Earlier this year, the Screen Actors Guild issued a statement lamenting that "those in the public eye should suffer professionally for having the courage to give voice to their views. Even a hint of the blacklist must never again be tolerated in this nation." Feeling the lash of a right-wing blacklist, the Dixie Chicks recently played to an adoring, sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden.
But earlier this week, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) denounced a radio corporation's decision not to play the Dixie Chicks as similar to Nazism and McCarthyism. The Dixie Chicks lead singer had ridiculed President Bush before a foreign audience. That was constitutionally protected free speech. The decision of radio stations not to play the Dixie Chicks, however, is not a matter of their own free speech.
Conservatives are openly blackballed in all the liberal professions?publishing, Hollywood, the mainstream media, education and college faculties. Apparently, that's not "blacklisting." It is churlish for conservatives to complain about private censorship. True blacklisting occurs only when someone scowls at a liberal.
Ronald Radosh is one of the nation's pre-eminent historians, but he is blacklisted from American universities because he wrote a book concluding that the Rosenbergs were guilty -?a few years before decrypted Soviet cables were released proving they were guilty.
Inasmuch as Radosh had once been a "progressive" himself, a fatwa was inevitable. Radosh marched for the Rosenbergs. He attended candlelight vigils for the Rosenbergs. He was even personally acquainted with Pete Seeger! But after setting out to write a book proving the Rosenbergs innocent, his research led him to conclude otherwise. He was a liberal who rejected the faith. Under strict fatwa procedures, Radosh had to be banned from academia.
As has been copiously detailed by John Judis in the liberal New Republic magazine, whenever Radosh is on the verge of being hired by a major university, the liberal wolf pack bays and suddenly the position disappears. Anonymous critics were quoted "question[ing] his credentials." One historian told Judis: "I wouldn't hire a red-baiter like Ron." Another said Radosh was "not a historian at all." Columbia history professor Eric Foner claimed Radosh's book on the Rosenbergs violated the canons of historical scholarship.
As any infant knows, one of the canons of historical scholarship is to mindlessly hold as an article of faith the manifestly absurd belief that the Rosenbergs were innocent. It is an affront to good scholarship to suggest otherwise. Most devastatingly, Foner?once president of the American Historical Association?accused Radosh of "liberal anti-communism." Other historians have even stooped so low as to call Radosh a "conservative." One editor said he believed Radosh was a CIA agent.
American college students are learning history from people who believe the Rosenbergs were innocent idealists and Radosh is a CIA agent. (How are the grades for students who write term papers saying the Rosenbergs were guilty?)
Obtaining a teaching position was not so difficult for Joel Kovel, who holds the prestigious "Alger Hiss Professor of Social Studies" chair at Bard College. With superb timing, in 1994, just one year before the Venona cables were declassified, Kovel published a book describing anti-communism as a psychiatric condition. Appropriately, Kovel dedicated the book to his chair's namesake, Soviet spy Alger Hiss. Making paranoid accusations based on his own neurotic impulses, Kovel explained that America's anti-communism was a form of anti-Semitism.
He should know. In a 2002 article, Kovel called the West Bank "a huge concentration camp," and demanded to know: "Why does the Zionist community, in raging against terrorism, forget that three of its prime ministers within the last 20 years, Begin, Shamir and Sharon, are openly recognized to have been world-class terrorists and mass murderers?"
But in his book Red Hunting in the Promised Land?dedicated to uber-WASP Communist Hiss?Kovel raved: "The Communist became ... the archaic blood villain of Western civilization?the Jew who killed Christ, the black Hamitic son of Noah, the howling savage beyond the gates reminding 100 percent Americans of the terrors of the dark." (Now that's serious scholarship.)
When the Venona Project was declassified one year later, it turned out there was another likely explanation for America's anti-communism. To wit: the fact that the government was crawling with Soviet spies feverishly passing atomic technology to America's mortal enemy. But right up until the Soviet cables were declassified, Kovel's lunatic psychological theory was accepted in the journals of mainstream opinion. His book describing anti-communism as a mental defect was one of The Washington Post's recommended books in 1994.
Unlike Radosh, who did not need to read Soviet cables to figure out that Julius Rosenberg was a spy, Kovel has encountered no difficulty in landing any number of teaching positions. In addition to holding the coveted Traitor Chair at Bard College, he has been an anthropology professor at the New School for Social Research; a professor of political science and communications at the University of California, San Diego; a lecturer at San Diego State University; and a professor at the Saybrook Institute in San Francisco.
People who have dedicated their lives to exposing lesbian imagery in Moby-Dick are more prevalent on the nation's campuses than serious scholars. The nation's colleges and universities have become a Safe Streets program for traitors and lunatics. At least Tailgunner Joe got them out of government work.