Monday, February 14, 2011

Joe McCarthy must be smeared; facts be damned

It has become a rote exercise in self-congratulatory political preening to bash Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin. Even many conservatives who should know better engage in McCarthy bashing. That is usually because most everything that people have ever learned about Joe McCarthy is not only incorrect, but usually 180-degrees from the truth. What people fail to learn is that after the fall of the Soviet Union and the release of thousands of its secret documents, we now know that McCarthy was right. But still, people are so trained to hate Joe McCarthy, that they have difficulty abandoning all that they have been taught over the decades and adjusting their views.

What doesn't help is when supposedly fact-based and objective newspapers get even the basics incorrect.

Yesterday, the Chicago Sun-Times ran an article about a photography exhibit that displays the photos of the recently deceased Milton Rogovin, who once worked as the librarian for the Communist Party of Buffalo, New York.

In its descriptions of Rogovin's life, the Sun-Times article carried this little nugget of information. Read it and see if you can find the three inaccuracies that I found:
Then the inevitable happened. In October 1957, Rogovin was caught in the net cast by the House Un-American Activities Committee helmed by Sen. Joseph McCarthy. It was the waning days of the Communist witch hunt, and the experience would change Rogovin’s life.
Give up? OK, I will help you out:

1. The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) had nothing to do with the work of Senator Joseph McCarthy, who headed the Senate Committee on Investigations. McCarthy never served in the House of Representatives; he only ever served as a Senator.

2. Rogovin appeared before the HUAC in October of 1957. Even if Senator McCarthy had been miraculously able to head this House committee, he still would not have been in charge of the committee when Rogovin appeared before it. McCarthy had died in May of that year.

3. McCarthy's work was not a "communist witch hunt." The term "witch hunt" connotes an inability to find that which you are zealously seeking. The communist-sympathizing subjects of McCarthy's investigations were exactly what he purported them to be: Security risks working in sensitive positions within the federal government. And some of them even turned out to be actively spying for the Soviet Union.

If you have never been exposed to the truth about Joe McCarthy, there are two books that can set you straight.

Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism, by Ann Coulter, gives a good basic primer on McCarthy's work and the lies that have been accepted about it. Oh yes, I know, some of you might be experiencing your own rote and visceral reaction to my utterance of the name "Ann Coulter." Fear not, folks, for Coulter's chapters on McCarthy are chock full of these useful little superscripted numbers that reference something called footnotes (or endnotes) that can direct you to Coulter's primary and secondary sources which are listed in the back of the book.

Coulter's account of McCarthy is just one part of a larger narrative in her book about statist treachery in the United States. For a more detailed account that delves into just McCarthy, read the definitive book on the subject, Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America's Enemies, by M. Stanton Evans.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson


Anonymous said...

It was a witch hunt. If you can't see that you are as blind as you claim your opponents are.

W.R. Chandler said...

If your rote declaration makes you feel better then I am happy for you.