McCarthyism

Who gets to define that?

I’ve taken it for granted that Joe McCarthy was a bad man, based on nothing more than references to him in popular culture, and the opinions of people who didn’t know any more about it than I do.

My father didn’t like Joe McCarthy. But my father also didn’t like the Peabody Coal Company, the United Mine Workers, Republicans, Democrats, and Mercury cars. Brach’s chocolate made him angry; so did Douglas MacArthur. Dad was an honest man with strong opinions informed by his own experiences. He leaned Democratic, but was cynical about all politicians, and was sure no far-left activist, and he was able to change his mind.

Relying on what Hollywood and the New York Times says about Joe McCarthy isn’t like asking my dad what kind of car to buy; it’s like asking Alec Baldwin about George Bush. Given the known biases and stated views, what’s said is more likely to be false than true. Without reading three or four serious history books, I can’t really know much about Joe McCarthy. I suspect if I dug into serious work by real historians I would not find the horns-and-tail caricature that’s come to be taken for fact.

“Throughout the twentieth century, there has been a strong and powerful faction within the Democrat party who are against America, who want to weaken America so that other more ‘enlightened’ nations can take more powerful roles on the world stage.” — “McCarthyism” should refer to an act of heroism

This has at least been true since the late seventies, from what I’ve seen. Like many conservatives, I used to be a big liberal (and it’s surprising how many of my opinions haven’t changed, but that’s another topic.) Depending on who they’re talking to, people from the far left may be pretty open about their view that America is fundamentally evil.

and what about Che Guevara?

It reminds me of this observation about, of all things, travel guides:

“There’s a formula to them: a pro forma acknowledgment of a lack of democracy and freedom followed by exercises in moral equivalence, various contorted attempts to contextualize authoritarianism or atrocities, and scorching attacks on the U.S. foreign policy that precipitated these defensive and desperate actions. Throughout, there is the consistent refrain that economic backwardness should be viewed as cultural authenticity, not to mention an admirable rejection of globalization and American hegemony. The hotel recommendations might be useful, but the guidebooks are clotted with historical revisionism, factual errors, and a toxic combination of Orientalism and pathological self-loathing.” — Leftist Planet, by Michael Moynihan (seen at the Instapundit.)

If someone who says America is an evil empire goes on to tell me that el Che was a great man and a hero of the people, but Joe McCarthy was a liar and a rogue, what should I conclude?

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