- courtesy of Wikipedia.org
In the late forties, an organization called House Un-American Activities Committee was formed in the US House. They undertook to eliminate the threat of Communism inside the US Government, as well as private society. Then, in 1952, as the anti-communist fervor continued, a man named Joseph McCarthy was elected to be the Senator from the State of Wisconsin. Suddenly, after a relatively inocuous start, he burst onto the political scene as a Communist hunter in the United States. He ultimately overstepped the bounds of investigative propriety, and left office under the burden of a destroyed reputation and a Senatorial censure. The question I have is simply this: were the people McCarthy sought American idealists who sincerely believed in Marxist ideals, or were they instead people who acted on behalf of the “communist” Soviet Union?
I believe that in a fervor to abolish the presence of the so-called communists who were actually no more than Stalinist/Leninist USSR sympathizers, and thusly actual national security threats, innocent, idealistic communists were persecuted as well. Fear that swept the nation up in pure, unadulterated hatred for those socialists who would threaten the way of American life, ensured that there was a blurring of the lines, and those academic, orthodox Marxists were thusly victimizes. Honestly, I believe that Marx’s concepts about how the world can function in his communist society are complete and utter foolishness, a possibility in a world where all men/women are angels, (a world that does not exist, according to the Federalist). However that does not mean that people who sincerely believe in the possibility of a communist society should be persecuted for their beliefs. When the United States moved to expel communism like a disease, it, in the end, only brought itself to a level no better than those in the Soviet Union it sought to defeat in the unspoken war between the two nations. Therefore, I believe we must be able to differentiate between two kinds of communist, the ones who give up real communist ideals for the sake of a powerful state that one could say verges on being a different iteration of facism, and those who are harmless in the sense that they believe in real communism, which poses no threat since it can never actually exist, and has never existed in the world. Though I laud the efforts of those committees who made it their mission to eliminate the threat of those who called themselves communist in the name of working for the enemy of the United States, their zeal led them to convict innocent people of thoughtcrimes (often times, they weren’t even the innocent communists of which we earlier spoke, but merely citizens with ties others did not like, which was also a deeply disturbing situation to see them persecuted, as well). Because of the fact that innocent people were brought down, I cannot condone the historical events related to McCarthy and his communist hunts. The idea of fighting our enemy went too far and cost us a piece of ourselves.