McCarthy last night told an audience at a panel for the Harvard Initiative for Peace and Justice that “I found out I have been blacklisted. Not really ‘blacklisted,’ but I’m very sensitive to that since my last name is McCarthy.” The comment elicited laughter from the audience.
Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.) and Lynne V. Cheney, the wife of the Vice President Richard B. Cheney, originally founded the ACTA in 1995 as the National Alumni Forum.
“Dick Cheney taking time out of his pillow talk to decide which academics should be on the list is deeply disconcerting to me,” McCarthy said.
ACTA describes itself as “a nonprofit educational organization committed to academic freedom, excellence and accountability on college and university campuses.” Past ACTA statements have chastised Ivy League universities for not inviting Republican commencement speakers and have encouraged more traditional English curricula.
ACTA’s recent report, entitled “Defending Civilization: How Our Universities Are Failing America and What Can Be Done About It,” lists 117 examples of academics with messages “short on patriotism and long on self-flagellation.”
The report included McCarthy on the list, citing a quotation of McCarthy that he “[deplores those] who are deploying rhetoric and deploying troops without thinking before they speak.”
ACTA expressed concern in the report that those who favor the U.S. attacks on Afghanistan not be cowed into silence.
“It is urgent that students and professors who support the war effort not be intimidated,” it stated.
During the panel, which also included Fletcher University Professor Cornel R. West ’74, McCarthy joked about his remonstrance by ACTA.
“Professor West didn’t even make the list!” he said.
McCarthy says there are different ways in which Americans can show their patriotism.
“Don’t tell me I’m unpatriotic because I don’t hang a flag off my balcony,” he said.
ACTA’s list included Jesse Jackson, for saying in a speech at Harvard Law School that “[We should] build bridges and relationships, not simply bombs and walls,” and participants in a rally at Harvard on Sept. 20, for chanting, “What do we want? Peace! When do we want it? Now!”
After the forum, McCarthy said that “I guess I’m doing the right thing, and I’m happy to be on that list. I’m in good company, with people I respect a lot more than some others who aren’t on that list.”