McCarthyism Justified! (or Why Some Neo-Conservatives Give Me the Creeps)

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!.

Um, the term is Neo-Liberalism, not Neo-Conservatives.

Other than that, I agree with you.

Guin: Um, the term is Neo-Liberalism, not Neo-Conservatives.

? Actually, AFAIK, both “neoliberal” and “neoconservative” are recognized ideological designations in US politics. Neoconservatives are frequently characterized (by those who are sympathetic to them) as

  • in social policy, broadly sympathetic with a traditionalist agenda and a rejection of extreme libertarianism;
  • combating some of the wilder excesses of academia and the arts;
  • on economic matters, embracing a laissez-faire line;
  • hawkish on Israel and Middle East policy in general, irrespective of their own religious affiliation.

AFAIK, Jonah Goldberg can be fairly described as a neocon. If the neocons are seriously trying to rehabilitate Joseph McCarthy as an appropriate model for domestic policy on political dissent, though, they’re a lot dumber than I thought they were.

Neo-Conservatism, if I have it correctly, is the same as Neo-Liberalism except socially conservative to boot.

I think so, and neolibs are supposedly more internationalist, on paper anyway.

The socialist workers party never flew plans into heavily populated buildings, only threatened the status quo.
The constitution stomping going on today is generated from that easily defined circumstance, and not saying its in any way reasonable or valid, but it is at least justifiable from a paranoid’s
perspective…If it continues unabatted then the real threat to democracy comes apparent.
And though I wish you would have given a few more extensive examples of how the McCarthy hysteria has been proven providential…I still thank you for the site.

Sorry NDP…I meant to say I wish the site would have given further examples of McCarthy’s blathering coming true.

Yeah, like I’d take seriously anything Lucianne Goldberg’s little boy has to say.

But if the neocons are going to rally around Tailgunner Joe, they deserve whatever’s coming their way.

Has somebody informed Mr. Goldberg that a disporportionate amount of McCarthyism’s victims were Jewish and that equating Jews with Communism was a common anti-Semitic belief during that period?
What an f-ing moron! :smack:

This is true. However, it should also be pointed out that a disproportionate number of Jews were Communists or Communist sympathizers. Some of them were my relatives.

Still, holding up McCarthy as a role mode isn’t a good idea - do we want a guy who was all publicity and flash who didn’t actually catch any of the Commies as the person we should look up to? We should celebrate those who actually caught communist spies. I will take substance over style any day.

I for one say bravo. We should fight whenever and wherever* Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion, and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.*
Yes, I did just get and watch my DVD of ** Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb**

december, Descended from Pinkos ???!!! :eek:
It’s high time the Mods BANNED your sorry butt, and now you’ve given them all the evidence they need ! :wink:

This will, of course, require an abandonment of the so-called monogamous sexual relationship, at least as far is the male is concerned.

What Goldberg’s fighting is the persistent overreaction among Good Liberals to anticommunism’s excesses: because McCarthy was so evil, communism must not have been, especially since people who are Good Liberal Icons (this is the cue to roll Pete Seeger out) were or continue to be communists.

No, sorry. Communism’s thousands of victims in Cuba and millions in Cambodia, China, Ukraine, Russia and elsewhere would, I suspect, disagree. It’s evil. Whether it’s as evil as Nazism or Fascism is, ultimately, irrelevant when the body count’s so goddamn high. It has never managed to maintain itself without terror.

The defense, in many cases, is that people were naively attracting to communism-the-abstraction. That’s a defense that’s pretty understandable in 1935, less so in 1945, and not at all in 1955, particularly given what we now know from the Venona transcripts.

Even in light of that, I agree with several posters that the investigation into Hollywood was abusive and ultimately a side-show. But the sad reality is that there were communists in the State Department, who were spying for Stalin, one of the most hateful despots the world has ever produced.

To me, the failure to take anti-communism seriously is predicated on a failure to take communism seriously, a mistake often compounded by anachronism. It’s easy for us, living ten years after its collapse, to believe that it was never really a threat - particularly since even at its peak so many of our intellectual elite excused its horrific reality by myopicically focusing on its egalitarian rhetoric. That they and their heirs continue to do so in face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary counts as the most wilful of self-delusions.

’NDP’ speaking out against an anti-Communist is rather ironic, no?

[Off-topic]Actually, “NDP” is an acronym for “nom de plume.” It has nothing to do with the Canadian (or any other) political party with the same initials.

Carry on.

OxyMoron, no one is fucking saying that communism was a good thing.

Brutus, what are you talking about?

So why the resistance to the rooting out of it?

It is basically the Neo-Nazi party in Germany. (And elsewhere it appears.)

But that is, morally, the result. If it’s a bad thing, isn’t it worth going after? Isn’t it worth investigating, even if it hurts feelings? I’m not defending the blacklisting (Goldberg barely is) and no one’s defending the man Goldberg calls a lout.