Right Revives Red Scare, Despite Lack of Reds

Fears of secret socialism prove a fertile ground for right-wing outrage
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 9, 2009 6:30 AM CDT
"Can people really be moved to worry about communism with the Soviet Union gone?" Frank asks. "Can you really hope to gin up a red scare without almost no reds?"   (©x-ray delta one)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – The right has been energized by a good old-fashioned Red hunt—never mind the fact that there are precious few old-style leftists around in America today, Thomas Frank writes in the Wall Street Journal. The centrist Democratic administration has been in power for well under a year, Frank writes, but right-wingers are crying "socialism" and "dictatorship" as if they'd been ground down by Communist oppression for decades.

"It's this willingness to believe that intrigues me most," writes Frank, who says it's easy for the right to shift into red-scare mode, thanks to its belief that the media, Hollywood, and academia have always been firmly in the grip of the left. The tactic works because "red scares are fun. It's somehow ennobling to believe that our leaders have secretly betrayed us," and " that we alone have figured it out and now we are stepping bravely forward to give the congressman a piece of our minds."