An unholy Racket No 001: Epitaphs and Interferences

...And it's into the fucking fray:

1.Mollie Steimer, one of those incredible people who are hated by fascists and capitalists of all stripes and admired by those that care about liberty and justice for all, wrote once:

"We fought injustice in our humble way as best we could; and if the result was prison, hard labour, deportations and lots of suffering, well, this was something that every human being that fights for a better humanity has to expect."

A short biography at Wikipedia. She needs to be remembered, and one of the purposes of this blog will be to bring attention to mostly forgotten heroes like her.

2.The word sabotage comes from French "sabot", a kind of a wooden shoe—a clog—that French workers of the early Industrial revolution threw into the machine looms to disable them—to clog them. A wonderful word that has gathered more negative connotations over the years, sadly.

3.President Harding is generally considered to be the most inept of all that held the office occasionally associated with talent and intelligence. He had said, once: "I am not fit for this office and should never have been here", which statement elevates him far above the current resident. To the old Chinese curse of "may you live in interesting times", we can add "and may you live under exceptional rulers". Exceptionally awful, that is.

4.I am currently reading Peter Irons' A People's History of the Supreme Court and a wondeful book it is. Amongst big business stooges, racists and several brilliant people with whose political and judicial beliefs I disagree strongly (the racist Taney, rabid patriot Frankfurter, or the Four Horsemen of (laissez-faire) Apocalypse) there were quite a few justices of sheer genius and ethical fortitude. (Even now, there are at least two of those on the bench. No prizes for guessing who). In any case, here are some quotes that should be remembered:

"Persecution for the expression of opinions seems to me perfectly logical. If you have no doubt of your premises or your power and want a certain result with all your heart you naturally express your wishes in law and sweep away all opposition. But when men have realized that time has upset many fighting faiths, they may come to believe even more than they believe the very foundations of their own conduct that the ultimate good desired is better reached by the free trade in ideas—that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market, and that truth is the only ground upon which their wishes safely can be carried out. That in any rate is the theory of our Constitution."

–Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr, in his dissent in Abrams v. United States, 1919 (the case which resulted in the deportation of Mollie Steimer, among others, to the true bastion of liberty that was Bolshevik Russia at the time).


"The very purpose of the Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts. One's right to life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections...If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can presribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein."

—Robert Jackson, writing for majority in West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette, 1943

There shall be more; the above words precisely capture the reasons I am so interested in Constitutional law lately. There were giants in the world in those days.

5.I must sleep now, over and out...


cyndromeda said...

speaking of law, were you serious about applying to law school?

Jorgon Gorgon said...

Indeed. Am appplying to L&C, SF State, Boalt, and, as soon as I get paid again and have money for more applications, ;-(...Yale and harvard, although I confess my chances there are probably rather slim.