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Symposium: "Have You No Sense of Decency?" McCarthyism 50 years later


Press Release

Nathan Glazer (Harvard University)
Anthony Lewis (New York Times)
Sam Tanenhaus (Vanity Fair)

Symposium: "Have You No Sense of Decency?" McCarthyism 50 years later

Monday, January 26, 2004 at 5:00 PM

American Academy of Arts and Sciences
136 Irving Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

"Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?" Joseph Welch's famous words heralded the end of Senator Joseph McCarthy's meteoric political career. Now, fifty years after the close of the Army-McCarthy hearings and McCarthy's censure by the Senate, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is holding a symposium that will reexamine this tumultuous period in American history. A panel of three experts will bring personal experience and diverse perspectives to examine the importance and the legacy of a movement whose echoes still reverberate. The panelists are:
  • Nathan Glazer, Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Education at Harvard University. He co-edited the quarterly The Public Interest from 1973 to 2003. In the 1950s he was an editor of Commentary magazine, where he wrote, among other things, on the Rosenberg case and on Senator McCarthy.

  • Anthony Lewis, columnist for the New York Times from 1969 to 2001. Lewis has held teaching appointments at Columbia and Harvard, authored numerous books and articles on legal subjects, and twice won the Pulitzer Prize, the first time in 1955 for a series investigating the illegal dismissal of a naval employee as a security risk under McCarthyism.

  • Sam Tanenhaus, Contributing Editor at Vanity Fair. Tanenhaus is the author of the biography Whittaker Chambers, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award and winner of the Los Angeles Times Book prize. He has argued that McCarthyism, far from being an isolated phenomenon, in fact prefigured the "inside-the-beltway revolt" that has been a hallmark of American conservatism in the last half-century from Nixon to Gingrich and beyond.

The Academy was founded in 1780 by John Adams and other scholar-patriots "to cultivate every art and science which may tend to advance the interest, honor, dignity, and happiness of a free, independent, and virtuous people." Its current membership of over 3,900 Fellows and 600 Foreign Honorary Members includes more than 150 Nobel laureates and fifty Pulitzer Prize winners. Drawing on the wide-ranging expertise of its membership, the American Academy conducts thoughtful, innovative, non-partisan studies on international security, American institutions, education, and the humanities.


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