Essay Sample on McCarthyism: The Realities, Delusions, and Politics

Published: 2022-11-11
Essay Sample on McCarthyism: The Realities, Delusions, and Politics
Type of paper:  Case study
Categories:  Politics Islamophobia American history
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 874 words
8 min read

How Senator Joseph McCarthy defines communist nations and the threats they pose

Senator Joseph McCarthy defines communist nations as gods of war, immoral, atheist and a danger to civilization. He points out that the immorality and atheistic nature of these nations are evident in their confiscation of land and industry and the creation of single-party police states. Further, Senator McCarthy claims that the approach employed by such countries are divisive and a threat to peace. Communist countries, he avers, have the potential to damage and wound humanity to unfathomable levels. According to him, the leadership of communist countries is against the essential values espoused by religion and that such administration considers the pursuit of such values as love, morality, humanity, and justice as 'soulful ravings' (Ekman, 2015). He paints the picture of nations that are anchored in a cycle of perpetual aggression and that their opposition of Christian democracies supports this. Regarding the size of the communist nations, he claims that they are fast expanding, a matter that should be of urgent concern. More significantly, Senator Joseph McCarthy describes communist nations as being disrespectful of the sovereignty of other nations and employing divide and rule tactics, setting citizens against themselves. It is in this regard that he considers enemies from within as the more serious threat to America's democracy and hospitality. In so doing, communist nations plant dishonesty and indecency in governments with opposed structures.

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Assessment of the Accuracy of Senator Joseph McCarthy's charges

Senator Joseph McCarthy's allegations have been categorized as part of the Red Scare and hence being mostly inaccurate. In his famous speech, he claimed to have a list of about 205 employees of the State Department who were working at the behest of the Communist Party (Michaels, 2017). However, when pressed to provide the list in the weeks that followed the speech, this number fluctuated. In the end, he never offered any reliable evidence of such employees being in existence. Despite the government's previous investigation of Hollywood of its harboring of subversive communists, the Senator still maintained that the government was keeping a blind eye on such individuals within the State Department, raising the curiosity of the authenticity of his claims. This trend of unsubstantiated claims escalated, with Senator Joseph McCarthy's accusing the army of harboring communist operatives. The investigations that followed found no substantial grounds leading to his loss of support.

Analysis of similarities between what McCarthy said about communism and what has been said about Islam, particularly shortly after the attacks of 9/11

Some similarities can be drawn between what McCarthy said and what has been said about Islam, particularly soon after the attacks of 9/11. Foremost, Muslims seeking entry into America have had to be subjected to stricter immigration procedures reeking of victimization. Such treatment is based on the unsubstantiated claims that all terrorists are Muslims. Whereas McCarthyism was characterized by mass hysteria against communism, America post 9/11 was characterized by Islamophobia. During the same period, there was a belief that the attacks were the brainchild of ungrateful Muslims who despite finding refuge within Christian America sought to destroy it from within. In both periods, there is a struggle to place God in the heinous acts occurring within the geopolitical environment. During the McCarthyism era, communism was painted as an immoral and atheistic setup. In the period following the 9/11 attacks, most discussions presented Islam as not being representative of godly beliefs of compassion and respect for human life. During the period of McCarthyism, political discussions pitted those deemed to be soft on communism against those who were firmly opposed to it and who presented themselves as serving the interest of America (Michaels, 2017). A similar plot played during the campaigns leading to the election of President Obama, with one side hellbent on giving prominence to his middle name.

Whether it is valid to draw comparisons between anticommunist rhetoric and anti-Islam rhetoric.

It is valid to draw comparisons between anticommunist rhetoric and anti-Islam rhetoric for some reasons. Foremost, in both cases, there has been the victimization of other Americans from blanket assertions. This approach has been detrimental as the results have been heightened suspicions and mistrust in previously peaceful neighborhoods. Secondly, in both instances, the discussions have influenced policy decisions and shaped the politics of the country. During McCarthyism, several individuals lost their careers and friends based on unsubstantiated claims of their association with communism. Others missed their businesses and opportunities. A similar trend was seen during the period following the 9/11 attacks. There was mass profiling of Muslim Americans based on the hysteria (Shapiro, 2015). As a result of the profiling, deserving Americans lost opportunities based on the false perception of their religion being the face of terrorism. The comparisons are helpful because they help to ensure a critical view of the discussions that relate Islam to terrorism and offer a basis for the objective review of the approach given to the war on terrorism.


Ekman, M. (2015). Online Islamophobia and the politics of fear: manufacturing the green scare. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 38(11), 1986-2002. doi: 10.1080/01419870.2015.1021264

Michaels, J. (2017). McCarthyism: The Realities, Delusions, and Politics Behind the 1950s Red Scare. Routledge.

Shapiro, J. (2015). Lessons from McCarthyism: Looking back at McCarthyite accusations, as well as free speech threats in the USA today. Index on Censorship, 44(3), 43-45. doi: 10.1177/0306422015605713

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