Hate and hysteria Author Murray Levin (1977) wrote Essay

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, AMcCarthyism, in acapitalist society, produces extremism, intolerance, instability, and large scale

repression (p.216). He also says that AThe promoters of mass politics raise

the question of justice and attempt to play upon generalized resentments

steaming from deeper layers of personality. The politics of mass society does

not focus on group emailprotected The purpose of these politics is the defense

of the ultimate truth. This “Red scare” started in the twenties and in one form

or another lasted till well after World War 2 was over. McCarthyism was not the

work of psychotics and paranoids. This political hysteria was a mixture of

American conservatism, pluralism, anti-radicalism, racism, and nativism. . In

addition, this passionate form of nationalism was perceived by most Americans

as a perfectly sensible and American way to defend the American way of life

against danger. Louis Hartz (1956) said Athe Red scare was a product of the

American people manipulating themselves as well as the American people

responding to emailprotected According to the popular opinion, Robert

Murray warned that communist were to come and overthrow our form of

government and business enterprises. He said that communism would do five

things. ” First, destroy property rights. Second, take away all personal initiative

in industrial activities. Third, abolish civil government and the political state.

Fourth, destroy the church and religious institutions. Finally, abandon family

relations. Many who actively promoted the hysteria genuinely believed in

conspiracy, consider themselves as patriots, and utilized the hysteria for

private political and economic gain that they usually hid. “Joe McCarthy was

one of the top investigators of communism along with Edgar Hoover, who was

at that time a director of the FBI.”(the hunt began) McCarthy got all his

suspects from Hoover; many times they made false accusations to help their

cause. They were the at the root of hysteria during the 40’s and 50’s.

McCarthyism has been defined as political murder; many innocent people

were hung, stabbed, and imprisoned for false accusations where evidence

was insufficient. By accusing people of being “Red” McCarthy and Hoover

ignored several amendments that given freedoms of United States citizens.

First, he broke the first amendment that says people have the right to religion,

speech, assembly and politics. For example, in Waterbury, Connecticut a

salesman was sentenced to six months in jail for having remarked to a

customer that Lenin was “brainiest” or “one of the brainiest” political leaders in

the world. In 1919 a citizen of Indiana, in a fit of rage, shot and killed an alien

who yelled “to hell with the United States”; the jury deliberated for two minutes

before acquitting the killer.(Newman) McCarthy also ignored the fifth

amendment that speaks against self incrimination and talks of how due

process. In addition McCarthy saw past the eighth and ninth amendment.

Amendment eight says that people could not be given excessive bail or fines

and were not to be submitted to cruel and unusual punishments. Amendment

nine talks of the rights retained by the people. This amendment specifically

says “The enumeration in the constitution, of certain rights, shall not be

construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. In fact, many

people produced anti-Soviet propaganda, one was called “A Guide to

anti-Communist action” and another example was called “Is This Tomorrow”.

Twenty eight states passed laws banning the display of red flags. In addition,

Hollywood responded to this hysteria by creating many films portraying

Russians as bad guys. The U.S. Steel Corporation, and it’s president, Judge

Gary, attempted to break a strike by creating the impression that it had little to

do with the demands for wages and hours but was instead a communist

conspiracy and part of a larger plan to hurt American industry and help the

Bolshevik revolution. U.S. Steel was also one of the many corporations that

used large numbers of private detectives as labor spies. This succeeded and

played a major role in escalating national anti-radical hysteria. This labor spy

would infiltrate unions, urge laborers not to join unions, and promote

anti-strike activities. These Astrike emailprotected are detecting unions one day,

and Bolshevism the next. At one time U.S. steel used the ARed emailprotected and

“other” proofs to brand a strike red and say that these Bolsheviks were ready

to resort to violence and terror. Local newspapers were controlled by U.S.

Steel, and many distinguished papers such as “The New York Times” this went

hand in hand with the materials to expose the “Reds”. Hoover dispatched

radical documents to the press as “proof of the Red conspiracy ” this is what

really initiated the first large scale attempt by the United States government to

maintain a centralized file of radicals in the headquarters of the department.

This file became a major source of information. Most of the violence was

provoked by the public authorities. The Red scare gave elites a vantage point;

this was a technique for managing tension and maintaining power. For elites,

political hysteria was profitable. This hysteria was used largely by business

leaders to curb labor’s new aggressiveness. “For elites political hysteria and

democratic repression can be a technique for managing tension and

sustaining power.”(Newman) In government, General MacArthur tried to

commit political against president Truman. MacArthur tried to discredit the

president along with his staff; he said that conspiracy was in the air and that

the government was trying to appease red china. After a while his steam died

down and he went away. The main problem was that people rallied around him

because he was a prominent war hero; this single man caused national

uproar. There are many parallels in history where suspicion of evil caused

uproar. Many have heard stories of the Salem witch trial that took place in

Massachusetts. A single birthmark could get you burned at the stake. In

another case, Japanese Americans faced their greatest struggle after

December seventh, 1941, when a Japanese strike force destroyed much of

the U.S. naval fleet at Hawaii’s Pearl Harbor. Rage toward Japan was directed

at the Japanese living in the United States, and some feared that Japanese

Americans would commit acts of espionage. Within a year president Franklin

Roosevelt singed Executive order 9066, an unpredicted action intended to

protect the national security of the United States. This act designated areas of

the west coast as military zones from which anyone considered likely to be

disloyal would be relocated inland to remote military reservations. Ninety

percent of those with Japanese ancestry, nearly 110,000 people in all, found

themselves in security camps. While concern about national security always

grows in times of war, this policy has been widely criticized. First, it targeted an

entire category of people, not one of whom was known to have committed a

disloyal act. Second, roughly two-thirds of those imprisoned were U.S. citizens

by birth. Third, although the United States was also at war with Germany and

Italy, no such action was taken against people of German or Italian decent.

Relocation meant selling homes, furnishings, and businesses on short notice

for pennies on the dollar. As a result, almost the entire Japanese-American

population was economically devastated. In military prison camps, surrounded

by barbed wire and armed guards, families suffered greatly as they were

crowded into single rooms, often in buildings that had previously housed

livestock. In 1944 it was finally over. The United states government didn’t

make a formal apology till 1988 when congress awarded $20,000 to

compensate each victim of this policy. The United States became a

superpower as we emerged victorious from world war 2 with the atom bomb we

crushed Japan in 1945 but the Soviet union countered by exploding a bomb of

their own in 1949, unleashing the “Cold War” in which leaders of each

superpower became convinced that their counter parts were committed to

military superiority. From the ‘Red scare we should have learned that

suspicion spreads like wildfire. This suspicion started the arms race. In

addition, we will be paying the cost of the “Cold War” for many years to come ;

the money we spent has left us with an outrageous deficit. The “Cold War”

ended with the breaking of the Berlin wall and the reunification of Germany.



Hate Reader New York: Oceana Publications. Levin, M.B. (1971) Political

Hysteria in America New York, London: Basic Books, inc., publishers Hartz L.

(1956) The liberal Tradition in America New York: Harcourt Brace press

Murray R.E. (1964) Red Scare: A Study of National Hysteria New York:

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