Canada’s McCarthyism and spies’ yellow danger fear 2023

Throughout the 1960s, I grew up on the neurotic, remote island of Australia.

Even as a child, I understood, along with millions of terrified Australians, that it was only a matter of time before a terrifying monster descended upon the country and transformed it from a land of freedom into a place of ruthless, Maoist uniformity.

The yellow peril

Back then, the oncoming danger was referred to as “the yellow peril,” and the encroaching bogeyman was China’s Chairman Mao, who schoolchildren, like me, were taught had nefarious plans to conquer our island.

In 1967, Australia’s prime leader, Harold Holt, went for a dip in the water on a Sunday afternoon and never returned. The created hysteria reached an almost paralyzing level. The exhaustive hunt for the missing prime minister was fruitless.

In the lack of a corpse or the intelligence to infer that Holt likely perished, conspiracy theories fueled by “yellow peril” developed. Several terrified Australians, including myself, were trained to take them seriously.

One “theory” that soon gained traction was that the prime minister was a traitor who fled the nation in swim trunks before being revealed. His appreciative Chinese handlers had arranged for a submarine to take up their prized agent just off the coast of Australia.

Many Australians were convinced that the dreaded Chinese invasion had begun in earnest, such was the pervasiveness of the hysteria.

Obviously, there was no invasion, and Australia remained mostly a sun-kissed and free island.

I’m taking this walk down illogical memory lane because a startling echo of the “yellow peril” mayhem has grabbed the snow-kissed, neurotic nation I’ve called home for decades: Canada.

The déjà-vu-like frenzy has been manufactured by reporters, columnists, and politicians who have played willing and enthusiastic handmaidens to a few of faceless so-called “security personnel” who fill Canada’s massive, mostly unaccountable, and shoddy “intelligence infrastructure.”

Leave a Reply