You are using an outdated browser.
Please upgrade your browser
and improve your visit to our site.
Skip Navigation

"McCarthyism" And Conservative P.C.

James P. Gavin at National Review thinks the term "McCarthyism" is bigoted:

McCarthy is an ethnically identifiable Irish Catholic name, yet it describes despicable political behavior that transcends ethnic and religious backgrounds. No other American ethnic, religious, or racial group has been so stigmatized for so long, with so little public outcry, by a word that is acceptable in polite society. ..

Consider the following thought experiment: In 1953, around the same time the term “McCarthyism” was coined, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed for conspiracy to commit treason by passing atomic secrets to the Soviet Union. Suppose that some hard-right anti-Communist polemicists had coined the word “Rosenbergism” to describe such acts of treason. We know what would have happened: Men and women of good will — left and right, Christian and Jew — would have raised an immediate and justifiable uproar over the slur. Editorials would have quite properly pointed out that the word served to degrade politics by attaching ethnic connotations to a terrible act — treason — that transcends ethnicity. There would be thundering sermons from pulpits from coast to coast reminding congregations that even if the word was used merely in a descriptive sense, its ethnic specificity put it beyond the pale. Why didn’t this happen to “McCarthyism”?

Right, like if somebody with a Jewish name like "Marx" started a political ideology, concern for Jewish sensitivity would definitely preclude society from giving that ideology a label involving that name. I would also suggest that Gavin have a talk with his fellow conservatives about the term "McGovernite."

I love right-wing political correctness.

By the way, searching for a photo to accompany this item, I entered the term "McCarthy" into a Google image search, assuming Joseph would comprise the vast majority of them. Not quite. Of the 20 images on the first page, 3 were of this man:

One was of this man:

One was of this man, who I've never heard of:

And 15 featured this woman:

Her career shows no sign of having suffered due to a stigmatizing association with right-wing witchhunts.