Writes Elan Journo on Why Rand Was Right to Testify Against Hollywood Communism:
In 1947, during what some call the “McCarthy Era,” Ayn Rand was asked to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) on the influence of Communism in Hollywood. She appeared as a “friendly witness.” The standard verdict on these hearings, and on Rand’s participation, is unequivocal condemnation: The hearings were an inquisition that destroyed the careers of “blacklisted” filmmakers, ruined lives, and trampled the First Amendment. And the “friendly witnesses,” such as Rand, who testified voluntarily, were guilty of abetting an anti-Communist witch hunt.
The only problem with this standard assessment is that it’s totally wrong.
Journo also notes:
While the HUAC hearings are sometimes placed in the “McCarthy Era” — tarring Rand and other participants with the accusation of “McCarthyism” — this is factually wrong. Sen. Joseph McCarthy had no part in HUAC, which was formed in 1938; Ayn Rand testified in 1947. McCarthy began his investigations in 1950 and focused on Communist penetration, not of Hollywood, but of the US government.
Furthermore, while Rand was no admirer of McCarthy or his methods, she identified early on that the term “McCarthyism” was an illegitimate concept coined as a deliberate smear. Its alleged meaning, she wrote, was “unjust accusations, persecutions, and character assassinations of innocent victims.” But its real meaning, she argued, was “Anti-Communism,” with the aim of discrediting as necessarily unjust and irrational any uncompromising opposition to Communism.
Link: Why Rand Was Right to Testify Against Hollywood Communism New Ideal
- The Big Lie in Hollywood: The Hollywood Ten Were Not Victims But Villains
- Red Star Over Hollywood: The Film Colony’s Long Romance With the Left
- Ayn Rand and Song of Russia: Communism and Anti-Communism in 1940s Hollywood
- The Black Listing of Elia Kazan
- Justice for Elia Kazan