Hot on the heels of his “tongue-in-cheek” excoriation of Canada and its “leftist” tendencies, Jonah Goldberg of the National Review now sees fit to not only defend McCarthyism, but call upon conservatives to reclaim the term “McCarthyism” and use it proudly.. Basically, his premise is that while Joe McCarthy might’ve sometimes been a boorish asshole, his cause was eventually proven right by history. Of course, Goldberg ignores the fact that McCarthy never found any actual Communists in his reckless and entirely politically-motivated witchhunt or that the examples he cites in McCarthy’s support (e.g., Alger Hiss and the Rosenbergs), he actually had little–if anything–to do with. Indeed, the worst crime most of those accused (e.g., the Hollywood Ten which, to be fair, McCarthy had little to do with either) actually committed was having beliefs that were suspect or unpopular.
However, what’s truly scary about this column is that it makes a direct comparison to today’s anti-terrorist campaign and those who are concerned about its potential excesses. I do agree that there are probably terrorists out there and that they deserve to be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Still, we should never let our fear over terrorism be carried over to those whose only sin is holding odious and unpopular beliefs. That was the lesson of McCarthyism and it appears Jonah Goldberg hasn’t learned it.
Now flame away!.