MUST READ: Communism/Terrorism In Our Lifetime
By Randall Hoven
An examination of our historical "inordinate fear" of communism might shed some light on what some consider our new inordinate fear of terrorism. We are now in the middle of the Global War on Terror (or whatever you care to call it), so it is difficult to assess our situation. Will terrorists obtain nuclear weapons and use them on us? Or will we sink into continual warfare with a phantom enemy, while losing the very civil rights we claim to fight for?
Communism, however, offers us the benefit of hindsight. Were we right to fear, and fight, communism? Some say no.
"I've been talking a lot about the parallels between what we're going through now and McCarthyism. The term 'terrorism' is taking on the same kind of characteristics as the term 'communism' did in the 1950s. It stops people in their tracks, and they're willing to give up their freedoms. People are too quickly panicked." Nadine Strossen, president of the ACLU.
"We are now free of that inordinate fear of communism which once led us to embrace any dictator who joined us in that fear." Former President Jimmy Carter.
To many people today, "communism" is just an old bugaboo -- something crazy people used to fear some 50 years ago. Crazy people like Joe McCarthy. Or crazy people like John Nash in the movie A Beautiful Mind. In that movie, Nash's insanity was manifested in the belief that communists were spying on him. (The real-life Nash's schizophrenic hallucinations were of the more garden variety "space alien" type.) Hollywood has given us several films about the bad old days of the Cold War, from The Front and The Way We Were to The Majestic, and Good Night, And Good Luck.
You get the idea: communism was not the heavy; anti-communism was. Anti-communism was a form of insanity, gripping an entire nation and leading us to the very brink of nuclear annihilation.
So let us review. Let us examine the myths and realities of communism and anti-communism, and see if our fear really was inordinate. Were we fighting a phantom menace? Was the only thing we had to fear our own fear?