A constant need, an occasional series --
When Sen. Joseph McCarthy died, shockingly, at the age of 48, he, his aides and his committee had identified at least fifty Soviet agents, ideological communists and Fifth Amendment pleaders, dedicated to the overthrow of our constitutional system, and loyal/sympathetic to Stalin, Mao and a new wave of genocidal dictators. (Indeed, here are two more.)
It was the late M. Stanton Evans, America's greatest McCarthy expert, author of Blacklisted by History, who created the table of fifty (link above), drawing proofs from personal papers, declassified FBI memos, congressional archives, intercepted Soviet communications, defector testimonies, and the like.
Looking at this mass of materials and matching them up with McCarthy’s cases, the main thing to be noted is a recurring pattern of verification. Time and again, we see the suspects named by McCarthy and/or his committee–treated at the time as hapless victims–revealed in official records as what McCarthy and company said they were–except, in the typical instance, a good deal more so.
To normal Americans, some large number of Deplorables among them, this probably sounds like a monumental record of accomplishment for a US Senator, who, while beating back the media-political-complex of the 1950s seeking to destroy him (as they did), upheld his oath to defend the Constitution "against all enemies, foreign and domestic." If this is not a record elected officials today would do well to emulate I don't know what is.
However, after more than 60 years of "McCarthyism" -- the perpetual slander of Joseph McCarthy as a "witch-hunter," as opposed to an honest accounting of this fearless investigator of deep and widespread infiltration of the US government by Stalin's secret agents, which had become a virtual Soviet intelligence army occupation of FDR's Washington by the time of World War II -- Americans have been conditioned to react entirely differently. We are supposed to hate, loathe and revile McCarthy. This not only does grievous injury to a great patriot gone six decades, it imperils the safety of our nation today. The slander of "McCarthyism," wielded like a cudgel, has had the dire effect of bludgeoning our abilities to detect or even acknowledge the existence of any constitutional enemies, especially "domestic."
To avoid triggering foaming denunciations and tribal acts of ostracism over "McCarthyism," Americans have become hard-wired not to understand and not to identify and not to tell the truth about the enemy, any enemy, any threat, in order to remain in fluffly-good standing with the flock. Every now and then, a free-thinker comes along -- former Rep. Michele Bachmann comes to mind for her eminently responsible and national-security-minded efforts to ensure that Muslim Brotherhood agents were not penetrating the government policy-making chain. The Keepers of "McCarthyism" roasted Bachmann alive as the second coming of Joseph Raymond McCarthy. Remaining sheep shuddered and closed ranks.
Until we get McCarthy right -- and by "right," I mean by overthrowing the strategic destruction of his persona and evaluating his record rationally and with fidelity to the record -- we are not going to be able to repulse and survive the ideological assaults on our nation -- and nation's character.
I was put in mind to post these thoughts amid the latest cries of "McCarthyism" on the Right.
Nothing new, of course, as we see in this rebuttal by Evans (one of many) in 2012, titled, "When conservatives parrot liberal lies about Joe McCarthy." It's all part of that hard-wired national consciousness based in six decades of mantra-like "court history," the lies and distortions that make up American betrayal -- and, indeed, my book of the same name. (I should mention also that it was Evans' game-changing McCarthy research that served as the jumping-off point of my own.) It is this same so-called McCarthyism that is the foundational lie of the Left, and to which the Left-battered/-subverted Right has submitted.
There are those who should know better about McCarthy and "McCarthyism," but who nonetheless keep the battering and subverting going. Note the final tweet above, for example. It is by David Horowitz, who, on the eve of Jeff Sessions' confirmation hearing, wrote: "Tomorrow, you will see a witch-hunt worse than anything McCarthy did directed by Democrats against Jeff Sessions."
"Witch-hunt" + "McCarthy": Here we see this foundational lie of the Left invoked and re-enforced by someone whose reputation and fiefdom is based on debunking the lies of the Left.
This apparent contradiction does not surprise me, having experienced the toxic mendacity of Horowitz first-hand in the disinformation campaign aimed at killing American Betrayal with this same cudgel of "McCarthyism," using lies and distortions about the book's contents, even my person (painstakingly and thoroughly debunked here; also here, here, here...). For good measure, here is one of Stan Evans' several discussions of this extraordinary campaign (or "mugging," as he put it in another), which he framed as a new front in these same McCarthy wars over my "transgressions" against inviolate consensus-narrative.
This narrative sets the limits of permissible comment about American Cold War policy, bounded on the one side by Roosevelt and Hopkins, representing generally speaking the forces of good (appeasing Moscow, e.g. , only in order to win the war with Hitler), and on the other by Sen. Joe McCarthy of Wisconsin, the supposed epitome of evil. Between these boundaries, variations are allowed, but woe betide the writer who goes beyond them. Ms. West has transgressed in both directions, sharply criticizing Roosevelt/ Hopkins and speaking kindly of Joe McCarthy.
This same historical debate could not be more white-hot relevant now that Donald Trump becomes the very first critic of the so-called liberal world order, in great part inaugurated by Roosevelt and Hopkins, to reach the White House ever.
At its core, the campaign against American Betrayal was driven by Horowitz and a tiny cabal of mainly academics whose first mission (there are others) appears to be to maintain Joseph McCarthy as a symbolic prisoner of false and defamatory propaganda; an object lesson to anyone who dares to expose the systemic Communist infiltration that was well underway by the Roosevelt Thirties and exerting, as Evans summed up, "a baleful influence on US policy to suit the aims of Moscow." In other words, this infiltration was not about simply stealing secret formulas and diplomatic papers, as "court history" tells it. No, this was existential stuff, part of the socialist/Communist/Soviet/Alinskyite/progressive/Fabian assault that has deeply subverted our nation (the wider world also), and long before the 1960s ever began. "No good can come of opening up the Stalin-FDR relationship," I heard. Really? No good for whom? It was as if there was a booby-trapped seal on curiosity about this hidden past, about what it is that Communists and Soviet agents were actually able to influence and change. As far as this cabal is concerned, there remains such a seal -- the McCarthyism slander. Hence, that battering ram of a "review" at American Betrayal, "McCarthy on Steroids" (title by Horowitz); hence, I was "McCarthy's heiress" a "crackpot," not "house-trained," etc., etc., etc.
In case that was too subtle, Horowitz & Co. would lobby and hector privately against American Betrayal to the effect that continuing to boil McCarthy
alive dead in lies was essential to preserving the conservative movement that Horowitz and his ex-radical colleagues claim to have "built" over the past thirty years, following their public conservative awakening, following Reagan's historic landslide that won him his second term. (Even now, weirdly, it seems that Horowitz is practically laying claim to the Trump agenda, which won Trump the White House back on November 8, of course, with a newly published book laying out the Trump agenda.) There is something in this line as perverse and grandiose as it would appear to be delusional. Still, a Right-sans-McCarthy is what continues to exist today, mainly if not completely, much as they would have it. I was never so shocked as when Stan Evans died in 2015 and nearly every one of the many lavish eulogies neglected to mention his greatest work, the McCarthy book, which he once told me he had been working on in a way all of his life, as if it did not exist.
This whole controversy baffles Horowitz fans no end. David Horowitz is known to many as the "ex-Communist" of our age; conservatism's Radical Son; the Right's guide to all things Hard Left. "I was like Whittaker Chambers in their [1960s] generation," as he himself has endorsed himself. "Like Chambers, I had encounters with totalitarian forces which involved betrayal and death, and even a Soviet spy."
And even a Soviet spy. As a covert Soviet agent, Chambers not only "had encounters with," he later exposed dozens, if not scores of Soviet spies, agents of influence and assets to the FBI and the American public. Horowitz, of course, does not claim to have worked for Soviet intelligence; nor, to public knowledge, has he exposed anyone working for the Kremlin, either. Details, details. The ex-"radical"/Chambers-thing is his mystique. He keeps these creds alive with such speech-openers as: "I was born at the beginning of the Second World War into a family of high school teachers who were members of the Communist Party, and therefore were actually part of a vast conspiracy dedicated to the destruction of this country."
Chills. Frankness. A man who knows.
If this self-styled Whittaker Chambers knows anything, though, he knows that Joseph McCarthy, along with other leading investigators in Congress, including Rep. Martin Dies (D-TX) in the House and Sen. Pat McCarran (D-NV) in the Senate, were right, or right on track -- or were certainly not engaged an imaginary "witch-hunt." He will admit as much, grudgingy; but nonetheless hangs onto that rhetorical cudgel. He'll drag in 119-year-old Joe McCarthy to dirty him up again in new and unrelated contexts, as if to reinject the poison: "The racist, McCarthyite, totalitarian movement is rearing its ugly head on college campuses ...."
Horowitz knows not what he does, someone, in effect, tweeted at me; what he knows is the 1960s; he has a blind spot for earlier eras. If true, an extremely poor excuse. But how can it be? After all, in 1952, when Sen. McCarthy was riding high, young Horowitz was having his brief stint on the Daily flippn Worker, as "youth page" editor, as related in one of Horowitz's recurring memoirs. Pretty plugged-in-kid, to say the least. And how did he get this gig on the CPUSA flagship publication? Because "my parents were friends with Joe North, one of the paper's editors," Horowitz explains parenthetically, describing his editorial rounds on which he would meet his lifelong comrade, Ron Radosh, another, shall we say, flawed guide to the Communist Left. (The anecdote comes from The Black Book of the American Left, which I mention to flag another oddity, the choice of title, which conflates a highly personal collection of memoirs and reflections with the landmark academic study, The Black Book of Communism.)
Who was this Horowitz family friend, Daily Worker editor North? Horowitz doesn't enlighten us any more than North's obit, but, luckily, Soviet intelligence defector Elizabeth Bentley did. In sworn testimony in 1950 -- two years before Horowitz became Daily Worker youth editor -- Bentley described Joseph North as "a look-out man" for Soviet intelligence; a talent-spotter or recruiter, in other words, for the NKVD.
Of behalf of whom was he looking? Jacob Golos, "one of the most senior NKVD agents in the United States," as Herb Romerstein and Eric Breindel described him. North, we know, would put journalist Wilfred Burchett and government economist William Remington together with the NKVD spymaster, whose rings of Kremlin agents until his death in 1943, by the way, included the famous Silvermaster group in Washington (Harry Dexter White, Alger Hiss, et al). Every two weeks. Bentley would drop by for dinner at the Silvermasters' DC home and return home to NYC with fresh microfilms of government documents stowed in her knitting bag. As noted in Senate testimony, circa 1957, Bentley bought a gift basket containing several bottle of rye for North, a token of appreciation from the NKVD.
Sure, David Horowitz likes to remind us he was born of that "vast conspiracy dedicated to the destruction of this country"; but he does tend to spare us these juiciest details, these smallest degrees of separation from the KGB itself. For an inveterate memoirist to leave out such dramatic biographical material is decidely un-Whittaker-Chamberslike; then again, maybe Horowitz is ignorant of these connections. In either case, so much for educating conservatives about the Threat Within.
No matter. The larger point is these same (McCarthy-era) years were unforgettable years for "vast-conspiracy"-Horowitz and all the more reason the "McCarthyite" slander today makes no good sense. In 1953, for example, the year after his Daily Worker stint, the Rosenbergs, Julius and Ethel, were executed for atomic espionage. This was a cataclysm in his pre-1960s life and education, as Horowitz describes it. "It was the familiarity of the Rosenbergs that made their fate so terrible to me," he writes, noting their similarities to "everyone else we knew."
This metaphorical "familiarity" may well have had a more concrete basis.
Julius Rosenberg, Ethel Rosenberg and Ethel's sister-in-law, Ruth Greenglass -- and I think this rates a "breaking history alert" -- all went to Seward Park High School, the same New York City high school where David Horowitz's father taught English for decades.
In fact, so, too, did two other Communists/KGB assets active in the Rosenberg ring, Anne and Mike Sidorovich.
That makes five, count 'em, five (5), Rosenberg ringers whom I have discovered (so far) to be alumni of Seward Park High School -- a regular Cambridge on the Lower East Side.
Who knows? Maybe some of them even had "Mr. Horowitz" for English class (Ethel, biographer Ilene Philipson tells me, did not), or some after-school club. To my knowledge, David Horowitz has not mentioned this perfectly fascinating familial proximity to nascent KGB atomic conspiracy. Neither, to my knowledge, has pal/Rosenberg ringmaster Radosh.
Also in 1953, Sen. Joseph McCarthy was conducting what would be his final investigations into Communists and security breaches at Fort Monmouth, an Army signals intelligence installation (Julius Rosenberg worked and spied there in the early 1940s). Miracle of miracles, we find here a sixth Seward Park High and Rosenberg-connected alum, Harry Hyman, a witness who was actually questioned by McCarthy himself.
Here's a sample of the questioning:
The Chairman (Sen. McCarthy): Where did you go to high school?
Mr. Hyman: Seward Park High School.
The Chairman: Were you a member of the Communist Party when you entered college?
Mr. Hyman: Under the constitutional privilege of the Fifth Amendment, I decline to answer.
The Chairman: We are going through it again. Is it correct that when you invoke the Fifth Amendment, you are invoking it because you feel your answer might tend to incriminate you?
Mr. Hyman: That is correct.
The Chairman: Were you engaged in espionage while you were working at the Signal Corps?
Mr. Hyman: Fifth Amendment.
The Chairman: Have you engaged in espionage in the past several weeks?
Mr. Hyman: Fifth Amendment.
The Chairman: Did you steal radar secrets from the Signal Corps Laboratory and turn them over to Julius Rosenberg?
Mr. Hyman: Fifth Amendment.
Mr. Chairman: Were you acquainted with members of the Julius Rosenberg spy ring?
Mr. Hyman: Fifth Amendment.
The Chairman: Were you part of that ring?
Mr. Hyman: What was that?
The Chairman: Were you part of that ring?
Mr. Hyman: Fifth Amendment.
Hyman, by the way, is a good example of what Stan Evans called "Fifth Amendment pleaders."
I could go on -- another time, perhaps. The point is, someone who grew up close enough to touch this "vast conspiracy" has no good reason making sure the "McCarthyite" "witch-hunt" lives on into a new century. Enough said? Probably not.