A Fresh View of Cold-War America

This article is reprinted from MindingtheCampus.com.

Teaching in the universities about the so-called McCarthy era has become an area most susceptible to politically correct and one-sided views of what the period was all about. One historian who strenuously objects to the accepted left-wing interpretation that prevails in the academy is Jennifer Delton, Chairman of the Department of History at Skidmore College.

In the March issue of The Journal of the Historical Society Delton writes:

However fiercely historians disagree about the merits of American Communism, they almost universally agree that the post-World War II Red scare signified a rightward turn in American politics. The consensus is that an exaggerated, irrational fear of communism, bolstered by a few spectacular spy cases, created an atmosphere of persecution and hysteria that was exploited and fanned by conservative opportunists such as Richard Nixon and Joseph McCarthy. This hysteria suppressed rival ideologies and curtailed the New Deal, leading to a resurgence of conservative ideas and corporate influence in government. We may add detail and nuance to this story, but this, basically, is what we tell our students and ourselves about post-World War II anti-Communism, also known as McCarthyism. It is fundamentally the same story that liberals have told since Whittaker Chambers accused Alger Hiss of being a Communist spy in 1948.

This conventional narrative of the left has been told over and over for so many years that it has all but become the established truth to most Americans. It was exemplified in a best-selling book of the late 1970′s, David Caute’s The Great Fear, and from the most quoted one from the recent past, Ellen Schrecker’s Many Are the Crimes: McCarthyism in America. My favorite title is one written by the late Cedric Belfrage, The American Inquisition 1945-1960: A Profile of the “McCarthy Era.” In his book, Belfrage told the story of how he, an independent journalist who founded the fellow-traveling weekly The National Guardian, was hounded by the authorities and finally deported home to Britain. American concerns about Soviet espionage, he argued, were simply paranoia.

The problem with Belfrage’s account was that once the Venona files began to be released in 1995–the once top secret Soviet decrypts of communications between Moscow Center and its US agents—they revealed that Belfrage was a paid KGB operative, just as the anti-Communist liberal Sidney Hook had openly charged decades ago, and as turned KGB spy Elizabeth Bentley had privately informed the FBI in 1945. The Venona cables revealed that Belfrage had given the KGB an OSS report received by British intelligence concerning the anti-Communist Yugoslav resistance in the 1940′s as well as documents about the British government’s position during the war on opening a second front in Europe. It showed that Belfrage had offered the Soviets to establish secret contact with them if he was stationed in London.

Facts like these did not bother or budge the academic establishment. Most famously, Ellen Schrecker wrote in her book that although it is now clear many Communists in America had spied for the Soviets, they did not do any real harm to the country, and also most importantly, their motives were decent. She wrote, “As Communists, these people did not subscribe to traditional forms of patriotism; they were internationalists whose political allegiances transcended national boundaries. They thought they were ‘building…a better world for the masses,’ not betraying their country.”

Schrecker’s views were endorsed by former Nation publisher and editor Victor Navasky, who regularly in different articles argues that the Venona decrypts are either gossip or forgeries, irrelevant, or do not change his favored narrative that in the United States– only McCarthyism was a threat. As Navasky wrote, Venona was simply an attempt “to enlarge post-cold war intelligence gathering capability at the expense of civil liberty.” If spying indeed took place, it was “a lot of exchanges of information among people of good will, many of whom were Marxists, some of whom were Communists… and most of whom were patriots.” As for those who argue against his view, they were trying to “argue that, in effect, McCarthy and Co. were right all along.”

The lens through which McCarthyism has been seen, therefore, is one seen exclusively through the left-wing prism, which regards defense of one’s own democratic nation against a foreign foe as evil, and sees only testimony against America’s enemies as McCarthyite. What is therefore necessary is to look anew at the McCarthy era, not in the terms set by its Communist opponents, but from the perspective of examining dispassionately the nature of the entire epoch. Those who have chosen to do this, however, have been met with great opposition. A few years ago, the editors of The New York Times claimed that a new group of scholars “would like to rewrite the historical verdict on Senator McCarthy and McCarthyism.” Fearing such a development, the newspaper warned that it had to be acknowledged that it was McCarthyism more than Soviet espionage or Communist infiltration that was “a lethal threat to American democracy.”

If one disagreed with that assessment, the Times‘ editors implied that such scholars were themselves closet McCarthyites. This became a common tactic. Most recently, John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr and Alexander Vassiliev published their definitive volume on the KGB in America, Spies:The Rise and Fall of the KGB In America. They made it quite clear in their book that McCarthy’s “charges were… wildly off the mark. Very few of the people he accused appeared in KGB documents (or the Venona decryptions), and by the time he made his charges, almost all Soviet agents had been forced out of the government and Soviet intelligence networks were largely defunct.” That disavowal did not help them. In the major review of their book that appeared in TLS, Amy Knight refers in passing to “the McCarthyite style of Haynes and Klehr.” Evidently, any argument that American Communists who spied for the Soviets did some real damage and were not victims of repression, is enough to brand the authors as “McCarthyite.”

If they accepted the failure of their old narrative that Delton summarizes so well, it would interfere with their cherished and still held view that all anti-Communism, as Schrecker wrote, “was misguided or worse,” that the anti-Communist or Cold War liberals were just as bad as the McCarthyites of the Right, and in fact served them intelligence agents who identified Reds, and who “tapped into something dark and nasty in the human soul.” If any harm took place “from Soviet-sponsored spies,” she wrote, it was “dwarfed by McCarthy’s wave of terror.”

That is precisely why the new article by Jennifer Delton is of such importance. For the first time, a young historian at a major liberal arts institution has dared to challenge the consensus view, and to declare that it is time for mainstream historians to acknowledge that their old framework of studying the “McCarthy era” was both misleading and incorrect. As she says near the beginning of her article, “New evidence confirming the widespread existence of Soviet agents in the U.S. government makes the Truman administration’s attempts to purge Communists from government agencies seem rational and appropriate—even too modest, given what we now know.” (my emphasis)

That remark alone is quite different from the conventional analysis offered by historians of the period: that it should not be called the McCarthy Era, but the Truman era of repression, since it was Truman who paved the way for McCarthy’s rise to power, by acting as if there was an actual Communist threat. Moreover, Delton continues to argue that even if the Communists were not among those who became actual KGB agents, whether in unions or political groups or in Hollywood, “there were still good reasons for liberals to expel Communists.” Rather than accept the framework of the Popular Front so beloved by the Left and by left-wing historians, who continue to think workers and Americans could not make real progress unless liberals and Communists cooperated in the post-war era, Delton notes that the Communists “were divisive and disruptive,” could cripple the groups they entered, and harm their very ability to attain their desired ends.

What Delton argues is that expulsion of the Communists actually enabled liberals to prosper politically and to have a political effect. She does not endorse all that went on, particularly the much documented violations of basic civil liberties. Rather, she writes “to challenge the entrenched and misleading characterization of post-World War II anti-Communism as hysterical and conservative.” To do so, she writes, is to “ignore the real threat Communism represented…to the ascendant liberal political agenda.”

Second, Delton takes on another mainstream argument of the left, displayed in a quote from historian Robert Griffith, who wrote “the left was in virtual eclipse and the distinction between liberals and conservatives became one of method and technique, not fundamental principle.” To the contrary, Delton argues that the Left historians have distorted the period, by confusing their own failure to chart a radical path with one that actually triumphed, that of postwar liberalism. Liberal anti-Communism was not, she argues, a “self-protective, even cowardly response to the conservative version” of anti-Communism, but a necessary position for attaining liberal goals- that were quite different from the pro-Soviet agenda favored by the radicals.

Delton writes: “Liberals could only benefit from the disappearance of Communists, who disrupted their organizations, challenged their ideas, alienated potential allies, and invited conservative repression.” This, precisely, is what a liberal leader of the Hollywood trade unions, Ronald Reagan, understood so well. Reagan came out of his stint in the armed services joining a fellow-travelers group, and quickly saw what the secret Communists had in mind for the union movement. Breaking ranks with them, he was among the first to challenge their hold in the actors and writers colony in Hollywood, which then had a strong activist Communist base. When he later testified before the House Committee on Un-American Activities during the Hollywood investigation by the committee, Reagan stressed that he did not believe the Communists should be politically suppressed, because he understood the need for free speech. What he did oppose was their machinations that led to control of the various Hollywood guilds, and the tactics they used to keep control and to push out anti-Communists.

What Delton knew is what Reagan claimed at the time; that the Communists alienated those with whom they worked, made enemies easily, a development that “was due in large part to their participation in an international movement that was directed from Moscow.” Just because Reagan said it then, or J. Edgar Hoover argued it too, does not mean that it was not in fact the absolute truth. The Communists worked, as Delton puts it, “to infiltrate and take over [liberal] organizations,” so that they could then pass “resolutions upholding the party line positions.” To put it more bluntly, in a phrase I’m certain Delton might shy away from, “The Red-baiters were right!”

Delton has written a lengthy and essential article that is a breakthrough in academia, especially in the history profession. She goes on to discuss the impact of the 1948 campaign of Henry Wallace for President, reveals the self-defeating tactics of the Communists that would have hurt their supposed union allies had they been adopted; the necessary fight of the liberals against “Soviet totalitarianism” which she correctly notes “subverted liberal ideals and aims;” and concludes that while the Communists were once only bothersome, by the dawn of Cold War they had become “poisonous.”

Delton also praises the institution by the Truman administration in 1947 of the Loyalty-Security Program, which has become the number one example offered by leftist academics of Truman’s supposed “McCarthyism.” The Boards that were established kept from employment in the federal government any person who was a member of the Communist Party or its various front groups. When most academics teach about this, they damn them as a purge of citizens for their constitutionally protected civil liberties, “on the injustices that occurred” to people who lost their jobs or who were forced to resign, and as a major example of “unwarranted repression.” Delton, to the contrary, says that one has to evaluate the program in light of what we now know to be true—”the existence of an underground arm of the CPUSA that had cooperated with Soviet intelligence agencies.”

In other words, the Boards and the program Truman instituted were vital and necessary, even though in some cases- as with any program- abuses took place and some may have lost their jobs for scant reason. Her point that recent evidence- especially that established by Harvey Klehr and John Earl Haynes, has proved that “the Communist Party USA was involved in recruiting spies.” This means that the conclusion reached by David Caute in his best-seller, that “there is no documentation of a direct connection between the American Communist Party and espionage during the entire postwar period” has to be thoroughly discarded. It should come as no surprise, however, that to many students being taught the era in their classes, the old discredited view is still being taught.

There are of course, problems that arise from Delton’s analysis. What, for example, was the real contribution of conservative anti-Communists in the period? Did they all follow the foolish path of Joe McCarthy? We know that this is not true, and that Whitaker Chambers, for one, warned William F. Buckley Jr. in a well known letter that the conservative movement would be ill-advised to support and welcome the antics of the junior Senator from Wisconsin. Moreover, if liberalism gained in America as a result of the liberal success in purging the Communists from unions and the civil rights movement, does that mean that conservative programs might have stemmed the tide of liberalism in the post-war era had the Communists maintained the policy of a Popular Front?

Delton also raises the question of whether or not government programs against the Communists went far enough? After all, as she writes, the Communist Party may have been politically weak, but it still managed to infiltrate the highest ranks of government without being detected, and many who were actually spies, like the major atomic spy Ted Hall, were not arrested and indicted, and were able to remain free, even though the FBI knew of his and others’ probable guilt from the secret Venona decrypts. Delton stresses that most historians “overemphasize the betrayal of democratic principles [in fighting the Communists] rather than helping students understand the need for and rationality of the government’s repression of the Communist Party.” This means, in effect, that left-wing historians in the academy teach in essence what the Communist position was in America of the 1950′s—which is that they were no threat, and that those who claimed they had to be suppressed were “fascist” Red-baiters who sought to make America a proto-fascist state.

Thus in her revised introduction to the paperback edition of her book, Ellen Schrecker actually writes that even if Hiss was guilty–a judgment she now accepts -the really bad thing was that his guilt “gave credibility to the issue of Communists-in-government,” as if there was no reason for that having credibility. As Delton firmly acknowledges, “the Republicans were right.” Hiss was guilty; the blame for the fiasco lies with those who defended him, and if the Republicans exploited the foibles of liberals, she points out that “any party would have done the same.” To attack Hiss’ apologists, in other words, was hardly something that should have shocked anyone.

After a lengthy discussion of the union movement and Communism in Hollywood, Delton ends with these words: It is required “that we reevaluate our understanding of Cold War-era anti-Communism.” As for the attitude of conservatives, she argues that it should be acknowledged that their anti-Communism was not born “out of fear or anxiety, but rather conviction about the wrongness of Communism based on principle and experience.” Even conservative anti-Communists, then, were not all demagogues like Joe McCarthy. As she puts it. The achievements of liberal anticommunism need to “be recognized and perhaps even celebrated, not hidden, regretted, or equated with McCarthyism.”

Her important article, then, is hopefully a bellwether for what hopefully may be a strong new wave of young scholars- -honest liberal historians as well as conservative historians- -who will begin to teach the truth about the anti-Communist period that took place in the early Cold War era. One must note, however, that her article appears in the journal of The Historical Society, a relatively young group created a decade or so back by Eugene D. Genovese, its founder, as an antidote to the staid and left-wing major historical societies.

I wonder what would have happened if Delton had submitted this paper to The Journal of American History, the publication of the Organization of American Historians, the main professional group that represents historians of the United States. That organization, and its journal, leans heavily towards what is politically correct—manuscripts loyal to the race, class and gender paradigm–and toward accepted leftist positions on issues like American anti-Communism. It would have been a major shift for them to have published anything comparable to Delton’s manuscript. After all, this is the organization that ran uncritical and laudatory accolades to the late Communist Party historian Herbert Aptheker after his death, without publishing serious criticisms of his very biased and obsolete Stalinist methodology and assumptions.

At any rate, Delton deserves a major award for daring to break through the academic wall of blue that exists when the issue of postwar communism comes up in the classroom. I hope she is ready for the many nasty e-mails I suspect she will shortly receive.

Ronald Radosh, Adjunct Fellow at the Hudson Institute, has written widely on Communism and anti-Communism. He is co-author of Red Star Over Hollywood: The Film Colony’s Long Romance with the Left and The Rosenberg File.

  • Keith

    Love the article, except that I wish you (and by this I mean a lot of conservatives) would quit smearing a good man. Please read Blacklisted by History by M. Stanton Evans, which tells the true story about Joe McCarthy. Yes, he made some mistakes, but he was right far more often than wrong, and a haloed angel compared with most of his critics. The book is chock-full of original source material from that time period. It amazes me that conservatives still buy lock stock and barrel into the Leftist storyline about him. The Left lied about so much, but in this ONE area of the Cold War, they were dead on? Read the book.

    • Irgun

      Keith;

      You took the words right out of my mouth. Senator McCarthy was a hero.

  • steve

    Thank you for the article. It just bugs me that since the 1995 Venona information it has taken this long to begin to correct years of disinformation. Unfortunately, I do not think professors will be open to ideas that challenge their core beliefs. Students today would have to want to dig deep to find the truth. If they just parrot what their professors want to hear we will have another generation that never knows the danger we were and are being exposed to.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Liberallyproud Liberallyproud

    As you state "This conventional narrative of the left has been told over and over for so many years that it has all but become the established truth to most Americans". Would that not also be an argument against the holocaust? So what you are saying in essence, is that no matter what the truth is, if repeated over and over it becomes established truth? And that is wrong because?

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Liberallyproud Liberallyproud

      To add to that, the opposite is also true when I see the lies perpetrated by the Right against Obama's programs. If they repeat a lie over and over that LIE becomes established as "the truth". Is that not worse? How do you rationalize that? Lying until it becomes your mantra and the "truth/lie" that you base your arguments on? Very sad. When the Left is criticized for being the "intellectual elite" …well spoken? and intelligent? These used to be ideals that we wanted to aspire to, not demean. When did that change? When did the dumbing down of America became a Right Wing ideal? I doubt that will lure the young people of today to the Conservative agenda.

      • Jeff

        Liberally proud asks, and rightly so, when did the ideas of "well spoken…and intelligent" cease to be valued and start being demeaned? I hold degree from UPenn and Harvard, and would estimate that these qualities, though still valuable, began to be eschewed in the 1960's. I recall replying to an article by Christopher Lasch in the New York Review of Books where he suggested that the true professor was not only someone who was an expert in a field of study, but someone who was a catalyst for social change. This identification with the vanguard of the intellectuals really leaped forward in the 1960's as the "smart people" started craving power more than truth (Nietzschean will to power), and thereby lost credibility that only comes from being able, dispassionately, to weigh different points of view, i.e., passionately searching for truth, though dispassionate in method and intellectual honesty. Now, these well spoken and intelligent leaders are hopelessly confused. As Fulton Sheen said years ago, the intelligentsia are educated beyon their intelligence.

    • therealend

      So, you are saying what? about Professor Delton's work. She hasn't got anything right at all? Part of her thesis is wrong and the rest of it must be questionable too? Or this has nothing to do with her in particular and the Right is wrong again regardless of the Venona papers? or Regardless of the exposing of Cedric Belfrage, who wrote 'The American Inquisition', as a paid Soviet operative? This isn't an example of the Right repeating an argument over and over until it gains truth status. It is an example the voices of reason finding more and more evidence to support the truth. I somehow doubt Ms Delton would consider herself a Conservative. I would guess that she believes there is no use in being a blind Liberal or blind anything, for that matter. Is that too hard to believe?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Liberallyproud Liberallyproud

    I would like to make a statement here that doesn't relate entirely to this article, but to substantiate why most people I know ARE Liberals or Progressives that you seem to believe is terrible to be. We find that being PROgressive, as opposed to REgressive is a better way to work within the world community. We find that having open and Liberal minds and views offers us a better range of ideas that doesn't close us off from reality because of ideology or "isms" – that we can view others and although we may not agree with them, offer debate based on reason, fact, documentation, science, history, and reality as opposed to racism, hate, misinformation and fear. But it was stated in another part of this site, that it impossible to reason with another who bases their beliefs on issues without reason or fact, therefore no number of facts influence them to change. I found that to be the clear cut definition of Birthers and Tea Baggers. They rail against tax increases while 95% of Americans for 2009 returns paid LESS tax. No reasoning with them. Facts mean nothing.

    • dgc

      Liberallyproud:

      What would we the benighted do without you as our moral and intellectual betters?

      You are a boring, tripe, condescending ideologue who is spends too much time looking adoringly at yourself in the mirror. Get a life!

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/Liberallyproud Liberallyproud

        You know what dgc, if you believe you don't have to care for others less fortunate, if you believe you have a right to healthcare but no one else does, that the parents with children with pre-existing conditions shouldn't under this healthcare reform be allowed on their parent's insurance, that we don't have an obligation to end suffering and hunger where we find it and to give of ourselves, then YES…..I am morally and intellectually better than you and I don't have to look into a mirror to know that. I don't go around announcing what I personally support, but there are many and I feel that since I live comfortably with enough food, decent shelter, good wages that I have an obligation to help others. And that is wrong because…?

    • http://blasttheleft.com Michael

      Having an open mind is great…the problem is…it's the decisions of progressives in Washington DC that make it harder to do business and take more of my money for wealth distribution to those who never bothered to educate themselves. I must say that I don't know of many business owners like myself who are responsible for their employees and their families that agree with progressive policies. Why would that be? Progressives believe behavior must be legislated, Conservatives believe each is responsible for their actions and consequences. The good news is the Progressives have had their chance to govern and it's been rejected by a majority of the population. It'll be another 10 to 20 years before the American people let them hold the reigns again. Oh…I almost forgot to mention…the typically Progressive (Liberal) talking point of calling us racist doesn't hold any water and sensible people are growing tired of hearing it. You know it's a lie, but it's a label that liberals just can't resist placing on people they disagree with.

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/Liberallyproud Liberallyproud

        My family and I also own our own company and although it's small, we have always provided 75% of ins. for our employees (9), put ourselves in their place and give them the respect and support they deserve for the hard work they do. We have what's called EMPATHY. We feel that if they help US get where we need to be they should share in the profits and benefits. So it's not just YOUR money Michael, it also belongs to the people who worked hard to earn it for you. Unless you are another greedy guy who only thinks of himself. We'll see at the polls what happens, but personally if you align yourself with Birthers, Tea Bag Terrorists, White Supremists, White Christian Militias, and others of their like, it doesn't say much about where you stand on ANY issue. By any reasonable measure these people are lunatics. and the Republican Party is disappearing . It has been devoured by the crazies. It's a sad group of people who are most certainly racist and have openly stated they are. So while you may consider yourself NOT a racist, you certainly have aligned yourself with them. "If you lay down with dogs, you wake up with fleas".

    • Paardestaart

      There is no world community – the world is full of people, but they do not constitute a community. Some have liberal and open minds, and a lot more do not. Many people are haters, racists, religious fanatics or brainwashed poor who are convinced that they are poor because the west is rich.

      Teapartiers rail against ever higher taxes because they want to manage their own affairs – they do not want the state to take care of them in exchange for half of the money they earn, and they do not want to be forced to give money away and they do not want the fruit of someone else's exertions to be redistributed.
      They are right, they have every right to think so and you should just respect their position.

    • Jeff

      You are progressives because the term has been co-opted by the communists. Thus, you are unwitting fellow travelers or actually card-toting communists desiring to overthrow the values on which our republic is based. You are totally controlled by ideology despite your disclaimer to the contrary. What facts would convince you to reject Keynesian or Marxist economics? Can't you see that your paragraph is filled with self-congratulation. Therefore, you are inherently on the wrong track.

  • http://blasttheleft.com Michael

    As someone who was intimately involved in fighting communism for this great country. Don't ever forget the Soviet Union did everything they could to fight true democracy and the shift to the right in the 50's and 60's did more than you'll ever know to kill communism. I saw what they (Soviet Union) did to their own people first hand what they would have done to people like me if they ever knew what we were up to. America is the best country in the world. It's sad that you have a political class in this great country that call themselves "Progressives" who have no idea what government control can do to destroy this country. Perhaps one day all the details of the Cold War will be revealed…then the Progressives will understand what damage they're doing to this country.
    имеют большой день
    Michael

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Liberallyproud Liberallyproud

      Oh, we have a great idea of what our government can do to destroy this country, in the wrong hands. It can illegally take us to war, it can kill thousands of innocent people all over the word and thousands of our own finest. It can practically ruin our economy. It can cut taxes to ZERO for corporations and milk the average person dry, it can illegally wire-tap U.S. Citizens, simply because they are of the party NOT in control, they can destroy our environment and put untold poisons into our air and water, so the Corporations can make bigger profits, it can attempt to enforce a religion that they belong to onto the whole nation. Right now the damage to this country was inflicted by the RIGHT WING and now they are trying to blame the mess we are in on the President trying to keep us from falling into the abyss, so don't even TRY to tell us what we have "no idea" about. Give me a good Progressive brain any day over the tight lipped, tight a**ed, ideologs on the Right, who ONLY care about themselves and their almighty politics, even to the point of BENDING their so-called Christian religions to even make JESUS look like a Capitalist.

  • http://www.goodnessmovement.com Barry Cooper

    If you compare what was actually done in the Soviet Union–even in the non-Stalinist/Leninist mass purge years–with what Joe McCarthy did, only a cretin could possibly even contemplate scoring that in favor of the Soviet Union.

    At the best of times, thousands–usually tens of thousands, and up to millions–of people were interned in cold, unpleasant places, for the crimes of pointing out how stupid and cruel the regime was. Or worse, being SUSPECTED of thinking that.

    THAT IS WHAT THE COMMUNISTS IN THIS COUNTRY WANTED FOR US.

    I don't know how anyone could fail to grasp this. Seriously, I know most academics are stupid, but that is bad even for them.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Indioviejo Indioviejo

    An excellent article. It's about time some honesty came to the narrative of the damage done to America by Communist and fellow travelers. If eternal vigilance is needed to maintain our liberty, then we need to control the narrative in our history books and in our schools. Extensive use of vouchers in Public Education, and funding for conservative Universities may start us on the long way back. People like Glenn Beck, with access to a bully pulpit are very helpfull in order to spread the message. There is a Conservative and anti-communist revolution taking place in America today, and Barak Hussein Obama is the catalyst. We need to check progressives by embracing our Constitution. Any law at odds with our founding documents need to come off the books. Capitalism and Democracy made us great and exceptional, so, why should we turn left and be less?

  • therealend

    Placing more and more control in the hands of a few has ALWAYS led to disaster.

  • Alex Bensky

    I don't know if Delton is being entirely fair. After all, the communists and their sympathizers meant well and how could they know that in their eagerness to support progressiveness and social justice and all that, that they were supporting what was at that time the most murderous regime in human history (eclipsed by Mao later)?

    It's not as if there was a plethora of information, testimony, various forms of unimpeachable evidence to indicate that they were backing a vicious, ruthless, bloodthirsty regime, information that was out there, easy to access, detailed. Oh, wait, yes there was.

    And thanks for reminding us, Liberallyproud, how open and tolerant progressives are, because I wouldn't have known it otherwise, given the viciousness with which contrary ideas are greeted and the widespread attempts to delegitimize dissenting opinions as racism or stupidity or sheer evil.

    • Paardestaart

      "how could they know that they were supporting what was at that time the most murderous regime in human history (eclipsed by Mao later)? "

      They did not know Alex, because they did not wànt to know. But they could have and should have known, because there were books who told the truth, and people who tried to tell them, but they did not want to hear

      If you think the communists were nice, erring but wellmeaning folks you should read about Stalin and Lenin, sample what they were saying and what they did – maybe then you understand what murderous tyrants they were
      People in the west who worked and speid for them, who tried to institute communism in the USA and who did not want to believe the stories about gulags, the executions and the dissidents disappearing and never heard from again they called 'useful idiots' by Stalin.
      Does that sound like a mistaken, benevolent humanitarian? :-)

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Liberallyproud Liberallyproud

      I don't think Progressives can hold a candle to the viciousness of the Birthers, Tea Bag Terrorists, White Supremists, racists and Christian Militias from the Right………the REgressives. If we have learned anything from these hate-filled groups, it's that we MUST fight back agains the lies and mis-information that has been the game plan of the Right since Karl Rove lst arrived on the scene and wrote it! Maybe you should actually read his plan for the Republicans and his "attack with lies" strategy. It seems to have proved successful to the sheep not capable of thinking for themselves. The blind leading the blind.

  • http://www.goodnessmovement.com Barry Cooper

    William F. Buckley and Brent Bozell wrote a book about McCarthy way back then, titled "McCarthy and his enemies". It was mentioned in a Teaching Company course on the History of Conservatism as the best intellectual defense of McCarthy.

    I haven't read it, but plan to at some point.

  • robert attu

    There were two belief systems in world wide conflict during the Cold War. One led to the gulag—the other led to Consumerism. I'll take Consumerism any day.

  • Curtis

    Progressives can't make an argument to save their lives; however they do rage impotently against conservatives, with invective substituting for analysis at every turn.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Liberallyproud Liberallyproud

      It's not "raging", it's frustration with the Right's closed mindedness and ignorance. They have no intention of doing what is right or being truthful. When caring for the earth is belittled, when Corporations are placed over individuals, when our natural resources are plundered, wildlife slaughtered, our children given shoddy education, when women are second class to men, when illegal wars are waged, illegal wiretapping and torture are OK and the work done by the "friends" of Bush/Cheney ends up electrocuting our soldiers, then our economy collapses due to the Conservative's greed, it should make even the Conservatives wonder about the Right. We see YOUR rants and excessive hatred to be hypocritical as you sat motionless while Bush/Cheney took us to this place. Unfortunately for YOUR argument, OURS has an abundance of facts to prove it, but while facts work in a debate with people who actually believe facts and truth, it is completely meaningless to the Right Wing dealing with mis-information, lies, racism and hatred.

      • Jim C.

        The Right suffers from cognitive dissonance; the TEA party is the biggest example, but of course there are others. When you have people griping about Obama as a "tyrant" when he does the same things that Bush did, you have cognitive dissonance. When you rail against corruption in politics but argue to make it easier for corporations to buy their way in, you have cognitive dissonance. "Get your government out of my medicare!"

        Conservatives have one great question: How are we going to pay for all this?

        Now, one wonders why they didn't ask this 8 years ago with the same fervor. But it's still a legit question. Nothing else they gripe about is legitimate.

      • eli

        "When caring for the earth is belittled,…but while facts work in a debate with people who actually believe facts and truth, it is completely meaningless to the Right Wing dealing with mis-information, lies, racism and hatred. "

        Fact: Global warming data indicates no connection between man and warming.
        Fact: Liberals/progressives Dems etcc.. still demand massive and expensive taxes to "protect the planet"

        "children given shoddy education"
        Fact: Our education is expensive government run.
        Fact: Democrats/teacher unions/race-baiters will not allow school choice, because it weakens their base (ie access to taxpayer money)
        Fact: Kids score higher in charter or home schools-Democrats/race-baiters love tax-payer money more than they love better education for kids.
        Hyperbole and hyperventilating is the liberal sword.

        • http://intensedebate.com/people/Liberallyproud Liberallyproud

          Where do you get your "facts" Eli? From Senator Enhoufe? Let me ask you something. Why does the Right feel so compelled to keep up the attack on our environment and resources? Is a good "green" job not as good as one that sends men into the coal mines to die? Is caring for the earth a bad thing? Does clean water and clean air upset you? What is it about the environment that makes you want to destroy it? If you truly believe men have NO impact on climate change, then putting that aside, is it a bad thing to want to take care of the planet we live on? Wouldn't it be better to err on the side of caution than to keep plundering the planet to extinction. Any fool can see with their own eyes the melting of the glaciers and ice packs. Why is it so important to you to destroy what is our only home? As far as hyperventilating, I've never done that in my life and can hold my own in any civil debate, so get over yourself.