HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » Editorials & Other Articles (Forum) » The Persistence of Tyrann...

Fri Feb 23, 2018, 08:55 PM

The Persistence of Tyranny

The Persistence of Tyranny

By Ken White

https://www.popehat.com/2018/02/15/the-persistence-of-tyranny/

Seventy-five years ago this June, the United States Supreme Court corrected its own grave moral and legal error and ruled that the government could not compel Jehovah's Witnesses to salute the flag and take the Pledge of Allegiance at school. Justice Jackson's stirring words were a watershed moment in American recognition of individual liberty in the face of government demands for uniformity:

If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe 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. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us.

[...]

This week, very nearly seventy-five years after the Supreme Court got it right, Colorado teacher Karen Smith was charged with assault for forcibly lifting a schoolchild by his jacket when he did not stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. Smith disregarded not only three-quarters of a century of constitutional law but the school's own policy which correctly tells the students they may sit. This sort of thing a student punished for exercising a right clearly established since FDR was President happens remarkably often.

[...]

Tyranny is not an abstraction. Tyranny is not faceless government. Tyranny is not some anonymous end boss to be defeated once and then confidently forgotten. Tyranny is us. Tyranny is our inclination to punish and oppress the other. Tyranny is our willingness to abuse our neighbor for not being on "our team." Tyranny is mouthing platitudes about liberty while cheering its suppression. Tyranny is our capacity to rationalize exceptions to rights for our enemies. Tyranny is our willingness to dismiss violation of rights as unimportant or minimal. Tyranny sold you your morning coffee, greeted you warmly as you walked into the office, made lunch plans with you, and will wave goodbye to you at the end of the day. Tyranny can be you.

[...]

5 replies, 1256 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 5 replies Author Time Post
Reply The Persistence of Tyranny (Original post)
Hermit-The-Prog Feb 2018 OP
Hortensis Feb 2018 #1
Hermit-The-Prog Feb 2018 #2
Hortensis Feb 2018 #3
Hermit-The-Prog Feb 2018 #4
Hortensis Feb 2018 #5

Response to Hermit-The-Prog (Original post)

Sat Feb 24, 2018, 03:19 PM

1. Tyranny is arresting anyone who posts like this.

And it is very real in many parts of the world.

Let's try to keep a little perspective and not be frivolous about evil. We're not living in a theoretical world, so perhaps we shouldn't use up our energy erecting and climbing emotional walls but rather making sure real ones are never erected.

Btw, I am really hoping that Lt. General Flynn will be prosecuted for his plan to kidnap someone living in America and deliver him to an undoubtedly dreadful fate, without legal recourse or anyone but his tormenters to hear or know, on a small, isolated prison island off the coast of Turkey.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Hortensis (Reply #1)

Sat Feb 24, 2018, 05:16 PM

2. TrumPutin

TrumPutin wants loyalty oaths, purges in the DoJ, and the ability of his cronies to do as they please (see relaxed environmental regs and shrinking federal lands).

The article points out the student who was forced to stand for the pledge of allegiance. That matches well with the moron in the White House condemning NFL players instead of supporting their right to protest.

The whole gang in power right now appears to me to be a bunch of tyranny worshippers. They appear to be on the attack against anyone who doesn't look, act, or think as they do.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Hermit-The-Prog (Reply #2)

Sat Feb 24, 2018, 05:31 PM

3. Good. At least mostly back to terra firma.

I just wish we could say this stuff was new. It isn't, of course. Persistent abuses of liberties at the state and local levels are the reason the federal government has to frequently step in to at least keep them mostly under control.

It's a balancing act, though, remembering that political power comes from the voters, who not only can take it away and give it to someone else every two and four years, but who also can empower or take power away from sitting pols midterm by expressions of their will.

That in fact happens very often, as often as local majorities feel their will is being oppressed by applications of U.S. constitutional principles. Federal "tyranny," as they almost always regard it.

Again, though, let's not join the far right to claim the entire nation is sunk under tyranny. Not while real political oppression, kidnappings, murders, imprisonments without trial, tortures, and mass killings are taking place in other nations this very moment.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Hortensis (Reply #3)

Sat Feb 24, 2018, 06:20 PM

4. not so firma

The problem is that this gang is stuffing the courts with those who agree with them, qualified for the job or not. Look at the news of how immigrants are treated -- even including unapproved, experimental treatment to attempt to reverse a medically-induced abortion midway. Look at the way wealth and power are being concentrated in a handful of billionaires -- similar to Putin and his oligarchs. Consider that (last figure I saw) about 19% of Americans get all their news from Fox -- which feeds propaganda for this concentration of power, the gun fetish, "vote fraud", and virulent hatred of all things liberal. Ending voter suppression requires courts with competent jurists on the bench.

People immersed in Fox, Rush, Jones, etc., and screaming on cue at TrumPutin's rallies don't think twice about "tyranny" or "rights" when they attack strangers in malls, etc., over being brown or dressing a little differently. They will vote as told by either Fox or televangelists, regardless of their own self-interest.

Mid-terms are critical, in my opinion. We have two wheels on the shoulder of the road and need a correction before we hit the ditch.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Hermit-The-Prog (Original post)

Sun Feb 25, 2018, 12:32 PM

5. Glad I didn't have this on my mind when I went to bed.

All this is happening, or at least is being attempted as many good people fight back. These appointments to courts at all levels are especially disturbing.

However, unwillingness/inability to worry about abuse until it affects people we know is not tyranny. If it was, there could be no human existence that was not because this is normal, even emotionally healthy human behavior.

It is a factor that allows development of tyranny: "cruel and oppressive government or rule."

Language is an extremely powerful shaper of thought. It's really not a good idea to diminish the power of the word "tyranny," which our founding fathers used as a call to arms. I'm afraid irritating and repelling people by restyling it as a criticism of everyday behaviors would certainly do that. That's for tyrants who want to defuse its power.

Anyway, people can't and would't submit to living under a tyranny of conscience, it's not in us. We'd turn on sitcoms to drown it out instead.

Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it; and this I know, my Lords, that where law ends tyranny begins! ~ William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham, speaking in the House of Lords, 9 January 1770


That is certainly true in western liberal democracies, and it is that which we need to fight.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread