The McCarthy Trials

During the cold war, the US and the Soviet Union were at ideological conflict. Joseph McCarthy, a prominent US senator, set out on a mission to identify the dangerous ‘communists’ allegedly trying to infiltrate the US government. A commission was set up to prosecute these so-called communist spies within the state. Through an arbitrary selection process, the accused was presented in a senate committee hearing. The only way the defendant could be acquitted is by proving that they were not a ‘communist’. Let’s take a look at the ‘McCarthy Method’ through the lens of Reason:

A hyperbolic example:
Proof that UFOs exist

Therefore, UFOs must exist.

No person in good sense would agree with the conclusion. Because, the logical structure is blatantly lacking.

The McCarthy Argument:

Therefore, you must be a communist.

The logical structure they both follow contains the form:

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