Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Tom Meyer's outsourced homework

It has been claimed by Mr. Meyer, in the comments to an earlier blog post at HSIB--that a Reason Magazine book review by Michael Moynihan in 2008 supports claims that Joseph McCarthy was a liar and a villain who;
...knowingly made up facts and destroyed the reputations of people who were not involved in communist conspiracies against the United States. It’s entirely fitting that his name has become synonymous with persecution and witch-hunting.
So, let's take a look at what Mr. Moynihan actually had to say about one of McCarthy's targets, Owen Lattimore;
[M. Stanton] Evans does demonstrate [in his book Blacklisted By History] that Lattimore was an “indefatigable shill for Moscow.” There is little new here, though it is still a much needed corrective to the widely held view, successfully advanced by Lattimore himself, that he was in fact a generic New Deal liberal and an anti-communist.
That seems to concede that Joseph McCarthy had made valid points about Lattimore, rather than made up facts about him.
McCarthy grilled Lattimore on his previous writings, such as his view that Soviet forced collectivization “represent[ed] a kind of ownership more valuable to them than the old private ownership under which they were unable to own or even hire machines.”
Again, Moynihan admits that McCarthy was dealing in the factual. That Lattimore had written positively about 'forced collectivization'. So, McCarthy was on to something, but can we still criticize him?
But was he a spy?
But are we careless with language? After all, Lattimore was, in addition to being a government adviser, an academic affiliated with the Institute for Pacific Relations.  That think tank was, according to the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee (SISS), in 1952, a vehicle used by Communists to orientate American Far Eastern policy toward Communist objectives. The same SISS claimed that there were 46 members of the IPR who had been named under oath as members of the Communist Party USA--which was created and funded by Moscow.

Whether covert efforts to influence American foreign policy toward Communist objectives qualifies as spying, seems a pointless quibble when the question under discussion is did Joseph McCarthy make up facts and slander innocent people. Which seems to have, at least to Moynihan, some relevance;
... it was at least conceivable that Owen Lattimore was involved in espionage.
Maybe even while in the company of the Vice-President of the United States in 1944?

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