In that David Corn piece linked below he’s careful to assure readers that he’s not “red baiting.” I’ve got to say I’ve never really understood what’s so bad about red-baiting. Maybe I just don’t understand it. But my understanding is that red-baiting is: A) attacking someone because he is a Communist; B) Suggesting that an actual but secret Communist might be a Communist; C) Suggesting that someone who merely talks, acts and thinks like a Communist is in fact a Communist D) Suggesting that someone is a Communist when he really isn’t E) All of the above.
Now, of all these possibilities only “D” is really all that bad. To me it’s not that different from falsely calling someone a Nazi. But here’s the important thing: Why would actual Communists have a problem with being called a Communist? And why would they think the charge is all that big an insult?
I’m sure the answer has something to do with the blacklists or the Hollywood Ten (yawn). And, that’s fine if you want to explain why D is bad (losing your job for something you’re not is unjust). But could someone tell me why it was so wrong to call high ranking members of the Communist party “Communists”? How is that red-baiting? Or if that is red-baiting, why is red-baiting bad?