Oy Vey!

Strange Fruit (and Assorted Nuts)

May 11, 2017

Ditto with the lynching of a black man named Ed Johnson in Chattanooga in 1906. Johnson had been convicted of the assault and rape of a white woman. The woman, who’d been choked from behind and rendered unconscious before the rape, did not see the face of her attacker, but knew from his hands that he was black. The new Democrat sheriff, who’d been elected on a pledge to combat “negro crime,” soon had a black man in custody, and the trial was one that I doubt any rational human would consider fair: Blacks were excluded from the jury, defense attorneys were threatened with lynching, evidence of Johnson’s alibi was excluded (his coworkers would have testified that he was at work the night of the rape, miles away from the crime scene), and, at one point during the trial, a juror actually attempted to kill Johnson inside the courtroom!

To no one’s surprise, Johnson was sentenced to hang.

In a very rare move by 1906 standards, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a temporary stay of execution. There were so many damn things wrong with the trial, even the court’s outright white-supremacist justices agreed that a stay was needed to decide if a new trial was warranted. A chest-thumping mob, abetted by the negro-fightin’ sheriff, decided to carry out the hanging anyway, because—just like the mob in the Frank lynching—the hangmen viewed their actions as legal. SCOTUS, like Governor Slaton in the Frank case, was refusing to enforce the law. Thus it was left up to the good folks and their strong ropes to be the law’s true representative. The mob was not defying the law but protecting it.

In reality, Governor Slaton acted well within his proper legal authority when he commuted Leo Frank’s death sentence, and SCOTUS acted well within its proper legal authority when it issued a stay of Ed Johnson’s execution. But the mob didn’t care, because the mob—encouraged by local politicians and community leaders—managed to convince itself that its actions were legal and just. And so it is with today’s millennial anti-free-speech lynch mobbers, who storm campuses, set things on fire, make death threats, beat people up, and employ all manner of violence and intimidation to censor opinions and silence opponents. These fanatics have been convinced by leftist professors and politicians that “hate speech” is illegal, and therefore, when it’s allowed on campus, it’s the university that’s violating the law. The mob is only trying to see that the law is respected and enforced; the mob is using force to prevent the commission of a crime. This twisted mindset is the direct result of the misinformation spread by people like Dean.

This is how rights can be lost, even in a nation with a constitution that protects all political speech, no matter how controversial or offensive. If enough people begin to believe that “hate speech” (itself a subjective and vague term) is illegal, it will, in a way, become outlawed, in a de facto sense, by the people themselves, who will come to fear violating a law that doesn’t exist. This is how you bypass the need for anti-speech laws; just convince everyone that we already have them. Keep repeating the mantra “hate speech is not protected speech,” keep purposely confusing political speech with speech that can be regulated (like pornography), and keep telling lies about the meaning and scope of the legal principle of “fighting words.”

So, in sober retrospect, I do feel the need to amend my tweets to Howard Dean. He may be a fucking moron, but that’s not the worst thing about him. I should have added that he’s a dangerous fucking moron. So, my apologies, Mr. Governor…I was in error. It’s not your stupidity that should alarm us, but your reckless indifference to the harm it’s causing and the damage it’s doing to our nation.

Can you forgive me?

I truly hope the answer is a resounding “Yeaaaaahhhh!

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