He Got Them First

“Traitors’ words ne’er yet hurt honest cause.”

—Scottish Proverb

The destruction of Sen. Joe McCar­thy, says M. Stanton Evans, was never about what he did:

The real issue has always been the larger question of what happened to America—and the world—at the midpoint of the twentieth century, what it meant, and who was responsible for it.  The point of the standard treatments . . . isn’t merely that McCarthy was mistaken, but that the perspective he represented itself was evil and needs everywhere to be combated.

If Joe McCarthy’s understanding of the world was evil, then everything he did was evil and justified whatever good men did to get rid of him.

Mr. Evans not only takes on the “real issue”; he grabs it by the throat.  What happened to America, he insists, was that her New Deal crusade to save the world from the Axis menace put us in the arms of an even greater communist menace, the danger of which Democrats and liberals insufficiently understood.  How could they understand, since they shared with the rest of the left what Walter Lippmann called “The Dominant Dogma of the Age”—that government has the capacity to make us happy?

Joe McCarthy, a Catholic poor-boy-made-good from Middle America,...

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