Milton Rogovin, Dangerous Subversive? Ernest Withers, Shameful Collaborator?
The AP story makes clear that the Rogovins withdrew from active left-wing politics in large measure to insulate their family. My understanding is that Withers agreed to collaborate in hopes of doing the same. My point in drawing this contrast is not to cast a morality play of heroes and villains. Instead it is to suggest how pervasive and insidious red-baiting has been. The surveillance and hectoring infiltrated lives of decent people in destructive ways. And it now continues to do so. (Was it really an "accident" that the censors neglected to redact Withers' name from files released under FOIA requests?) There are pointed lessons here for the ongoing operation of the U.S. government in the area of "national security."