About
Content
Store
Forum

Rebirth of Reason
War
People
Archives
Objectivism

Post to this threadMark all messages in this thread as readMark all messages in this thread as unread


Post 0

Sunday, February 13, 2005 - 5:01amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Deleted duplicate post

(Edited by Marcus Bachler on 2/13, 5:02am)




Sanction: 2, No Sanction: 0
Post 1

Sunday, February 13, 2005 - 5:01amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
As many will know, Arthur Miller died on 10th of Feb at the age of 89.

Although, a cringing left-winger, he gets my admiration for being one of the few people brave enough to stand up to and criticise the McCarthy witch hunts of the fifties.

He refused to fully testify to the HUAC in 1956 when subpoenaed himself and was fined $500 and given a suspended sentence of 30 days in prison for contempt of congress.

The conviction was eventually overturned by the Supreme Court.

You see, at the end of the day, justice does prevail!




Post 2

Sunday, February 13, 2005 - 12:24pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Marcus,

I'm afraid that Arthur Miller's status as a Communist stooge of the highest order overshadows any supposed bravery on his part. You should see some of the things he's said about so-called "McCarthyism" and that whole period. It includes mendacious denial of the facts that we now know: that the CPUSA, and all the communist organizations of the era--including their members--were in fact working for Moscow.

Not mention, I believe the last thing he wrote was a fawning essay on Fidel Castro, which was published in The Nation last year.




Post 3

Sunday, February 13, 2005 - 1:18pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Alec,

Not being an expert on the topic myself.

Does that justify the witch hunts made by the HUAC?

I am interested in your opinion.




Sanction: 3, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 3, No Sanction: 0
Post 4

Monday, February 14, 2005 - 12:42amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Marcus,

I certainly don't claim to be an expert, but I have read a bit about this topic. I HIGHLY recommend David Horowitz's memoir, Radical Son. Horowitz--whose parents were quintessential treasonous commies--was amidst the Old Left as a child and youngster, and he became one of the principal founders of the New Left, and is now one of the finest intellects of Right. His story is fascinating and logical -- unlike many converts, he actually "gets it"; his evolution is intellectual as much as personal -- and it's very suspensfully and informatively presented in his memoir. It will be an exciting and very historically informative read. Easily the most important political memoir since Chambers's Witness, if not more so.

Now, the facts are that the so-called "McCarthy era" is largely a myth. Way overblown. All but the Rosenbergs had their lives and jobs restored, replete with hero-status among the left. The counter-blacklist was the real blacklist (witness Kazan). The fact is that a large number of communists in that era were literally aiding and abetting the Soviet Union. Most of the members of the Soviet-front organizations, such as the CPUSA, were not wittingly committing treason. Many of them, however, were. Many were actual spies, at all kinds of levels.

Anyone who is involved with a treasonous organization is subject to investigation. When it comes to prosecution, of course, a distinction must be made between those who are only ideological members and those who are wittingly acting as agents of the enemy. For those who are proven to be the latter, prosecution is absolutely justified.

As for what ended up happening, everyone but the Rosenbergs (who undoubtedly deserved it) got off scott free! That includes all those who were actually working for Moscow.

The Left has made a self-glorifying victim fairytale out of their seditious Stalinism ever since.     




Post 5

Monday, February 14, 2005 - 1:21amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
"As for what ended up happening, everyone but the Rosenbergs (who undoubtedly deserved it) got off scott free!"

I am not sure you can depict it as being a harmless, but necessary investigation. The reason most got off scoot-free was that there was no solid evidence against them for a conviction of treason in the first place.

You do not take into account the intense paranoia that the HUAC intentionally whipped up in the public. They did damage lives and careers of innocent people.

It was a public spectacle of intimidation shown on TV and printed in newspapers, equivalent to Salem or a Purge.

Are you claiming that the HUAC was a good thing? Why not let the normal courts handle charges of treason?





Sanction: 3, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 3, No Sanction: 0
Post 6

Monday, February 14, 2005 - 6:23pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
The equation to Salem is, as I say, absolutely mythical. Salem involved goofy accusations of witchcraft. HUAC involved accusations of aiding and abetting the Soviet Union, which were true!

If thousands of agents of a dangerous enemy had infiltrated all our most important institutions, including government, don't you think that's sufficient cause for alarm? The ineptitude of HUAC in prosecuting these people is another story. The main reason they couldn't be convicted is that eye-witness testimony was necessary, and often wasn't provided, because their fellow-travelers kept their mouths shut. There were a few heroic exceptions, such as Eli Kazan.

The "damage" claims are overblown, but the most important point is this: these were not innocent people. They were consciously working to destroy America and import the Communist revolution.

I have absolutely no sympathy for what happened to any of them. In most cases, it wasn't nearly enough. In other cases, sorry, but there are far more pressing demands for my pity.

As for HUAC itself as an agency for prosecuting treason, I am not qualified to make a comment about its legal proficiency. I don't know if normal courts can handle charges of treason, especially when national security concerns are so pressing. Such important, time-sensitive cases in a time of war can (it seems to me) only be handled at the federal level. But I'm just not qualified to assert anything of the sort.

Alec




Post 7

Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - 4:10amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Thanks for your opinion Alec.

I can see that there is a lot to think about here.




Sanction: 9, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 9, No Sanction: 0
Post 8

Thursday, February 24, 2005 - 8:04pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
For Alec Mouhibian

You said, in post #4, of the McCarthy era when calling it a myth and way overblown, "All but the Rosenbergs had their lives and jobs restored, replete with hero-status among the left." A little later you also claimed "As for what ended up happening, everyone but the Rosenbergs (who undoubtedly deserved it) got off scott free!" I suggest you do a little research on the following people: Charlie Chaplin, John Garfeild, Joseph Bromberg, Canada Lee, and Philip Loeb. These people were adversely affected by the House of Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) hearings, but I don't believe they had their lives or the jobs restored. (NOTE: Yes , I know that Senator McCarthy didn't have anything to do with the HUAC hearings regarding Hollywood Communists. I am using the term McCarthy era to include the broad time frame from the late forties to the mid-to-late fifties and am including activities by both the House and Senate.)

You also said, "Anyone who is involved with a treasonous organization is subject to investigation. When it comes to prosecution, of course, a distinction must be made between those who are only ideological members and those who are wittingly acting as agents of the enemy. For those who are proven to be the latter, prosecution is absolutely justified." I agree. The problem with HUAC was that they circumvented DUE PROCESS!!! (Due Process is a little something we have here in the United States of America and I am rather fond of it.)

You said in post #6, "The ineptitude of HUAC in prosecuting these people is another story. The main reason they couldn't be convicted is that eye-witness testimony was necessary, and often wasn't provided, because their fellow-travelers kept their mouths shut. There were a few heroic exceptions, such as Eli Kazan." Problem here is that no one was prosecuted sense normally understood in American jurisprudence. In these proceedings the HUAC acted as judge, jury, and (with the help of the studio heads) executioner. No one was convicted because no one was arrested and put on trial. Instead, because they had been named by others or because they had known left leaning politics, they were asked to implicate others as communists. Those who refused found that they could no longer work in Hollywood. Magically, if those who were blacklisted later admitted to being 'duped' by the commies and then 'named names' they often found that they were allowed to work in Hollywood again (i.e. Kazan). The HUAC never "convicted" anyone... that would be job of the judiciary not the legislature. Presumably, if anything of substance came of the HUAC hearings then arrests would be made, the the defendants formally charged with treason, and then tried in federal court.

However, some people were arrested (by police) and were tried (by a judge and jury in a real court of law) in the 40's. The Alien Registration Act was used against the America Communist Party and in 1949, after a lengthy trial, several people were convicted for advocating the overthrow of the US government. Over the next couple of years a few dozen people, also members of the American Communist Party, were arrested and charged with similar crimes. Oddly, I don't believe any of the infamous Hollywood 10 were included in these proceedings. Also, the victims of the HUAC hearings didn't have the courtesy of a court trial. In most instances they never really did anything wrong (you know, that whole initiate the use of force thingy) except to refuse to co-operate with the HUAC.

Also in post #6 you state, "The equation to Salem is, as I say, absolutely mythical. Salem involved goofy accusations of witchcraft. HUAC involved accusations of aiding and abetting the Soviet Union, which were true!" The parallel between HUAC and the Salem trials was that in each instance, those who incriminated others were able to avoid punishment, those who refused were dealt with harshly (the Salem witches were killed, the HUAC victims were fired from thier Hollywood jobs. Of course, in Salem they at least had the benefit of official trials.)


Lastly, at the end of post #6, you state, "I don't know if normal courts can handle charges of treason, especially when national security concerns are so pressing. Such important, time-sensitive cases in a time of war can (it seems to me) only be handled at the federal level." All I can say is WOW! this is frightening. I can see no instance were it should become necessary to pre-empt civil liberties and due process. I am very proud of the English Common law heritage in the US. Concepts like the right to a trial by jury, double jeopardy, jury nullification, habeas corpus, and others should not to be taken for granted. We should all be fighting to preserve these ideals, especially in time of crisis and distress. They are among the things that make our way of life so great.


pax
Abby




Post 9

Friday, February 25, 2005 - 3:46amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Thanks Abby. Your post makes sense, and from the details I am aware of, they did use intimidation to persecute undesirables rather than due process of the law. 

It would be easier to agree with you if your name was not "Abby Normal". I think you probably took the name from the movie "Young Frankenstein"? Maybe you should consider changing it to your real name or something more flattering.




Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Post 10

Friday, February 25, 2005 - 3:28pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Abby,

Arthur Miller was one of those who "refused to incriminate others." He was "punished" by becoming a wealthy hero and icon, despite being a mediocre playwrite. Indeed, the fact that he refused to incriminate his communist friends who were working for Moscow is the primary reason, along with his marriage to Monroe, that we have to hear so much about him now.

I suggest you read Horowitz's "Radical Son" and the works of Ronald Radosh, who is the finest historian of the period.

Again, I cannot comment on the validity of HUAC. I can, however, comment on the guiltiness of its supposed "victims" and the absolutely ludicrous and overhyped leftist parallel between that era and the Salem witch trials. The ludicrous aspect is fundamental and should be plain enough for a baby to see: witches didn't exist. TREASONOUS COMMUNISTS DID!!!! And losing one's job is not the equivalent of being burned at the stake! Enough with the stupid, dishonest comparisons.

I can also say that sometimes, such as a time of war, certain civil liberties must trump others. I am most concerned, for example, with my civil liberty not to be blown up. Maybe I'm biased, maybe it was simply my upbringing, but that civil liberty concerns me more than some others. Now if someone is known to be feeding nuclear secrets to a war enemy--as Hiss and the Rosenbergs were--can we afford to have him roam free for two years while the courts do their work? Simply put: no. As you can see, these are tricky situations.

There is a new book out arguing the thesis that the internment of Japanese during WWII was justified. I have not read the book, I don't know about the specifics of the argument. I am inclined, without reading it, to disagree. But I do know that some very intelligent and great thinkers, such as Tom Sowell, agree with that thesis. My point is that certain procedures aren't absolute when survival is at stake.

Finally, I am disgusted by your implication that Hollywood communists somehow had a "right" to their jobs. And Eli Kazan didn't "magically" get his job back. He continued making films because he was a magnificent film-maker, one of the best ever. He also became a Hollywood outcast, as epitomized by all those who sat on their hands when he received his Lifetime Achievement Academy award.

Alec

(Edited by Alec Mouhibian on 2/25, 3:32pm)




Post 11

Saturday, February 26, 2005 - 3:50amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Alec,

The HUAC was NOT set up to seek out communists, but what they called "communist sympathizers". You have to remember that much of the activity of the HUAC was not about bringing treasonous communists to justice, but naming, shaming and outing those considered to have pro-communist views.

If you live in a country where you are no longer allowed to express a point of view, even an unorthodox or subversive one, then you don't actually have freedom of expression anymore.

In the words of Ben Franklin:

Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither liberty nor security.




Post 12

Saturday, February 26, 2005 - 6:34amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Marcus - You are correct, the name is from the Movie Young Frankenstein. I will consider your advice concerning my current nick name. I am not accustomed to people using their real names when conversing on message boards such as this one. For me being on the internet and being anonymous go hand in hand. As regards choosing a more flattering nick name.... well, some people who know me might consider the ab(by) normal name much to kind ;-)

pax
Abby





Sanction: 6, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 6, No Sanction: 0
Post 13

Saturday, February 26, 2005 - 6:47amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Alec - Miller was charged with "contempt of congress" and his punishment was a suspended sentence and a fine of several hundred dollars. He was denied a passport and was blacklisted in Hollywood. Miller was cleared of the contempt charge a couple of years later. While his talent as a playwrite or the reason's for popularity and longevity may form the basis of an interesting discussion, I fail to see how it relates to the current discussion regarding the tactics of the HUAC (or McCarthy).

Also, while David Horowitz's book may be interesting, he was a 60's liberal turned conservative. I would suggest that Whittaker Chambers autobiography 'Witness' would be a more appropriate recommendation for our discussion. Chambers left the Communist Party in the late 30s and was a pivotal character in the case against Alger Hiss in the late 40's. Many claim that he was instrumental in setting the tone of neo-Conservatism in the Cold War era.

Regarding the appropriateness of comparing the HUAC trials of the 40s and 50s with the Salem trials, you say that because "witches didn't exist" and "TREASONOUS COMMUNISTS DID!!!!" that it is absolutely ludicrous to draw parallels between the two events. I think you're missing something here. You are looking at both events with modern sensibilities and the advantage of knowledge that the actors of the Salem trials or the HUAC hearings did not have. You need to judge the participants and their actions within the context of the knowledge available to those people at that time. In the 1690's the people of the Massachusetts Bay Colony were largely made up of Puritans and others of Puritan sensibilities. For them the devil and witches were a very real danger - just as real as communists were to the HUAC people of the 1940's and 1950's. The parallels between the the HUAC hearings and the Salem trials is based on how these two groups reacted to a perceived threat. That one threat is now known to be real while the other is now known to be unreal should have no bearing on how we judge their actions and reactions.

In the 4th paragraph of post #10 you talk about the civil liberties saying, "I can also say that sometimes, such as a time of war, certain civil liberties must trump others. I am most concerned, for example, with my civil liberty not to be blown up. Maybe I'm biased, maybe it was simply my upbringing, but that civil liberty concerns me more than some others." I'll respond with the Benjamin Franklin quote, "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." I can see no good coming from the surrender of my rights for any reason. It would be truly ironic if the only way for the US to fight the Totalitarian regime of the Soviet Union was to adopt their practice of curtailing civil liberties. (A separate thread for this discussion may be in order. I don't want to get side tracked on this particular issue so please excuse my brief and canned response. By the way, I do not consider "not being blown up" a civil liberty. Civil Liberties ought to be considered those rights enshrined in the Bill of rights as well as some additional protections inherited from English Common Law like habeas corpus writs and jury nullification.)

I really don't understand the next sentence where, to prove your point regarding the need to curtail certain civil liberties as mentioned above, you discuss the trials of Hiss and the Rosenbergs. I have no issue with these events. Compared to the abuses of the HUAC and McCarthy hearings, the Hiss and Rosenberg trials where handled properly. Evidence was found, the defendants charged, court proceedings commenced, the accused where able to defend themselves, juries returned verdicts. My problem with the HUAC hearings was that it punished people without giving them the benefit of due process. Hiss and the Rosenbergs received the curtesy of due process, their civil rights were not violated. The next bit about "can we afford to have him roam free for two years while the courts do their work?" regarding nuclear spies makes no sense. Why would anyone accused of any crime run around free for two years and what do the courts need to do for those two years? If there is enough evidence to charge someone with a crime then they are arrested and held in custody. Depending on the severity of the charges and the risk of flight they may or may not be freed on bail until their trial begins.

To the last issues you raised; if you interpreted something I wrote as an endorsement that "anyone" has a "right" to a certain job then I apologize for not being more clear. What I wanted to convey was that the government (in this case thru the activities of the HUAC or the McCarthy hearings) shouldn't be able to deprive people of their livelihoods. Also, had Kazan not cooperated with the HUAC in 1952 than he most certainly would have been blacklisted no matter how talented he was. We wouldn't have "On the Waterfront" or "East of Eden" or the other films he made in the late 50s (he would still have Broadway though). Likely, he would have been able to direct again when Hollywood started to drop the Blacklist in the early 60s.



I guess for me the bottom line is that the HUAC and McCarthy did more harm then good. Really, what good came of those hearings? What treasonous plots were uncovered? What criminal indictments flowed from these proceedings? None, except perhaps for the Alger Hiss case. But that ocured early in the HUAC hearings and only happened because Nixon happened to see something interesting in the proceedings and decided to persue it. Today, we know very well that the soviets had many spies in the United States (as evidenced by the Venona papers and Russian archives made available in the 1990s). Some say this vindicates Mccarthy and the HUAC efforts. My response is that McCarthy and the HUAC were right in the same way a broken clock is right twice a day. Had we been more concerned with maintaining our freedoms and civil rights in the face of the soviet threat, I think we might have faired better. If soviet spies were suspected then find the evidence of their wrong-doing, arrest them, charge them, try them, and (if they are found guilty in a court of law) punish them. But the HUAC and McCarthy hearings were a clumsy farce and had the appearance of being more concerned with partisan politics then with finding the real truth of the soviet threat. (And don't get me started on Loyalty oaths ;-)

pax
Abby



Post 14

Saturday, February 26, 2005 - 8:52amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Abby, I guessed the movie connection at your first post, but was wondering whether I should bring it up.

Dr. Frankenstein: Would you mind telling me whose brain I did put in [into the monster]?

 

Igor: And you won’t be angry?

 

Dr. Frankenstein: I will not be angry.

 

Igor: Abby someone.

 

Dr. Frankenstein: Abby someone. Abby who?

 

Igor: Abby Normal.


 

 




Post to this thread
User ID Password reminder or create a free account.