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Quite the World, Isn't It?

Rep. West, Joe McCarthy, and the flames that won't die

Maybe someone should get Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) a copy of my last book, The Fear Within, to get a sense of the lunacy he was channeling during this appearance (see the clip below). And not surprisingly, the Tea Party folks in attendance didn't laugh at the absurdity of his comments. So maybe they should order in a couple of boxes of the books.

The Fear Within is about a slice of the Red Scare era after World War II. It's a narrative retelling of the criminal trial of 11 overt leaders of the Communist Party-USA on charges that their political beliefs, the articles and books they wrote, and the classes they taught, were illegal under the 1940 Smith Act. The law banned advocating the necessity of overthrowing the U.S. government, or teaching about it, and the U.S. Department of Justice's case was bizarre: Communism as a theory calls for the violent overthrow of capitalism; the U.S. government is part of a capitalist system; ergo, the CPUSA was trying to overthrow the US government by violence. There were no overt acts, mind you, beyond the exchange of ideas. No plots were hatched.

They 11 defendants were convicted in Dennis v. U.S. (the case I write about) despite the obvious conflicts with the First Amendment, a wrong that wasn't righted until Yates v. U.S. about six years later.

So for a time, a specific political belief was, in effect, outlawed in the United States of America, the land of the free and the home of the brave (remember, our enemies hate us for our freedoms). You'd think political extremists - including Tea Partiers - would be very sensitive to that, and to the kind of shunning implied by West's absurd allegation.
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