Anticommunism was the right’s nationalist binding agent throughout the Cold War. The problem of communist influence in America has gotten worse since the Soviet Union ended. When Republicans defend McCarthyism and call to reinstate HUAC, then we’ll know nationalism has arrived. — Arthur Bloom, 7/30/2019
Before we begin, I want to be clear that I’m not going full “McCarthy was right.” To be blunt, McCarthy was not right, he was a compulsive lair and attention whore who failed to keep his story straight whenever asked. For more information, I would recommend the amazing book Senator Joe McCarthy by Richard Rovere, which goes over every lie he told throughout his political career dating back to his first run for office.
These days, the best the McCarthy apologists can do is change the topic. Tom Woods tried to defend McCarthy in Politically Incorrect Guide To American History, but despite noting that “[McCarthy] was concerned with Communists or Communist Sympathizers in government” which is correct (the confusion of McCarthy and HUAC is a common one but has become a pet peeve of mine) he fails to list a single government official in the sections defending McCarthy. Ann Coulter does the same thing, challenging people to point to one person McCarthy wrongly called a Communist (Dean Acheson maybe?) in spite of the fact that McCarthy never accused a specific induvial of being a communist, but that they were present somewhere in large groups.
However, one thing McCarthy was good at was getting people to not want to be associated with communists. Communists were infamously blacklisted and unable to get work, commonly based on accusations that were false. Arthur Miller satirized this in his play The Crucible — which got him investigated by HUAC — using the Salem Witch Trials (although a very historically inaccurate version of them) as a point of comparison for what McCarthy was doing.
I mention all of this because if there’s one thing McCarthy did do, it was completely taint the image of Communism in the United States. Back in October, a group of Trump supporters at a rally started chanting “twelve more years”, which also happened at the Republican National Convention. In late September, Kaitlin Bennett (who some call “the Kent State gun girl” but I call “the girl who shit herself at a party”) released a shirt reading “Trump Is My King.”
At first, I was hoping the 2020 Election would humble these people, but the closer it got the more clear it became that wasn’t the case. But the smearing of Matthew Dolloff as a “political terrorist” for defending himself against Trump supporter Lee Keltner got me worried. Then the election came, and Joe Biden won, and it became clear the the average Trumper was more interested in Trump than American democracy — which they’re rather open about.
The Biden/Harris administration has two options when it comes to dealing with the more rowdy side of the right, do something to prosecute them and minimize their voices or be overthrown before 2024. The Republican Party can either allow fascists and monarchists to take them over or fight with the Democrats to stop them — and we both know they’d sooner be arrested for sedition than work with Democrats these days. The first thing the Democrats should do this Congressional Session is bring back HUAC and have it investigate enemies of American liberal Democracy in our government and sniff them out as soon as possible.
We must do something to fight these people, or else they will overthrow the American government and force us to live under some combination of luddism and fascism. These twin evils are a far bigger threat right now than communism ever was during the red scare. If our government does not do something about it, the government will be overthrown in the next couple of years, it is that simple.