‘Have you no sense of decency?’



Back in the 1950s, the United States went through a phase of immense paranoia about Communism, whipped up in large part by infamous Senator Joseph R. McCarthy. Like all carefully orchestrated political campaigns that lack substance and that are ultimately just attempts to perform a series of character assassinations, McCarthy’s came down on June 9, 1954, when Joseph Welch, a lawyer from Boston, asked McCarthy “Have you no sense of decency?” (see, for example, this short summary). If you’re interested in watching what might well be a fairly similar moment today, watch Keith Olberman comment on the latest speech by Donald Rumsfeld.