How to Avoid McCarthyism v. 2.0

Perhaps you haven’t heard the news, but Rep. Allen West (R.-FL) has a bombshell to share with you: Up to 80 House Democrats are actually Communists. I hope you’re as shocked as I am by this revelation; I had no idea anyone was still crazy enough to use Communists as a boogyman to scare up political support. I mean, he even used a kind of vague-but-still-oddly-specific number (81, in case you missed it) that Senator Joe McCarthy used in his infamous Wheeling speech: “The State Department is infested with communists. I have here in my hand a list of 205—a list of names that were made known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping policy in the State Department,” which was amended down to, you guessed it, eighty-one “security risks” a few days later. As Charles Siefe states in his insightful book, “Proofiness: The Dark Arts of Mathematical Deception,” It didn’t really matter whether the list had 205 or 57 or 81 names. The very fact that McCarthy had attached a number to his accusations imbued them with an aura of truth. Would McCarthy make such specific claims if he didn’t have evidence to back them up? Even though White House officials suspected that he was bluffing, the numbers made them doubt themselves.” It seems that Rep. West is not just making history rhyme, he’s doing a straight up copy/paste out of the Chief Witch Hunter’s playbook, right down to having the t-ball question coming from an almost certain plant using the phrase “card-carrying Marxists or International Socialists.” Have you heard anyone refer to anyone as a “card-carrying” anything in the last decade or three, outside of a history lesson about McCarthyism?

As an explanation of the Rep. West’s comments, his office released the following statement: “The Congressman was referring to the 76 members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. The Communist Party has publicly referred to the Progressive Caucus as its allies. The Progressive Caucus speaks for itself. These individuals certainly aren’t proponents of free markets or individual economic freedom.” (emphasis mine) The justification of West’s alarming accusation is that the Communist Party has referred to the Progressive Caucus as its allies, and that is enough guilt by association for him to go ahead and refer to the Progressive Caucus as “card-carrying” members of the Communist Party in at least two public speaking engagements. With this standard of “proof”, how is anyone accused of the high crime of having Communist sympathies supposed to defend against this withering attack?

I have an idea.

This is addressed directly to the Communist Party of America, if any of you have connections to this organization, please pass this along to them, I think my idea could really work. OK, Communists of America? I want you to comb through Rep. West’s political statements and platform, and I want you to find as many completely non-controversial statements and positions as you possibly can. I understand that he is kind of a lunatic, but even a broken clock is right twice a day, right? OK, West is ex-military, he probably runs on 24-hour time, so his clock’s only going to be right once a day, but still, the guy says enough stuff in public, you have got to be able to find something you can agree with the man on. Found it yet? I’ll give you a minute, take your time . . . all right, now that you’ve found something to agree with him on, I want you to make as public a statement as you possibly can that you support Rep. West in that position (or positions, I’m nothing if I’m not an optimist), 110%, and you consider him one of your strongest allies on this matter.

I mean, if he’s made a passing reference to being in favour of having dogs licensed and leashed in cities, that’s good enough, just run with it. Talk about how Rep. West understands that dog leashing and licensing isn’t such a serious issue for rural families, that dogs in the heartland are hard-working, dependable members of many farming operations, the furry soul of America. It’s those semi-wild urban dogs you need to keep tabs on, make sure they’re registered with the proper authorities and kept on a short leash whenever they’re let out in public so they won’t present a menace to decent families by roving around in untamed packs. Go on to express your strongly held belief that responsible dog ownership as outlined by Rep. West is at the very core of Communist philosophy and politics, and unequivocally voice your support and dedication to his political career.

By doing this, either you will convince Mr. West to shut the hell up about hunting down Communists in Congress, or in an absolute best case scenario, you will break his mind and convince him that he is actually a Communist himself because he can’t escape the feedback loop of his own twisted logic, and that would just be awesome.


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