The Army-McCarthy Hearings rocketed Wisconsin Sen. Joseph McCarthy to fame in the 1950s. Even so, the hearings Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz is conducting as chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform are increasing his star.
The hearings in McCarthy's day and those in Chaffetz's day have similar backdrops: No one likes communism and no one likes government corruption. They have similar objectives: Root out the evil.
I must remain a fan of Jason Chaffetz. This is a person who has stood for principles, who swept into office despite a lack of money, who slept on cot in his office to save taxpayer dollars, who campaigned against earmarks. Bless him, he has done some wonderful things.
I only say there are similarities to what happened back then to what I see happening now. I believe in learning from history. The lesson from McCarthyism is that contempt and hatred of a legitimate foe can lead to the persecution of those who shouldn't be persecuted. Communism was a legitimate foe. People naturally rallied to oppose it. But, along the way, those whose political views did not meet approval were swept into a net, condemned and persecuted.
Persecuted in the name of Americanism.
Even so, government corruption is a worthy foe. Would anyone stand up for it, any more than for communism? It becomes easy to make someone into a villain by simply shouting that they are corrupt. Who would oppose fighting corruption, and who will not, then, oppose them?
I do not know that of the heads that have rolled since Jason Chaffetz took over the Oversight Committee, some were justified. But, I wonder if many of them were victims of overreach, even as many were victims of McCarthy's overreach in the '50s.
Bless Chaffetz. I see him as a noble politician, yet. I admire him, for his pursuit of high ideals. But, most all of his political career, perhaps he has been too much of a make-heads-roll public official. There is a danger in such an attitude. Better is it to be a person who would not harm another person wrongly. The pursuit of evil must not be carried to manufacturing fictitious evil in others.