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Government The Courts

Subversives In South Carolina Mostly Safe 200

Posted by kdawson
from the as-you-were dept.
sabt-pestnu sends in an update on our story about South Carolina and subversives. "According to Eugene Volokh, the Raw Story article has got it backwards. Westlaw says that the cited statute dates back to 1951, when a lot of anti-Communist statutes were being enacted nationwide. What brought Raw Story's attention to it may be that South Carolina is once again trying to repeal the archaic law. And in any event, a half-century-old case (Yates vs. United States, 354 U.S. 298 (1957)) took most of the teeth out of such laws."
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Subversives In South Carolina Mostly Safe

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  • by zappepcs (820751) on Monday February 15, 2010 @08:55PM (#31150958) Journal

    How is this law, real or not, any different than thousands of other laws on the books in various states that aim to make something illegal by requiring that you register your 'group', business or service?

    Anyone wanting to do something contrary to the morals of the standing legislators is likely to fall foul of one or more laws with the same miasmal qualities. For instance, look at sex laws; they are nothing but attempts to stop 'subversive' elements of local society, or at least make it so you can fine them if they do those 'subversive' things, and generally make them unwelcome in the community.

    I say we should hang those that enact such laws if it were not so hypocritical ....

  • by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Monday February 15, 2010 @09:04PM (#31151002) Homepage
    Very often laws on the books stop mattering not because they are repealed by the legislature but because they cease to get enforced or get enforced very rarely. The classic example of this is laws against pornography which still exists in many jurisdictions but by and large don't matter since almost no one is prosecuted. Unfortunately, you then get every few years someone like John Ashcroft in charge who decides that prosecuting porn makers should be a high priority of the federal government and then assigns multiple agents full time to prosecute videos made of consenting adults. So getting rid of obsolete legislation when one can is a good idea since it can't come back and bite you when an extremist manages to get elected or appointed to a relevant position.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15, 2010 @09:41PM (#31151224)

    Prosecutor: Tell the court why you think he is a traitor to this country.
    Miss America: I think Mr. Mellish (Woody Allen's character) is a traitor to this country because his views are different from the views of the president and others of his kind. Differences of opinion should be tolerated, but not when they're too different. Then he becomes a subversive mother.

    - "Bananas" (1971)

  • by mhajicek (1582795) on Monday February 15, 2010 @09:43PM (#31151240)

    (The oath requires the signer to "support and defend" the California and U.S,. constitutions;

    If I had signed an oath like that I would be forced to attempt to overthrow those who claim to be the government, and reinstate a government that actually follows the constitution.

  • by ravenshrike (808508) on Monday February 15, 2010 @10:07PM (#31151366)

    While McCarthy's investigations were quite vile and unconsitutional, they were not witch hunts. A witch hunt implies looking for something that's not there. Oddly enough, most of the evidence that came out after the fact confirmed a great deal of those he investigated to in fact be communists.

  • by maxume (22995) on Monday February 15, 2010 @10:19PM (#31151430)

    You are playing a definition game. McCarthy wasn't simply looking for Communists, he was looking for a threat to the American way of life. Oddly enough, it wasn't there.

  • by maxume (22995) on Monday February 15, 2010 @10:29PM (#31151484)

    The government should just stop recognizing marriage.

    (the big downside there would likely be companies that stopped extending health benefits to families of employees. I can't think of any other real big ones (most other stuff can easily be handled with contracts))

  • by Kjella (173770) on Monday February 15, 2010 @10:33PM (#31151510) Homepage

    This is not quite a dead issue. Quite recently, a Quaker hired to teach remedial math at Cal State East Bay lost her job after somebody noticed that she'd amended the mandatory oath she'd signed when she was hired. (The oath requires the signer to "support and defend" the California and U.S,. constitutions; not wanting to violate her religious principles, she'd inserted the word "nonviolently".)

    Personally I find the whole oath thing weird, here in Norway being a public school teacher is just a job not being an agent of the state. It binds you no more or less to uphold the constitution than it should for any other citizen, not that being a citizen is required either. And even for a citizen I find it weird, think of some of the amendments that have been repealed like Prohibition, what if you say "I don't support or defend Prohibition, it is wrong and should be removed"? Such oaths should not infringe on your first amendment rights.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15, 2010 @10:38PM (#31151540)

    And I'm guessing that you have not read (or read and not understood) the Constitution if you think this current government is operating within the parameters.

  • by RenderSeven (938535) on Monday February 15, 2010 @10:44PM (#31151592)
    Whats far more likely is a brain-dead local authority tries to dust them off and apply them and SCOTUS tosses them out. You and I may not always like the outcome of SCOTUS decisions but they do tend to serve the Framers' intent of keeping legislators and their more ridiculous laws in check.
  • the problem is that you would be outed, ostracized and otherwise derided

    you defeat communism because it is ideologically inferior. you don't defeat communism with thuggery. let communists speak openly and without fear of reprisals with their views. and let them fall and fail on the incoherence of their flawed ideology

    unfortunately, we see the same braying thuggery "socialism! socialism! bark! bark!" today as in the mccarthy era. as if socialism is anything but medicare, the interstate highway system etc.: there are plenty of times where socialism, such as with healthcare, just makes the most fucking sense. but opposition to issues (some issues, not all issues) where the socialist approach is superior amounts to nothing but the braying of sheep

    so much of opposition to simple coherent logical progress amounts to zombified hordes of americans whipped up into unthinking opposition by demagogues and corporate shills, when if they actually thought about the fucking issues for a second, they would see socialism works far better for them than, for example, the bastard healthcare system we currently have. they decry government death panels, when currently they have corporations, whose job is to bring healthy financial returns to investors, rather than deliver quality healthcare to themselves. in other words, we currently have corporate death panels. fact: healthcare has infinite cost, and we all die eventually. so there is a triage of resources, no matter what the system we choose. there always will be. so would you rather that triage be done by a transparent government whose mandate is to keep you alive? or an opaque corporation whose job is to pay dividends? so why the hell do so many americans defy universal healthcare?

    oh, you say the government will be an unwieldy bureaucracy? have you actually tried dealing with the ridiculous dance of paperwork between doctors, hospitals, hmos, etc? its MORE expensive and bureaucratic, the current system we have. socialized universal healthcare is not perfect, its simply BETTER than the current retarded system we have. admit it, and lose your ignorant fear of the scary word "socialism", and choose the superior option

    "socialism! socialism! baaah baaah!"

    its exactly the same as ignorant peasants whipped into an emotional irrational frenzy by religious madmen that there are witches about, doing evil things! and all they do is wind up killing some of their neighbors and friends, the same as they do when they oppose universal healthcare. the opposition to universal healthcare is the same as witchhunts in colonial times and the same as the mccarthy era- its not based on logic and reason, but based on fear of the unknown

    kneejerk fearmongering of the word "socialist". without any respect as to logic behind the issues involved. that's the "debate" we have in the usa right now. pathetic

  • by TheCarp (96830) <sjc&carpanet,net> on Monday February 15, 2010 @11:16PM (#31151754) Homepage

    It is amusing how often this is held up as a triumph for law enforcement. Its pretty pathetic, if you ask me, that they would put "punishing the guy that we know is bad, but can't prove up to the standards of our legal system" above all else. Isn't that just, kind of a cop out?

    If you never would have bothered him, gotten into his business, and prosecuted his tax evasion except that you believe he is guilty of some other crime completely, that you can't prove, then isn't he, in fact, being punished for a crime that you can't prove up to the legal standards that he committed?

    Not to defend Capone or anything, couldn't have happened to a nicer guy, from all I hear, but, its still no win for high minded justice.... afterall... he is supposed to be innocent until proven guilty.

    -Steve

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15, 2010 @11:48PM (#31151924)

    The witch hunt analogy is very appropriate. In Salem, etc. they persecuted witches (or anyone who wasn't Bible thumpin protestant or they just didn't like). Didn't matter if the witches/communists were actually bad people doing bad things. The possibility that you might be a communist/witch was enough to get you or your career burned at the stake depending on the century. So yes, McCarthy was on a witch hunt. The morality and wisdom of such a hunt is left as an exercise for the reader.

  • by dbIII (701233) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @12:14AM (#31152040)

    Oddly enough, most of the evidence that came out after the fact confirmed a great deal of those he investigated to in fact be communists.

    The defendant gives money to the poor and obeys the ten commandments - he must be a filthy commie!
    When you expand the definition of Communist to anyone you can harrass if it gets you closer to the White House as McCarthy did then that is a lot of people. He was nothing but an opportunistic scumbag that would have got furthur if he hadn't decided to pretend that the US armed forces from General Marshall down were Communists.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @01:03AM (#31152290)

    While McCarthy's investigations were quite vile and unconsitutional, they were not witch hunts. A witch hunt implies looking for something that's not there.

    No no no.

    From Wikipedia:

    The term "witch-hunt" is often used by analogy to refer to panic-induced searches for perceived wrong-doers other than witches. The best known example is probably the McCarthyist search for communists during the Cold War,[2][3] which was discredited partly through being compared to the Salem witch trials.[2]

    Dictionary defines it as

    n.
    An investigation carried out ostensibly to uncover subversive activities but actually used to harass and undermine those with differing views.

    Another dictionary defines it as

    witch-hunt also witch hunt (wchhnt)
    n.
    An investigation carried out ostensibly to uncover subversive activities but actually used to harass and undermine those with differing views.
    witch-hunter n.
    witch-hunting adj. & n.
    witch-hunt
    n
    (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) a rigorous campaign to round up or expose dissenters on the pretext of safeguarding the welfare of the public
    witch-hunter n
    witch-hunting n & adj

    Webster's defines it as

    Function: noun
    Date: 1885

    1 : a searching out for persecution of persons accused of witchcraft
    2 : the searching out and deliberate harassment of those (as political opponents) with unpopular views

    — witch–hunter noun

    — witch–hunting noun or adjective

    There never has been ANY implication that the target of the hunt is non-existent. You're simply confused- the implication is that those who are named in the hunt are usually not actually what they are accused of being.
    In fact, if you do some research, you'll see that the McCarthy "investigations" one of the prime examples of a witch hunt.

  • by dr_dank (472072) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @01:15AM (#31152352) Homepage Journal

    so why the hell do so many americans defy universal healthcare?

    It's the irrational fear that somebody somewhere is getting something that they didn't earn or deserve.

  • by Martin Blank (154261) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @01:20AM (#31152382) Journal

    And then inheritance and child custody issues go all to hell.

    Government has a Supreme Court-recognized interest in promoting the family. They are always -- always -- delicate in how they word that, and they always address the balance between personal rights and improving society. They have in a number of cases taken away government's power to regulate family life -- interracial marriages, adoption/child custody by gays, use of birth control -- and I expect that in the near future they will remove the power to prevent gays from marrying. I recommend reading some of the decisions that have discussed these points, as the logic used by the Court is usually very solid and well-defined, with the risks of over-extension realized and addressed.

    But part of the promotion of family is the structure of laws that govern marriage, part of which addresses inheritance without wills and what happens in child custody cases, particularly involving the death of a spouse. Some regulation of family life is recognized by the courts and by social scientists to have benefits to keeping order in society, and some amount of order helps to protect the people -- the most basic role a government is intended to perform.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @01:25AM (#31152424)

    Oddly enough, most of the evidence that came out after the fact confirmed a great deal of those he investigated to in fact be communists.

    The defendant gives money to the poor and obeys the ten commandments - he must be a filthy commie!
    When you expand the definition of Communist to anyone you can harrass if it gets you closer to the White House as McCarthy did then that is a lot of people. He was nothing but an opportunistic scumbag that would have got furthur if he hadn't decided to pretend that the US armed forces from General Marshall down were Communists.

    Technically speaking, the Communist Party was actual a Socialist group- there is a reason the word 'communist' did not exist in "U.S.S.R" Most people confuse Marxism/Lenonism with Communism, although the stated goal of the two was to end up with a communist society it's doubtful that anybody in power ever really had that intention.
    A true communist society has no government, no authority, and no class system. There is no need for money or the idea of property ownership simply because everybody helps everybody out, and nobody takes anything they don't need. Of course we are all well aware that it's a Utopian pipe dream which doesn't stand a chance in the real world.

    I find it interesting that the pure Utopian visions of Communism, Democracy, and Anarchism are almost identical. Which is probably why none of the three systems are actually in use.

  • Re:subversion (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jeremy Erwin (2054) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @02:04AM (#31152648) Journal

    If membership is compulsory, membership is meaningless.

  • by moeinvt (851793) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @10:02AM (#31154602)

    Your assumptions and arguments conveniently ignore the U.S. Constitution. You referred to "Americans" in a collective sense, so I'll assume you're talking about the Federal government.

    "...a transparent government whose mandate is to keep you alive?"

    We haven't had anything close to a "trasparent" government at the federal level in recent history. Furthermore, the government's madate is NOT to "keep us alive" or "keep us safe". Their mandate is to preserve our individual liberty and carry out a very limited and specifically defined set of functions. Providing healthcare is not one of those functions.

    "...why the hell do so many americans defy universal healthcare?"

    1. It's un-Constitutional (i.e. illegal)
    2. The government can't even be trusted with their existing powers. Why do so many Americans want to give them even more?
    3. The government's biggest welfare programs are all insolvent. They've clearly demonstrated their unwillingness and/or inability to actually manage welfare programs.

    "socialized universal healthcare is not perfect, its simply BETTER than the current retarded system we have. admit it, and lose your ignorant fear of the scary word "socialism".

    See #2 above. I'm sure that you're a well-meaning individual, but what you get out of Washingon D.C. is legislation with a nice cover sheet that reads "Healthcare Reform" placed on top of 2000 pages of corporate welfare, tax increases, and expansion of government power. Do you actually believe these people are going to pass a bill that threatens insurance and pharmaceutical company profits?

    "...all they do is wind up killing some of their neighbors and friends, the same as they do when they oppose universal healthcare."

    Now you're being as irrational as the people who suggest that the government wants to give grandma a lethal injection.

    "...same as the mccarthy era- its not based on logic and reason, but based on fear of the unknown."

    There is some opposition to government run healthcare that may be due to fear of the unknown, but there are very logical and reasonable arguments for opposing it. Fear of the "S-word" is a fortunate counter-balance to the blind acceptance of the empty promise that government is going to provide free universal healthcare. A promise that they have no intention or ability to fulfill.

  • by Arccot (1115809) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @10:09AM (#31154678)

    so why the hell do so many americans defy universal healthcare?

    It's the irrational fear that somebody somewhere is getting something that they didn't earn or deserve.

    Everyone I've talked to who opposes universal healthcare believes the government, by increasing restrictions and tightening regulations, will make the situation worse rather than better, being an often poorly run government.

    Not everyone who doesn't think as you do is an idiot. There's no need to attack and marginalize people who disagree with you. Hopefully that's not the kind of person you want to be, and you'll re-examine your perceptions in the future.

  • Re:subversion (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Joey Vegetables (686525) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @11:38AM (#31155570) Journal

    As a Bible-believing aspiring Christian (one who aspires to being worthy of being called a follower of Christ, not one who claims to have attained that aspiration):

    I can agree with a lot of what you have to say - almost all of it really. The failures and weaknesses that people should be most concerned with are their own, which they can control, not other people's, which they can't. (And of course that assumes that we agree with one another what constitutes a weakness or failure in the first place, which, even among Christians, we often don't).

    The greatest commandments for any Christian, according to Christ Himself, are: (a) to love God with all our being and (b) to love our neighbor as ourselves. This implies tolerance. It implies that we should not attempt to use force, including the force of a state, to inflict our will upon others. It implies that we can disagree and still be friends and still relate to one another. It implies a moral standard that is more concerned with love than with rigid dogma. It does not imply that we turn a blind eye to sin - especially our own - but rather, that we do all we can with God's help to deal with our own, then offer help (NOT judgment or condemnation) to those around us who may want it.

    Now, there is a bit more to Christianity than law. We find that we are unable to keep the law. None of us is free from sin in one sort or another. Few if any of us are totally sexually pure. Few of us are truly un-judgmental. Few if any of us always live up to even our own moral standards, much less God's. So we find that, even if we understand and try to follow God's Law of Love, we still will fall short, and thus will find ourselves in need of His forgiveness. And we find in Scripture that this forgiveness is available to all those who trust in Christ. That is not the same as implying that all those who claim to be Christians possess this forgiveness and the eternal life that follows . . . nor that all those who do not so claim are outside of it. But it is wise to seek it where we know it may be found.

    Much of this is summed up in the story of Christ forgiving the woman taken in adultery, whom the "religious" leaders of the day were about to stone to death, in accordance with their understanding of Mosaic law, but also in total hypocrisy, as she had done nothing they had not also done: "Neither do I condemn you;" He said, "go, and sin no more."

    I am horrified by how badly many "Christians" treat many members of the LGBT community, how many people get hurt as a result, and how badly the Christian message gets distorted in the process. It isn't "do whatever you want and God will look away" and neither is it "do exactly what we say or God will burn you." It is that "God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life." And we are ALL sinners, so we don't have any right to judge anyone else, but we have been given the privilege and responsibility to live according to what we know of God's love (as well as His justice), and also to invite (NOT force) others who are willing to do the same if they wish.

  • by Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) * <seebert42@gmail.com> on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @01:27PM (#31156990) Homepage Journal

    a) Economic instability is a form of violence- and as proof, our government just paid out a huge ransom to prevent it.
    b) I'm pretty sure large numbers of brokers who work for those companies were told that if they could get enough foreclosures, the government would step in and bail them out, while earning huge transaction fees in the process.
    c) You have a point that they've already registered.

  • Re:subversion (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ArsonSmith (13997) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @02:22PM (#31157904) Journal

    "to love our neighbor as ourselves."

    Seems to tell me specifically that I should enforce my moral code on others, and has nothing to do with tolerance.

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