Cathy Young's column misses the point of why Sen. Joseph McCarthy was censured ["History's distorted view of McCarthy," Opinion, April 25]. It wasn't because of his finding communists in the entertainment industry and the State Department. They were there all right. McCarthy's downfall was caused by two related matters: his unprincipled tactics in attacking anyone who did not agree with him, and his attacks on Protestant religions.
I was in high school then and could see the sharp rift between the Catholic students, who generally idolized McCarthy, and the Protestant and Jewish students, who loathed him. He quickly became so wrapped up in his own power to destroy people that he failed to realize the power of the forces that were lining up against him.
When Edward R. Murrow of CBS castigated McCarthy on television, his fate was sealed. He quickly lost power after the Senate censured him.
Bob Boos, Plainview
I was disturbed by Cathy Young's column. Joseph McCarthy and the era he is associated with were an ugly mark on American democracy. It's perfectly legal to express your thoughts and to believe what you want, short of spying or reverting to violence.
Why is one ideology, capitalism, deemed untouchable, while socialism or communism are considered evil? It's not the ideologies that are evil but previous foreign governments' applications of these ideologies, which were neither true communism nor socialism.
Under capitalism, 400 people in this country have more wealth than the bottom 50 percent. That fact to me is more alarming than someone in the past believing in another method of organizing the economy.
Suzanne Stone, Centerport