Letter: Mistaking the victim for the executioner | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Mistaking the victim for the executioner

Melanie Sturm’s recent column “Our era of reputational beheadings” (The Aspen Times, April 23) makes only one mistake: citing Joseph McCarthy as an example of a “reckless” character assassin instead of what he was: this past century’s most notable victim of the kind of reputational beheading that Sturm rightfully decries.

Anyone who is surprised by this statement has not read M. Stanton Evans’ exhaustive and impeccable work of scholarship “Blacklisted by History,” published in 2007, that sets out to find the real McCarthy who had “vanished into the mists of fable and recycled error” and that attempts to understand the McCarthy saga in the context of “an extended historical drama that stretched out for decades” — a drama that in my opinion extends right into the contemporary events discussed by Sturm.

Prior to reading Evans’ book, I would have said, like Sturm, who probably read Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible,” that McCarthy’s investigation into the 1940s transformation of the State Department and War Department into predominantly communist agencies appeared to be a “witch hunt” similar to the hysteria in late-17th-century Massachusetts. The difference, however, is that in 1950 the witches were both actual and numerous, and McCarthy became the most maligned and betrayed person in my lifetime.

But, as they say, “history is written by the winners,” and liberal academia has controlled the narrative ever since.

Chad Klinger


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