Joseph McCarthy was famous for his anti-communist rhetoric that resulted in the emergence of a trend called McCarthyism. In one of his speeches, the politician outlines his anti-communist agenda and calls for immediate measures that had to be undertaken by the government and by the people of the United States. In the speech delivered in West Virginia on February 9, 1950, McCarthy expressed his concerns regarding the major threats associated with the spread of communism in the world and within the USA.
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When describing communist nations, McCarthy stated that those were atheistic countries ready to attack due to their ideology. The politician stressed that those people and especially their leaders had no morality and longed for the destruction of the Western world (McCarthy, 1950). The congressman referred to Stalin’s words concerning the world revolution and the future collision of the communist and Christian states. It is noteworthy that McCarthy focused on faith rather than economic or political agendas. This choice may be explained by his desire to appeal to his audience and gain people’s support.
One of the peculiarities of this speech is its emotional load, exaggeration, and lack of evidence. He provided figures as to the spread of communism and named several traitors (as he put it). However, when mentioning the number of people pertaining to the communist camp, he spoke about millions of people who were under the direct influence of communists. His estimates were far from being true, and he never noted the exact countries or nations.
When referring to the words of Soviet leaders, McCarthy did not provide the context, which makes his conclusions questionable or even invalid. Due to these weaknesses, his speech can be seen as a set of threats rather than an analysis of the political situation in the world.
It is possible to draw parallels between McCarthy’s words regarding communism and Islam especially in the aftermath of the 9/11 bombings. Politicians often distort facts and exaggerate the role this religion plays in US society. They describe various threats associated with Islam and concentrate on potential wars in the Christian world. They do not bother explaining the essence of the religion and the way the vast majority of people practicing it live. They do not shed light on the values those people share. American politicians draw public attention to extremists and their acts, which contributes to the development of anti-Islamic rhetoric in the United States.
In conclusion, it is necessary to note that drawing lines between anti-communist and anti-Islam rhetoric is valid. People who lived in the 1950s and people living in the 2010s are bombarded with similar messages that artificially divide the world into different camps. This approach is detrimental as it prevents nations from collaborating and being committed to a common goal. It is important to abandon this practice and try to focus on similarities between individuals and religions that can bring unity rather than things that make people hostile.
McCarthy, J. (1950). “Enemies from within” speech delivered in Wheeling, West Virginia (1950). Web.
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