What’s Good for the Goose

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.”

Fear-mongering in the 50s. Nope, Moscow isn’t our friend — then or now.

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 appreciate Doc’s permission to run his post. The title, of course, refers to the idiom.

Propaganda poster from 1955 during McCarthy’s “Red Scare”.

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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34 Comments on “What’s Good for the Goose

  1. I agree with Doc Campbell. There is blindness and obstinacy on both sides. It’s one reason I am glad and proud to be neither Red nor Blue, Liberal or Conservative, Democrat or Republican.

    There’s a reason that Democrat and Republican are the #2 and #3 parties — behind #1, Independent, which tend to be more in the middle and, I think, will soon outnumber them both. -rc

    • I really object to the use of “both sides” language at this moment in history. Only one faction of our nation has resorted to lies and violence in order to attempt to overturn a democratic election — the extreme right-wing. For all the failings of the remaining factions, sedition is not one of them. While there is much to criticize on all sides it is important not to imply equivalence. The crimes of these factions are NOT equivalent.

      • I think that you are missing the point in the original article. Both the Democrats and the Republicans have much to answer for as I will try and explain, but you must read to the end to realize just how much both parties are to blame. Remember also that the British say the only man to go into Parliament with honest intentions was Guy Fawkes, and the politicians of the time considered that such a heinous crime that they burnt him at the stake.

        In 1945 the most respected groups in America were the military, whose members had beaten the Germans, Italians and Japanese, closely followed by the medical people who saved and patched up so many lives, and the politicians who gave those two groups the tools they needed to do their jobs.

        Fast forward to 2018 and look at the last polls on honesty and integrity before impeachment and coronavirus.

        This shows that nurses are the most revered profession, closely followed by other medical professionals, and that politicians are the lowest of the low with just 8% of the public trusting them. Despite over two years at that stage of the President saying “fake news” at every opportunity, more than four times the population trusted Journalists with 34% support.

        Since then support for medical professionals has plummeted because one man kept lying about corona virus, but he is a symptom of the problem, not the cause.

        As Doc discusses, Joseph McCarthy (on the Republican side, and George Wallace on the Democrat side) started the long slow postwar loss of faith in politicians, but the rot set in before that when their parties selected such scum as the party candidate. BOTH sides continue to present scum to the voters, and too many voters are zombies who vote for the same party without ever looking at who the candidate is or what policies the candidate and party are. [Example -rc]

        Then we had the Watergate scandal. Political stocks, especially Republican stocks, fell sharply as Watergate grew, but recovered when a group of senior Republicans who had read and comprehended the Constitution went to Nixon and told him that the constitution infers that no man is above the law, that the Republican party mantra is law and order, and that there MUST be consequences for breaking the law, even for a President. The public’s trust was quickly broken of course when Nixon was pardoned, showing that politicians look out for each other and to hell with the electorate.

        Next we had Bill Clinton impeached for having consensual sex with a member of the opposite sex. That is not a crime, except to jealous Republicans. They claim they impeached him for lying to Congress, but you will note that the Senators who lead the impeachment against Carter are deathly silent about Trump being charged with rape and sexual assault, both of which are crimes, and equally silent on the many lies that Trump told Congress because their whole career has been about creating hate for the Democrats.

        My consolation is the knowledge that when people like Joseph McCarthy, George Wallace and Lindsay Graham get to the Pearly Gates they will be reminded that Christ spent his whole life teaching honesty, integrity, love and compassion, and that Christ said there is no place in heaven for those who hate. Having spent their careers creating hatred means they will be sent to purgatory.

        Last year we had the first Trump impeachment, and only one Republican honored the Constitution and voted to impeach. The Constitution is very clear that Senators must obey the Constitution, judge each matter on the facts, that they represent the voters of their State and that they must do what is best for the whole USA. Nowhere does the Constitution tell them to obey their party or to obey the President or to do what is best for their party. In hindsight they must now realize that getting rid of Trump then would have resulted in Mike Pence being President for the next four years.

        And that the Republicans would have won the Georgia Senate races if they had done what was best for the Country instead of what was best for Trump. At the Pearly Gates they will be reminded they broke their solemn promise to God to defend the Constitution and be sent to hell where they belong.

        What is most worrying to me is that the incoming President has long been advocating that no action be taken against Trump after Jan 20. Once again a case of politicians looking after politicians.

        Biden must act to ensure Trump and his enablers are charged for their illegal actions and severely punished if found guilty. If and when he does that he will deserve me writing President in front of his name. Until then he, like most of the last ten or so Presidents, does not deserve that honor.

        • Jo Biden has too much on his plate right NOW to get side-tracked with moralizing. Trump is the past, though Trumpism will be a plague; the PRESENT needs dealing with so that there will BE a Future.

          That’s the difference between a politician and a statesman: a politician does what is best for some, a statesman tries to do what’s best for most, if not all.

      • Matthew surely you haven’t forgotten the Dems illegal efforts for the last four years to overturn Trump’s election with the fake Russian collusion, impeachment for asking Ukraine to investigate Burmista and any U.S. involvement or the other false/fake statements about President Trump. Let’s look at “both sides” before we cast the first stone.

        • Wow. No Congressional Democrats tried to “overturn” Trump’s 2016 election (legally or otherwise). They didn’t question its legitimacy at all.

          Impeachment for attempting to extort a foreign nation to provide a domestic political favor isn’t “overturning” anything — it’s consequences for actions.

        • This, right here, is another example of drinking the Kool-Aid and not doing some thinking (and reading) for yourself. Please don’t believe everything you read on facebook — no, make that *ANYTHING* you read on facebook without checking the facts for yourself. There might be some “false/fake” statements about T—- but Russian collusion was very real — FBI investigations have proven that — and asking a foreign power to investigate a political opponent *is a crime*. How come I know this and you don’t?

  2. Boy, all this has been running through my mind since all this started as well as the Vietnam war protest. I just missed going there but I had friends that related horror stories.

  3. Evidence is something that can be seen.

    Planting rumors which go viral does not count as evidence simply because it is believed by millions of people.

  4. Awesome post. I agree completely. The cancel culture, the political and or religious divisions. It seems we are falling apart.

    I think we are blessed to have a constitution which provides checks and balances. Today, I sure hope they work!

  5. My father, then a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army, was called to testify before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, aka HUAC. It was an event he never talked about as I was growing up; I learned of it several years after his death. Senator McCarthy’s blind ambition destroyed good people on hearsay. I see parallels in the action of Mr. Giuliani today. This type of behavior by anyone should be condemned by all of us, without regard to our own political inclinations. Unfortunately, we have come as a society to accept lack of evidence as equal to actual evidence if enough people repeat the rumors. People used to believe the Earth was flat (some still do); evidence shows it is not.

  6. One side claims the other of dirty deeds but the other is actually behaving in the manner they accused the others of.

    That is is what is truly frightening.

    • No, that’s human nature. If you listen carefully to what someone wrongfully accuses you of, you’ll hear their fears, motives and plans. It’s one reason why ‘Keep ’em talking’ is very, very important.

  7. The author says that both sides suffer from closed-mindedness. Certainly objectivity is difficult to attain, but could this be a false equivalency? In 2016, when the Democrat lost the electoral college vote, but won the popular vote by over 3 million, liberals did not storm the Capitol to take prisoners and hunt down Republican lawmakers. “Sheeple,” made pink pussy hats, held peaceful protests, and then went home, accepting (for the 5th time, but the second time since the 21st century turned over) the will of the people as decided by an antiquated electoral college system of vote tabulation.

    There is no comparison, or equivalency. A recent study came out showing a disproportionate use of force by police facing left-wing protesters vs. right wing protesters.

    And this:

    And this:

    And, Kyle Rittenhouse told a group of cops that he had just killed 2 white people and he was allowed to walk away and go home.

    The author begins the article with a summary of McCarthyism, but the comparison is never brought to bear in the conclusion. What is the point of bringing up McCarthyism in this article if it does not support the conclusion in some way? The conclusion being “both sides are closed-minded.” Are we to assume that both sides in the McCarthy era were closed-minded? The author does not tell us. He does not close the loop on the first third of the article.

    Does every side have some closed-minded people? Almost certainly. Does this matter when one side respects the rule of law, and the other side does not? Not at all. There is no comparison.

    I’m sure in 1939 Germany, there were many bad people on both sides. Said nobody, ever.

    • All true.

      But as far as Germany after the war goes, there were enough who used to say: “Not all was bad under Hitler!”

      Which always sounded despicable to me….

      • “Not all was bad under Hitler!” is, unfortunately, true.

        While the USA and UK and others immediately went on war footing and rationed cars, household appliances like refrigerators, etc., none of these were rationed in Germany from 1939 until the later part of the war.

  8. Sadly greed and sanity seem to go divergent paths for politicians. After years of accepting the easiest path for their belief their minds seems to close completely. How many times have we seen people convicted in the court of public knowledge through publicity? Add a politician’s greed to accept “contributions” and a private belief becomes extremist in speech.

    Questions to occupy a sleepless night. Add to this the fact that on average NO SOCIETY has lasted longer than an average of 200 years without major change no matter the overlay (England’s monarchy as example) and we have yet another concern. I have feared for America for years and have yet to find a palliative.

  9. Having an open mind doesn’t mean believing both sides equally or disbelieving them both equally. It means looking at evidence and actually *thinking* about what is being said, what is being done, and what else is happening.

    If one “side” promotes unfounded accusations (i.e. conspiracy theories) and the other “side” calls them on it, those aren’t equivalent.

    If one “side” marches when an election doesn’t go their way and the other “side” violently threatens or attacks the legislature to overturn an election that doesn’t go their way, those aren’t equivalent.

    If one “side” complains about propaganda in an election they lost, and the other “side” insists without evidence (unless you count the claims that have been repeatedly laughed out of court) that the votes in an election they lost were somehow faked, those aren’t equivalent.

    Sure, don’t trust reflexively — but don’t dismiss reflexively either. Automatically rejecting “both sides” isn’t critical thinking, it’s just another way of reassuring yourself that you’re right.

  10. There actually is no equivalence between the sides. The extreme right is spending its time pushing conspiracy theories, and violence, while the left, is, in general, trying to bring reality to bear on such things. The problem we have is, simply, that too many people are in the grip of what is unarguably the strongest motivator in human actions: fear. Those on the right, who are spreading nonsense are basically trying to make people, mostly white, afraid of non-whites and non-religious people. They are doing this for one simple reason: it enhances their importance in their own eyes because they are being listened to. If their message is being acted on to the point of violence, to these instigators this is nothing more than showing “them” that “we’re not going to take it anymore”, for some definition of “it”. Unfortunately, there is a goodly number of people who, for various reasons, from flat-out racism to resentment against “the system,” who are all too willing to suspend whatever intellectual ability they may have to think things through in order to feel as if they’re actually taking action on they own behalf that will make things better for them. Of course, since what they believe doesn’t correspond to reality, any action they take accomplishes nothing for them.

    The answer to this may be better education, more opportunity for those who feel left behind, ruthless suppression of the extreme right: I have no good suggestions. The one thing I am sure of is that this is the single most dangerous time in our history: we are facing the question of whether it’s possible, for the long run, to have a true democracy in a diverse population of some 300 million people, or whether, as the Greeks thought, it can only work in small groups of people who generally know each other. I’m an old enough geezer to believe I may not live long enough to find out, but I hope the Greeks were wrong.

    • I read an article about a year ago comparing US and UK press laws. In the UK “equal time” must be given to both sides of any story and there are significant penalties for biased reporting and publishing stories that are demonstrably untrue — the two problems that are one of the causes of the current US debacle, the other being politicians with no principles and the absolute belief that they, and only they, are the experts on everything, on both sides.

      When Murdoch first launched Fox news in the UK it quickly fell foul of the law and received a number of heavy fines. Murdoch quickly pulled Fox out of the UK as a result.

      Apparently the US had similar laws for broadcasters, but not cable companies, until Reagan’s time when they were killed off.

      Maybe it is time they were reintroduced and enforced.

      • Yes, but you’re forgetting most young people nowadays get their news from social media. We will remain up the creek unless and until they are also held accountable, on a global basis.

      • Thomas Jefferson, 3rd U S president from 1801 to 1809 had a few positive and a few negative things to say about the press.

        First, he believed very strongly in a free press:

        “The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them.” —Thomas Jefferson to Edward Carrington, 1787. ME 6:57

        Second, he said a lot about the fabrications in the press. Go here for more, and I’ve copied a few quotes below.

        1. “The most effectual engines for [pacifying a nation] are the public papers… [A despotic] government always [keeps] a kind of standing army of newswriters who, without any regard to truth or to what should be like truth, [invent] and put into the papers whatever might serve the ministers. This suffices with the mass of the people who have no means of distinguishing the false from the true paragraphs of a newspaper.”

        5. “As for what is not true, you will always find abundance in the newspapers.”

        9. “The man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them, inasmuch as he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.”

  11. I’m quite surprised to find a post here with such glaring false equivalences. Many other comments have pointed them out, and the whole thing seems to me *very much* out of character for the site and its usual clear view of even complicated situations.

    As I see it from out here, this doesn’t contribute to lowering the temperature, it contributes to the confusion. And I must say contributing to the confusion is definitely not a good look for This Is True.

    I see nothing confusing in publishing a “concise and thought-provoking” conversation starter. -rc

    • Besides, denying an aggrieved person their say would be just as bad. Whether true or not if they *believe* it, it is “the truth” for them.

      It’s like an infected wound with puss: if it isn’t allowed to drain, the infection is driven deeper.

  12. Ah yes… the tired old adage that both the left and the right are somehow equally at fault for all our problems. And all that the left needs to do is open their mind to the possibility that the inane conspiracy theories embraced by republicans are actually true.

    What a bunch of crap Randy. This has been debunked over and over. If you want to understand the difference between the right and the left, look back a few weeks to when Congress was negotiating the coronavirus relief bill. Democrats wanted more money for people unemployed and unable to pay rent. Republicans fought for a tax break for business lunches. That should underscore the difference between the two parties.

    I’ll believe anything, as long as it’s supported by evidence and facts, and that’s exactly why I’m a democrat instead of a conspiracy-theory-loving right wing lunatic.

    Please point to what part of this where Doc says anything about each side being “equally at fault” or that the left should believe the promulgated conspiracy theories. I see nothing wrong with debating what the short essay says, but you must start with what the short essay actually says rather than make shit up and criticize it for what you made up. Because when you do that, you unequivocally validate the points made there. -rc

  13. “Andy, Florida” says “Democrats wanted more money for people unemployed and unable to pay rent” but neglects to mention that many Republicans in the House also voted in favor of that bill, and many Republicans in the Senate may have voted for it if it had been presented for them to vote on it. Plus the President supported it.

    According to my reading of the Constitution, only the President has veto power — and that can be overridden.

    Instead, McConnell vetoed it. Come judgement day he is going to be explained in minute detail the meaning of the good Samaritan, and how he broke his solemn promise to God — and then sent to hell.

  14. 70 million human beings voted for Trump.
    70 million people weighed the issues and found… (I don’t know).
    Maybe they feel the American dream is dead.
    Maybe they feel that only the rich have been listened to for the passed 40 years.
    Maybe they feel they have been LIED to by BOTH sides.
    Even from here I can see they are angry.
    No job. No future. The fear is palpable.
    Stop blaming each other.
    None of you have dug down to the real underlying problem yet. So you won’t find a real solution; yet.

    I watched a TV progress yesterday called “Abandoned”. It stated that the city of St. Louis was built for 1 million people but now houses 300,000. The heartland of the USA has been GUTTED! Who let this happen?

    At least for once someone rounded Trump’s vote total down! I keep seeing the factoid that Trump got 75 million votes (actual: 74,216,722, or 46.9%), but I rarely see the other side of that coin: that Biden got “82 million votes” (81,268,757, or 51.3%) — let alone any acknowledgement that this adds up to 98.2%, showing that many are tired of the Rep/Dem duopoly. Where did those other votes go? 1,865,720 (1.18%) to the Libertarian ticket, and 1,032,601 (0.66%) to all others combined.

    The simplification of this — that “half the country voted for Trump” — isn’t accurate with just those numbers, but this all still ignores another important number: the 80,890,382 eligible voters who didn’t vote at all, which is an even more significant measure of the disgust with that duopoly. (Fergawdsakes, even Kanye West got 66,641 votes in the 12 states he was on the ballot!)

    I don’t know if it’s true that St. Louis was “built for 1 million people.” (And if so, WHEN? Certainly not when it was founded in 1764.) Even if so, so what? How many projects have been built with lofty expectations only to miss those targets? *shrug* -rc

    • Maybe they feel that only the rich have been listened to for the passed [sic] 40 years.

      Yeah — indeed. I think you’ll find that the GOP has been significantly more (if not exclusively) responsible for this behaviour though. Certainly during campaigning for this election just passed, the Dems have made a *huge* amount of noise against supporting the rich in favour of the working classes — but even as far back as the Clinton Administration, it was understood that “trickle-down” economics (the concept the Republicans use to justify giving tax breaks to rich people) JUST DOES NOT WORK and that you have to stimulate the lower echelons of the economy directly — by taxing billionaires MORE HEAVILY.


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