Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Gun Owners and the McCarthy Era.

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Rachen, Apr 15, 2008.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Rachen

    Rachen member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2006
    Messages:
    1,541
    Location:
    New York
    I know that the McCarthy era was a tough time on many people. I just watched a film called "Atomic Cafe", and it showed actual newsreels of the hysteria and fear that gripped people during that time, so much hysteria that many truths were distorted, and facts were bloated to hideous proportions by a media that fed on people's fears.

    I wish to know how the gun owning population fared during this time. Did they suffer any persecution?
    The era was a tough time for many different groups. Was the gun owning population also mislabeled as dangerous or deviant?

    Please enlighten me.
     
  2. CBS220

    CBS220 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2007
    Messages:
    868
    While not a particularly great facet of the period insofar as personal freedoms are concerned, McCarthyism was way overblown.

    Although I have to say I like the idea of rounding up the Commies...
     
  3. Markbo

    Markbo member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    Messages:
    900
    Location:
    Texas
    Hmmmm... I don't see the big difference between then and now.
     
  4. slowworm

    slowworm Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2005
    Messages:
    78
    Doesn't read quite so well now does it?

    Until they actually commit treason then they can hold whatever beliefs they want. Wanting to get elected is not a treason last time I looked at the law.

    If the communists gained enough power at the state and federal level and with enough popular support they could re-write the constitution at a constitutional convention and have it ratified using the very mechanisms the founding fathers put in place.

    All following the constitution to the very letter.

    The first amendment means what it says, just like the second. You can't pick and choose.
     
  5. CBS220

    CBS220 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2007
    Messages:
    868
    Not one to pick up a joke, are you?
     
  6. Car Knocker

    Car Knocker Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2002
    Messages:
    3,809
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT
    That's why we have smilies.
     
  7. bogie

    bogie Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2003
    Messages:
    9,569
    Location:
    St. Louis, in the Don't Show Me state
    That was really before gun ownership was as politicized as it is today. You didn't see a lot of "gun" politics prior to the mid-sixties.
     
  8. slowworm

    slowworm Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2005
    Messages:
    78
    A smiley would have helped.

    I've heard it said too many times by folks who meant it.
     
  9. fearless leader

    fearless leader Member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    448
    Location:
    Satsuma, FL
    Don't even get me started. Joe McCarthy, IMHO was on the right track. I won't argue the point, that's just my opinion. I believe the people he mentioned were communists, he just couldn't prove it.
     
  10. mgregg85

    mgregg85 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2007
    Messages:
    2,008
    Location:
    Midland, MI
    It doesn't matter in the least if they were communists or not.

    Being American citizens gives them the right to have whatever political beliefs they want.

    If Joe McCarthy could have proven that they were working with the soviets, that would be a different case. In reality he just wagged the dog for political attention.
     
  11. Diamondback6

    Diamondback6 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2006
    Messages:
    807
    Location:
    The cesspool of the Upper Left Coast
    Three suggested references here: The Sword and the Shield, The Mitrokhin Archive and The World Was Going Our Way. These three volumes together shed a disturbing light on the KGB's operations to subvert us, including infiltrating State Dept., academia and the media...

    McCarthy's tactics weren't the best, but things should've been at least seriously but quietly investigated, rather than fomenting the Red Scare.
    "There's always ... something, and the only way these people can get on with their happy lives is that they do not know about it!"--Agent K, MIB
     
  12. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2002
    Messages:
    23,648
    Location:
    Los Anchorage
    The whole "red scare" business gets played up more in hindsight. There was a lot of propaganda, but apart from some spies nobody got "rounded up." There's a great deal of complaining about the black listing of communist writers, but then again there were a lot of communist writers. Though it's hard to believe now, some on the radical left were LITERALLY getting their orders from Moscow.

    Remember all the kvetching about the Rosenberg execution? After the wall came down the other side released documents showing Julius at least was in it up to his eyeballs.

    Indeed, but nobody was getting executed because they were Communist. The whole point of the HUAC investigations at that point was to get the communists exposed AS COMMUNISTS. People got into trouble by perjuring themselves or "contempt of Congress", which basically means they refused to answer but asserted no valid Constitutional privilege.

    What irks me is how many on the left still view the naming of names as a great Betrayal. These were Stalin's paid hacks, operating IN SECRET. Is it all that surprising folks would want them off the payroll? Nobody was forcing them to stop being communist, or even to stop making movies. They were stopped from making movies on the dime of the studios while operating as a communist in secret.
     
  13. ozarkhillbilly

    ozarkhillbilly Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2005
    Messages:
    500
    Location:
    mo
    Joe McCarthy, gets blamed for a lot of stuff that he did not do, how many people realize he was the godfather of one of JFKs kids. McCarthy has been demonized but never been proven wrong. For the most part his claims have all been proved correct.

    But why on earth would someone think that just because you go after communist that you would also go after gun owners, maybe you have drank to much of Hollywood’s cool aid.

    By the way it was the House that went after Hollywood not the Senate.
     
  14. mp510

    mp510 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2006
    Messages:
    3,046
    Location:
    PRKt
    While not associated with McCarthy, the book Negroes With Guns describes the use of Soviet made rifles as a means of proving that the blacks seeking were Communists. Of course, those folks missed the fact that the same folks had a lot of foreign guns- including NAZI surplus guns, yet they made no attempt to brand them as National Socialist sympathisers. However, the real qualm would have been that there is a bunch of armed blacks trying to breack from their race role in the Jim Crow south.

    A lot of the 1950's era "with hunts" (as many like to call them) are what many historians believe to be an effort to reestablish stability in the post-war era. Those historians note the targeting of gays and sexual deviants, and overmothering, as arguments in their favor.

    While there was some polls that suggest there would have been support for handgun bans in the
    1950s, guns were not really seen as deviant in US society- especially in terms of sporting arms and military collectibles (think about all the DEWAT war surplus machine guns that were put on the market then).
     
  15. Nate C.

    Nate C. Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Messages:
    408
    Location:
    Tejas
    Isn't this just about the point in the thread where somebody starts ranting about jack-booted government thugs and legalizing drugs?
     
  16. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    23,908
    Location:
    Arizona
    No, because at the time gun ownership and use wasn't seen in any political context, and especially a threatening one. Street crime wasn't particularly serious, there was no war on drugs or any other vice, and the gun-grabber movement lay in the future. For gun owners it was one of the best of all times.
     
  17. WayneConrad

    WayneConrad Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2005
    Messages:
    2,128
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Do you see it as a good thing that the country got so wound up that private industry was afraid to employ these folks merely because congress was pissed at 'em?

    You should be more afraid of the power of of your own federal government. It is closer, and more dangerous to you than communism, or any other ism, both then and now.
     
  18. Robert Hairless

    Robert Hairless Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2003
    Messages:
    3,983
    I lived through that dreadful time. It isn't something I've read about. A great many ordinary people were afraid, and with good reason.

    So-called "loyalty oaths" proliferated. There was no choice but to sign them or lose your job. Vendors often were required to sign them before businesses or public institutions would buy from them. The most tenuous link with a so-called "subversive organization" brought accusations of disloyalty, firing, and blacklisting so that the person was not able to work in that industry.

    Think about those online petitions people here get fired up to sign, or the "empty holsters" demonstrations, or protests about some online anti-gun article, or joining a forum such as this one. During the McCarthy era the equivalents of doing such things could make you a subversive.

    All that was just part of the look and feel of McCarthyism and witch hunting. Ordinary people lived afraid. Anything they might do could destroy them. Any neighbor, acquaintance, or college classmate could be an informant. So could someone sitting near you at a restaurant or another member of a club you joined. Your mail could be monitored, your magazine subscriptions tracked, your phone tapped. None of this is fiction. It happened to real people living ordinary lives, and although it didn't happen to most people it did happen to enough of them so that many people kept check on what they said, where they went, what they read, and what they did. It was madness.

    McCarthy certainly was the major carrier of that insanity but he quickly spread it. Madness spreads quickly and runs rampant through societies. Congress was not the only source of it. Otherwise ordinary people became "super patriots" and were thrilled to hurt as many other people as they could reach so as to demonstrate their own Americanism. Truth didn't matter. Spin did.

    If you see nothing wrong with what happened then, don't protest if it happens now.
     
  19. buck00

    buck00 Member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2005
    Messages:
    1,078
    Location:
    Lower Silesia, PA
    No, gun owners were not targeted simply for owning guns during McCarthyism. McCarthyism was a reaction to the postwar political atmosphere; the start of the Cold War, the Soviets getting the bomb (courtesy of spies), the shock of the Korean War, and a backlash against liberals and FDR's lingering effects (socialism). Homosexuals and liberal actors were targeted too. There was an obsession with who was "loyal" and who wasn't.

    I know it's fun to look back and say "yeah we didn't take any sh-- from commies then!" but a lot of regular people had their liberty compromised during this era. Watch "Manchurian Candidate" or "Dr. Strangelove" sometime, each is critical of McCarthy. The 1954 hearings (after he tried to go after the Army) exposed McCarthy for what he was: a liar, a bully, and an opportunist who had reckless disregard for the constitution.

    During this time, if you were targeted or accused and you owned guns, I'm sure that would be a reason for you to be all the more harassed, etc, as the idea was you could possibly be a Soviet agent. But no- if you were a right-wing, God fearing citizen back then, they DID NOT come down on you for owning guns. Remember, that was the good old days when you could buy rifles or pistols from a hardware store and rural kids could still bring .22s to school to hunt rabbits on their walk home. :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2008
  20. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    18,085
    Location:
    Lafayette, Indiana-the Ned Flanders neighbor to Il
    Ummm, no, it wasn't. It was only tough on those who committed treason.

    McCarthy was right, there were Communists working for the State Department. McCarthy did not want to "round anyone up", he merely wanted those in the federal government to be sent to private practice.

    Again, no, that is completely off base. The Army hearings were about McCarthy, not about the Army. The hearings were about whether McCarthy's staff, specifically Roy Cohn (the Rosenberg prosecutor who had a homosexual crush on another of McCarthy's staffers), tried to give another McCarthy staffer, who was drafted, a fur-lined cap and to have him ride in a truck rather than march.

    McCarthy did not lie. There were Soviet agents in the State Department as the Venona Project revealed (which a lot has been translated into English now, go and read and see that McCarthy was right).

    McCarthy did not bully. It was he who was bullied by the Treason Lobby in the U.S. Government and a Traitorous Media.

    McCarty was not an opportunist but a patriot who was concerned about Soviet infilitration into the government. Above all, he was right--there were Soviet agents working for the USSR inside our government.

    What "reckless disregard" of the Constitution could you be citing?:confused:

    Who?:confused: The Soviet agents inside the federal government? Who? Who other than Alger Hiss, who McCarthy was not involved in, had his liberty curtailed by being convicted for Perjury. Heck, even Hiss become a darling at NYC cocktail parties and was reinstated to the Massachusetts bar after his felony conviction. Who had his liberty curtailed/compromised?

    History from the hollow-headed in Hollywood? No thank you. Whether because of radical chic or actual treason, Hollywood has long had it in for the USA.

    You do know that McCarthy had nothing to do with HUAC, right? You know what HUAC stands for, right? Senator McCarthy had nothing to do with HUAC.

    Maybe so, but if you are a Soviet agent you should not be working for the federal government. Even if you are a private citizen, you cannot be committing treason against the USA.

    The Media hates McCarthy because he was right. He showed that loyal Democrats no longer had a party and the Media will never forgive him.
     
  21. slowworm

    slowworm Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2005
    Messages:
    78
    It is a very specific and chargable offense to act for a foreign power. So how many people blacklisted or investigated were found guilty of treason?

    We complain when the mental health laws in California are used to deprive gun owners their rights. What's the difference? In both cases rights are abrogated by a powerful state entity.

    I happen to agree McCarthy had a number of legitmate concerns. But ultimately he did far more harm than good by the methods he took to persue his ends.
     
  22. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    18,085
    Location:
    Lafayette, Indiana-the Ned Flanders neighbor to Il
    Lots. Heck, Cohn nailed a dozen of them in his first few years as a AUSA in NYC (IIRC it was Smith Act) and he even nailed William Remington for Perjury for Remington's lying about not being a Communist. As I've stated before, Venona showed that there were many Soviety agents working for the federal government and that McCarthy was right.

    What rights did McCarthy abrogate?:confused: He wanted hearings into the employees of the federal government. A Soviet agent does not have a right to work for the federal government.

    About what "methods" are you complaining?:confused:
     
  23. Aguila Blanca

    Aguila Blanca Member

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2006
    Messages:
    1,693
    Joe McCarthy was chasing communists, not Americans. I don't recall any mention of guns at all. My grandparents hated McCarthy and owned guns. Never any mention of the guns.

    I disagree. I lived through it. As Robert Hairless already posted, a LOT of ordinary people were VERY afraid during that time. Joe McCarthy was a zealot and a lunatic. He made things tough on a lot of people who never even thought about committing treason. If you weren't alive during the period when he was conducting his televised hearings, if you didn't watch them on that new-fangled "television" thingie -- with all respect, you cannot possibly understand just how dangerous he was. Truth to him was merely an inconvenience, to be gotten around or covered up however expedient once he decided to "get" someone.
     
  24. searcher451

    searcher451 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2007
    Messages:
    2,516
    Location:
    Oregon
    The rantings about Crazy Joe here have precious little to do with guns, despite the premise of the thread, and surely seem out of place on a forum that touts taking the high road.
     
  25. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    18,085
    Location:
    Lafayette, Indiana-the Ned Flanders neighbor to Il
    Who?

    Please cite an example.

    McCarthy was not crazy. As the Venona Project confirmed, there were Soviet agents working inside the federal government, not including the media, driving U.S. policy to the Communists favor.

    What can be more high road than correcting an incorrect assumption by the original poster?
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page