Two Boston area immigrants who fell under the spell of a radical ideology that espoused the use of bombs against innocents were allegedly behind the violent April 15 multiple murders.
But it’s not who you think it is. The year was 1920 and the two men were Ferdinando Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti. Aside from the date and the location, there are other parallels too. And they speak more about us than they do about either Sacco and Vanzetti or the Tsarnaev Brothers.
The nineteen-teens and twenties was a period of great tumult in the United States. After the First World War, which was widely viewed as disastrous mistake for having gotten involved, Americans rejected all things associated with the outside world. The aftermath of the Great War brought upheaval to Europe. Replacing failing empires and monarchies was Russian communism, German socialism, and varying amounts of anarchy seemingly everywhere else.
Today there is the ongoing collapse of the Euro and the demise of Middle Eastern strongmen, and so we fear radical islamism and economic contagion from Cyprus and Greece.
Eight decades ago the end of the war brought economic troubles too. High unemployment, which was widely and mistakenly thought of as a normal post-war adjustment to a lack of military demand and a surplus of returning soldiers, was actually just a result of the post-war continuation of the ongoing de-agriculturalization of the world economy. Regardless of the cause, greater unemployment turned American workers against more recent immigrants who were looking for work too. In 1917 America passed its first immigration restriction laws barring the entry of “idiots, imbeciles, epileptics, alcoholics . . . ” and Asians. Just a year before, an influential eugenicist wrote The Passing of the Great Race that became widely popular. By 1924 America had its first immigration quotas that attempting to freeze in place the country’s racial composition.
Today unemployment is higher than normal as the world deals with the fallout associated with becoming a post-manufacturing economy. Pat Buchanan hawks The Death of the West: How Dying Populations and Immigrant Invasions Imperil Our Country and Civilization. Politicians from all sides rail against “illegal” immigration but very often demagogue all immigration.
Both periods were characterized by big fights over petty tangential issues that many prudes insisted contributed to unrest and crime. The Volstead Act passed in the wake of the 18th Amendment gave us Prohibition, while today the President and many Democratic leaders want to outlaw guns. Were those laws to pass, more, not less, crime would be the result, just as more crime was the result of Prohibition too.
Certainly I could carry the parallels further, but let me just conclude with a few questions:
- Was it really necessary to quarantine an entire city to capture a couple criminals whose bombing victims numbered one-one-thousandth of those killed on 9/11?
- Does it not speak volumes about the limits of power and the power of people that the police were unsuccessful during their hours of uninhibited manhunt, but as soon as the house arrest was lifted a citizen found the suspect?
- Is it realistic to expect that among millions of immigrants there won’t be a few criminals, when we have millions of native Americans locked up here at home?
- Is not labeling violence as “terrorism” or “an act of war” just another form of “hate” crime, which attempts to characterize criminals by their thoughts instead of their acts?
- If three dead bombing victims is enough to rescind an American citizen’s constitutional rights, is two? Or one? Or none?
| Category: Race
| Posted at: Sunday, 17 June 2012
Through a commenter, I just learned that Rodney King is dead. Wow. I wonder if this is a metaphor for our times.
| Category: 2012
, 2nd Amendment
, Taxes & Spending
| Posted at: Thursday, 10 May 2012
I suppose I ought to say something about President Obama’s flip-flop on gay marriage. Instead, I’ll tell you what I wish Mitt Romney had said when he was asked about the President’s stance:
“That’s nice; now what about jobs?“
In fact, that should be Mitt Romney’s response every time he is asked about gay marriage, immigration, guns, Trayvon Martin, global warming, eating dogs . . .
Pretty much everything except the economy, taxes, and spending is a distraction from the issues that are really important. Mitt Romney should drive the point home that everything else is secondary and frivolous and that he is not going to allow the debate to come off that point.
P.S. If you’re really interested in what I think about gay marriage, here’s a couple recent posts that shed some light on that. But rather than expect you to read them, here’s a two-word summation: Don’t care.
MORE: Roger Simon concurs and offers a warning:
“The issue is a sideshow intended to distract. If our country goes the way of Greece – and writing this from the City of Los Angeles, it’s not so hard to imagine – you can forget any issue, whatever your favorite one is. You won’t be living in America anymore.”
UPDATE: Thanks to Ed at Insty’s Place for the links. While you’re here, this is a story that’s not directly about jobs, but I bring it around to that point: She deserves pity, not a punch in the throat. (There’s a bonus Blazing Saddles clip at the end.)
| Category: Culture
| Posted at: Tuesday, 8 May 2012
1/32 Indian Elizabeth Warren is also 1/32nd descended from a Tennessee militiaman who marched the Cherokee away on the “Trail of Tears.”
Does this mean that she would have to pay restitution to herself?
Again, this just demonstrates the idiocy of affirmative action. If it is meant to overcome past prejudice at the expense of those who acquired past benefits, then Elizabeth Warren sits on both sides of the equation. That’s true of a lot of Americans, including President Obama. Actually, that’s not even true in his case, as his black half is second-generation African and was never subject to slavery in North America.
If anything good can come from this farce, it is a growing recognition that affirmative action’s days need to end.
I’m one-sixteenth Bastard. Those who know me well would probably claim that it’s a higher percentage. But technically, I’m only one-sixteenth.
That’s because my grandfather’s grandfather was born just a couple short months after his mother’s 1832 wedding to a man who may or may not have been his biological father and shortly before the couple and their infant child beat a hasty exit to the New World.
Why is my lineage relevant? It’s not. Or at least it shouldn’t be. Except that, apparently, if you can trace 1/32nd of your ancestry to somebody who today would enjoy protected status, you too can enjoy that same protection. At least that’s what Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat running for US Senate in Massachusetts, claims. She used her 1/32nd drop of Cherokee Indian blood to bolster her resume so that she could advance through law schools all the way to a tenured post at Harvard as a minority applicant. (Sadly for me, bastards are not a minority.)
Now if this all seems preposterous to you, you’re right. If Elizabeth Warren, by virtue of her great-great-great-grandmother is entitled to protected status, are my children also minorities as a result of their Powhatan Indian ancestry that dates to the 17th century? As my eldest is applying for colleges next year, that would be awesome news! And if her 1/512th Indian ancestry doesn’t qualify, where is the breakpoint? Is it 1/64th? Or 1/128th? Or 1/256th? Exactly how many drops of minority blood makes one a minority?
Mark Twain exposed the folly of this system of racial discrimination in Pudd’nhead Wilson way back in 1893. The story is set in the antebellum South and involves a baby, born (coincidentally) 1/32nd black, but who was white enough that his mother switched the infant with a white baby so that her son could be raised free from the stain of her race. Twain originally started the story as a comedic interpretation of the mixed up social mores of his day, but as his writing continued the story evolved into a tragedy.
That’s how I view the Elizabeth Warren story too: farce that obscures tragedy. The real issue is not Elizabeth Warren’s gaming of the system to her advantage; it is that this system of racial discrimination even exists. Here we are in the 21st century arguing about how many drops of blood makes a white man black. That’s a tragedy.
Mark Twain is mocking us from the grave.
UPDATE: Thanks to Glenn for the link. While you’re here, please take a look around.
| Category: Culture
| Posted at: Wednesday, 11 April 2012
Disney World may be upstaged by the spectacle to be staged this summer in neighboring Sanford, Florida. The Washington Post is reporting that prosecutor Angela Corey is going to file unspecified charges against George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin shooting.
As I mentioned before, I’m going to reserve judgment until all the facts are in. However, it doesn’t take much of a prognosticator to see that this is going to be the latest “trial of the century,” a real media circus. Nor does it take too much clairvoyance to see how this circus could very quickly turn into a stampede.
| Category: Race
| Posted at: Wednesday, 4 April 2012
Whatever became of Blofeld’s cat?
Here’s your answer.
*Sure, I could have written something substantive about the pending resolution, but an inane comment about a chat chapeau was much more consideration than a racist lynch mob deserves.
| Category: Race
| Posted at: Friday, 2 January 2009
This is the headline on Drudge right now:
Dems to physically block access to Senate floor if Burris shows up…
The last time this happened it didn’t work out very well for the blockers:
Ann Althouse sees a similar image.
In 2003 Sandra Day O’Connor wrote the majority opinion in Grutter v. Bollinger which determined that ”the Court expects that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary.”
After electing a black man to the highest office in the land, it’s obvious that the if ever there was a time when racial quotas were needed in America, that time isn’t now.