America Sweat-Drenched in FearnDavid Caute: The Great Fear; Simonnand Schuster; New York.nby Alan J. LevinenDa ‘avid Caute, a well-known Britishnintellectual historian, has produced annear-encyclopedic account of the issuenof domestic anti-Communism innAmerica during the Truman and Eisenhowernadministrations. But The GreatnFear is not just another liberal diatribenagainst Senator Joe McCarthy. It is anrelentless distortion of the history of annera, and itself is an exercise in invertednMcCarthyism. Routine government securitynmeasures, legal harassment of thenCommunist Party, McCarthy’s smearncampaign, the bizarre practice of “blacklisting”nin the entertainment industry,nnewspaper sensationalism, and the blusteringsnof ineffectual cranks, are allnlumped together and condemned equallynwith little sense of justice or proportion.nIf a dog barked at a Communist mailman,nyou’ll find the incident mentioned andndeplored in this volume.nThe very title of the book indicatesnCaute’s attempt to force the events hendescribes into a false comparative framework.nThe original “Great Fear” was thenhysterical belief of the French peasantsnin 1789 that the aristocracy was importingnbrigands to suppress them. Innhis introduction Caute blandly remarksnthat “the great fear, like the threat ofnupheaval and expropriation that inspiresnit, has been a recurrent phenomenon innthe history of the bourgeoisie since thenFrench Revolution.” He claims that henis merely recording a recent instance ofnthis phenomenon; earlier examples beingnthe anti-Jacobinism of the 1790’s andnthe Red Scare of 1919.nHowever, there is little reason to thinknthat the ruckus over Communism thatnbegan in the late 1940’s was inspired byna perception of revolutionary danger.nMr. Levine, a historian, lives in NewnYork City.nSave perhaps for a few lunatics, no onenbelieved that such a threat existed. Thencharge against the American CommunistnParty was that it was what used to bencalled a “fifth column,” an arm of andangerous external enemy, the SovietnUnion. The real historical analogy to benmade is with a series of events muchncloser in time to those which Cautendiscusses; namely, the reaction in thenwestern democracies during World WarnII to the greatly exaggerated accounts ofnthe German “fifth column” in westernnEurope in 1940. That reaction led to thensuspension of habeas corpus in Britainnand the internment of one hundrednthousand completely innocent Japanese-nAmericans. These things were far morenserious infringements of civil libertiesnthan anything cited by Caute. But perhapsnnoting a valid analogy would have put anspoke in Caute’s anti-anti-Communistnsermonizing.nA he central theme of The GreatnFear is a development of an argumentnalready advanced by Richard Freelandnand Athan Theoharis. They claimed thatnit was the Truman administration’sngeneral policy of opposition to Communism,nand particularly its internalnloyalty and security program, that wasnto blame for an eruption of anticommunistnhysteria in the eafly 1950’s.nCaute takes this a step further; in hisnperverse interpretation, McCarthyismnwas a good thing, the real evil was thengovernment’s security program, the truenvillains neither the communists nor thenMcCarthyites, but the “small-town hicks,”nHarry Truman and the “Cold Warnliberals.” (In case the reader is unfamiliarnwith leftist code-phrases, “Cold Warnliberals” were those liberals who entertainednsufficient doubts about Stalin’sngoodwill to favor defensive measuresnagainst him.) It is clear throughout thenbook that Caute’s sympathies are less withninnocent people smeared as communistsnthan with the genuine communists whonsuffered from government harassment.nnnCaute happily agrees that Joe McCarthynwas a liar and a slanderer, but his “rolenwas historically healthy because he dramatizednintolerance, lent it crude, villainousnfeatures, personalized it, stole it awaynfrom the low-profiled bureaucrats.”nThose who have read McCarthy’snremarks about, for example, GeneralnMarshall and Dean Acheson, will be ablen”The Creiit Fear makes its point that thenMcCarthy era . . . befouled and corruptednthe air breathed by each and every one ofnus. And one comes away persuaded thatnno degree of international Communistnmenace could have justified the corrosionnof bedrock democratic principles that thenhysteria of the period obviously produced.”n—New York Timesnto restrain their admiration for his “role.”nWe are told elsewhere that he pumpednthe problem “into a monstrously inflamednboil that sooner or later, had to be lanced,”nthough on the evidence that Caute himselfnpresents, it was actually the WarrennCourt that changed matters.nOf course, this argument can be sustainednonly by largely ignoring the historicalnbackground. To most observersnit might seem perfectly natural to excludencommunists from government jobs whennthe United States was in a life-or-deathnstruggle with the Soviet Union, andnobvious that any failure to even attemptnto do so would have played straight intonthe hands of demagogues like McCarthy.nCaute’s discussion of the Cold War isnrather foggy and is expressed in a vocabularynlargely composed of sneering codewordsnand phrases. He never reallynbothers to explain just why it was wrongnto screen government employees. In generalnhe displays a somewhat simpleminded,nextremist attitude towards civilnliberties issues, claiming that under thenSmith Act “even thoughts could cost anman his liberty.” Any attempt to forcencandidates for public office “to repudiatenspecific doctrines or organizations couldnbe construed only as an undemocraticn11nChronicles of Culturen