While doing homework on the Army – McCarthy hearings, I was reminded of two things that seem to come up regularly. One is that the people causing the mayhem in our society are lacking in self-awareness. The term McCarthyism has dropped out of use of late, I cover this in the show, but most people are old enough to remember when it was popular and what it meant. The new McCarthyites are totally unaware of that rather easy comparison between themselves and McCarthy.
The other thing that comes up repeatedly is that the people causing trouble have a weird blind spot about the internet. Often, they will make a big bold moral statement and then sometime later make another big bold moral statement that is the exact opposite of the previous statement. Even crazier is they will do this on Twitter. Not long after, people will post screen caps of their prior statement alongside the new statement, easily revealing the contradiction.
You are left with the impression that these people are unaware of the internet, despite using it for their political drama. You really see this with the January 6 show trials they are cooking up. The claims they are making against these people are for things these people have done in the recent past. Adam Schiff spent four years claiming the 2016 election was illegitimate. Now he is tormenting people for the crime of questioning the legitimacy of the 2020 election.
What lies at the heart of this is the problem presented by McCarthy. The sorts of people attracted to these moral crusades are without the normal sense of self that mentally healthy people possess. They need a foil, someone they can point to as bad in some way, so they can claim to be good by virtue of opposing that person. It is why their politics are highly personal. Liz Cheney cannot stop obsessing over Trump because she is a moral nullity who needs a villain to feel like a hero.
That is what makes the January 6 commission worth following. These people are so morally obtuse they could very well set themselves up like McCarthy. None of the people on that commission are sympathetic to the public. None of them seem to be smart enough to see this. They are so sure they are on the sign of angels, because they are certain their opponents are evil. That is how these people eventually find themselves on the other end of the inquisition.
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This Week’s Show
- 00:00: Opening
- 02:00: Background On The Hearings
- 22:00: The Morality Of McCarthyism
- 42:00: The New McCarthyites
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