transcripts, Mr. Herman leaves littlerndonbt that McCarthy was substantiallyrncorrect in most of his claims about therndamage done by either communist infiltrationrnor fellow travelers, naive or not.rn”No hard evidence exists,” he writes,rnlinking any of the China hands tornactual Soviet espionage efforts:rntheir Wliitc House liaison LauehlinrnCurrie and intellectual mentorrnOwen Lattimore are a differentrnmatter. But they were sold a bill ofrngoods on the Maoist cause a litderntoo easilw . . . And thc’ spread arnprofoundly distorted view of what arnCommunist victory might mean.rnHe also acknowledges that McCarriiv’srnfrequent lack of caution and his willingnessrnto exaggerate, bluster, and bluffrninited hatred and fear of him, exposedrnhim to his enemies, and left him vulnerablernto the counterattacks that eventuallyrndestroNcd liini and his reputation. ProfessorrnHerman conceals nothing of thernless attraetix e side of Joe McCartiiy, butrnhis book often tends to become almost arnpolemic in showing how MeCarth’srnown foes at the time, and liberals bothrnthen and since, have engaged in thernsame or even worse practices. The resultrnof Professor Herman’s approach to McCarthyrnis a radical reassessment of the figiu”rne whom he calls “the single mostrndespised man in American politicalrnmemorw ‘rnWhat is perhaps most significantrnabout Professor Herman’s rcinterpretation,rnand bv extension about allrndie recent books that substantiate the anticomnuiuistrncase, is not so much whatrnthc’ toll us about the Soviet LJnion, commimisinrnin general, or even Americanrncommunists in particular, as what theyrnconfirm about liberalism. Joe McCarthyrnwas not hated by American liberals becausernhe exposed comnnmists or evenrnbecause he launched what they thoughtrn(or claimed to think) were fiilse accirsationsrnof communism. He was hated preciseh’rnbecause he attacked liberalismrnitself saw through it, and made its fraudulencernclear to more Americans than everrnbefore. He exposed liberalism not onlyrnby recaling liberals’ willingness tornignore or minimize communist infiltration,rnto side with the targets of anticommunistrnaccusations rather tiian with thernanticommunists themselves, to protectrntliose targets een when they knew tlieyrnwere guiltv (as Harry Truman knew thatrnbotii Hiss and Wliite were guilty), and tornden}’ or een glamorize the brutalities ofrncommunist government and foreignrnpolicies, but by showing in a highlyrnrhetorical and metaphorical wa’ that, inrnProfessor Herman’s words, American liberalsrn”were infected with the same materialistic,rnsecularist virus” as communists:rn”hence the strange affinit’ between thernC^onununist and the New Dealer; betweenrnthe progressive and the totalitarianrnvisions of the maximalist state.” Mc-rnC]arth, in other words, was suggestingrndiatthe “affinih” behveen liberalism andrncounnunism was not just an accident,rnowing to personalities and circumstances.rnIt was inherent in the worldviewrnthat both ideologies shared.rnWhat McCarthy was telling the Americanrnpeople in the early 1950’s, and whatrnthe American people were beginning tornlisten to, was that the liberalism ofrnFranklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman,rnCeorge Marshall, Dwight Eisenhower,rnand “Alger (I mean Adlai)” Stevensonrnwas realK’ not so very far from the communismrnof Joseph Stalin and Mao Tsetung;rnthat their philosophical proximit’rnwas the real reason liberals foimd it sornhard to tell the difference between themselvesrnand communists like Hiss, White,rnand the rest of the gang and why theyrnfound it so hard to explain why the differencernwas important. Hubert Humphreyrncame close to grasping and disclosing thisrnsecret wJicn he said diat “McCarthy’s realrnthreat to American democracy |is] thernfact that he has immobilized the liberalrnnioxement.” Liberals “just don’t talkrnabout anydiing else any more.”rnBut McCarthy immobilized liberalismrnin a deeper sense than mereh- preoccupyingrnits energies, in the same WAY thatrnconservatives’ obsession with Bill Clintonrnhas immobilized tiiem. MeCartiryrnvas the first on a mass political level tornchallenge its credentials to serve as thernphilosophical framework of Americanrngoxcrnmcnt and civilization. u part becausernliberalism had no effective repK tornhis challenge and in part because he expressedrnit in forms that could not easilyrnbe refuted, the only response liberalismrncould make to McCarthy was one of personalrndestrucfion and dcmonization.rnThis is why the cliche that ProfessorrnAndrew repeats —that McCarthy “discredited”rnantieommunism and “didrnmore for tiie Soviet cause tiian any agentrnof influence the KGB ever had” —is sornabsurd. It was precisely because McCarthyrnwas so effective that he had tornbe destroyed and salt poured oxer thernground on which he had walked; he wasrneffective not onl’ in the actually ratherrntrivial sense of exposing internal communismrn(most of what he did in this respectrnwas largely a kind of police work) but inrnthe far more important one of debunkingrnthe dominant ideological orthodoxy ofrnthe American ruling class that allowedrncommunism to prosper, because it wasrnclosely related to and often indistinguishablernfrom communism. Professor Andrewrnhimself acknowledges that the governmentrnrepression of communismrninitiated during the “McCarthy period”rn”dealt the CPUSA a blow from which itrnnever fully recovered.” The legal, judicial,rnand administrative extirpation of therntreason that liberalism had permitted tornfester would not have been jjossible hadrnJoe McCarthy not helped popularize arndeep public animosity toward communismrnand its agents. Blaming McCarthyrnfor discrediting antieommunism missesrnthe point that it was tiie lies about (andrnthe dcmonization of) McCarth- concoctedrnby his liberal enemies — not McCarthyrnhimself—that harnred antieommunismrnamong those gullible enough tornswallow the liberal propaganda about it.rnThe sheer irresponsibilih’ of Americanrnliberalism toward communism in the erarnof Roosevelt and Truman is what reallyrnemerges from both Mr. Herman’s biographyrnand the Andrew-Mitrokhin history,rnand it is an irresponsibilih’ that should itselfrnserve to discredit both the ideologyrnand those who monflied it. IJnfortunate-rn], b) the time of that era, liberalism hadrnbecome the dominant political formularnof a new elite that used it to justifi its ownrndominance and the ever-increasing expansionrnof state power on which it relied;rndie same elite continues to make use of itrnfor the same purjjoses today. McCarthy’srnendiu’ing importance in American histo-rnT)’ is likely to lie not so much in his exposuresrnof internal communism as in hisrnchallenge to the dominance of liberalismrnand the ruling class it served, and also hisrnefforts at the mass political mobilizationrnof the postwar middle class against thernnew elite and its ideology. The samernchallenge exists today, despite the continuingrnhegemony of liberalism and its neoeonservativernallies; all the secret thingsrnthat have now been revealed may yetrnhelp push it closer to the victory that JoernMcCarthy and the other martyrs ofrnAmerican antieommunism were deniedrnduring their lifetimes. crnMAY 2000/.31rnrnrn