‘Do you, or have you ever, belonged to the Boston Tea Party?’
Religion & Liberty Online

‘Do you, or have you ever, belonged to the Boston Tea Party?’

Keith Lambert has a riveting first-hand account at his new blog about Cold War Communist informant Herb Philbrick. Some key excerpts:

Back in the 1980’s I was more interested in dating his daughter than I was in learning about the man she called her father. Nevertheless because of his poor night vision my mother-in-law to be Shirley pulled me aside and asked me to drive the two of them to Boston for an appearance of Herb’s on a locally syndicated television show called “5 All Night Live All Night”….

I was in my late teens and I only knew the basics of Herb’s background: that he was a private citizen who for 9 years had secretly informed to the FBI all while working his way up through the ranks of the New England Communist Party, and that in 1949 he had appeared in New York federal court as a surprise secret witness at the trial of the top 11 New England Communist Party members who were later convicted of conspiring to overthrow the US government by force and violence. To me he was just Herb, a quiet, Christian man who worked for the sleepy southern Hampton Union Leader as a journalist …

Even at that time, the public school system and popular culture were already hard at work re-writing the history of the Cold War, and about all I knew on the subject was what I’d been taught – that a zealot named Joe McCarthy had blacklisted people in a witch-hunt of sorts, unfairly or so I’d been told, and that most were not Communists but victims of blacklisting – old history we should never repeat….

We arrived about an hour early for the live broadcast and Herb went on right after the 1950’s wrestler ‘Killer Kowalski’ in a strange ode to the 50’s sort of theme for the show….

The interview began with an explanation of the 1949 trial and Herb’s secret life as an informant; secret from his wife, family, personal and professional acquaintances, and of how he lived in in fear for his life …. I distinctly remember towards the end of the interview the host asking Herb as a wrap-up question “…If Herb still believed there was a threat from Communism?” To my astonishment Herb said, “Oh yes, the hundreds, thousands of Comrades haven’t gone anywhere, they’re more entrenched now then ever, and I expect they will actually succeed by the year 2000 or very soon after.” I’ll never forget the reaction of the host, he scoffed at the idea and actually laughed aloud. Herb never wavered but I was shocked at the prediction it seemed so unbelievable that in a mere 20-30 years that could happen when Russia appeared to be falling apart. I never admitted so, but I was embarrassed for him …

Time brings clarity – and wisdom. Herb and Shirley too are both long gone now, their voices and those of the other stalwart anti-Communists patriots sounding the alarm to an ignorant nation have been all but silenced by the re-education of the Left over the years. I miss them dearly but I’m relieved they didn’t live to see the country we’ve become where Christians, Patriots and Conservatives are targeted by their own government …