It’s rare that I run a guest post here, but a post I spotted on Facebook this morning written by a friend is so concise and thought-provoking, I thought it deserved a wider audience. The title was suggested by the author.
What’s Good for the Goose
by Doc Campbell
Some of us are old enough to remember the mob mentality that ruled in the U.S. during the McCarthy era, when all it took for a business or a life to be destroyed was a vague accusation of “communist.”
The Red Scare was rampant, propelled by McCarthy and his acolytes, and the public was not just eager to listen… it was ravenous to take action. Homes were destroyed, businesses were ransacked, children were terrorized, and careers were tanked.
The vast majority of those accused were almost certainly innocent of any wrongdoing: their only sin was in daring to speak out against any sort of injustice, particularly that which was state-sponsored or emanated from individuals widely perceived to be “patriots.”
Now, we seem to be reliving a new, highly pervasive form of mob mentality. Those on the right rail against those they call “sheeple” on the left, while the leftists accuse the right of being conspiracy nuts. Perhaps both are right, to some degree… or perhaps both sides are being led by the nose to false conclusions.
In my opinion, both share a common characteristic — they have closed their minds to the possibility that the other side has either viable evidence or positive motive as a basis for their stance. They have effectively blinded themselves to anything that doesn’t add to their conviction that they are right… that they are the smart ones in the room.
And if our nation goes down in flames, history will show that this attitude, from both sides, will be the spark that initiated the blaze.
© 2021 Doc Campbell, reprinted with permission.
I’ve written about McCarthyism before (e.g., 2011, 2014, and 2015), but one thing that stands out now, due to current events, is this 1950s poster rallying against public health initiatives, which of course can’t be anything but a communist plot. We certainly don’t want to stop polio or have “mental hygiene” (“etc.”) now, do we? (Fluoride is certainly debatable, but I still don’t think there’s any “communist plot” behind it.)
When it comes to “scare politics,” not much has changed in generations. We’re still the Land of the Scared, which page shows yet another poster of that era — this time trying to knock some sense into our heads.
“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.”
—News commentator Edward R. Murrow on “See It Now: A Report on Senator Joseph R. McCarthy”, which helped put an end to McCarthy’s fear-driven smear campaign.
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