Where Have You Gone, Joe McCarthy?

The mayor of San Antonio glares down at the electrician, who is bidding for a contract to wire some new public offices.

“Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Roman Catholic Church?”

The electrician looks puzzled, but his assistant Carlos, a man with more experience in political affairs, speaks up.  “Mayor Castro,” he says, “my friend Mario was baptized a Roman Catholic, and went to Catholic schools, but that was a long time ago, and he wasn’t the only one, not by a long shot.  But I can promise you that he hasn’t gone to church in all the fifteen years I’ve worked with him, except for at Easter and Christmas, and he only does that to please his mother.”

“That’s all well and good,” says Mayor Castro, “but it still is troubling that he should maintain any connection at all with an organization that won’t allow women into the priesthood, and that still insists that a man cannot marry another man.”  He turns to Mario.  “Sir,” he says, “can you give us any further assurance that you have never spoken or acted in such a way as to confirm these obnoxious teachings?”

“Mayor,” says Mario, “what my friend Carlos says is true.  I believe in God, I guess, but I don’t let it get in the way of what I want to do.  I have been living with a woman for five years, and we aren’t married.  I’m not in any position to tell other people what to do with their parts.”

“You have been living in what the Church calls sin for five years,” says the Mayor, writing on his notepad.  “That does count in your favor.  Do you have any evidence to corroborate this claim?”

“I can bring her in and you can ask her yourself,” says Mario.  “Or you can ask my mother.  She doesn’t like it very much, and she won’t lie.”

“Very well,” says His Honor.  “But there is another charge.  A Mr. Montanez, who by odd chance is also putting in a bid for this contract, has said that when you and he were working on a job seven years ago, you called him a ‘morricone.’”

“I don’t remember that,” says Mario.

“Your Honor,” says Carlos, “that’s a word that you’ll often hear the workmen throw around.  It doesn’t mean anything.”

“So you admit,” says the Inquirer, “that you might very well have used that term.”

“I don’t keep a record of everything I say,” says Mario.

“Is it the sort of thing you would say?  Do you believe there is something wrong about a man who, let us say,” and the Mayor breaks into Spanish to describe the act most specifically.

“Your Honor,” says Mario, “I don’t know anything about right and wrong.  I’m an electrician, not a philosopher.”

“Would you yourself do such a thing?”

Mario squirms in his seat.  “No, I wouldn’t.”

“Why not?”

“Because I wouldn’t want to.”

“Do you have a son, Mario?”

“Yes, Joaquin, twelve years old.”

“Would you be happy if he did such a thing?”


“Yes, happy.  Assuming of course that he took all the requisite safety precautions.”

“N-no, I wouldn’t be happy.  Why should I be happy?”

“That will be all, Mario.  We’ll let you know soon about our decision.”

There’s a fine inscription in Latin, painted on the inside of the rotunda of our capitol in Providence.  It reads, “Happy the land where a man may think what he will, and say what he thinks.”  It’s a fit motto for Rhode Island, founded by Roger Williams as a haven for free and vigorous religious expression.  It applies not only to religious believers, but to human beings generally, because it answers a deeply human need.  That need is not to be willful in thought and word, but rather to be free to search for the truth—a search that demands a freedom for questioning and a freedom for debate.  For moral truth, unlike empirical fact, cannot simply be discovered by one man who will then inform others, who then will accept it but as extrinsic to themselves.  I cannot learn that lying is wrong without making that moral truth my own, allowing it to form my conscience, to become a constituent part of my being.  A small child will accept his father’s directive on authority, and that is good, but when he grows older he will have to go beyond what Thomas called the weakest form of argument.  That’s not because he wishes to reject his father, but because every moral truth is like a land opening up for more and more exploration.

Because I have spent my life in academe, I know how that motto is betrayed every day by keepers of the secular orthodoxy.  And now it appears that the orthodoxy has been established in San Antonio.  News reports that I’ve read have, unsurprisingly, suppressed what is most radical about the city’s new anti-discrimination ordinance.  They say that it forbids public workers and businessmen in the city from turning somebody away on the grounds of “sexual orientation.”  Now, no evidence had been given that anybody actually was turned away from anything anywhere on those grounds.  The poison in the ordinance is that it forbids the city to give a contract to any person, or forbids the confirmation of any council member, who has demonstrated by word or action a “bias” against any of the protected groups the ordinance names, including homosexuals.

Heretics Need Not Apply—that’s the sign they should place in the windows of City Hall, between, perhaps, a reproduction of a Greek herm and a stone age steatopygic Aphrodite.  Apparently, you can be a Roman Catholic electrician in San Antonio, but you’d better keep your mouth shut about it—not just on the job but on your own time, perhaps even on your front porch.  You may be a Southern Baptist landscaper in San Antonio, but you’d better keep your mouth shut about it—you’d better not get caught sending a check to the National Organization for Marriage, or uttering the following sentence, “All sexual intercourse outside of the bounds of marriage is wrong, and marriage, by the very nature of the human body, can only be consummated by a man and a woman.”

When Joe McCarthy was earning a name for villainy, the United States had just fought the most devastating war in the history of mankind; a malignant totalitarian state had erected an iron curtain between it and the free world; Stalin had murdered millions of his own people, and had turned formerly free nations into his satellites; people risked their lives trying to escape from communism, and were sometimes found out and shot; and you were nominally “free” to worship in the Soviet Union, so long as you consigned yourself to poverty, harassment, and social insignificance; and while all this was going on, there were still true believers in the United States who gazed in fatuous wonder from afar at the secular state in the east, and wished to bring about something like it here at home.  Alger Hiss really was a traitor, and the State Department really was infested with them.

So the dangerous self-promoter McCarthy can at least claim some excuse.  What excuse do the McCarthys of our time claim?  Is it that there are still too many people who hold to moral views that would have been absolutely unexceptionable, in any class, in any race, among men or women, from any area of the country, within living memory?  Too many people out there wearied with the sexual revolution that was supposed to bring in love, and instead ushered it right out, bringing instead loneliness, divorce, ubiquitous porn, and chaos in the family?  Real threats to the American way of life, they are.

Editor’s note: Pictured above is State Department official Alger Hiss testifying August 17, 1948 before the House Committee on Un-American Activities.

Anthony Esolen


Professor Esolen is a teaching fellow and writer in residence at Thomas More College of the Liberal Arts, in Merrimack, New Hampshire. Dr. Esolen is a regular contributor to Crisis Magazine and the author of many books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to Western Civilization (Regnery Press, 2008); Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child (ISI Books, 2010) and Reflections on the Christian Life (Sophia Institute Press, 2013). His most recent books are Reclaiming Catholic Social Teaching (Sophia Institute Press, 2014); Defending Marriage (Tan Books, 2014); Life Under Compulsion (ISI Books, 2015); and Out of the Ashes (Regnery, 2017).

  • Deacon Ed Peitler

    Since today is the feast of St. Cyprian, bishop and martyr, it might be good to read from the proconsular Acts of the martyrdom of St. Cyprian in today’s Office of Readings. Not much has changed since 3rd century Rome under Valerian when Cyprian was hauled before governor Galerius Maximus and asked if he were the one who posed as pontiff over a sacrilegious group. When told that the “most venerable emperors have commanded you to perform the religious rites,” Cyprian responded that he would not and was beheaded.

    At least in 3rd century Rome the Christians knew exactly what they were up against; there was no pretense of religious liberty as we now have. But make no mistake about it, the gods have come calling.

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  • NormChouinard

    When I read of the likes of the city government in San Antonio, my greatest comfort is Acts 5:41-42: The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.

  • Sygurd Jonfski

    The last two paragraphs of this excellent article are particularly noteworthy. The Left has murdered at least (at least!) twenty times more people than Nazism, fascism and all “reactionary” movements combined and yet it is still glorified as the “forces of progress”.
    Joe McCarthy was certainly an opportunistic scoundrel but he went after the right culprit. And while the world is still tracking down and bringing to trial 90-years-old Nazi death camp guards (a right thing to do), how many high Communist officials have ever been even slightly bothered because of their murderous deeds? Red butchers of Spanish priests and nuns are still being described as the “defenders of democracy” and the cult of Stalin is on the rise in Russia. Is it just a double standard or something more sinister?

    • Adam__Baum

      Sygurd, you are right that the greatest mass murders of history are those launched by the political left and the governments they capture-however-Nazism is not a creature of the right-it was after all, “National Socialism”.

      • Sygurd Jonfski

        True. By the way, for those who still have illusions about the true nature of Communism, I highly recommend Timothy Snyder’s “Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin” (New York : Basic Books,2010) – for example, the story of the Ukrainian famine artificially created by Stalin (known as the “holodomor”) is simply hair-raising. In its brute savagery it is worse than Auschwitz

        • Adam__Baum

          Also explored in this film.


        • givelifeachance2

          Yes…that book documents the rampant cannibalism that took place, even within families, as an effect of the Stalin starvation. How could FDR have chummed up with that monster? No wonder McCarthy was so zealous – I think most of the American public would have supported him more if the lapdog media would have shared the real truth about Communism.

    • Howard

      The biggest problem with this is that it pretends that politics is one-dimensional, just a matter of “left” vs. “right”. It pretends that there is a logical connection between favoring labor unions and favoring “gay marriage”, and between opposing abortion and opposing a capital gains tax. This is simply nonsense, especially when there is an attempt to apply it to groups like the Nazis and Stalinists.

      Some of the other statements leave us Americans in a glass house. The US has *never* removed a president for anything he has done in office, let alone sent one to jail. The prospect of a former president in jail would **NOT** constitute a “national nightmare”; it would show that we are serious about no one being above the law. Yet I don’t think anyone would seriously maintain that presidents have never, for example, ordered military strikes for base, personal reasons — to draw attention away from domestic scandals, to rally support for a re-election bid, etc.

  • cestusdei

    Maybe they will require a document showing we have sacrificed to the genius of the Emperor i.e. have adopted the politically correct views required by secular society.

  • Edward Radler Rice

    Dr. Esolen,

    In San Antonio, we are in the eye of the storm.

    The Knights of Columbus are signing up people in an effort to recall the mayor and the city council…

    I’ve read many of your articles posted at Crisis, sir. I’m wondering if you have read Fr. John Hardon’s analysis of Marxism’s influence in the United States?

    • slainte

      The Influence of Marxism in the United States Today, by Fr. John A. Hardon, S. J.


    • Adam__Baum

      “The Knights of Columbus are signing up people in an effort to recall the mayor and the city council…”

      What and shortcircuit the planned 2024 presidential coronation?

  • George Albinson

    For more than a year, some commentators to Crisis have responded to similar warnings about government persecution of the Church, saying that such writings were unfounded hysteria:”It can’t happen here.” I notice that they now seem silent. And remember Cardinal Dolan after meeting with Obama, saying that he was “encouraged.” Then came the HHS mandate. At least Neville Chamberlain was not a Cardinal.

    • Adam__Baum

      Anytime you think a politician is benign, let alone a faithful son of the Church, think of Henry Tudor.

  • Deacon Joe

    Mr. Rice hits it right on the money. With a name like “Castro”, you’d think that they mayor would be a “good Catholic” (like Nancy P?,huh).
    San Antonio used to be “Catholic City USA”, especialy when St. Anthony’s Seminary was still run by the OMI. The OMI has totally pulled their priests out of my dioceses after being here for over 60 yrs.

  • Art Deco

    McCarthy is a maladroit analogy. You notice that this fellow Julian Castro has degrees from Stanford and Harvard. These sort of attitudes are identity markers for a certain sort of bourgeois. In an earlier generation, this might have manifested itself not in attitudes but in manners.

    My father’s contemporaries had at least marginally more respect for previous generations and for other classes and subcultures in society, and took no interest in harassing them about either their rejection of homosexuality or their embrace of tobacco or guns.

  • James Stagg

    Thank you, Professor Esolen. Well done!

  • Roger

    “Happy the land where a man may think what he will, and say what he thinks.” Indeed, and so I will say what I think here. I think this is the stupidest article I’ve read in a long time. So discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in San Antonio has been placed in the same category as discrimination on the grounds of race and sex? Well, good. Discrimination on the grounds of religion is wrong too, which is why the scenario of the mayor beating up on Mario is tripe and wouldn’t happen — whiny, petulant, victim-status seeking tripe from someone trying to create a problem where there isn’t one. Many Roman Catholics support a ban on discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. Would you play mayor to their Mario? Anyone who chooses to can tout their horn for traditional marriage and tie themselves in knots as publicly and loudly and in every attention-seeking way they wish to try to claim that they are being horribly victimized when gays are allowed to choose their marriage partners. That’s OK. Aryan Nations has First Amendment rights too. What is not OK is to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation. The CCC and Pope Francis back that up. Why are you trying to sell the idea that “good Catholics” should discriminate? What nonsense!

    • Tony

      Excuse me, but what else does it mean when the ordinance says that contracts will not be given to people who have expressed, in deed or word, a “bias” against homosexual persons, hmm? What does that mean? Does that include people like Chris James, who was just fired from Fox Sports for expressing his opinion that a man cannot marry a man? Probably so, right? What about somebody who applies for a job teaching in the schools, who has written that same-sex “intercourse” is immoral — no application wanted there, either, I suppose.

      I’m not afraid of the word “discrimination.” All it means is that we draw distinctions. We do that all the time; we must do it, to be moral beings. I am not claiming that a man should not marry a man. I am claiming that it is impossible, and that the state that pretends that it is possible is behaving like a god, and is in the grip of madness, especially when the family is suffering as badly as it is. Pope Francis, by the way, called “demonic” the push to legalize same-sex pseudogamy. Get your facts straight.

      • Roger

        The ordinance merely places discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in the same category as discrimination on the basis of race, color, RELIGION, national origin, age, and disability. You have your facts wrong. http://mediamatters.org/research/2013/08/02/debunking-the-lies-about-san-antonios-proposed/195186 has more balanced information. Further, to claim victimization on the grounds of religion will result from the same ordinance is false and misleading and rises to the level of lying. Roman Catholics who follow the CCC and hold to the spirit of Pope Francis’s recent comments will support this law. Do you really want to see homosexuals denied job opportunities or housing because of their sexuality? How antithetical to the teachings of the Church!

        • Pay

          If their “sexuality” is deviant and they promote deviancy then yes that evokes grave moral concern.

    • Palamas

      It’s perfectly OK for those who think like Roger to discriminate, because he is discriminating about the Right Things. No one may discriminate against those Roger says should not be discriminated against. Those who disagree–even on religious grounds with a 2000 year old pedigree and near universal agreement until a few years ago, and regardless of whether they have actually ever engaged in such discrimination, but who have just expressed doubts about the validity of the secular anti-discrimination regime–are to be cast into the outer darkness, deprived of all civil privileges, and sent to re-education camps so that they will be taught to Think Correctly.

      • Roger

        Can we agree that discrimination is wrong, whether it’s against gays or Catholics? Read the Media Matters article that I linked to above. Esolen’s article is nonsense.

        • Palamas

          Media Matters as a source is garbage, but I read the article, and find nothing that would cast any doubt on Esolen’s article. In fact, it suggests to me that San Antonio already has a free speech problem. The idea that the government can remove public officials solely for using words that are not approved, or expressing ideas that some don’t agree with (i.e., marriage is properly defined as being between one man and one woman) is reprehensible.

          As to agreeing that “discrimination is wrong,” that statement by itself is either meaningless or pernicious. As Tony points out above, discrimination is a fact of every day life. Every time we make a decision–say to hire one person rather than another–we discriminate. The question is, “is it wrong to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation,” to which my answer would be, “it depends on what the orientation is, and whether it has any material impact on the issue at hand.” An extreme example: Harvey Fierstein would probably not be cast as the romantic lead in a movie opposite Scarlett Johansson. It would be hopelessly unbelievable, and guarantee the movie would flop. Is that “discrimination based on sexual orientation”? Certainly it is. Should it be illegal? Only if the law is to be made an ass.

        • Pay

          No, we cannot agree

        • Adam__Baum

          How about discrimination against the “polyarmorous”, Scientologists or zoophiles?

        • Art Deco

          I am afraid every time you hire someone you discriminate between applicants, and every time you select a business you discriminate between providers.

          The question is whether your choices are voluntary or whether they are second-guessed by members of the bar.

    • Pay

      First of all deviant desires evoke moral concern. Just because one has deviant desires is not evidence one may promote such desires as good and healthy. The Church does not support that at all.

    • Adam__Baum

      Non sequitirs, untenable connections, run on sentences.. truly, Roger knows of what he speaks when he hurls the charge “stupid”.

  • Tony

    A friend of mine recently reported a conversation in which a seven year old boy was overheard, by a teacher, to say that another boy was “cute” and that he was going to marry him when he grew up. A little girl piped up and said that that was not possible, but the grownup, who is clearly bidding for the Millstone Award, said that in fact it was possible, and gave an example, and smiled and cheered him on.

    I defy any heterosexual father of a son to tell me to my face that he would encourage, or would smile while someone else in authority encouraged, his boy to talk or fantasize about “marrying” another boy. What the woman in this anecdote did was inexcusable, and in any sane society would disqualify her from any job dealing with impressionable children.

    • Pay

      It was demonic.

    • Adam__Baum

      And yet who hasn’t heard such a tot talk of that age talk about marrying a parent or a sibling. Let’s encourage that sort of “freedom” as well.

  • brigin

    The state (controlled by republicans) should cut off all funds to San Antonio, and impose blistering sanctions, and regulations, and hold city officials criminally liable for enforcement. However, republicans being republicans, they’ll do nothing

  • GrahamUSA

    You have just described Southeast Michigan (metro Detroit). Not only the town halls but also employers including major retailers and one large medical complex. “Traditional values” and religion are no longer considered predicators of good and hard working employees as they once were. The Archdiocese of Detroit is apparently oblivious to this “new cultural moment” as George Weigel has called our time. It is getting uglier and uglier in America — particularly in our large metropolitan city states which have assumed an authority given to them by no aspect of the constitutional order. As Robert Nesbit said about the Church — when authority declines, power rushes in. And the power ethic is everywhere and everywhere it is secular. Where is the Church in America? Certainly not listening to the laity. On the contrary, the Church continues its fruitless civic diplomacy and accommodation of the new order of things.


    We should have listened to McCarthy. The Communists are doing to us what we should have done to them.

    • Art Deco

      I do not think the dregs of Gus Hall’s organization are doing much of anything at all.

      • Adam__Baum

        They don’t need to do anything now, other than join their wholly owned subsidiary, the Democrat party. The true ideologues always have the geodolaters, the Greens (which is the new Red, in the older connotation of that word).

        • Art Deco

          The Democratic Party of the Teachers’ Unions, the Trial Lawyers, and Hollywood is quite problematic for what it really is. No need to tar them with Leninism. Not their offense.

          • Adam__Baum

            They are what they are.

  • Christopher McKenna

    Does it bother you that McCarthy was proven correct in almost all his assertions, and most specifically those against Alger Hiss?

    • Art Deco

      The assertions against Alger Hiss were made by Whittaker Chambers and husbanded by Richard Nixon. McCarthy was not a member of the House Un-American Activities Committee and had nothing to do with it. Hiss was convicted in 1949 of perjury consequent to lying to congressional committees about his espionage ring operating a dozen years earlier. McCarthy’s first public charges about the State Department (derived from a three year old letter from James Byrnes) were made in February of 1950.

  • Howard

    The March Meeting of the American Physical Society in 2015 will be held in San Antonio. This is the largest annual meeting of physicists anywhere in the world. I would really like to attend it, both for professional reasons and because San Antonio is a lovely city, but if this ordinance remains in place, well, there are alternatives.

  • markkrite

    Mr. Esolen, with all due respect for all your academic degrees and your obvious learnedness, you are DEAD WRONG about Joe McCarthy. A good corrective to your calumny against a really fine and patriotic American would be to read the definitive volume on “Tailgunner Joe” by M. Stanton Evans (not the name of the book) that came out around 2007, and PROVED that he had most definitely nailed the Communist threat, and had attempted to DO something about it. Also,”The Venona Secrets” by Romerstein & Brendel, which show conclusively that 95% of the names that McCarthy claimed were secret Soviet Communist agents were VALID. And that was because the same names were listed in the Venona archives of the KGB in Moscow. So Senator Joseph McCarthy did NOT “earn a name for villainy” as you so cavalierly proclaim, it was JUST THE OPPOSITE. McCarthy was a practicing Catholic with an adopted daughter who had earned a name as a progressive judge In Wisconsin that ultimately led to his becoming a senator from same.And he was, once again, RIGHT about his pronunciations re the International Communist Conspiracy. So PLEASE do your homework better next time, and get it right when citing someone, who, though flawed, (who isn’t?) did a yeoman job in exposing the internal subverters of the day, the Communists who had burrowed into the federal government.P.S., McCarthy had NOTHING to do with HUAC; that Committee was attached to the House. He was a U.S. Senator.

    • Crisiseditor

      While I know Dr. Esolen is fully capable of defending himself, I should point out that you have misinterpreted what he said. Read the second last paragraph again. McCarthy was earning a reputation for villainy as we all know. A reputation is not necessarily accurate or justified. Dr. Esolen quite clearly said that there were communists in the government, echoing McCarthy and he mentioned Hiss as a famous example. Essentially McCarthy was justified in using the tactics that he used because the Cold War was real and the threat was real. Leftists who use similar tactics today have no excuse. That, I believe, is the point. So, no need to defend the Senator. We know he was right in the essentials. Whether or not he exaggerated at times, I leave to the historians to decide.

      • Adam__Baum

        Hiss/Chambers, et al was one of the topics last night on the John Batchelor show.

      • markkrite

        Excuse me, but calling Sen. Joe McCarthy a “dangerous self-promoter” is really kind of stretching it, don’t you think? Once again, I’m not “misrepresenting” what Mr. Esolen said, for he’s joining so many who cite the historical record from both the left, right and center perspective who’ve PILED ON poor Joe all these years (it reminds me of what they’ve tried to do about the reputation of Sarah Palin). And just HOW did he “earn” a “reputation for villainy?” By making the Wheeler, West Virginia speech in February, 1950, and having the gall to NAME NAMES of so many who had burrowed into the State Dept. and other governmental agencies,and were later found out to be just what McCarthy said they were, clueless Fellow Travelers, yes, but mostly SUBVERSIVES on the Communist party payroll? And what about the revisionist history of McCarthy,””Re-examining the life and legacy of America’s most hated Senator,” published in 2000, written by Arthur Herman, a mildly leftist professor of history, certainly no friend of “tailgunner Joe” @ the beginning of his tome, but admitting McCarthy was ON TO SOMETHING by the middle and end of his book? An honest man, rare to find in academics on the left. So, once again, I protest the cavalier remarks from Mr. Esolen about Joe McCarthy, an honorable and good man, horribly vilified and excoriated especially by the leftists, who remind me so much of Rose Martin’s (Fabian Freeway) description of them: (paraphrased) “scratch a communist and a socialist/leftist bleeds.”

    • Art Deco

      McCarthy shot is mouth off about domestic Communism for four years. It is quite possible he may have identified some actually troublesome characters betwixt and between vitriolic commentary on Gen. Marshall and Philip Jessup. His career in this began squalidly with a public claim that there were 205 known Communists on the State Department payroll when what he had as evidence was a three year old letter from the erstewhile Secretary of State making reference to a mass of employees with character and performance problems of various sorts. It ended squalidly with a witless campaign against an obscure army officer named Irving Peress and those in his chain of command.

      Again, the Truman Administration had a loyalty program and we had a federal police force with a counter-espionage service therein. Congressional inquiries could be handled by more sober types (e.g. Richard Nixon). McCarthy ran an ugly freak show.

      • markkrite

        Art Deco, you couldn’t be more wrong in much of what you post, and I suspect that’s because you may be one of the many trolls who ply the waters of Catholic Conservative sites, seeing what and whom you may try to skew in your merry quest to subvert the waters. But I have no proof of it, so I’ll desist.Suffice to say that if you read the books “Blacklisted by history, the real story of Joseph McCarthy and his fight against America’s Enemies,” by M. Stanton Evans, (runs to about 500 pages) published in 2007, and “Joseph McCarthy, Reexamining the life and legacy of America’s most hated Senator,” by Arthur Herman, liberal college professor, published in 2000, or the book BY Joe McCarthy, “Enemies from Within”, published sometime in the early ‘fifties, you’ll get a real education (which you so desperately need) concerning the International Communist Criminal Conspiracy which lasted from 1917 through 1991, for 74 years, when Soviet Russia officially fell. From roughly 1919 through approximately 1960, Lenin, then Stalin, then Stalin’s successor, Khruschev, sent a HUGE number of Red agents throughout the world, but especially to America and the U.K.,to cause first, the collapse from within of the world’s two premiere “democracies,” with many successes but ultimately a grand failure, so two luckily never happened, at least not totally, two being the takeover of these countries and the “transformation” of them into socialist “paradises,” but with Barack Obama in power at the top of the U.S., all bets are off. So, to sum up, Art Deco, wise up and get educated about what really happened during the late ‘forties and into the’fifties re Joe McCarthy and the Eisenhower and Truman administrations. It could’ve so easily gone the other way, IF it hadn’t of been for Joe McCarthy.

        • Art Deco

          I was a subscriber to Crisis in its paper format for six years, a subscriber in two different stints to Dr. Esolen’s usual outlet (Touchstone), a subscriber to the Catholic Dossier and I am still on the mailing list for Ignatius Press. If I am a troll, I am putting my money where my mouth is.

          That aside, the thesis you are promoting is stupid. We had an imperfect but active federal police force and standing committees of Congress to conduct the necessary inquiries. There were also standing commissions of the executive. McCarthy’s Senate office was quite redundant. McCarthy himself is properly described as opportunistic, unscrupulous, lacking in any sense of discretion or meticulous precision, and a hopeless drunk. There is no reason to defend this train-wreck of a man at this date. Other people were doing the real work; he was a freak show.

          • markkrite

            Well, I guess you’re going to persist in your error-filled ways, that’s your prerogative. And I sense that you’re among that group of possible academics who basically say “my mind’s made up, don’t confuse me with the facts.” But if you’re really honest, you’ll at least PERUSE the three books I cited, just so, in the final analysis,you can come to some kind of real understanding of Sen. McCarthy. Btw, you could STILL be a troll, even with your reading sources enumerated. That’s just pure logic. And to continue the calumny against the man, even after being exonerated by the books, once again, cited above, shows to me mean-spiritedness. Why you’re doing it is anybody’s guess;. peer-group pressure perhaps? Final thought: If a man’s character can be gleaned through the general quality of those who disparaged him and his work, then he should perhaps be considered approaching sainthood. For they were largely a motley crew, consisting of Democratic Party hacks and the R.I.N.O.’s of the ‘fifties. GOD BLESS, Markrite

            • Art Deco

              You’re a purveyor of Birch Society drivel. Too bad.

              • markkrite

                So now, not only is Joe McCarthy suspect and a whiny drunk at that, LOL, but by mentioning the Birch Society, you’re now slurring Robert Welch, the rich and eventually famous candymaker from Belmont, Massachusetts. I suppose in your great sneering manner you’ve “got the goods” on him too. Everything that I ever read of him discloses a great and honorable gentleman of exceedingly high intelligence. But I’m sure that you’ll have something deleterious on him (in your mind) or attempt to prove me wrong in some other way. Psychologically, Art Deco, you’ve got a real problem; you think you’re w/out a doubt the SMARTEST guy in whatever room you may be in, and: I think you believe yourself a mental legend in your own mind. Better watch that, can lead to a nasty habit of narcissim. Actually, you made a good guess; I WAS, back in the day, a Chapter Leader AND Section Leader in the J.B.S. I would’ve gone on to try out for Major Coordinator, but before that time arrived, I had too many problems w/the emphasis they put on various programs in the J.B.S.,so I dropped out. But under Welch’s aegis, (HE WAS ACTUALLY THE FOUNDER AND ACTIVIST LEADER) the Birch Society had become a real powerhouse both socially and politically in the U.S.; it is said that w/out the J.B.S.,Reagan would’ve never been elected in 1980.I also recognized in Reagan’s campaign staff several people I had known who were high up in the J.B.S. And the bumper sticker that read “SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL POLICE AND KEEP THEM INDEPENDENT” was featured in the classic 1968 crime thriller, “Bullitt” w/Steve McQueen. It ORIGINATED in the J.B.S. A highly influential group and highly ATTACKED group was the John Birch Society, and that was because of their effectiveness. I guess it’s the same everywhere due to human nature; the more organized and consequential a group or individual is, the MORE they’re assaulted. Think Joe McCarthy, the John Birch Society and Sarah Palin, Three entities that get continually PILED UPON, from the left, center and right. Pathetic.

    • bobna

      Wholeheartely agree. It should be noted that America was involved in the Cold War and the Koriean conflict with the communist Soviet Union. As Chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, it was Senator McCarthy’s duty to expose communists, fellow-travelers and security risks who penetrated government agencies and influenced its policies. U.S. officials supposedly guarding against this danger not only let it happen, but actively covered up this penetration.

      • Art Deco

        Does that include the U.S. Attorneys who prosecuted (among others) Alger Hiss, Julius Rosenberg et al., Judith Coplon. How about the Federal Bureau of Investigation?

  • Jim

    Anthony is proof that there is still life in the corpse called Rhode Island.

    He is also evidence that there is still remaining at least one Italian-American Catholic in all of the Northeast.

  • Jakie

    The United States bill of rights gives separation of church and state. I don’t think this was followed here. I think we also have laws against religious discrimination.

  • Kala Rose

    For the record, Alger Hiss (photo at top) was unrelated to Joe McCarthy. McCarthy was a SENATOR and never on the HOUSE Committee on Un-American Activities.

    Also, McCarthy has been entirely vindicated; newly de-classified documents from the Venona Project confirm that he actually underestimated the number of Soviet spies in America.

    But yes, the marriage point is correct. It’s the last acceptable prejudice, apparently.

    • Andy

      There’s nothing that needs correction here, Karla. There’s no claim made or is it even implied that McCarthy was in the House. Hiss is simply used as an example of the reality and gravity of the communist infiltration of the government. The author makes it clear that McCarthy deserves vindication, even if he does seem to let stand the criticism that he was a self-promoter, which may be unfair, but is a very small deal compared to the big deal that you perceived.

      • Art Deco

        Communist infiltration was a reality. McCarthy himself played the unscrupulous self-promoter (before he drank himself to death).

      • Art Deco

        It is not Dr. Esolen’s point that McCarthy deserves vindication.

    • Art Deco

      McCarthy himself was not ‘vindicated’. Concern over infiltration of the central government by agents of Soviet Russia was prevalent among the establishment and steps were taken to address the problem. What McCarthy added of his own was wild and exhibitionistic display and wretched abuse of honest civil servants.

  • Hieronymus Illinensis

    A morricone? I thought a morricone was someone who wrote fantastic music, usually for movies.

  • Chip70

    The best part of this article is the pretend conversation between the mayor and workers…

  • Tony

    I remain noncommittal about the proportion of virtue to vice in Joseph McCarthy. When he said that there were communists in the State Department (and elsewhere), he was absolutely correct, and those agents were traitors. One wonders how different the history of eastern Europe might have been, had not there been people like Alger Hiss and Harry Dexter White to help sell them out. The Left, however, vilifies McCarthy — he and not Hiss or White or even Stalin is their epitome of evil, and yet they out-McCarthy McCarthy every day of the week, as any conservative in academe well knows.
    The Church opposes “unjust discrimination.” The adjective there is not redundant. There is a difference between discrimination that is unjust, discrimination that is not unjust, and discrimination that is absolutely demanded by justice. We’ve forgotten about the last two kinds. For example, it is unjustifiable to have small children taught by people who will serve for them as public models of immorality and sexual confusion.
    Maybe San Antonio ought to consider erecting a gigantic phallus in the middle of its biggest public square, to give due honor to the thing that claims precedence over all others, including the health of families, the common good, and the worship of God Himself.

    • Art Deco

      Laughlin Currie left the employ of the State Department in 1945, Alger Hiss left in 1946 (and was convicted of espionage in 1949), Lawrence Duggan died in 1948, and Harry Dexter White died in 1948 (and had, in any case, worked for the Treasury department). All were under suspicion before anyone outside of Wisconsin, Congress, and the Washington press corps had ever heard of McCarthy.

      • Randall Ward

        You need to get caught up on your history, there were a many more communists in the government than the ones you mention. Of course we now have a communist, would be dictator, for president.

        • Art Deco

          No, you need to return to Earth. The president is quite troublesome for who he is, which is not a ‘communist’ or ‘would be dictator’.

          McCarthy and his camarilla were not responsible for alerting anyone to Soviet infiltration of the State Department. This problem was understood before McCarthy’s name was generally known and the most important peps were already gone from high government positions. McCarthy was known for a great deal of diversionary histrionics and smears.

          • givelifeachance2

            Get schooled on the Venona files, temporarily opened (in the 90s) files from the (?former?) Soviet Union that confirm many of McCarthy’s charges. Then those files clanged shut, never to be put to scrutiny again. Soviet Union never had their Nuremberg, or you would have heard the 10,000 other ways that McCarthy was right.

            As for those pumping Putin, (?former?) KGB agent-turned-saint in so many minds, learn the truths that International Communism has taught us – they deal mainly in disinformation rather than weapons (google Yuri Bezmenov video for your first lesson). McCarthy’s Communist (and Foundation) enemies suckered those of you conservatives who turned on lsimply for his awkward style. He was doing his best to be Paul Revere, and you simply sipped the media tinfoiling of the guy.

      • rbirds

        Stan Evans’ recent book “Blacklisted by History” establishes the truth of Art Deco’s comments. Evans says, ” by the time Joe McCarthy surfaced with his accusations, the key Soviet spy networks had all been closed down, due to the KGB’s well found fears that Elizabeth Bentley’s defection in 1945 compromised all of their operations. Although they tried hard, they never could successfully put together the kind of networks they had in operation during the war years.”

        Just so. Most of those accused by McCarthy of being communists were not, a fact established by Evans, in another book by John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr and Alexander Vassiliev, and by Ron Radosh. How some myths remain alive is a mystery.

  • Mike

    This article is so BAD — so unChristian, so unCatholic, so self-righteous, so hypocritical, so lacking in charity, so dishonest, and so poorly written with bloated, pompous prose — that one hardly knows were to begin. The author wants discrimination against homosexuals to be allowed while whining about potential discrimination against Roman Catholics that is merely a figment of his fevered imagination. Doesn’t he understand that the very same ordinance that protects gays from discrimination also protects Catholics? Or that most Catholics, including our very own pope, oppose any sort of discrimination against gays? Does Esolen not remember Pope Francis saying that gays should “not be marginalized but integrated into society”? Esolen apparently feels those who discriminate against gays should be protected from any consequences and, in his frantic efforts to feel victimized and self-pitying, he manufactures some bizarre scene that could not possibly ever happen. And why? Because of the ordinance that he so resents! The gall of the man! This is not Catholicism, folks, and this is not goodness or charity or morality. This is a wolf in sheep’s clothing advocating an extremist and hate-filled anti-gay agenda and making stuff up.

  • Randall Ward

    Are you comparing communists that wanted to destroy our country to Catholic teachings? I believe you are.

    • Art Deco

      Actual communists are participants in tiny and thoroughly marginalized organizations. The country has real problems. Those people are just clowns.

  • JoeNCA

    This is hilarious. People are worried that a San Antonio politician can’t discriminate against a business owner simply because of their sexual orientation.

    And yet, let’s just replace “San Antonio” with “Chicago” and “sexual orientation” with “religion” (which is ALSO listed in San Antonio’s NDO). Are you guys going to start standing up for Rahm Emmanuel’s “freedom of speech” as well?