By Paul Kengor
October 17, 2015, is the centenary of the birth of Arthur Miller, one of the literary left’s shining lights and righteous crusaders against some of liberals’ worst demons: Joe McCarthy, “HUAC,” and, more generally, anti-communism. Yes, anti-communism. As often noted by Harvard’s Richard Pipes and the Hoover Institution’s Robert Conquest, few things have animated liberal animus quite like anti-communism. It’s not that liberals have been pro-communist so much as they are anti-anti-communist. They dislike anti-communists more than they dislike communists. Their preferred demon isn’t Joe Stalin but Joe McCarthy. As James Burnham, the great ex-communist, put it, “for the left, the preferred enemy is always to the right.”
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But this does not suffice to describe Arthur Miller. Miller was not only anti-anti-communist; he was pro-communist. More than that, Arthur Miller had been a communist. And that’s something that students in their public schools and in our woeful universities had not and still will not learn as they are spoon-fed Miller’s left-wing morality plays. To the contrary, Miller’s most-lasting works have succeeded in portraying anti-communists as the lowest form of political troglodyte. Chief among those works, the playwright became a hero among the left for The Crucible, his political parable of the alleged excesses of anti-communism, which portrayed accused communists as innocent fighters for truth, justice, and the American way.
And so, the mere suggestion that Arthur Miller was ever a communist himself reflexively sends liberals spinning in circles screaming “McCarthyism,” which itself is a testimony to the effectiveness of the playwright’s propaganda.
Thus, it is to students, suffering prisoners to liberal professors in captive classrooms, that I submit the following history lesson that they will not receive from their $25,000-50,000 per year of “higher” education. And it’s free of charge.