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Government The Courts

Subversives In South Carolina Mostly Safe 200

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 fm6 ( 162816 ) on Monday February 15, 2010 @09:12PM (#31151050) Homepage Journal

    Westlaw says that the cited statute dates back to 1951, when a lot of anti-Communist statutes were being enacted nationwide.

    When I went to college in the 70s, I had a number of jobs at the same state U I was attending. All University employees, including me, were required to sign an oath that they were "not a member of the Communist Party or any other organization which advocates the overthrow of the Government by force or violence". Naturally, I had to wonder what kind of namby-pamby insurrectionists Moscow was infiltrating our way, if they were willing to violently overthrow the government, but not lie about their willingness to do so!

    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".) She was eventually rehired after the usual legal squabble, which ended with the state AG ruling that the unamended oath did not obligated the signer to do military service!

  • by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Monday February 15, 2010 @09:28PM (#31151138) Homepage Journal

    Unfortunately, you don't have to wait for a particularly repressive official to get persecuted by such laws. You just have to be somebody with no political clout.

    Classic case: not so long go, most states had laws against "sodomy" — basically, oral or anal sex. Theoretically, this law applied to everybody, but in practice it only got applied to gays. (Well, also rapists, but there it was just used to add counts to the existing charge.) Eventually, most states repealed these laws, but even the liberal Warren court refused to find this hypocrisy unconstitutional. Curiously enough, the remaining anti-sodomy laws were finally thrown out by the hyper-conservative Roberts court. That probably says a lot about the change in attitude towards homosexuality during that time period.

  • by davidwr ( 791652 ) on Monday February 15, 2010 @10:08PM (#31151370) Homepage Journal

    Lawrence v. Texas (2003) threw out laws that banned private sex acts between consenting adults.

    Even after 2003, there is still anti-gay discrimination when it came to consenting acts between teenagers compared to the same acts between consenting heterosexual couples:

    1) I think some states still have laws on the books that make gay sex a felony, those laws are theoretically enforceable against a 17-year-old gay couple.

    2) Likewise, in states where there is no Romeo and Juliet law, straight couples can have sex all they want if they get married first. Gay couples, well, good luck getting a marriage license outside of a handful of states. Even when the laws are non-discriminatory, the application can be - some prosecutors may look the other way when an 18 year old man has sex with a 17 year old almost-woman, but they'll be happy to throw the book at an 18-year-old man with a 17-year-old male youth. Or the prosecutor may not be biased but the parents of the girl may be willing to not press charges but the homophobic parents of the 17 year old boy may insist on it.

  • by Brett Buck ( 811747 ) on Monday February 15, 2010 @10:26PM (#31151466)

    (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.

              So, you have somehow concluded the that requiring someone to "support and defend the constitution" as a condition of employment, is, itself, unconstitutional? Fascinating.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15, 2010 @11:18PM (#31151772)

    Lawrence v. Texas (2003) threw out laws that banned private sex acts between consenting adults.

    If that's really what it did, why are the laws against using money during foreplay still being enforced?

  • Re:subversion (Score:4, Interesting)

    by c6gunner ( 950153 ) on Monday February 15, 2010 @11:28PM (#31151820)

    In reply to your sig. What about Zionism and Islam? Are you just a religion basher or do you just descriminate against Christians?

    As others have pointed out, BR would not have had much exposure to Islam, nor would he have considered them important. From a more modern perspective, though, Zionism doesn't count since it's not a religion, and Islam is currently floundering around, trying to re-fight the battles which Christianity lost centuries ago. Islam isn't "the principal enemy of moral progress" because it's so ass-backwards that they don't even get counted in discussions about morality. Kinda like how the Quakers aren't "enemies of technological progress" because they're such complete luddites that nobody cares what they think.

    As for Christianity, the situation's changed a bit since Russel's time, but not enough. The brand of Christianity practiced in most of the western world is generally benign, with the obvious exception of the US. On the other hand, the brand of Christianity being practiced in developing nations is just as regressive as Islam, and even the benign varieties tend to cause harm by teaching people to blindly accept dogmatic statements.

  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Monday February 15, 2010 @11:42PM (#31151886)

    What McCarthy was looking for were Communists, not communists. The former were a group of operatives working under the direction of the Soviet Communist party. The latter are a group of people who believed in the principles of Marx and Lenin, without necessarily doing the bidding of a foreign power. What McCarthy found was a lot of little 'c' communists. Not the capital 'C' variety. McCarthy (erroneously) equated one with the other.

  • by Marxist Hacker 42 ( 638312 ) * <seebert42@gmail.com> on Monday February 15, 2010 @11:55PM (#31151962) Homepage Journal

    And also in the Guide (the book within the book, an encyclopedia much like wikipedia) it's the definition and advice for the Planet Earth before it was destroyed. Mostly Harmless.

    Given the events of September 2008, does this mean South Carolina can put the CEOs of Goldman Sachs, AIG, and JP Morgan Chase in jail for their (largely successful) attempt to overthrow the government of the United States?

  • by billstewart ( 78916 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @01:37AM (#31152494) Journal

    Calling Quakers complete Luddites doesn't make sense; they've got no problems with technology as long as you don't let it distract you from living an authentic life. Amish generally think post-1700s technology gets in the way. But they're both "Historic Peace Churches", along with the Mennonites, and both traditionally wore plain clothes and big hats back in the 1700s. In the case of the Quakers, the hats were because England had a beastly climate, and then many of them moved to North America; I suspect it was pretty much the same with the Amish moving from the Germanies.

    On the other hand, Quakers never did adopt the American technology called televangelism. A TV show with a bunch of people sitting around quietly for an hour just doesn't haul in cash, even if there is the exciting part at the end where the shake hands and then the clerk reads the announcements for the week, and maybe there's a potluck lunch or some coffee. It can be deeply meaningful if you're there, but you've got to be there...

  • by billstewart ( 78916 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @01:56AM (#31152608) Journal

    Back when I had a security clearance in the 80s, they also asked if you had any family members who were part of organizations advocating the overthrow of the U.S. One guy had marked "yes" - his explanation was that his great-grandfather had fought for the Confederacy during the War Between The States. They let him in anyway...

  • by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @02:40AM (#31152794) Homepage Journal

    Too cute. And you know, it represents a kind of doublethink. It's OK to support a rebellion that would have destroyed the nation and maintained the enslavement of a huge population. After all, it was just a bunch of good old boys.

    Now if I had to get a security clearance, I suppose I'd have to mention that my grandmother was a Ukrainian anarchist. I never met the lady, and I doubt if I share any of her political views, but somehow I suspect it would be more of an issue than this CSA guy.

  • by lwsimon ( 724555 ) <lyndsy@lyndsysimon.com> on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @10:08AM (#31154656) Homepage Journal

    I'm no defender of the Bush administration (particularly the second term), but I think you'd be hard pressed to show that Obama's has been a "lot less unconstitutional".

    Obama's Nobel Prize money springs to mind, though it isn't quite germane to this discussion, as it is not strictly a constitutional issue. According to law, he has 60 days from receipt to dispose of the money - he can't keep it. Where is it?

Today is the first day of the rest of your lossage.