I have an article at Quadrant Online that follows my January-February article, America – the Big Dumb Ox. The movie reviewer at Quadrant, whether because he was offended by my article or just as a matter of chance, decided to write a column attacking McCarthy in the usual leftist way. Having a spare few hours on a Saturday afternoon, I wrote a reply which you can read here. But what was particularly interesting for me was that his defence of McCarthy actually exposed the extent to which McCarthy was taken down by the usual media suspects of the left. Today we would see it for what it is, and there is the internet to defend those who stand up for our values. But McCarthy was the first to be exposed to this full frontal media attack and it was devastating. I therefore encourage you to read my post, and then if you are interested in such matters, to go on and read M. Stanton Evans brilliant Blacklisted by History. You will then see the world in a very different way.

A bad analogy

Andrew Bolt has a post which he has titled, “Our grants aren’t meant to sponsor McCarthyism” whose first sentence reads:

The new McCarthyists should not be subsidised by taxpayers. Nor should fools unable to distinguish rational, conservative democrats from genocidal Nazi totalitarians.

As it happens, I am particularly sensitive to this issue at the moment because of my having read American Betrayal which deals with the massive communist influence on American conduct of World War II. The book has opened a major debate in the United States on the significance of Soviet penetration of the Roosevelt White House which has led to a further discussion of Senator McCarthy which has been an eye-opener itself. These are the opening paras of an article at Breitbart by M. Stanton Evans titled, “‘McCarthyism’ by the Numbers” which goes to the heart of this issue:

The orchestrated attack on Diana West’s important book, American Betrayal, has been brutal and unseemly, but in one respect at least it has served a useful purpose.

This lone positive angle–counter-intuitive at first glance–is that her iconoclastic Cold War history has sparked a barrage of charges about “McCarthyism” and the senator from Wisconsin who gave his name to a decisive epoch in America’s long death struggle with the Kremlin.

As is well-known, “McCarthyism” was an alleged focus of political evil in the 1950s: accusations of Communist taint, without any factual basis; bogus “lists” of supposed Communists who never existed; failure in the end to produce even one provable Communist or Soviet agent, despite his myriad charges of subversion.

Such is the standard image of “McCarthyism” set forth in all the usual histories and media treatments of the era. Such is the image relied on by the critics of Ms. West to discredit her book and dismiss her as a crackpot and “conspiracy theorist.” By arguing that pro-Red elements in our government exerted baleful influence on US policy to suit the aims of Moscow, it is said, she becomes “McCarthy’s heiress,” reprising the evils of the fifties.

It does no one any good at this stage to actually try to turn back this tide but we do what we must. And before I go on, I would like to emphasise that this is SENATOR McCarthy who had nothing to do with the HOUSE Committee on UnAmerican Affairs (HUAC). You must read the above article, but unless you have read Stanton Evans’ Blacklisted by History, it is unlikely you will have very much if any personal knowledge about Joe McCarthy that has not come from sources so tainted you would never normally accept any unvarified statement from them about anything of a political nature. Stanton Evans’ concludes:

All told, the McCarthy cases linked together in such fashion amounted to several hundred people, constituting a massive security danger to the nation. However, numbers per se were not the central issue. By far the most important thing about his suspects was their positioning in the governmental structure, and other posts of influence, where they could shape American policy or opinion in favor of the Communist interest. This they did on a fairly regular basis, a subject that deserves discussion in its own right.

For now, there is enough to note that the standard version of McCarthy and “McCarthyism” being wielded to discredit Diana West is, throughout, a fiction.

Yesterday I discussed the never ending attack on Walt Disney by the left which has recently re-surfaced in a speech by Meryl Streep in which she accused Disney of being a misogynist and anti-semite. In his defence of Disney, one of the points made was this, in which he referred to the views of someone who had known Disney extremely well:

As you might imagine, my friend and his wife bristled at Streep’s accusations, noting that she was recycling smears that originated with the communist attempts to take over Hollywood following the Second World War. This was the same period in which Ronald Reagan was fighting the communists in the Screen Actors Guild, first as a member of the union’s board, then as its president. When Reagan said at his first presidential press conference that the Soviets “openly and publicly declared that the only morality they recognize is what will further their cause, meaning they reserve unto themselves the right to commit any crime, to lie, to cheat,” he was speaking in part from his experience with Hollywood communists. Disney, my friend and his wife attest, was a target of the kind of lying and cheating to which Reagan referred.

Accusing someone of McCarthyism is to fall into a trap set by the left, McCarthy being as honest and brave as anyone has ever been. To smear and defame are the tactics of the left which you can see before you at every turn which is exactly the point that Andrew Bolt is trying to make but with the wrong analogy. But it is an analogy that by employing it oneself assumes into the very middle of the debate an equivalence that simply does not exist.