Monday’s Wall Street Journal ran an interesting review of a newly published biography of John S. Service by Jonathan Mirsky.
Drummed out of the State Department during the McCarthy period, Service was long viewed as a victim of irrational anti-communism, and he was rewarded by the liberal elite culture with an appoint at Cal Berkeley. Well, as it turns out, Service really did pass along top-secret documents to the Chinese communists.
So it goes. The entire mythology about anti-communism in the 1950s turns out to be just that—a myth. It wasn’t a “witch hunt,” a term meant to suggest that communist spies and collaborators were imaged and not real. KGB files and late in life confessions show that the State Department and other agencies in Washington actually had people who took the other side in the Cold War.
American conservatism has countless things to regret. Reading William F. Buckley on civil rights in the 1950s provides a good example. But American conservative intellectuals have come to terms with their past, and we do not hold the the absurd and morally corrupt notion that we have no enemies on the Right. Not so liberals, who have failed to come to terms with their historical legacy of blindness to and complicity with enemies on the Left.