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Joseph McCarthy was right

Let’s do some word association.

McCarthyism: Senator Joseph McCarthy, witch-hunts, reds under the bed, blacklists, Hollywood, the House Un-American Activities Committee.

Or to put it another way: it was a Jolly Bad Thing. Hey, the term “McCarthyism” still gets used to this day, so it must be true.

Not so fast. We can dismiss a few of those things straight away. McCarthy had nothing to do with either Hollywood or blacklists. His focus was Soviet sympathisers in the Federal Government, initially the State Department (the US Foreign Office) and, later on, the Army Signals Corps. And as a Senator he could have had nothing to do with a House committee, un-American or otherwise.

But what about the rest? Is it true? Did he hound entirely innocent people or was he on to something? The vast majority of books and articles written on the subject claim that he made it all up. M. Stanton Evans begs to differ. In Blacklisted by History: the Untold Story of Senator Joseph McCarthy and his Fight Against America’s Enemies he argues that in the vast majority of cases those accused by McCarthy of being communists were exactly that. Some were out and out spies. Some were agents of influence. Some were happy to help in the running of communist front groups. But the argument still stands: they were aiding a power that was hostile to the United States.

Evans comes to this judgement mainly by leafing through the files that have become available. These include the FBI files and what have become known as the Venona transcripts: Soviet messages de-crypted by the US military in the 1940s.

It is important to realise that these weren’t just spy games. Communist activity had a real impact. In the early 1940s, for instance, John Stewart Service, the State Department’s man in China produced a string of reports. In them he praised Mao’s Communists to the hilt claiming that they were democrats and successfully fighting the Japanese while condemning Chiang Kai Shek’s Kuomintang (KMT) for being incompetent, corrupt and uninterested in prosecuting the war. This was a travesty of the truth. Reports like this led to the KMT being starved of money and weapons which may well have tipped the balance in the Civil War leading, in turn, to the misery that was subsequently inflicted on the people of mainland China.

So, if he was right why has he been condemned and why does he continue to be condemned by history? Some of it appears to have been McCarthy’s own fault. He puffed up his war record. He over-stated his case. He bullied witnesses. He made the odd mistake. He criticised revered war heroes. Some if it was snobbery. McCarthy was from the wrong side of the tracks. There was no Ivy League education for him. He left school early but through hard work still managed to become a lawyer. He was also a Catholic. But most of it was because he was up against the combined forces of the communists and the establishment.

McCarthy3

The Tydings Committee – a special sub-committee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee – was established to get to the bottom of his initial 1950 claim that there were 57 communist agents working in the State Department. It did no such thing. In fact it didn’t even try.

According to Evans it was a cover up from start to finish. There was almost no attempt to get at the facts. Often a denial from the accused was sufficient. At one point they even asked the leader of the US Communist Party if certain people were members. He had to be prompted to say “no”. Most of the hostile questioning was not aimed at the accused – who were often evasive – but McCarthy himself. An inordinate amount of time was given over to attempting to prove that McCarthy had initially claimed a figure of 205 rather than 57 – as if it mattered. There was a definite suggestion that State Department personnel files had been tampered with. It was no great surprise when the official report concluded that McCarthy had made it all up.

You would have thought that even Democrats might have been interested in whether the State Department was full of communist moles. But no. Were they communist sympathisers themselves, or attempting to save the reputation of their side (in Truman, they had their man in the Whitehouse)? Probably the latter but you do wonder.

The Tydings Committee established a pattern for the McCarthy era. McCarthy would make a claim and then the establishment would investigate McCarthy while obstructing the investigation of his claims at every turn.

One of the surprising things for me is how poor Congress was (and probably still is) at holding the Executive to account. More than once the Executive showed utter contempt for Congress’s attempts to get at the truth. This included, as mentioned earlier, tampering with files but also making witnesses unavailable. But this never led to any consequences. Whenever, a confrontation got serious, Congress backed down.

There is a tendency amongst libertarians to imagine that there was some golden age when politicians were decent and honest. If there was, early 1950s America wasn’t it.

If there is one organisation that does come out well out of this it is the FBI. They were onto communist subversion at a very early stage and were responsible for producing most of the evidence that McCarthy later used. This may explain the extraordinary lengths communists and others have gone to over the years to tarnish the reputation of J. Edgar Hoover.

You’d would have thought that with the election in 1952 of Eisenhower as President things would have been different. After all why should a Republican Cold Warrior have any qualms about removing communists from the government especially when he had no need to defend the decisions and practices of a previous administration? Sadly, as it turned out, Eisenhower was every bit as bad as Truman. With Republicans divided between McCarthy and Eisenhower and the Democrats an anti-McCarthy bloc, the Senate voted to censure McCarthy. That was the end of the McCarthy era. He died a few years later, ignored, if not forgotten. He was 48.

Blacklisted by History is an extraordinary achievement but it is not without its faults. One gripe is that it is not particularly well-written – frequently I’d find that I had read several paragraphs without really understanding what was going on. I it is also not particularly well-organised. The same topics seem to crop up again and again often many hundreds of pages apart. And it is also worth bearing in mind that this is not a biography: it is an examination of McCarthy’s claims. McCarthy, himself, doesn’t really appear until 200 pages in and we get very little sense about what he was like. But it makes its case: Joseph McCarthy was a hero.

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38 comments to Joseph McCarthy was right

  • I read the Stan Evens book a while ago. It’s pretty good.

    What he does not get into is the way fear of Mc Carthy infected the whole of the liberal left, not just the Commies and their supporters.

    The whole concept of MCCarthyism was and still is a triumph of the Communist cultural propaganda machine.

  • Cal

    >The Tydings Committee established a pattern for the McCarthy era. McCarthy would make a claim and then the establishment would investigate McCarthy while obstructing the investigation of his claims at every turn.

    Not much has changed. has it?

  • Cal

    >There is a tendency amongst libertarians to imagine that there was some golden age when politicians were decent and honest. If there was, early 1950s America wasn’t it.

    A thorough-going libertarian should realize that, in the absence of good empirical evidence to the contrary, it’s best to assume that politicans from any era are, for the most part, lacking in both decency and honesty to a greater or lesser degree.

  • Paul Marks

    Good post Patrick.

    There was indeed an unholy alliance between the left and the establishment right – people like Senator Flanders of Vermont (upon whom Ned Flanders of “The Simpsons” may be based) and President Ike himself.

    The establishment right did not want scandal – they did not want “good families” upset by having Communist relatives outed. After all the Communist threat of subversion was over now…… so why dig up all the nastiness and show the public?

    The 1960s (and after) showed how absurd the smug 1950s Country Club view was – the Communists had not been defeated in American institutions they were just waiting for a suitable opportunity to come back. And, after all, the end objective of “Progressives” is not that different from that of Marxists.

    Francis Bacon or Richard Ely did not need Karl Marx to instruct them about how a wonderful new society should be created that would get rid of selfish private interests……

    A hard drinking Irish Catholic good not be allowed to mess up the logical end of “reform”.

    But perhaps Joe McCarthy’s greatest mistake was appointing Roy Cohn.

    The alternative candidate for the post, Robert Kennedy, would have gained McCarthy the powerful protection of the Kennedy clan – Roy Cohn had no powerful connections.

    Roy Cohn was also useless – as his handling of the Army hearings showed (these were the worst handled investigations of all – and they were run by Roy Cohn.

    Above all Roy was a Jew and a homosexual.

    Someone like Senator Flanders of Vermont naturally hated him – and was receptive to the idea (whispered in his ear by “helpful” people) that as McCarthy appointed Roy Cohn, Joe McCarthy must be a homosexual himself.

    It was not true – but want mattered is what Flanders and co could be led to believe.

  • Alisa

    …they were aiding a power that was hostile to the United States

    Hostile to the world an humanity, really.

  • John in cheshire

    Diana West’s book, American Betrayal, covers the subject of communist infiltration and she does a marvellous job too. So much so that she had to write a second book to refute all misrepresentations and lies of critics. She made use of and references M.Stanton Evans work; I’m not sure but I think he gave her book a favourable review, which is in marked contrast to those she might have regarded as natural allies such as David Horowitz, the ex-communist. I thoroughly recommend Ms West’s book for those like me who thought there was something fishy about Mr McCarthy’s tarnished reputation. I also believe that Ms West was driven to produce her book while trying to understand how muslims had been able to infiltrate the US government bodies. It appears they have used the same methodology as the communists. What’s the old saying; fool me once? Well, shame on the US government.

  • Paul Marks

    The above should read – “could not” not “good not”.

    Joe McCarthy was no libertarian – for example he accepted government intervention in housing.

    But he did not have the vision of a New Society ruled by a wise elite – as with Plato’s Republic or Francis Bacon’s “The New Atlantis”.

    He was not an “educated” person – so totalitarianism had no charm for Joe McCarthy.

    The exact relationship between Progressives and Marxists is complex – especially as Republican Progressives tend to be “Progressive Lite” – i.e. not wanting the educated elite to control everything in detail, just wanting the government to do a bit more, and a bit more after that, and a bit more after that….. to “make America a better place”.

    The Bush family (starting with Senator Prescott Bush) spring to mind.

    The Democrat (not really democrats at all – as they do not really want the people to have any influence on policy) Progressives (not ordinary Democrats) go the whole way – they embrace the objective of Francis Bacon and Sir William Petty (and the legion of others) of the wise elite “planning society”.

    They may not accept the exact ideas of Karl Marx – but like Bertrand Russell (the person who helped create CND – including “the 100” the core that helped do such thinks spring the Soviet agent Mr Blake from prison) they do not mind cooperating with Marxists – as their end objective is much the same.

    Although some Marxists do kid themselves that the state (after the transformation) will “wither away” – Progressives (like Fascists) have no such illusions.

    J. Goldberg wrote an interesting book “Liberal Fascism” on American Progressives – and how people like Hillary Clinton were not Marxists, but had similar totalitarian objectives.

    But then the Democrats in 2008 did not bother to nominate the Progressive Hillary Clinton.

    They nominated the Marxist (although heretic Frankfurt School Marxist) Barack Obama instead.

    And no one was allowed to say that Mr Obama was a Marxist (although it took only a few minutes research to found this out) – because to mention this little fact was…….

    MCCARTHYITE.

    The great unacceptable sin of Joe McCarthy………

    Telling the public that certain people were Marxists.

    He did not understand that this us a PRIVATE matter – the people have no right to know that someone is a Marxist.

    People like Senator Flanders (and, yes, Ike himself) have a lot to answer for.

    A position of let us keep the Marxism thing private – so that “good families” would not be shamed, and the public would not become alarmed.

    This “nice” position has let to a situation where Marxist ideas (for example that “the rich” and “big business” “exploit ordinary people” and “control the government”) dominate large sections of Western culture. The education system and the media – especially the entertainment media. Although as Patrick points out – Senator McCarthy was not really interested in the Communists using movies (and so on) – perhaps he should have been.

    And, yes, were Marxists work in government.

    Indeed sit in the big chair in the Oval Office.

    Shame on the hard drinking Irishman – the Republican democrat (small “d”) who thought that people has a right to know about the people who worked in their government.

    Their government?

    Did not McCarthy not understand that the government belongs to the educated elite – NOT to the people. The people are “Homer Simpsons” (as the left say – privately) they must be controlled – for-their-own-good.

    Ye Gods – if Joe McCarthy was alive today he would be demanding that Barack Obama writings at Columbia university be made public.

    How can the people be expected to vote correctly if they are given too much information?

    The people should just vote the way that the media tell them to – and if “noble lies” (or just covering things up) are needed, so be it.

    After all Plato, not just Karl Marx, would approve.

    Before Mr Ed jumps in………..

    Yes, inspite of all their cleverness (and ruthlessness) – the left will fail.

    The Revolutionary collectivism of the Marxists is just as unworkable as the fantasies of Sir William Petty, Francis Bacon, Plato and the rest .

    But they will pile up millions more dead.

    That they are good at.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    I really don’t believe American government is run by Marxists: it’s run by businessmen whose business is government, which is the best business in the world: where else can you force people to be customers at gunpoint?

    And of course, all businessmen want their businesses to grow. But don’t call it Marxism, it’s just power in the service of ambition and greed.

  • Runcie Balspune

    A good, informative and interesting post, thank you.

    The bullying chutzpah of anti-McCarthy politics pervades even today, only yesterday we had terrorist sympathisers demanding an apology for being called a terrorist sympathiser.

    I wonder if the same sentiments explained here can extend to Vietnam, after all, now The Wall is down we know the extent of the evil empire, and America was right to fight against it, but if this conflict is ever referred to, it is almost never with America being the just defender of freedom.

  • Darin

    Back to the main point: if educated and intelligent people, people from the “good families” come en masse to the side of your enemy, if people like McCarthy are the lone defenders, maybe something is really wrong with your society?

  • Toddy Cat

    Eisenhower was no Communist sympathizer (regardless of what the Birchers thought), and he was certainly the best president that the U.S. had between Coolidge and Reagan, but he made some mistakes, and his attitude towards McCarthy was one of them. Ike seems to have believed that domestic Communist infiltration had mostly been countered, since Venona had told us who they were, and that the whole issue was a distraction from the real menace, the growing power of the USSR. Eisenhower was a soldier, and all he could see was all those tanks and planes and guns and nukes held by the Soviets. Compared to that, who cared about some clerk in the Signal Service who might be a commie?

    He was wrong, and McCarthy was right. Surely, from this distance, with the USSR long gone, and domestic Communist sympathizers actually occupying the White House, everyone should recognize this by now.

  • Laird

    A good post. Everything that has come out about the post-war era proves that McCarthy was right in almost every respect. Yet still he is vilified in some (most) quarters. It will take a lot more than mere facts to change that.

    After all, there are still those who maintain that the Rosenbergs were innocent, too.

  • Mr Ed

    Darin,

    It is not the ‘society’, that abstract concept, that has something wrong with it, what is ‘wrong’ is that many adhere to murderous, tyrannical cults and philosophies, and too many blithely ignore that.

    An aggregrate of individual failings.

  • Surellin

    Congress is still terrible at reining in the White House – witness their recent inability to get much regarding the IRS, the Veterans’ Administration, and Benghazi.

  • John Galt III

    McCarthy was my grandparents senator and they adored him. I was a spy against the Soviets and I hated them with a passion. I am now reading “The Black Book of Communism” – 858 pages of murder, treachery, torture, gulags and so forth that produced nothing useful from 1917 to today except 100 million dead bodies.

    The US was full of Communist apologists back then. I knew them. I grew up with them. My parents knew Roy Cohn. Cohn lived across the street from us in NYC. My Dad and I used to see him all the time. I have read virtually all the books about Communism in the US. It was all over the place. One of my teachers was recruited by the Soviets but became a double agent and got a dozen of these shits sent back to the USSR.

    Here and Now:

    Imagine a Senator today claiming rightly that the US government is full of Muslims and Islam sympathizers. Well, it is but the guy would be roasted over the coals for telling the truth. Last night I listened to Shahram Hadian, an ex-Muslim who grew up in Iran. He told 300 of us that Wash DC is full of ‘useful idiots’ and ‘fellow travelers’ and much worse. He is very well connected.

    In his opinion it will take thousands more dead until the US figures out that Islam is no different than the USSR or Nazi Germany. Islam wants the world to become Muslim by force. That is obvious to most people here who have read the Koran, the Hadiths and the Reliance of the Traveler. We have an existential fight on our hands. Do we to beat them is the question. If we don’t we are Muslim or dead. No different than fighting the Nazis or the USSR.

  • Two words: Venona Transcripts.

    If you read them (and I have, end to end), it’s not whether McCarthy was wrong, but how many times he got it right — i.e. almost every time.

    There are very few times in history when one can say that a philosophy / socio-political movement should have been utterly destroyed and all its adherents exterminated. Communism, however, is the shining exemplar — starting with the Bolsheviks. If one were to create an example of pure evil, cynically perpetrated on society, it would be indistinguishable from Marxism/Leninism/Stalinism/Maoism or whatever little labels they’ve given themselves.

    In reading “The Black Book of Communism” (as John Galt III is doing), once one has overcome the horror of the pure numbers of deaths, the overwhelming discovery is that of cynicism — the Communists’ complete awareness that their policies would certainly cause death, hardship and suffering; but they implemented the policies nevertheless.

    Kill ’em all.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    It’s posts like this one that reinforces my view that Samizdata is one of the very few non-reactionary blogs worth reading. Bravo.

  • Philip Scott Thomas

    It’s posts like this one that reinforces my view that Samizdata is one of the very few non-reactionary blogs worth reading. Bravo.

    Shlomo –

    It was what?, about a decade or so ago, that John Humphrys, he of the BBC Radio Four Today programme, called Samizidata ‘the one blog everyone reads.’

    Draw your own conclusions…

  • Johnnydub

    When I read this thread one thing occurs to me: just how perfect a scam AGW is. Modern society is completely reliant on energy and the end point of the AGW is that we can only buy energy produced in a way that is “approved”, only use energy in a way that’s “approved”, paying only a price that’s been “approved”…

  • JohnK

    Kim:

    The irony was that the NSA became unable to read any more Soviet sigint because a mole in the NSA told them of the Venona decrypts and they tightened up on their use of one time pads. The result was that to this day there were Soviet agents in the USA whose identities will never be known. Venona only uncovered a fraction of them.

    As to Eisenhower, in my opinion his worst foreign policy mistake was to stab Britain in the back over Suez. Has anything good come from that?

  • Alsadius

    McCarthy is a classic example of the principle that it’s not enough to be right, you also have to act right as well. Being pugnacious and pimping yourself out for media attention is fun, but it alienates all the people you’ll want on your side when your enemies marshal themselves against you. It’s cold comfort to be right once you’ve lost. His intel was sound, his tactics were not.

  • I read The Black Book of Communism, and I got the impression that the authors never fully understood the answer to the question asked in the title of the final chapter: “Why?” The authors claim that the totalitarian state needs enemies to survive. That may be true, but that doesn’t get to the crux of why Communist governments engaged in total war against their own citizens. You cannot have the perfect society without unanimity over the definition of social perfection. Since no such unanimity exists, consensus must be coerced. Communists value the cause above all else, especially over the individual; the cause is not expendable, the individual is, and will be forced into Mao’s proverbial omelet. The authors state that if the totalitarian state can’t find enemies it will invent them; in reality, as long as there is an individual thought within the Communist realm, inventing fictional enemies is unnecessary.

    I’m not sure if the authors fully understand the appeal of Marxism, or why it gained footholds where it did, and not in the industrial nations Marx expected his gospel to launch. Communism took power in lands lacking a rich history of peaceful trade. Communism in China took its first hold in the north, not in the great southern ports that had been hubs of commerce for millennia. Communism appeals most to people who don’t have first-hand experience with market economics. Such people see only one form of activity that results in significant gain: looting by aristocrats. The Commies come along and promise to take from the right people, so the peasants who know of no other alternative join in.

  • Zippgun

    Stan Evans has, sadly, left the building, but his book is a fitting monument to both his memory and to McCarthy’s.

    McCarthy’s main concern was the failures of the loyalty boards etc to do their job properly – things were actually tightened up as a result of the work of men such as McCarthy.

    With others, such a Senator William Jenner, McCarthy dragged into the cold light of day some of the reasons China fell into the maw of the mass murdering psychopath Mao, by exposing the likes of Service, Owen Lattimore, and the rest of the pro communist “China hands”, and in bravely criticizing George C. Marshall’s role in the events which led to the communist triumph in 1949.

    Jenner actually gave a prescient speech in 1954 –

    “Today the path to total dictatorship in the United States can be laid by strictly legal means, unseen and unheard by Congress, the President, or the people. We have a well-organized political action group in this country, determined to destroy our Constitution and establish a one-party state. It has a foothold within our Government, and its own propaganda apparatus. One may call this group by many names. Some people call it socialism, some collectivism. I prefer to call it ‘democratic centralism.’ The important point to remember about this group is not its ideology but its organization. It is a dynamic, aggressive, elite corps, forcing its way through every opening, to make a breach for a collectivist one-party state. It operates secretly, silently, continuously to transform our Government without our suspecting the change is underway. This secret revolutionary corps understands well the power to influence the people by an elegant form of brainwashing. We see this, for example, in the innocent use of words like ‘democracy’ in place of ‘representative government.’ “

  • the other rob

    After all, there are still those who maintain that the Rosenbergs were innocent, too.

    Some years ago, I had dinner with the chap (now deceased) who’s late wife was the one who found them out. He maintained that Oppenheimer was in on it.

    On McCarthy, though a novelisation, one must mention Buckley’s The Red Hunter as also being worth a read.

  • It’s worth remembering how resisting communist agents of influence became “McCarthyism” (with all that implies) when looking at films like “Truth”. We mock them now as absurdities, but will our grandchildren watch them and believe them, seldom bothering to find other sources of information because discouraged by their teachers from doing so? Future voters are one source of low-information voters.

    The poster is right to say that praise of Mao was orchestrated during WWII; the truth was the Chinese communists did almost no fighting of the Japanese (which annoyed Stalin, who knew this, even as he helped conceal it from the US). It’s a minor point to note that calling Chiang’s government corrupt and inefficient wasn’t exactly a _travesty_ of the facts. For much of WWII, the US were desperate to believe that China could tie down huge numbers of Japanese soldiers as US forces approach Japan, and were resolutely deaf to British advice that this was a fantasy. This willed belief – the alternative (before the atom bomb and before Stalin’s attack) looked like huge US casualties in an invasion of japan – made them unreasonably disappointed in Chiang when the truth finally dawned (a _reasonable_ level of disappointment would have been just) and easily fooled into projecting some of their fantasy onto the communists. The effect of this organised lying on US policy helped Moa survive a rough patch just after WWII ended, just as “hands off Russia”‘s impact on British policy helped Lenin survive a similar tough time in the civil war. (Whether it was decisive or not for Mao is another matter. When Lenin heard that just _two_ British divisions had landed at Archangel, his first response was to conclude that all was lost.)

    McCarthy was correct that there was major organised communist infiltration of the US and plenty of fellow-traveller complicity. However he does not strike me as a great guy. His behaviour with Judge McCLoy and suchlike in working to save the Malmedy-massacre accused was odd – the kind of thing you expect from the liberals who later hated him, but not from others. In exposing the raw fraud of the “McCarthyism’ narrative, I would be careful of being led into over-praising McCarthy personally.

  • jdm

    Congress is still terrible at reining in the White House – witness their recent inability to get much regarding the IRS, the Veterans’ Administration, and Benghazi.

    Indeed; however, Congress can rein in the White House just fine if supported by a massive media campaign against a sitting president, ie, the Watergate kerfuffle. Of course, seeing as how this was pretty much an overhyped fraud, it seems to me pretty apparent that Congress and most other politicians will do whatever they perceive as popular so as to be re-elected (I know, I know, words like “belaboring” and “obvious” come to mind).

    I will say this however; I find it interesting that back in the 50s, when there actually were right-of-center, if not conservative, mainstream media outlets, that McCarthy was so denigrated. Perhaps that whole “cuckservative” archetype is more common and older than thought.

    Oh, yeah, and thanks for the book review. It has been in my Amazon list for months, but I wasn’t sure because some of the reviews indicated a less than stellar read. It sounds like the info supersedes this however.

  • Zippgun

    You might have to be very interested in the subject to tackle the book, like I am – it’s very detailed and very long. It’s partisan, certainly, but just about everything else that gets put out there has been anti McCarthy partisan, and the anti stuff has not used the sort of important new sources Evans does in his attempt to clear some of the mud from McCarthy’s reputation.

    As has been said, it’s not really about McCarthy the person, or even generally about him as a Wisconsin senator, but an analysis of his cases/investigations in the light of the documentation. A bit more personal stuff would have provided a more entertaining read, but made it a lot longer – and Evan’s makes it clear that isn’t really what his book is about. I’d read every McCarthy book before this one – most were unsympathetic (some hysterically so, like that of Richard Rovere) up until Arthur Herman’s, which preceded Evans by a few years and is a more rounded biog than “Blacklisted by history” – but lacks the detailed examination of the charges/cases/investigations etc found in Evans. Buckley and Bozell had provided a fairly detailed defense of the McCarthy record as early as 1954 in “McCarthy and his enemies”.

    McCarthy’s own books (actually probably largely “ghosted”)- “America’s retreat from victory” (an analysis of the career of George Marshall, based on Joe’s critical speech about the former secretary of state made in the Senate)and “McCarthyism – the fight for America”, are still worth reading, though not that easy to find. They are detailed examinations of their subjects, not the mere condemnatory neanderthal “ya boo” diatribes you might have been led to expect.

    One thing which is needed is a balanced book on the investigatory work of HUAC. The only book length treatment of HUAC’s career I know of is the one by anti communist/anti HUAC liberal Walter Goodman – “The Committee” (1967), which has its merits, but is now very out of date.

  • Paul Marks

    Person from P.

    Barack Obama’s background is a Marxist one (although of the heretic modern sort) – from childhood, through his Occidental days, to his Columbia days, to his DECADES of working with the Comrades in Chicago.

    How does it help to call him (and other such) “a businessman whose business is government”.

    Yes that sort of language might keep the libertarian left on side – but I am not interested in keeping the libertarian left on side. In the end the libertarian left will always side with the enemy.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Paul:

    Barack Obama’s background is a Marxist one (although of the heretic modern sort) […]

    How does it help to call him (and other such) “a businessman whose business is government”.

    The one does not exclude the other … which of course PfP also failed to notice.
    Incidentally, as you know, the Frankfurt School is not the only Marxist heresy. I reckon at least 3 others: Eduard Bernstein (social democracy), Lenin (communism), and Mussolini.

  • Julie near Chicago

    For me, John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr are the go-to guys when it comes to the history of American Communism, particularly the sort intent on making America a subservient part of the Soviet Empire.

    Therefore, I read with interest Dr. Haynes’ review of Mr. Evans’ book, which is at

    http://www.washingtondecoded.com/site/2007/12/mccarthy-accord.html.

    Dr. Haynes also wrote up his views on Arthur Herman’s earlier book on McCarthy, at

    http://www.johnearlhaynes.org/page58.html.

    It’s not that I take Drs. Haynes and Klehr as the Mosesses on the Mount of History, not even CPUSA History; but they are not particularly interested in whitewashing the Communists, and they appear to be extremely solid, careful, honest researchers. In my view their books on history present history rather than merely being polemical, and I believe they are far more careful than some others to tell the stories as they actually happened, rather than as they wish or fear that they happened.

    Therefore, I’m inclined to accept their judgments, at least until such time as I read the works discussed for myself. As we say, though, YMMV.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Huh! Smited! I understand that the latest version of WP has a mind of its own. I’ve had problems with being flagged as Spam (I hate Spam!) at Libertarian Home, and there are several reports of problems at various other sites.

    But I’m not hawking Haynes & Klehr, honest I’m not…. 🙁

  • […] panic update (1, 2, 3). Brown scare. Joseph McCarthy did nothing wrong. Latest star of the Le Pen dynasty. ‘Liberals’ today. Pure ideology. Default […]

  • tomo

    hmm….

    Harry Hopkins, the closest and most influential adviser to President Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War II, was a Soviet agent. There was a scandal – hushed up big time in the 50s when a US Army Major showed that Hopkins was supplying Stalin with all the latest blueprints and data on the progress of the Manhattan Project.

    The first Soviet plutonium enrichment system was built from American plans facilitated by Hopkins.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Nick Land linked this post in his latest Chaos Patch! Exciting.

  • Paul Marks

    Snorri Godhi.

    Good points (both of them) – I had not thought of that.

    Yes Barack gets his living from politics – so I suppose it could be said (against my position) that he is “a businessman whose business is politics”.

    In the Chicago years some Comrades did not like people such as Barack and Michelle, for doing too well out of the Chicago Machine.

    After all they were supposed to be taking it over for the good of “the cause” – not for their personal benefit.

    I would actually defend them – in that I do not think they ever lost sight of “the cause”.

    But I will not deny their personal benefit from their activities.

    I must confess that I just forgot about it.

    I seldom think about such things – and do not really understand that form of motivation.

    But it is clearly important.

  • […] Patrick Crozier says we shouldn’t automatically believe the “common wisdom” about the career of Senator Joe McCarthy: […]

  • mickc

    Yes, the “Tailgunner” was right all along, no surprise really….