Against good advice, my own included, I find I must take exception to a letter to the editor of The Mogollon Connection last week by a Mr. Allen Schwartz. It is a long standing rule of journalism that a columnist rarely comments upon opinions of readers. As a great Republican Senator once said, however, “People are entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts.”
The letter in question took me to task personally for my views on the political scene today. That’s fine. We completely disagree, but I have great respect for the first amendment to the Constitution of the United Stares.
I am, however, vigorously opposed to misleading, false and especially unsupported statements which attempt to influence followers along a particular political line. Honest people can disagree on the effect of facts. Using generalities or half-truths or even untruths are, to me, indications of dark manipulative intent. This is rampant today in my view.
I will only highlight a portion of Mr. Schwartz’ letter, but it appears to reveal his general state of mind.
Quote from his letter:
“McCarthy did, in fact, uncover Communists in high government positions, including the young man who worked for Joseph Welch as well as Welch himself.”
Stop right there.
Joseph Welch was never accused of any Communist activities. He was the head counsel for the U.S. Army. Nor was Mr. Fisher, a young attorney in Welch’s law firm, accused of being a Communist.
“The thirty-six days of hearings resolved little, and legal issues remained muddled. The dramatic climax came on June 9, 1954, when McCarthy attacked Frederick G. Fisher, Jr., a member of Welch’s Boston firm, for supposed Communist leanings. During law school at Harvard, Fisher had belonged to the National Lawyer’s Guild, an organization with purported Communist ties. At the time of the hearings, Fisher was a Republican (as was McCarthy) and a respected lawyer. Welch responded, “Little did I dream you could be so reckless and so cruel as to do an injury to that lad…. I like to think that I am a gentleman, but your forgiveness will have to come from someone other than me.” When McCarthy persisted in his diatribe, Welch cut him off, exhorting him to exhibit a sense of decency.”
Soon after, McCarthy lost all support from moderates who had long tolerated him. Later that year, the Senate took a rare step and voted to censure McCarthy for his unbecoming conduct.
Let’s see what Wikipedia has to say about this man
“Joseph Raymond McCarthy (November 14, 1908 – May 2, 1957) Noted for making claims that there were large numbers of Communists and Soviet spies and sympathizers inside the U.S. federal government and elsewhere. Ultimately, McCarthy’s tactics and his inability to substantiate his claims led to his censure by the U.S. Senate.”
Note: “His inability to substantiate his claims.”
In a chilling paragraph, Mr. Schwartz writes:
“McCarthy searched out, hunted down and brought out into the open a rampant cabal of anti-American Communists whose agenda was to bring down the fall of the American experiment.”
In point of fact, he did no such thing. Check the record to see how many convictions for espionage actually occurred during the McCarthy witch hunts. Many innocent people were “brought down” though. The very shadow of accusation was enough to destroy careers and responsible individuals.
I am, frankly, astonished that Mr. Schwartz is a such a champion of McCarthy, to the extent of lionizing him. History takes a very different view. There is an overwhelming record, exceedingly well documented, of his political abuse. Not even his peers ultimately supported him.
This highlights, though, a mindset which sanctifies any tactic to achieve a perceived goal.
There is far too much of that today, and I intend to continue to write about it.
“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice,
but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.”
Nobel Peace Prize Winner.