Friday, December 8, 2017

This is not your father's McCarthysim

"Have you no sense of decency?"
Ah, McCarthy.  Growing up, he occupied a space only slightly lower and to the right of Hitler.  Surrounded by Crucibles and Inheriting the Wind, he was America's most recent, and infamous, villain.  After him came Wallace and Charles Manson.

Anyway, McCarthy and McCarthyism cast a long shadow over everything as I grew up.  From elementary school, through high school and into college, McCarthy represented "Old America" from which liberalism was bravely set on rescuing us.  No more listening to records backwards, no more kangaroo courts, no more witch hunts, no more puritan values.  Ours would be a society of openness and tolerance, and if any were to be accused, overwhelming evidence against the all important rights of the accused would be demanded.  Miranda and Escobedo after all.  Criminal rights and presumption of innocence to the fore!

All that was, however, and like so many things associated with modern Liberalism, is no more.  Today, we are entering a new McCarthyism, one brought to us by the postmodern Left.  Like my boys compared ISIS to a postmodern Nazism, so this is a postmodern, nihilistic McCarthyism.

Whereas the Nazis were evil within a set culture with standards and common principles, so ISIS is a force of evil within an age of nothingness, destruction and contempt for anything and anyone at any given moment.  Likewise, our new McCarthyism, led by charges of sexual harassment based on accusations sans evidence, is like McCarthyism but without a clear understanding of what is the standard of wrong doing.  Who's to say what's right, wrong, true or false after all?  As some at my old Patheos blog argued, what of it if future generations determine freedom or equality are wrong, slavery or genocide right?  It's the way of things.  So what?

This allows a nation to accept the fact that some men are falling based solely on 'a woman says he said or did something 20 years ago.'  Others are shown to have acted improperly, but no worse than our society turned a blind eye to, or even endorsed for multiple decades.  And where are any women who acted improperly?  Is it because we assume women alone never, ever are wrong about such accusations?

Don't get me wrong.  I'd love our society's moral filth and bilge cleaned up and a return to a time when men, women and sexuality were treated with at least an attempt at maturity and respect.  And I'm not talking about actual rape, assault, harassment or other sexual behavior that we as a society at least agreed was wrong.  I mean, going after men and expecting their destruction based on vague, unsupported accusations at best, or accusations based on what our society only recently shrugged its shoulders about, if not endorsed, at worst.

The problem with out society is that it lacks the moral grounding for witch hunts.  At least with witch hunts, they happened at a time when everyone believed in witches, knew what they were, and knew witchcraft was wrong.  That didn't stop innocent people from being accused or executed of course.  But how easier will it be to destroy lives of those we find impure or unclean if the new standard for witch hunts is whatever we say is right or wrong at the moment, evidence be damned?  Even if we decide what we told you yesterday was right we now insist is wrong?  That sets up a level of persecution and systematic elimination of people on a scale that old Joe McCarthy would never have imagined.  Perhaps, just perhaps, it's because McCarthy had a better sense of decency than we do today.  You just never know.

From an old example of what I mean. Lest it come to this:

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