Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The "Hollywood Holocaust"

From J.P. Freire:

Howard Kurtz calls our attention to the Hollywood Reporter where the current publisher issued an apology for what he termed the “Hollywood Holocaust,” in which the industry magazine, “Hollywood Reporter,” led by his father, Billy Wilkerson, led a “crusade” against the Communist Party in Hollywood. Kurtz describes the effort as “odious” and an “appalling chapter of the publication’s history.” Kirk Douglas said that the period was “the most sinful period in Hollywood’s history.”The five page apology rounds up those who felt wronged, but treats the Soviet Union as if it were never a threat. Strange. 
This way of looking at anti-Communist efforts in tinseltown flatly denies the nature of the American Communist Party, which sought to overtake American institutions and subjugate them to the Kremlin. No big deal, I guess, but worth clarifying: A holocaust is a slaughter on a mass scale. The blacklist made it hard for Kremlin-connected Hollywood actors (sympathetic to Soviet victory in the Cold War) to find work. Not similar.

We know from the Soviet archives and reams of testimony that Communism wasn’t a mere set of opinions or some marginalized activist political third party. It was a calculated underground effort, organized in cells, to expand the power of the Kremlin to America. It wasn’t a group of silly idealists who weren’t taken seriously, but a collection of elites who had become quite taken with Stalin and his ilk. All those secret meetings weren’t secret because they were living in fear of the Red Scare and mean ol’ Amuricans who wouldn’t tolerate dissent.Those secret meetings were secret because they were figuring out how to fight for International Communism in America, just as the Baader Meinhoff gang would later attempt in West Germany.

One of the more striking delusions of the 20th century is the bizarre 'victimhood' status conferred on Communists and fellow-travelers in the United States, especially during the McCarthy era (an era of sanity and justice) and during the Hollywood boycott of screenwriters with ties to the CPUSA.

Communism is the full moral equivalent of Nazism. They are both claques of blood-soaked socialist gangsters. The CPUSA was owned, funded and controlled by Moscow. From the late 1920's to the early 1950's that meant that that commies in the U.S. were taking Stalin's orders and doing Stalin's bidding. They knew it and did it eagerly.

I believe in second chances, so Americans who publicly repudiated their earlier participation in totalitarian sedition and worked to fight Communism should be given a pass. We forgave Whittaker Chambers, as we should have. But the bastards who denied the truth of their complicity in this evil, or who continued to work for International Socialism, deserve the worst our society can throw at them. They deserved to be rigorously criminally prosecuted --knowingly working for an organization secretly funded by a foreign government without registering as an agent of that government was illegal, as was espionage, as was advocating violent overthrow of the government. Of course Communists should be privately shunned, as Nazis should be shunned, and the blacklist should be airtight and rigorously enforced.

Again: Communism is the full moral equivalent of Nazism. Nothing that was done to the commies and fellow-travelers in the U.S. was unjust, except our excessive leniency, and nothing that was done to these totalitarian bastards was anywhere near as cruel as what they would have done to us, if they could have. 


  1. Actually, when I read 'Hollywood Holocaust' and 'apology', I thought that someone was finally getting around to saying sorry for the 1952 John Wayne film 'Big Jim McLain', perhaps the worst film ever made.

    It gave McCarthyism and anti-Communism a very bad name. Actually, when I saw it 40 years, I think I was barracking for the bad guys...

    Australia used to have a Communist Party, which was free to stand candidates in elections. In 1951, the conservative prime minister Robert Menzies attempted to have it banned in a referendum (previous legislation being ruled unconstitutional by the High Court). It was defeated.

    And guess what? Even in its heyday, the Communist Party didn't have much influence.

  2. You are in luck, Dr Egnor. Today's New York Times has an op-ed Where have you gone, Bill Buckley?. Written by a sane member of the Republican Party. I wholly recommend it.


    1. Dr Science, this is your lucky day, too!

      You know, The Times op-ed page also commented on the enduring cult of Kennedy, who was compared to Jesus (and Elvis). And I got to thinking that personality cults seem to be a recurring feature with the left.

      So it was pure serendipity that I ran across an editorial in Investor's Business Daily commenting on the new American personality cult.

      Why, Newsweek's Evan Thomas even went so far as to describe The Preezy o' th' Skeezy thusly: "I mean in a way Obama’s standing above the country, above – above the world, he’s sort of God." Now that's a leg-tingler. Let's not forget that BO (the man, not the dog) is a Lightworker. And the video of small children being taught to sing and chant Dear Leader's name... priceless.

      But thanks for the heads-up from the "reality-based" community. I think you call yourselves "Brights"? Am I right?

  3. What gave McCarthyism a bad name was McCarthy. There is no doubt that the Soviet Union was engaged in a major effort to undermine the stability of the United States. Even the Russians openly acknowledge that.

    Looking back from a comfortable 21st century perspective, past the collapse of the Soviet Union, it is possible to conclude that the Soviets were never a threat, or a minor one at best. Of course, that's the equivalent of looking back at the time your 14-year old daughter was being stalked by a registered sex offender who happened to get re-arrested and jailed on other charges, and concluding that any worries you might have had were silly.

    The Soviet Union was no bogeyman. Ask the Germans. The only thing that saved us was the utter illogic and unreality of socialist thinking. And it was not just economics; Lysenkoism comes to mind, as does socialist psychiatry.

  4. Egnor: "[OP]"


    bachfiend: "And guess what? Even in its heyday, the Communist Party didn't have much influence."

    Exactly the sort of continuing dishonesty one has learned to expect of leftists.

    George Boggs: "What gave McCarthyism a bad name was McCarthy."

    No. What gave 'McCarthyism' "a bad name" was ... the "liberal" elite who objected to communism/socialism being opposed. Just as they continue to do to this day, because they see socialism as a means to personal advancement and power (over the lives of others).

    1. I agree with Ilion. I think of course that McCarthy was mostly right and honest, which in politics is a real achievement and puts him at the top of the stack.

      He was certainly right about the grand picture-- the government was infested with communists, many of whom were active Soviet agents and held positions that made them quite dangerous. To the extent that McCarthy was wrong, it is to the extent that he underestimated communist penetration and influence.

      On the issue of McCarthy's personality and tactics, I believe the man is horrendously unfairly maligned. As best I can see, fair assessments of the man (most notably Stanton Evans' Blacklisted by History) portray him as a decent honest almost guileless man-- a political naif. He let his enemies get him, through his own openness and naiveté.

      McCarthy stirred such a backlash because he hit a nerve. There was horrendous communist penetration in government (and in the private sector), and in the Democrat party, and he told the truth. Even his statements that have come in for criticism by conservatives-- his critiques of Marshall for example, were based on real concerns about the State Department's horrendous actions in the loss of China and on the need for accountability.

      McCarthy was a real hero, if not such a savvy politician. God bless him.

    2. Oh, I think Tail-gunner Joe went off the rails a bit after the post-Wheeling notoriety. Pride goeth before a fall, and there is no doubt he went on to browbeat witnesses in hearings.

      I don't disagree that McCarthy did the nation a service by exposing the extent of Communist infiltration. Unfortunately, he set back the same cause with his political tactics. McCarthy's fall from public opinion was largely due to his exposure in the Army hearings, and the obloquy that followed was, to some extent, if not largely, of his own making.

      The Communists, no fools they, exploited this to the nines, and thereafter, legitimate questions of loyalty could effectively be silenced with an accusation of "McCarthyism".

  5. So, the commies among us got off too light for Egnor’s taste. If only they were put in concentration camps and made an example of, then the world would magically be a better place, and we wouldn’t have to listen to Egnor whine that these historical figures weren’t punished enough for him.


    1. The CPUSA was an organ of the Kremlin, and members of it were required by law to register as agents of a foreign government. In addition, many members of the CPUSA participated in espionage.

      All of these are felonies. I don't support "concentration camps"-- that's a socialist method.

      I do support prosecution and imprisonment, consistent with the Constitution, for criminals.

    2. By the way, KW, what should have been done with Americans who were secretly working in the US on behalf of Hitler, in an organization funded by the Nazi government?