Are we the sum of our experiences? Or are we rather the result of our genetics? A case can be made for either argument. Perhaps it's a little of both. A predisposition toward certain behavioral characteristics inherent in our DNA coupled with the school of life and the choices we make. That supposes that we can actively learn from our mistakes and apply the lessons we're given. Sadly, human nature argues that the bulk of us cannot learn from our past and we are doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over again.
I'm not a historian nor did I stay in a Holiday Express last night. I'm also not the brightest light in the Christmas Tree display. This is a general overview of a complex man and movement from an amateur historian with opinions formed of my own experiences an genetic predispositions.
I've been studying history lately. Particularly the post WWII and Cold War period. I'm a Boomer and the Cold War was my war. I served from 1977 to 1985. One of the fascinating periods of that era was that of Joseph McCarthy and the House UnAmerican Activities Commission (HUAC).
Now contrary to what many think they know, McCarthy did not start nor was he ever a part of HUAC. HUAC actually grew out of a House investigating Committee, chaired by Congressman Martin Dies in May of 1938. It was co-chaired by Samuel Dickstein who was later accused of being a Soviet sleeper agent in the Verona Project. HUAC became a permanent committee in 1946 as relations with the Soviet Union collapsed post war and the Iron Curtain was born. The whole purpose of the HUAC and the various committees and investigations it gave birth to was to bring to light the Communist infiltration of the US government by agents or Communist loyalists.
Joseph McCarthy was a US Senator from Wisconsin between 1947 and 1957. He gave rise to the term "McCarthyism" which is now used to accuse someone who is deemed to himself accuse others with little or no proof beyond speculation, suspicion and paranoia. By 1950 McCarthy was making his name by investigating possible and real ties between famous persons and the Communists in the USSR. Including many in the ranks of government and the military. And Hollywood, let's not forget the infamous Black Listing of notable entertainment industry insiders.
If you go to the link above and take a look at the Verona and Lee Lists you'll see quite a number of people who were suspected of espionage in government jobs, especially the State Department. Some were undoubtedly erroneous accusations but by no means most. He is often derided for failing to name names publicly but my reading tends to convince me he was actually quite aware of the damage inclusion on one of his lists potentially was and protected names until he was either forced to or was satisfied of their guilt. There were an awful lot of 5th Amendment invocations by witnesses during his hearings.
Reading up on McCarthy and HUAC, I come away understanding a little better how we got to where we are now. The simple fact is that, for the most part, McCarthy was right. There was a massive undertaking by the Communist USSR and it's loyalists and sympathizers to infiltrate and subvert the Democratic process in this country and push us toward the Soviet model.
Of course it was a different time and this was a different country. Even the Democrats feared McCarthy and his "I have in my hand" lists. We were still wedded to the idea of individualism and liberty and understood the danger that Communism and Socialism represented to those ideals.
In the end the media killed McCarthy's career. Edward R. Murrow is given a lot of credit for his hit piece on his See It Now show but the fact is that the media attacked McCarthy for years and the drumbeat of negative coverage coupled with some hearings that showed McCarthy may have been casting his net awfully wide eventually turned public opinion against him. In 1954 the Senate turned on McCarthy, ultimately accusing him of 46 counts of alleged misconduct. The Watkins hearings cleared him of all but two counts, that he failed to cooperate in 1952 with the Senate Subcommitee on Privileges and Elections and that he had intemperately abused Army general Ralph Zwicker who claimed that he would protect any other general who promotes Communist's within the military. The Zwicker charge was also later dropped and another charge substituted; That McCarthy had acted contrary to senatorial ethics and tended to bring the Senate into dishonor and disrepute. A vote was taken and McCarthy was Condemned by a vote of 67-22 with all the Democrats voting in favor and the Republicans evenly split. His career as a power in government was basically over at that point.
As we can clearly see now, in the end McCarthy failed. He did not because he overreached or was an evil person trying to gain power through false accusations and witch hunts. He failed because of Republicans who were more concerned with their image that the protection of our form of government, the power of the media, even then controlled by those with socialist leanings and the ignorance of far too many Americans who may have been soul sick of War but who still should have known better. But he wasn't wrong. He was able to end the careers and limit the potential damage of hundreds of actual Communist agents, supporters and agitators. The results may have been temporary but his victories weren't Pyrrhic. He exposed the template being used by the forces of anti-Americanism to overcome the protections guaranteed to the American Citizen in the Constitution. A plan of attack we can see very clearly in effect today. Knowledge is power.
Do we learn or are we predisposed to making the same mistakes over and over again? If recent history is a true indicator it's most assuredly the latter. I take a contrary view. All things end and the current socialist trend is no different. Politics are cyclical, as certain as the tides and just as changing. What comes in sooner or later will also ebb. Fortunately the framework for resistance and ultimate victory are still there, as strong and puissant as ever. The uncertainty, the unmeasurable constant, is our will. Which way will we go? Down the path of least resistance and Transnational Progressivism or toward the light of Liberty?
When I was a Cold Warrior I was stationed for a while at Ft Ord, California. During my initial time there we were a weigh station between CONUS and Germany. Those coming in were destined for other bases, either overseas or elsewhere in the US. No one went there just to be there. Ft Ord and the 7th Division were an afterthought in a planners computer model in the Pentagon. We had no mission and no pride. Then things changed and we got a new role. The Light Infantry model became ascendant and we were given a mission and a second chance. Gone was the holding Division and marking time until we all got to a real unit. In was the 7th Infantry Division Light. We became Lightfighters and we were proud. We rucked and ran and sweated and shot and trained. The Manchu Mile. The monthly 7th Division 7 mile run. Camp Roberts and Fort Hunter Liggett. Ranger School and Jump School and Air Assault School. For a solid year I spent 2 weeks in the field followed by two weeks in garrison to clean, maintain and get ready to go back out. We got in new cadre and new troops and were no longer a side note. We were now at the very tip of the spear and we loved it! Esprit De Corps is to the physical as 10 is to 1. All we needed to go from being rag bags to Soldiers was a mission worthy of our sacrifice and the confidence that we were being forged into a weapon to defeat the enemies of America. Pride comes from within but it needs a seed to grow.
A couple of months ago I went to visit Car Guy and Bike Nurse. While there we went for a bike ride on Ft Ord. It's now closed. It's ranges and barracks turned over to the local governments or dedicated as BLM land. But the bones are still there to see if you know where to look.
If you turn that picture sideways you can read the caption at the top. It says;
"Pre-Ranger. 7th Infantry Division Light. Out of these archways will walk the finest Lightfighters."
Not Might. Not We Hope. Not We'll Try. Will. I am proud to have been associated with that idea and those men.
She may be gone but she's not forgotten. The very hills yet echo with the sounds of Soldiers training and preparing to defend our nation. Her bones are still those of a warrior and no amount of cosmetic change can alter that fact.
America is like Ft Ord now. Changed. Different. But she lives on. Her pride may be hidden but it's still there. In the blood and sweat of the millions who worked so hard to ensure our victory every foe and obstacle. All she needs is the willing sacrifice of Patriots and Warriors. The pain and sweat and hard work necessary to build military units into weapons of war and countries into bastions of freedom. We have a mission but do we have the Pride, the Will? Is our Esprit De Corps gone, churned into the dust of history? I say NO, a thousand times NO. We are currently rediscovering who we are and what we can do. What liberty looks like and how quickly it can be taken away. Who the enemy are and what their tactics and plans are. We have forgotten so much and discarded the rest. But we are Americans and no task is beyond us. We are governed by our consent and the current politicians exist in office only through our sufferance. It's time we withdrew that consent. No retreat, no surrender and no accommodation. Remember McCarthy and the truth he publicized. It's not McCarthyism any more. It's recognizing reality.
Remember the proud 7th. There is no try. There is only Will.
I am a proud Lightfighter and I have only begun to fight.