The Instigator
SolaGratia
Pro (for)
Winning
33 Points
The Contender
killa_connor
Con (against)
Losing
25 Points

In defense of McCarthy

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/4/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 4,498 times Debate No: 1336
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (14)
Votes (18)

 

SolaGratia

Pro

My position on McCarthy is this. I regard it as the only sensible position, but it's actually in the middle of the spectrum. As they say, the truth of the matter always lies in the middle.

I. McCarthy, who had access to State Department and FBI files, knew what he was talking about. He was right in most of his accusations.

II. His conduct, however, left a lot to be desired. He was often confrontational. Not to the witnesses he was questioning; in fact he was in general courteous to them, even if they were hostile, but to his detractors such as Deputy Secretary of State Dean Acheson, General Marshall, and others. His conduct, of course, was important, but it isn't as important as the truth/untruth of his accusations. It should be, like JFK's womanizing, be just a footnote.

III. The Communists at State and in other areas of the government were security risks, and even if they were not, their membership in the Communist party clearly contravened the Oath of Loyalty they swore to the United States Government. Here is a sample from a typical oath of loyalty:

"I further swear (or affirm) that I do not advise, advocate or teach, and have not within the period beginning five (5) years prior to the effective date of the ordinance requiring the making of this oath or affirmation, advised, advocated or taught, the overthrow by force, violence or other unlawful means, of the Government of the United States of America and that I am not now and have not, within said period, been or become a member of or affiliated with any group, society, association, organization or party which advises, advocates or teaches, or has, within said period, advised, advocated or taught, the overthrow by force, violence or other unlawful means of the Government of the United States of America."

The simple truth is that the Communist party in America was funded by Moscow, sent its delegates to Russia to receive instructions, and was in actuality a full, functioning part of the Kremlin apparatus, totally controlled by Stalin and his underlings. It was explicitly involved in spying, policy sabotage, and disinformation in the United States, and had various "front groups" controlled by it. And it's interesting to note that members that didn't bow down to Moscow didn't stay in the part long.

IV. The simple logic undermining my argument is this: The CPA was involved in espionage and was actively trying to mold America into a second USSR. Membership in the CPA thus contradicts the oath that public servants take, as seen above. McCarthy's "victims" were all current employees of the US government at the time his accusations were first revealed, to the best of McCarthy's knowledge. He sought that they be fired and, if necessary, be put on trial. His accusations were correct almost in their entirety. THEREFORE, he was right to have made his accusations.

Connor, I haven't replied to the arguments you made because I think we both got off on the wrong foot. I invite you to make them again. I hope you accept, and again, I'm sorry about how the first debate went.
killa_connor

Con

I love the new topic because it lets us really judge McCarthy for what he was on multiple levels. But I sincerely doubt that you lie in the middle of the spectrum on this particular debate. Democrats and Republicans can both agree that McCarthy's communist witch-hunt ruined innocent lives/careers as well as employed methods that were both illegal and morally beneath what is expected of a United States Senator. You mention JFK but personal indiscretions can hardly compare to professionally unethical behavior. My point being with all of this that the lens of retrospection sees McCarthy's paranoia and demagogic accusations as a dangerous presence in American politics, this is not a matter of Left and Right. Don't take my word for it, take a friend from the right, Senator Susan Collins who investigated (through a senate sub-committee) the same FBI documents you (and right wing political pundits like Stanton Evans and Anne Coulter) claim somehow justifies McCarthy's behavior and accusations.

"Senator McCarthy's zeal to uncover subversion and espionage led to disturbing excesses. His browbeating tactics destroyed careers of people who were not involved in the infiltration of our government. His freewheeling style caused both the Senate and the Subcommittee to revise the rules governing future investigations, and prompted the courts to act to protect the Constitutional rights of witnesses at Congressional hearings... These hearings are a part of our national past that we can neither afford to forget nor permit to reoccur."

It would appear that not even Republicans can defend McCarthy and indeed found his victims to be innocent and unjustly targetted. You admit to his practices being "far from perfect" but it would appear that his practices were actually just detrimental and indeed undermined basic rights by using fear and emotional rallying to demonize people and humiliate them in publicized trials. Please don't take this from me though, but also please look outside of right-wing author's assessment of McCarthy because the overwhelming consensus of contemporary historians agree that McCarthy was a demagogic figure that brought with him a dark period in American history marked by fear and suspicion.

I'm going to re-cover some of my original examples of innocent people that were accused of being Soviet spies by McCarthy. We also need to be clear about what these accusations were. It wasn't so much that his victims were communists (which in itself is not illegal) but more importantly he accused the communists of being Soviet spies or some other tangible threat to the United States. So when you say his accusations were "right" I contend that they are indeed flawed because although he might have identified someone within the government with a socialist ideology it does not mean they posed any threat to the United States (which he explicitly accused them of doing)!

Lets start with the Eisenhower Administration (Republican) and McCarthy's accusations against them. Eisenhower's presidency was plagued by McCarthy's accusations involving Eisenhower's foreign policy advisor John Davies. Nine investigations of Davies' loyalty between 1948 and 1954 failed to produce any evidence of disloyalty or Communist sympathies. His opposition to Communism was a matter of record; indeed, in 1950 he had advocated a preventive nuclear showdown with the Soviet Union. Nevertheless, in 1954, under political pressure from McCarthy and Senator Patrick McCarran, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles asked Davies to resign. A true American tragedy that prompted Eisenhower to fight back (in a discreet manner that wouldn't also get him accused of being a communist). He never directly confronted McCarthy or criticized him by name in any speech, thus perhaps prolonging McCarthy's power by showing that even the President was afraid to criticize him directly. He defended this approach by stating, "I don't want to "get down in the gutter with that guy".

Next there is Annie Lee Moss. Now I noticed that you spent about half of round 1 trying to establish a strong connection between the Communist Party of America and the Soviet Union's plots to somehow internally infiltrate and overthrow the American government. Let's be straight about something. A political ideology is not in itself proof that an individual is trying to overthrow the government! These kind of assumptions are dangerous and are what fueled the Red-Scare mentality of the 50s! Annie Lees Moss is a famous example of McCarthy's brow-beating leading to unfairly demonizing people. Moss had received a socialist newspaper to her house. She was an elderly African American woman with no intent of compromising national security but because of McCarthy's multiple attacks on her personality and loud and drunk (he was a huge alcoholic and was reported to be intoxicated during the afternoon trials) accusations she eventually tried to deny that she even received the newspaper! This lead to her imprisonment on perjury charges until it was finally concluded that McCarthy's brow beating provoked the lie from Annie Lee. The other problem was that all of McCarthy's information was technically hearsay and he failed to provide Mrs. Moss with due process by presenting any source for his information.

Finally there is Voice of America. Voice of America is in charge of federal radio and television broadcasting. Several engineers from Voice of America were accused of having ties to the Soviet government and were brutally interrogated. VOA personnel were questioned in front of television cameras and a packed press gallery, with McCarthy lacing his questions with hostile innuendo and false accusations. A few VOA employees alleged Communist influence on the content of broadcasts, but none of the charges were substantiated. Morale at VOA was badly damaged, with one of its engineers even committing suicide. Most of the others were left with ruined careers. (http://en.wikipedia.org...)

With my remaining space I want to keep refuting this perceived link between the CPA and the Soviet government. You rightfully point out that the Soviet government did give money to the CPA. But you do realize that the United States government funds political parties with a similar ideology. The point is that it is beneficial for the Soviet Union in the long run to support a political party that bridged the gap between otherwise incompatible political systems! This isn't to suggest that they were trying to incite some sort of violent revolution though. You need to be more honest about how miniscule this link really was.The total annual funding from the entire Soviet Union didn't even amount to over 50,000 dollars. By 1958 it had reached 75,000 dollars but this is nothing in comparison to some of the American funding that we actively participate in. We don't fund political parties with the expectation that they will violently overthrow their respective governments (sometimes we do. but mostly we fund legit political parties with similar ideologies). You have to substantiate McCarthy's accusations by proving that these people were infiltrating the government on behalf of the Soviets. Soviet funding for the CPA doesn't prove this!

This is going to be hard fought I can tell. I look forward to this exchange. Thanks! Haha and I'm sorry if some of these paragraphs seem familiar =).

-connor
Debate Round No. 1
SolaGratia

Pro

In your first paragraph, you say, "[McCarthy] employed methods that were both illegal and morally beneath what is expected of a United States Senator." You have given no evidence, much less proof, that what McCarthy did was illegal. You've seen the anger the media holds for McCarthy still, fifty years on. Do you really think that charges would not have been pressed if they had any evidence that McCarthy did anything "illegal?" McCarthy's actions, whatever else they were, were not illegal.

Senator Collins examined the FBI files concerning McCarthyism? Interesting. I would be gratified if you would give me a link to that text. That could be a very interesting document. She says, "These hearings are a part of our national past that we can neither afford to forget nor permit to reoccur." She talks about McCarthy's "freewheeling style." Surely, someone is cast out of the Senate for more than a "freewheeling style?" She talks about his "browbeating tactics" of people who "were not involved in the infiltration of our government." Surely, however, this is tantamount to admitting that there WAS infiltration of our government? An interesting point, but one I feel I can't examine further without the full text. I don't want to go too far on something so obviously taken out of context.

But she is absolutely right. We should most certainly not forget these hearings, and what they represent. They do not represent a the ravings of a sociopath, going after respectable, upstanding Americans for no apparent reason. On the contrary, they represent a single man and a cadre of aids going up against clear Communist infiltration of the government. McCarthy was not, I repeat NOT, a sociopath. I ask you, if his intentions were not what he repeatedly said they were--to end Red infiltration of the government--then why would he have started them in the first place. Frankly, every other possible motive does not hold up. I can only conclude, then, that he acted out of a sincere desire; what's more, a sincere desire that was backed up by much of the evidence he had available to him.

You have brought up President Eisenhower several times, I believe. In 1952, Eisenhower campaigned in Wisconsin with McCarthy, and said that though he agreed with McCarthy's aims, he did not agree with his methods. This, I stress again, is my view. Eisenhower, and Truman even more, wanted to maintain the status quo. Joe McCarthy, being a threat to the status quo, was stonewalled and alienated; in Eisenhower's case by his own party.

You say that McCarthy's accusations and hearings "undermined basic rights by using fear and emotional rallying to demonize people and humiliate them in publicized trials." While McCarthy may have been hostile to his witnesses, and it was not his decision to publicize the trials. Indeed this exposure didn't seem to have much effect against the American public until Senator McCarthy himself was put on trial in the Army-McCarthy hearings, where he grew defensive and abusive.

You call on me to look outside the view of right-wing authors and accept the views of your "overwhelming consensus of contemporary historians." Frankly, I don't see why my view is any less "supported" than yours is. We both come to our conclusions from the evidence. Perhaps you should look past the "overwhelming consensus of contemporary historians." The "overwhelming consensus" has been wrong before. In fact, I think it was the "overwhelming consensus" of the scientific community that the sun and stars revolved around the earth, and not vice versa, in the pre-Galilean world.

McCarthy, in his accusations, generally did not go further than to point out that "such and such was a known member of the Communist Party." Even his liberal contemporaries knew that the Communist Party WAS a front group for Moscow, which is why they denied the truthfulness of his charges altogether, instead of taking your approach. The main point you seem to be missing is that these people did not have a "socialist ideology" or something absurd like that, but were PROVEN MEMBERS of the Communist party. As I have shown, this should have been grounds for dismissal under the Truman and Eisenhower loyalty programs. Interestingly enough, you seem to have ignored my point about that completely. By the way, do you know the difference between socialism and communism?

You say that John Foster Dulles asked Davies to leave because he was under "political pressure" from McCarthy. It seems to me that Dulles would not have asked Davies to resign if he hadn't thought him unfit to serve. It seems that this tactic would have only played to McCarthy's strengths if the accusation was wrong. Asking Davies to resign was, on one level or another, proof that Dulles thought Davies was guilty.

You say, "A political ideology is not in itself proof that an individual is trying to overthrow the government." This is absolutely true under normal circumstances, but if a member of Al-Qaeda wanted to become a member of the government, we would hardly let him. The government's attitude toward Communism in those days WAS akin to our view of Al-Qaeda, which made McCarthy's original accusations so groundbreaking. I further notice that you have warmed over your argument about Annie Lee Moss. I have already addressed this, but since you saw fit to use your other arguments, I don't see why I can't do the same.

The FBI had, by virtue of its extensive counter-intelligence work, a list of CPA members. Annie Lee Moss' name appeared on that list. She also had once subscribed to the Daily Worker, a Communist (not Socialist) newspaper. Mrs. Moss, though she was an "elderly African-American woman," her job with the Army Signal Corps was certainly not as a cafeteria worker, and she was obviously an intelligent person. During the Army-McCarthy-Signal Corps. hearings, the official description of the job Moss performed was such:

"[To] examine messages in tape form in code and clear text from Receiving Banks, to determine the coherence thereof, whether numbers are in the correct sequence, correctness of time or date group, precedence and whether complete...Messages received in code must be more carefully scrutinized inasmuch as it is more difficult to detect omissions or errors in coded letter or number groups...Process high precedence messages immediately by hand-carrying to overseas desk for quick routing...[Duties Include] recognition recording and disposition of encrypted messages destined for or received from the Crypto Center...etc."

It's obvious that Moss was no simpleton, contrary the impression that Symington, McClellan, and Jackson (who had all, by the way, known the Mrs. Moss' FBI file indicated she was a Communist party member.) Indeed, after Moss stumbled reading a memo the army sent her, McClellan asked patronizingly, "Did you read that the very best you could?" This seems to me rather racist, as well as implying that Moss couldn't perform her job at all since it obviously involved reading and filing priority messages. A humorous footnote to this case was that Moss was actually a licensed Realtor in Washington D.C. She was definitely an intelligent person. Intelligent enough to perform her job at the Signal Corps. And intelligent enough to misuse those messages if she so pleased.

You point out that the US funds extremist political parties. I have no way of knowing if this is true or not, because you didn't cite any sources, but the difference of course is that these shadowy parties are IN AMERICA, whereas the Communist Party in America was NOT in the Soviet Union. Thus, the USSR had no business funding the CPA. I don't know where you got these figures about the amount of money that was being sent to the CPA, but I know that whatever funds WERE sent were the backbone of the party's monetary needs, because when funding was withdrawn in 1989, the CPA almost collapsed.

Crap. Out of space. I look forward to your response!
killa_connor

Con

Just going to start at the top and move down.

"You have given no evidence, much less proof, that what McCarthy did was illegal."

Actually I did. I pointed out that he made his accusations against Annie Lee Moss based on an unsubstantiated source and did not provide her due process (http://en.wikipedia.org...). Which is illegal. His punishment came in his censorship (which was approved by an overwhelming majority of the Senate). These congressional hearings have incorporated the same principles that guide our own judiciary system which McCarthy violated.

"browbeating tactics" of people who "were not involved in the infiltration of our government." Surely, however, this is tantamount to admitting that there WAS infiltration of our government? "

This is a huge fallacy in itself. Pointing out that people were being harassed for something they didn't do in NO WAY suggests that such people exists. No such admittance was made and I think this argument is based on a false premise. I copied and pasted that speech from the McCarthy wikipedia site. Interesting that you are questioning all of my sources and I've been taking all of your claims on good faith (such as the claims that the CPA was a front for Moscow... cause you haven't provided any documentation suggesting this).

"McCarthy, in his accusations, generally did not go further than to point out that "such and such was a known member of the Communist Party." Even his liberal contemporaries knew that the Communist Party WAS a front group for Moscow, which is why they denied the truthfulness of his charges altogether, instead of taking your approach. "

Both of these sentences reveal a sincere misunderstanding of McCarthy's charges. It's important that you realize that he wasn't merely pointing out that there were members of the CPA, he wanted their careers stripped of them on public television because they were Soviet agents. Sometimes this resulted in criminal treason charges (rarely though because again his sources were rarely substantiated). These accusations were destructive by nature and led to ruined lives and suicides (which I see you've chosen not to address). You also continue to assert that the CPA was a "front for moscow" and you can claim that as much as you would like but until you justify these statements with some sources I can't really take you terribly seriously. The Soviet government contributed 50,000 (by 1954 at the height of McCarthyism) dollars to the CPA's 75,000 members. Are you suggesting that 50,000 dollars is enough to buy out and control an entire political party? His accusations were that these people were infiltrating our government and reporting back to Moscow. Being a member doesn't prove this! It was a ridiculous generalization about people based upon their political ideology that fed off of an anti-communist sentiment in the country. Journalist Edward Murrow describes this phenomenon:

"His primary achievement has been in confusing the public mind, as between the internal and the external threats of Communism. We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men"

You cannot confuse dissent with disloyalty, which is exactly what you are doing. The United States government supports democratic parties all over the world and so did the Soviet Union. This doesn't mean that they are employing spies all over the world! Does anyone else see how ridiculous this is? Am I taking crazy pills?

"This is absolutely true under normal circumstances, but if a member of Al-Qaeda wanted to become a member of the government, we would hardly let him."

This is a joke right? There isn't an Al Qaeda political party in this country with 75,000 members. Al-Qaeda wants to see the complete destruction of Western thought and political ideology by destroying the United States. The CPA had no such intentions, they wanted to incite political change. This is a flawed analogy on almost every level and it doesn't deserve to be in a debate of this caliber.

"Asking Davies to resign was, on one level or another, proof that Dulles thought Davies was guilty."

Absolutely not! Davies was a lowly foreign advisor whose patriotism is a matter of public record. However, a foreign advisor can hardly stand up against a Senator of McCarthy's popularity at the time. People were scared to speak out publicly against McCarthy (Eisenhower) let a lone confront him over a foreign advisor. It's a testament to McCarthy's fear based power over the government, people were scared to stand up to him. I can't believe you would assume that it is because he WAS a Soviet spy even though I have presented documentation which refutes this claim. Again you're making assumptions with no support beyond your own opinion.

Your Annie Lee Moss arguments depend on sweeping generalizations. You point out that she subscribes to a socialist newspaper and that her job was very important. Does this make her a Soviet spy? You're missing the malicious or anti-American intent or the treasonous undercover work. Annie Lee Moss was an American and there was no reason to question her loyalty to this country. You point out that she could be a major security risk but was she? Did McCarthy prove that she leaked information to the Soviet or that she was connected to them in anyway? No he didn't. You argue that the CPA's higher officials had connections to Moscow (yet to be substantiated) but does this really mean that they all were under the control of Moscow? Not at all. Those kind of assumptions are unwarranted and irrational.

There are many examples of the United States funding and supporting political parties in other countries. Anastasio Somoza Garc´┐Ża was the dictator of Nicaragua and we spent significant resources supporting his political party because he was an anti-Communist ruler in Central America. We identified with his ideology (at least in regard to Communism) and we saw it in our best interest to support him, so we did. Support in itself doesn't mean that we "control" a country by any means. His decisions were still his own and often times went in direct contradiction to American policy. Thats one example, tell me if you need more.

Since this topic lends itself to a general assessment of Joseph McCarthy I'd also like to mention that his alcoholism was a severe and prevalent part of his life while he was in the senate which was confirmed to have brought upon the acute hepatitis that killed him. It was reported that McCarthy suffered from cirrhosis of the liver and was frequently hospitalized for alcoholism. Numerous eyewitnesses, including Senate aide George Reedy and journalist Tom Wicker, have reported finding him alarmingly drunk in the Senate. Journalist Richard Rovere (1959) wrote:

"He had always been a heavy drinker, and there were times in those seasons of discontent when he drank more than ever. But he was not always drunk. He went on the wagon (for him this meant beer instead of whiskey) for days and weeks at a time. The difficulty toward the end was that he couldn't hold the stuff. He went to pieces on his second or third drink. And he did not snap back quickly."

I bring this up because his addiction was so severe that it did affect his professional life. Which should be taken into consideration when we evaluate his merit as a politician. Another great round, I'd love to debate you again sometime soon!

-the killa
Debate Round No. 2
SolaGratia

Pro

Connor-
I have decided that it is futile to keep rebutting the same charges, especially the Moss case. That is only one case, and even with the few others you mentioned doesn't make up any fraction at all of McCarthy's charges. I will start with the most grievous cases. I know it would take up a lot of space to rebut these, so please, don't trouble yourself. All I ask is that you look into these charges for yourself. Try to keep an open mind and stay away from Wikipedia.
First off, the regrettable case of Owen Lattimore. Mr. Lattimore, in addition to being an employee of the Office for War Information and later the State Department and, was affiliated with Pacific Affairs and Amerasia. It is generally known that the OWI was one of the most Red-ridden parts of the USG during the war, and many of its employees were given high postings at State after the war. To make a long story short, Lattimore was the architect of US East Asian policy for years, and it is certain that his Pro-Soviet leanings and Communist affiliation (McCarthy originally said he was an agent, which he was not, per se, but later backed down) influenced him in his policymaking. It is a matter of connecting the dots, then, that American support for the Anti-Red forces of Chiang Kai-Shek in China dried up under Lattimore's supervision, and it is a matter of record that Lattimore, while in China as an advisor to Kai-Shek, PASSED CODED MESSAGES FROM THE CHUNGKING GOVERNMENT TO THE CHINESE REDS AT YENAN UNDER MAO ZEDUNG. This, even you will agree, is not a mere "Socialist ideology" but a blatant abuse of power and certainly grounds for removal from the government. Thankfully, this eventually happened, though he was convicted only of eight counts of perjury.
During the early Post-war years, when the Red Scare was at its first peak but before McCarthy came to the scene, it was, unlike today, government policy to have "loyalty files" on all employees. Those at the State Department were infamously messy. According to many employees there, the records were in looseleaf form, in several rooms, and access to them was not a matter of security. Anything could be taken, changed, removed, or substituted. This chaos was perhaps why the McCarthy hearings dragged on so long: the files on his "victims" at their place of employment were impossible to find, and so it was a stalemate between McCarthy, who had only what he could glean from outside the enormous bureaucracy of the executive branch against Acheson and his cronies at State, who may or may not have been acting from the right motives, but were paralyzed by the fact that they could give no proof. It was because of this that the stonewalling efforts against McCarthy began: "If we can't prove him wrong, let's fog the issue." McCarthy's charges were mainly made from FBI and State Department documents, including the infamous Klaus memo, the Lee List, and other sources. He also, with the help of his capable counsels Roy Cohn and Robert F. Kennedy (I kid you not) had uncovered several other Communists that were neither on the Klaus memo or the Lee list.
I feel I cannot go into detail about the various charges McCarthy made in the space allotted. However, I will give you very incomplete list of some of the cases. First, it should be stressed that many of these people had previously been investigated, either by the internal Loyalty Board, or the infamous House Committee on Unamerican Activities. McCarthy's charges were not dragged out of the blue.
E.J. Askwith-Was a friend of known Communists, under investigation by FBI at the time of McCarthy's Tydings Committee naming of her. She worked at State, in an office called the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs, which included such people as Robert Miller, Joseph Gregg, William Park, and Bernard Redmont who had all been named in Communist defector Elisabeth Bentley's testimonies. (She, along with Whittaker Chambers, was key in exposing perhaps the most infamous counterintelligence case ever: that of Alger Hiss. It is evidence in McCarthy's favor that various liberal elements of the government fought as hard against the overwhelming evidence condemning Hiss as they fought the rather vaguer accusations of McCarthy.)
Lois Carlisle-Worked at the OSS, another Red-ridden wartime department, and member of several Communist front groups. Close friend, as was Askwith, of Mary Jane Keeney, who along with her husband was a proven Communist agent; this confirmed by her own private diaries after her death.
Frances Ferry-Regular reader of Communist newspaper Daily Worker, according to a roommate, worked at the CIA. Minor case, but the Daily Worker was part of Communist Party membership.
Herbert Fierst--Known Contact of Mary Jane Keeney and friend of "master spy" David Wahl. Under investigation by FBI at time of McCarthy case.
The list goes on: John Stewart Service, Dorothy Kenyon, John Carter Vincent, Haldore Hanson, Esther Brunauer, Myra Page, Gustavo Duran, Solomon Adler, O. Edmund Clubb, V. Frank Coe, John Payton Davies, Cora DuBois, Stanley Graze, Mary Jane Keeney herself, Raymond Ludden, Philleo Nash, Franz Neumann, Edward Posniak, Philip Raine, William Remington, William Stone, David Weintraub, David Zabladowsky, Edward U. Condon, and last but not least, the nuclear Physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer.
The Oppenheimer scandal is well-known, but it is not common knowledge that he was one of McCarthy's cases, and that the record agrees with McCarthy in this case is strong evidence for him in the less-well-known cases. Oppenheimer attended a meeting at the home of Haakon Chevalier, a self-admitted Communist, which Communist also attended. He was on the FBI list of "Custodial Detention"-security risks to be placed in custody in case of a national emergency. Communist leaders were quoted as saying to a US informer that Oppenheimer was a Communist, but was not in Party lists because of the sensitive nature of his job. The case, suppressed by Truman who was constantly badgered by FBI Director Hoover about him, did not come to light until Eisenhower ascended to the presidency.
It should be noted that many of these cases were not singular to McCarthy. A solid majority of them had been previously identified as Communists by Elisabeth Bentley or Whittaker Chambers, or by internal investigations. All of these people were employees of the government. All of these people were Communists, Communist-affiliated, paid informers, or otherwise security risks. As I have stated (and you haven't bothered to refute) under the Truman loyalty program, all of these people and indeed the vast majority of McCarthy's cases, should have been dismissed and perhaps criminally charged.
I feel that I have proven my beginning thesis in the debate, "McCarthy...knew what he was talking about. He was right in most of his accusations." The cases I have listed are only the most provable. Why, then, did McCarthy's accusations meet with such ridicule and dismissiveness? Because, simply, of his bulldog manner and unlikable personal habits and appearance. The various counterintelligence cases: Oppenheimer, Hiss, etc. that McCarthy was NOT involved in were much bigger successes, and I find no other reason than that McCarthy was not involved. Therefore, I restate my thesis: McCarthy, though his manner was fatally flawed, was right in most of his accusations. Any attack on his personal methods, on his character (like his alcoholism) are nothing but an Ad Hominem fallacy, and in no way diminish the essential truth of his accusations.
A fair balance sheet of McCarthy (and I do not present one here) would probably meet in the middle between my arguments and Connor's but it is ludicrous to say, as you have Connor, that his accusations were baseless.
Connor, I enjoyed the debate greatly, and I will certainly look into them for myself at greater length. I hope you will afford mine the same consideration. You are an excellent debater, to be sure. ;)
killa_connor

Con

killa_connor forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
14 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by SolaGratia 9 years ago
SolaGratia
Thanks, Rennzy.

Connor, just because you couldn't find E. J. Askwith in an internet search does NOT mean that the charge was unsubstantiated. That is ludicrous. And no, I did not mispell the name. Perhaps by "looking beyond Wikipedia" I should have said "looking beyond the internet," but I understand that time is limited. Sorry the time ran out! I know the site crashed. Well, thanks for bearing with me in redoing the debate. May the best man win!
Posted by Renzzy 9 years ago
Renzzy
well done, both of you. very....infromative...
Posted by killa_connor 9 years ago
killa_connor
"I feel that I have proven my beginning thesis in the debate, "McCarthy...knew what he was talking about. He was right in most of his accusations.""

Ah, but remember that you forfeited that debate due to time and you agreed to recreate this debate to include other criteria for judging McCarthy outside of the rather 2 dimensional analysis of the accuracy of his claims. Either way I did my best and I appreciate this debate.

END OF ROUND 3

Sorry Guys! Site was messed up and wouldn't let me post my third round! Read below for my final response. Gah!

-connor
Posted by killa_connor 9 years ago
killa_connor
(continued)
"... Affiliated with any group, society, association, organization or party which advises, advocates or teaches, the overthrow by force, violence or other unlawful means of the Government of the United States of America"

The CPA did not advocate these views. It was peoples preconceptions about the Communist party that made them assume that communists were a tangible threat to peace and stability. They were a political party that worked toward moving American government towards a more Socialist and Leninist ideology. Violence was never encouraged or condoned.

I've argued that McCarthy's policies were dangerous, divisive, morally bankrupt, and illegal. I've also successfully argued that there were a significant number of cases where innocent people were being unfairly demonized. It appears all we're doing now is trying to decide how many of McCarthy's cases were justified and how many were brutal and unjustified. We can argue that for days but ultimately contemporary historians realize that McCarthy's demagogic rhetoric was far more dangerous to America then any Russian spy could hope to be.

To a degree we are arguing substantive justice vs. procedural justice (although not really because I don't even feel that McCarthy's goals or 'ends' were met in most cases). It's a question of procedural justice (good and just means) versus substantive justice (good and just ends). Procedural justice requires that just procedures are followed, following the same rules for everyone, adhering to the rule of law, playing fair. It also requires that we not allow good ends (imprisoning a murderer) to justify bad means. This is the way our system operates because by compromising our moral integrity to condemn a criminal we have become criminal in our behavior. I think that by merely evaluating McCarthy's accusations we lose sight of the fact that his means in no way justify the ends achieved.
Posted by killa_connor 9 years ago
killa_connor
"Frances Ferry-Regular reader of Communist newspaper Daily Worker, according to a roommate, worked at the CIA."

This is ridiculous. The Daily Worker in no way indicates that the person is a communist let a lone a Soviet spy! The Daily Worker embodied party messages but its subscribers ranged the left-wing spectrum. Again these are sweeping generalizations that don't at all validate McCarthy's crusade, if anything they point out how baseless many of his accusations were.

Elizabeth Bentley: It would appear that many of the names provided came from Bentley's testimony. So instead of addressing each individual one, I'm just going to attack Miss Bentley's credibility. First off, Bentley was not an American spy or agent. Her testimonies often time contradicted themselves and her involvement ushered in some of the most savage political partisanship that this country has ever seen. President Truman at one point characterized her testimony as a Republican-inspired "red herring." Also, it's important to note that most of the people named by Bentley were not actively infiltrating the American government but had Communist sympathies and associations. This in themselves are not a threat to the United States and most of the employees just pled the fifth and ignored her charges all together.

Finally, I want to address the presidential loyalty programs that you have mentioned as a means of rationalizing McCarthy's behavior as enforcement rather then bullying. Let me start by saying that both presidents thought McCarthy was a bottom feeder of politics and that his demeanor and behavior were abhorrent. They did have loyalty programs in place that made government employees swear that they did not want to violently overthrow the United States. I quote the oath:
Posted by killa_connor 9 years ago
killa_connor
(continued)
E.J. Askwith: I searched wikipedia, google, and ask.com for this name and found nothing associated to McCathy or communism. I'm trying to branch out from wikipedia but you need to give me somewhere to branch out to! I'm forced to assume that this accusations is unsubstantiated (or perhaps you got the name wrong?).

Alger Hiss: The Alger Hiss case is still widely disputed today. What isn't disputable is that McCarthy and the FBI used brutal and illegal tactics to incarcerate Hiss. These include:

-The FBI illegally withheld important evidence from the Hiss defense team, specifically that typewritten documents could be forged. Unknown to the defense, military intelligence operatives in World War II, a decade before the trials, "could reproduce faultlessly the imprint of any typewriter on earth." (This is relevant because Hiss continues to assert that some of the documents used to incriminate him were forged)
-With regard to the Woodstock No. 230099 typewriter introduced as evidence by the defense at the trial, the FBI knew there was an inconsistency between its manufacture date and its serial number but illegally withheld this information from Hiss.
-That the FBI had an informer on the Hiss defense team, a private detective named Horace W. Schmahl. Hired by the Hiss defense team, Schmahl reported on the Hiss defense strategy to the government.
-That the FBI had conducted illegal surveillance of Hiss before and during the trials, including phone taps and mail openings. Also that the prosecution had withheld from Hiss and his lawyers the records of this surveillance, none of which provided any evidence that Hiss was a spy or a Communist.

This debate is about McCarthy overall merit. This includes specific cases and the truth of his accusations but judging his means of achieving his goals are equally as important. And I think we can both agree that his methods in the case of Alger Hiss were illegal, deceitful, and morally bankrupt.
Posted by killa_connor 9 years ago
killa_connor
!!!

It wouldn't let me post my argument for the third round, so I'm just going to put it in the comment box.

ROUND 3:
This final round was interesting but also sort of underhanded. You dump names on me (that were previously unmentioned). It makes me think you just waited until the third round to employ all of your "secret" arguments with the hope that the sheer quantity will intimidate me into submission. Luckily for the voters this isn't the case. Although some names might go unaddressed I will work to refute all of the examples you presented while simultaneously echoing my previous arguments about the range of McCarthy's negative effects on the American political system.

Owen Lattimore: Lets get one thing straight. The Tydings Committee cleared Lattimore of all charges against him. The perjury charges that he was eventually incarcerated for were the result of vigorous scrutinizing of Lattimore's testimony which eventually found that Lattimore had been less then honest about people he knew that were affiliated with the Communist Party (who can blame him, the Red Scare was at its height). Keep in mind these perjury charges were made within the SISS committee by Senator McCarran (McCarthy's strongest ally in the Senate). This is what he was convicted for:
"The evidence shows conclusively that Lattimore knew Frederick V. Field to be a Communist and that he did not tell the truth before the subcommittee about this association with Field . . ."

This doesn't amount to the kind of conspiracy spy claims that he was accused of and your comments about Mao Ze Dong are equally as unsupported as McCarthy's charges of being a Soviet spy. Even though I asked you repeatedly in the second round for you to cite your sources on these sorts of claims (a long with the claim that the CPA was a "front for Moscow"), you have failed to do so. Although I frequently cite Wikipedia for my claims, at least they have a source.
Posted by SolaGratia 9 years ago
SolaGratia
Oh, yeah, I heard the site went down. Doesn't that just SUCK? I know how you feel. Take all the time you need.
Posted by killa_connor 9 years ago
killa_connor
I typed out my response and my browser crashed!

Give me another day on this one.
Posted by SolaGratia 9 years ago
SolaGratia
Solarman: you're a festering slime-boil.

Connor: I meant that, except in a few of our universities and a few backwater countries, Communism is dead. China is already capitalist, and on the road to having free elections: the antithesis of communism. Communism as a movement is dead. By the way, I'm sorry about the structure of my last argument. I typed it all in, but I had to take the spaces out and erase some things to get it to post, even though it SAID "3 characters remaining."
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