U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin produced a series of investigations and hearings during the 1950s in an effort to expose supposed communist infiltration of various areas of the U.S. government, the film industry in Hollywood, and numerous individuals who came to his committee’s attention. The term McCarthyism has since become synonymous for defamation of character or reputation by means of widely publicized indiscriminate allegations, especially on the basis of unsubstantiated claims or associations. McCarthy terrorized his targets and silenced his critics. Thousands of people lost their jobs as a result, often based on nothing more than innuendo or chance associations.
While McCarthyism ended with the senator’s downfall, the methodology seems to be undergoing an eerie resurrection in today’s highly politically charged and politically correct environment. The leftist-progressive agenda has become a guiding light for those embracing the New McCarthyism.
For many of us in America as well as in Israel, it has become almost impossible to listen to or watch the news on the major channels without experiencing a deep sense of lingering rage accompanied by disbelief. It seems as if the New McCarthyism is everywhere. Societal chaos and economic collapse are stated as foregone conclusions and serve as the subtext of editorial narratives in the broadcast media. From the first word expressed by these talking heads, we already know what’s to follow: the negative and sarcastic intonation, the smugness, the condescending know-it-all attitude, the obsessively meticulous analysis of every decision and utterance of our conservative political leaders and demonization of conservative political parties in general. All aim for the same conclusion — deny legitimization, demonize, and instigate the forcible non-democratic ouster of our democratically elected leaders, whether it’s President Trump or Prime Minister Netanyahu.
Blaming, shaming, confidently expressing unsubstantiated accusations, and personal attacks have all become staples of the daily commentary and interviews broadcast day after day, from morning till nighttime. The overall goal: enforce unity of thought and suppress voices that disagree with the leftist-progressive agenda or be thoroughly vilified prior to becoming guilty by accusation. This is how the New McCarthyism has evolved.
The media regurgitates their biased and opinionated viewpoints. They interview crackpot professors and similar-minded opinion leaders who speak in the name of “truth,” expressing a one-sided interpretation of the war on our democratically elected leaders. The media willingly leads the parade without being held accountable or paying the price for spreading slander and lies about Trump, Netanyahu, and the coronavirus pandemic. Whether it’s about Black Lives Matter in America or the Black Shirts/Crime Minister Movement in Israel, the goals are similar: condone and openly support the ongoing violence, empower those ignoring corona infection restrictions such as the wearing of masks and social distancing, and attack anyone expressing opinions that infringe on leftist and anti-conservative forces operating in the public arena.
The media has made every effort to present the demonstrators as enlightened citizens expressing their G-d-given right to express their opposition. The broadcast media has given disproportional coverage, presenting these demonstrators as a mass movement despite their numbers being negligible electorally. We are told over and over again that these demonstrators have an inalienable right to demonstrate, irrespective of pandemic restrictions, and irrespective of earlier Supreme Court rulings on right-wing demonstrators that limited the frequency and hours and noise levels of demonstrators. The media never questions the judicial hypocrisy by condoning these left-wing and radical demonstrators despite previous judicial rulings that prohibited the same type of demonstrations from the other side of the aisle.
The cumulative effect of this blatant hypocrisy, and the expanding polarization of citizens, has been a loss of trust and faith in the political system and our political leaders. The underlying danger is not only for our nation as a whole but also a threat on an individual’s way of life. People have lost faith in their leaders and have lost the belief that we the people are equal in the eyes of the law and that we are all subservient to the same rule of laws.
The era of the New McCarthyism where the leftist and radical criminals violently attack, maim, burn, and loot with immunity, where police forces are themselves under judicial and media harassment, has brought upon us a political twilight zone that empowers those who seek to destroy law and order under the guise of demonstrating. Today the right to demonstrate has become a sacred cow that cannot be interfered with under any conditions, unlike the right to pray in the manner of one’s tradition, which has been severely curtailed everywhere.
There is a growing perception among citizens in the United States and in Israel that the violent and undemocratic behavior by the leftist radical organizations are forcing the average citizen to decide for himself or herself the boundaries of adherence to the law. Everyone is asserting that if mass demonstrations by Black Lives Matter in the United States or by Black Shirts/Crime Minister in Israel are condoned and excused from adhering to any restrictions during the period of the corona pandemic, despite the onset of the second wave accelerating at a rate that may very well be out of control, then all other activities should be equally allowed, and, if not, then the hell with corona restrictions, and the hell with the greater good of the nation as a whole.
The expanding rate of infection is a direct result of the disparity of the law and selective enforcement that we as a nation may pay with our lives due to this breakdown. We the people should not blame anyone but ourselves.
Ron Jager is a 25-year veteran of the Israel Defense Forces, where he served as a field mental-health officer and as commander of the central psychiatric military clinic for reserve soldiers at Tel-Hashomer. Since retiring from active duty, he has been providing consultancy services to NGOs, implementing psychological trauma and psychological education programs to communities in the north and south of Israel. Ron served as a strategic adviser to the chief foreign envoy of Judea and Samaria. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.