I think it [the United States] is the greatest country in the world, and a lot of it has to do with what Emily Mortimer's character said: "We are a country that keeps saying that we can do better." It's also a country where I'm allowed to write a show like this. I'm glad we're that. I'm two generations removed from being blacklisted in Hollywood, I surely would have been one of those guys called in front of the committee, and we're not that country anymore.[emphasis added]
Really, Mr. Sorkin? Really?
You know what the surest sign is that a country is susceptible to the authoritarian thinking that Joseph McCarthy exemplified?
Denying that it's possible.
Don't ever think your neighbors — or you — are immune to the kind of hypernationalism, jingoism, paranoia, and blame-mongering that the U.S. displayed so disgracefully in the 1950s. Hell, we demonstrated these same terrible traits again in the wake of the 11 September 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon — and some, especially the more despicable commentators and politicians who style themselves as "conservatives", continue to indulge their basest instincts along the same lines. (Some of the latter may just see dollar signs and not be true believers themselves, but they're just as despicable.)
The ugly truth is, we are still that country.
That doesn't mean there's something uniquely broken about the United States. The U.S. is no worse than most other countries in that respect.
The ugliness that McCarthy so enthusiastically spewed, and encouraged so many others to spew in their turn, is deeply embedded in human nature. To deny that is to leave yourself open to falling victim to it. That's why these dark impulses have resurfaced again and again: in the Sudan, in Rwanda, in the former Yugoslavia, in India, and perhaps most tragically and unforgettably, in Germany in the 1930s and 1940s.
I've never watched any of Sorkin's TV shows or movies. I only hope they're not as glib as he was in this interview.