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Forum > Geopolitics


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>:( Please observe the Reptilian Conscience Challenged Consistency of the Supreme Court during the 1920 - 1940 period.
When you look at the following timeline and compare it with the 1994 -2013 period, the later period of history LACKS ANY of the reforms that pulled us out of the earlier Depression even though the causes (Government blind eye to predatory business greedfest and human needs and dignity of the average worker) were EXACTLY THE SAME!  ??? :( :P >:(

1920s (Decade)

•During World War I, federal spending grows three times larger than tax collections. When the government cuts back spending to balance the budget in 1920, a severe recession results. However, the war economy invested heavily in the manufacturing sector, and the next decade will see an explosion of productivity... although only for certain sectors of the economy.

•An average of 600 banks fail each year.  :o

•Organized labor declines throughout the decade. The United Mine Workers Union will see its membership fall from 500,000 in 1920 to 75,000 in 1928. The American Federation of Labor would fall from 5.1 million in 1920 to 3.4 million in 1929.

•Over the decade, about 1,200 mergers will swallow up more than 6,000 previously independent companies; by 1929, only 200 corporations will control over half of all American industry.

•By the end of the decade, the bottom 80 percent of all income-earners will be removed from the tax rolls completely. Taxes on the rich will fall throughout the decade.  >:(

•By 1929, the richest 1 percent will own 40 percent of the nation's wealth. The bottom 93 percent will have experienced a 4 percent drop in real disposable per-capita income between 1923 and 1929.

•Individual worker productivity rises an astonishing 43 percent from 1919 to 1929. But the rewards are being funneled to the top: the number of people reporting half-million dollar incomes grows from 156 to 1,489 between 1920 and 1929, a phenomenal rise compared to other decades. But that is still less than 1 percent of all income-earners.


•The conservative Supreme Court strikes down federal child labor legislation.  >:(


•President Warren Harding dies in office. Calvin Coolidge, becomes president. Coolidge is no less committed to laissez-faire and a non-interventionist government.

•Supreme Court nullifies minimum wage for women in District of Columbia.  >:(


•The stock market begins its spectacular rise. Bears little relation to the rest of the economy.


•The top tax rate is lowered to 25 percent   >:( - the lowest top rate in the eight decades since World War I.


•Between May 1928 and September 1929, the average prices of stocks will rise 40 percent. The boom is largely artificial.


•Herbert Hoover becomes President.

•Annual per-capita income is $750. More than half of all Americans are living below a minimum subsistence level.

•Backlog of business inventories grows three times larger than the year before.

•Recession begins in August, two months before the stock market crash. During this two month period, production will decline at an annual rate of 20 percent, wholesale prices at 7.5 percent, and personal income at 5 percent.

•Stock market crash begins October 24. Investors call October 29 Black Tuesday. Losses for the month will total $16 billion, an astronomical sum in those days.


•By February, the Federal Reserve has cut the prime interest rate from 6 to 4 percent. Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon announces that the Fed will stand by as the market works itself out: 'Liquidate labor, liquidate real estate... values will be adjusted, and enterprising people will pick up the wreck from less-competent people'.

•The Smoot-Hawley Tariff passes on June 17. With imports forming only 6 percent of the GNP, the 40 percent tariffs work out to an effective tax of only 2.4 percent per citizen. Even this is compensated for by the fact that American businesses are no longer investing in Europe, but keeping their money stateside. The consensus of modern economists is that the tariff made only a minor contribution to the Great Depression in the U.S., but a major one in Europe.

•Supreme Court rules that the monopoly U.S. Steel does not violate anti-trust laws as long as competition exists, no matter how negligible.  >:(

•The GNP falls 9.4 percent from the year before. The unemployment rate climbs from 3.2 to 8.7 percent.


•No major legislation is passed addressing the Depression.

•The GNP falls another 8.5 percent; unemployment rises to 15.9 percent.


•This and the next year are the worst years of the Great Depression. For 1932, GNP falls a record 13.4 percent; unemployment rises to 23.6 percent.

•Industrial stocks have lost 80 percent of their value since 1930.

•10,000 banks have failed since 1929, or 40 percent of the 1929 total.

•GNP has also fallen 31 percent since 1929.

•Over 13 million Americans have lost their jobs since 1929.

•International trade has fallen by two-thirds since 1929.
Congress passes the Federal Home Loan Bank Act and the Glass-Steagall Act of 1932.

•Top tax rate is raised from 25 to 63 percent.

•Popular opinion considers Hoover's measures too little too late. Franklin Roosevelt easily defeats Hoover in the fall election. Democrats win control of Congress.


•Roosevelt inaugurated; begins 'First 100 Days'; of intensive legislative activity.

•A third banking panic occurs in March. Roosevelt declares a Bank Holiday; closes financial institutions to stop a run on banks.

•Alarmed by Roosevelt's plan to redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor, a group of millionaire businessmen, led by the Du Pont and J.P. Morgan empires, plans to overthrow Roosevelt with a military coup and install a fascist government modelled after Mussolini's regime in Italy. The businessmen try to recruit General Smedley Butler, promising him an army of 500,000, unlimited financial backing and generous media spin control. The plot is foiled when Butler reports it to Congress.

•Congress authorizes creation of the[ Agricultural Adjustment Administration, the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Farm Credit Administration, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, the National Recovery Administration, the Public Works Administration and the Tennessee Valley Authority.

•Congress passes the Emergency Banking Bill, the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, the Farm Credit Act, the National Industrial Recovery Act and the Truth-in-Securities Act.

•Roosevelt does much to redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor, but is concerned with a balanced budget. He later rejects Keynes' advice to begin heavy deficit spending.

•The free fall of the GNP is significantly slowed; it dips only 2.1 percent this year. Unemployment rises slightly, to 24.9 percent.


•Congress authorizes creation of the Federal Communications Commission, the National Mediation Board and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

•The economy turns around: GNP rises 7.7 percent, and unemployment falls to 21.7 percent. A long road to recovery begins.

•Sweden becomes the first nation to recover fully from the Great Depression. It has followed a policy of Keynesian deficit spending.


•The Supreme Court declares the National Recovery Administration to be unconstitutional.  >:(

•Congress authorizes creation of the Works Progress Administration, the National Labor Relations Board and the Rural Electrification Administration.

•Congress passes the Banking Act of 1935, the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act, the National Labor Relations Act, and the Social Security Act. 

•Economic recovery continues: the GNP grows another 8.1 percent, and unemployment falls to 20.1 percent.


•Top tax rate raised to 79 percent.

•Economic recovery continues: GNP grows a record 14.1 percent; unemployment falls to 16.9 percent.


•The Supreme Court declares the National Labor Relations Board to be unconstitutional. >:(

•Roosevelt seeks to enlarge and therefore liberalize the Supreme Court  ;D. This attempt not only fails, but outrages the public.   ???

•Economists attribute economic growth so far to heavy government spending that is somewhat deficit. Roosevelt, however, fears an unbalanced budget and cuts spending for 1937. That summer, the nation plunges into another recession. Despite this, the yearly GNP rises 5.0 percent, and unemployment falls to 14.3 percent.


•No major New Deal legislation is passed after this date, due to Roosevelt's weakened political power.

•The year-long recession makes itself felt: the GNP falls 4.5 percent, and unemployment rises to 19.0 percent.


•The United States will begin emerging from the Depression as it borrows and spends $1 billion to build its armed forces. From 1939 to 1941, when the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, U.S. manufacturing will have shot up a phenomenal 50 percent!

•The Depression is ending worldwide as nations prepare for the coming hostilities.

Roosevelt began relatively modest deficit spending that arrested the slide of the economy and resulted in some astonishing growth numbers. (Roosevelt's average growth of 5.2 percent during the Great Depression is even higher than Reagan's 3.7 percent growth during his so-called 'Seven Fat Years!') When 1936 saw a phenomenal record of 14 percent growth, Roosevelt eased back on the deficit spending, worried about balancing the budget. But this only caused the economy to slip back into a recession in 1938.

•World War II starts with Hitler's invasion of Poland.


•Although the war is the largest tragedy in human history, the United States emerges as the world's only economic superpower. Deficit spending has resulted in a national debt 123 percent the size of the GDP. By contrast, in 1994, the $4.7 trillion national debt will be only 70 percent of the GDP!

•The top tax rate is 91 percent. It will stay at least 88 percent until 1963, when it is lowered to 70 percent. During this time, America will experience the greatest economic boom it had ever known until that time.

The above timeline has been complied by Steve Kangas from the Resurgence Magazine.


See also cycle of past depressions.

Key Historical Events; That you may have NEVER HEARD OF.

The Great Dissenter: Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

Ninety four years ago, on November 7, 1919, as federal agents launched a nationwide raid on the homes and meeting halls of Russian immigrants, three members of the United States Supreme Court visted Holmes at his home a few blocks from the White House. Unlike the agents sent by J. Edgar Hoover, the justices were not hunting for communists. They were there to call on their colleague Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., Boston Brahmin, Civil War veteran, and sage of the common law. But their visit, unusual and unexpected, was linked to the larger mission being carried out that day, and, to the justices at least, it was every bit as important. 1

Holmes was a learned man with more than ten thousand volumes packed on his bookshelves. They included mostly law, philosophy, and history, but also the occasional detective story or racy French novel.1  Do you think he might have had a Sherlock HOLMES novel? The Hound of the Baskervilles  was published in 1901"hailed as "the greatest mystery novel of all time  and The Valley of Fear in 1914 (a fresh murder scene that leads Holmes to solve a long-forgotten mystery) so it is possible.

I would bet on it because of this little nugget of history I dug up:
--- Quote ---Originally, Doyle named his detective Sherrinford Holmes, after Oliver Wendell Holmes - and named Holmes's sidekick Ormand Sacker. But during the three weeks it took to write the story, Doyle renamed the characters Sherlock Holmes, after a cricket player he had once played against, and Thomas John H. Watson, after Patrick Watson, a colleague of Dr. Bell's.
--- End quote ---
Oliver Wendell Holmes was a famous doctor.2 He was the father of our Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.!   How about that! England had a fictional Holmes solving cases while the real Holmes' son was actually involved with law and order as a judge in the USA!

So why am I going on about something seemingly unrelated to the high court Dissents of Holmes in general and the one the three other high court judges just mentioned are "concerned" with? Because I have read Sherlock Holmes and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle always attacked greedy people and unethical, predatory business practices in his writings through Holmes and Dr. Watson. Although it is speculative, I suspect some of that rubbed off Holmes. You DON'T have books of fiction, being a jurist, in your library just because the author gave Sherlock the "Holmes" handle to honor your daddy. A fictional book pushes a philosophy, not just a good story. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a Liberal (he had stood unsuccesfully as a Liberal Unionist parliamentary candidate in 1900 and 1906,).3 

I think Holmes, unlike many industrialists and fellow jurist stuffed shirts, saw though the self serving "conservative" view that the government's job was to let employers run ragged over the common man in order to exact a higher profit, regardless of the toll in human misery. Nevertheless, I believe this type of logical thinking was a work in progress for him throughout his life. He was NOT considered a sentimental person. 

Back to the 1919. That was a significant year in American History. That year Franklin D. Roosevelt was caught having an affair with a Miss Mercer by Eleanor. Eleanor offered to divorce him. Franklin's mother promised to cut him off from the family money if he divorced Eleanor. Franklin D saw "reason" and the rest is history. He was lucky he did. Imagine being married to his new wife a little over a year later when he was struck with polio. Do you think Lady Mercer had the stuffing to insert a glass tube in his **** and give him an enema EVERY DAY due to his paralysis?4 I doubt it.

But I continue to digress. Sorry, but I want you to get the picture of how things were in late 1919. World War I was over. A lot of people were dying from the Influenza Pandemic that came in three waves (1918 and throughout 1919). 5

In 1918, life expectancy for men was only 53 years. Women’s life expectancy at 54 was only marginally better.6

Sure, there were people enjoying a better standard of living and moving around more in their Model T "Tin Lizzie" Fords but these were still the privileged few in American life. Most Americans had no toilet and ignorance of proper sanitary habits caused a lot of dysentery. Oliver Wendel Holmes Jr. had almost died of dystentery during the Civil War.1 I'm sure seeing all the sickness around moved him to be more sympathetic to the plight of the common people. He was, above all, a no nonsense, honest man.

The three justices explained the reason for their visit. The day before, Holmes had circulated a DISSENTING opinion in a case the Court had heard two weeks earlier. It was an important case testing the government’s power to punish the so-called anarchists and agitators who had spoken out against the recent war. For most members of the Court, elitist to the hilt, it was an easy case. The high court judges were members of an American elite that certainly did NOT consider the common man equal to them, or to the government, as far as rights of any sort. They automatically and unthinkingly accepted the right of the government to punish such "troublemakers". Freedom of speech was not absolute (to put it mildly), and if the defendants had intended to disrupt the war, that was tantamount to "criminal" (anti-establishment) activity so they deserved to be treated as criminals. 1 It's amazing how little has changed in 2013

The majority of the Court, and anyone who followed its decisions, might have expected Holmes to agree. After all, just nine months earlier he had written three opinions for the Court saying pretty much the same thing. One of those cases was an appeal by Eugene V. Debs, the leader of the Socialist Party and a frequent candidate for president, who had been sentenced to ten years in prison for a speech he had given in the summer of 1918.1

Even though he said nothing that explicitly urged interference with the war, he did praise party members who had opposed the draft. For Holmes, an old Civil War Soldier, that had been enough. In a short and dismissive opinion, he had accepted the jury’s verdict that Debs meant to illegally obstruct military recruiting and had affirmed his conviction.1 Holmes was doing his DUTY as a member of the US elite to defend the war effort, regardless of how the people felt about it. He was certainly not a pacifist.

So when the Court heard arguments in the anarchists’ case, few people expected Holmes to side with the defendants.

But something had changed. Instead of voting with the majority, Holmes said the convictions should be reversed.
--- Quote --- The defendants had no intent to undermine the fight against Germany,
--- End quote ---
he explained.
--- Quote ---They were merely upset with President Wilson’s decision to intervene in the Russian Revolution..
--- End quote ---
1 Check that word, "merely", in regard to the actions of a U.S. President! That's a rather significant adjective to me for a jurist that hitherto mostly towed the establishment "line".
Besides, he argued, their speech was protected by the First Amendment. 1To us in modern times, that sounds like a no-brainer bit of boiler plate. However, as you will see, it was a rather revolutionary statement.

Many of us on the internet have repeated over an over that the Constitution had a lot of fancy rhetoric that applied to such a narrow slice of the nation that, for all practical purposes, it was a propaganda tour de force. It looked great on paper but the common person didn't have any chance whatsoever to demand the rights clearly written on it. THAT was the reality in the USA.
The brief bit of jurisprudent sanity the Civil War produced with the 12th, 13th and 14th Constitutional Amendments was noble legislation. But it was quickly renedered as toothless as the rest of the Constitution for the average American in general (and freed slaves, for whom the Amendments were mainly written, in particular 7).

In spite of the high sounding Constitutional rhetoric about “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech” the First Amendment at that time was a nice piece of pretty wording (like "all men are created equal" STILL is). It was a toothless bit of inspiring rhetoric, nothing more. 1 And you thought that was a modern problem?

The High Court itself had never ruled in favor of a free speech claim, and lower courts had approved all manner of speech restrictions, including the censorship of books and films, the prohibition of street corner speeches, and assorted bans on labor protests, profanity, and commercial advertising. Even criticism of government officials could be punished, the courts had ruled, if it threatened public order and morality 1(and you know how the "threat" is in the eye of the cop or official that wants to jail you).

But now, with the country gripped by fear (i.e. scaremongering propaganda in the service of capitalism) of the communist threat, Holmes was proposing something radical: an interpretation (rather than the hitherto "interpretation"  ::)   that basically ignored the wording) of the First Amendment that would protect all but the most immediately dangerous speech.

His opinion was passionate and powerful, especially the long concluding paragraph. The delivery was masterful. He actually began the opinion sounding like he was making the case against free speech, not for it:1

--- Quote ---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. To allow opposition by speech seems to indicate that you think the speech impotent, as when a man says that he has squared the circle, or that you do not care whole heartedly for the result, or that you doubt either your power or your premises—
--- End quote ---

Up to now he sounds like a hard core elitist bigot (as in, By God I'm RIGHT and I will NOT ALLOW foolish and irrelevant dissent!). But that's not it at all. As you will see, his point is that there is a CLEAR DIFFERENCE between obstructionist speech uttered with the purpose of sowing discord and what he will now mention. In other words,  it's perfectly correct, logical and lawful to censor mendacious or duplicitous propaganda. HOWEVAH...

--- Quote ---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 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 at any rate is the theory of our Constitution. It is an experiment, as all life is an experiment. Every year if not every day we have to wager our salvation upon some prophecy based upon imperfect knowledge. While that experiment is part of our system I think that we should be eternally vigilant against attempts to check the expression of opinions that we loathe and believe to be fraught with death, unless they so imminently threaten immediate interference with the lawful and pressing purposes of the law that an immediate check is required to save the country.
--- End quote ---

Agelbert NOTE: Unfortunately, some phrases in the above wisdom were subsequently hijacked and turned upside down for the benefit of predatory, consciense free capitalism:

1. "Free Trade" in ideas - There is no such thing when money rules the media by elite power over government regulation or the lack of it - e.g. selectve enforcement, etc.  >:(

2. "Accepted in the Competition of the Market" in regard to TRUTH is an idealistic bit of fantasy when there is NO free market competition of ideas or truth - i.e. a "level playing field" for publishing and media access that looks more like an alpine slope! - BECAUSE elite power controls who gets to operate with impunity and who gets crushed through selective enforcement.  >:(

IOW, in the USA we have a RIGGED market and a RIGGED media and, OF COURSE, those doing the RIGGING insist it is a FREE market and a FREE press. Cui Bono?  )

Back to Holmes' Historical Dissent

Holmes understood exactly where the rhetorical rubber meets the road as far as freedom of speech. He was very much at home with the populist notion, though he was not much of populist, that unchecked government power meant tyranny.

It's clear to me that he had a problem with his fellow judges wanting to give government unrestrained power over the people in regard to freedom of speech.

The court he was on was an absolute travesty for the working man and a great friend of predatory capitalism's abominal working conditions including slave prison labor in mines (mostly blacks picked up in the South on "vagrancy" or other trumped up charges - Then it was dangerous to be black. Now it's still dangerous but being white and smoking pot has been added to the "business" model) and child labor abuses. We had the number one industrial accident rate in the WORLD while that court (and a few before it) presided over our "laws". 

1908 bottle Factory. Note the child labor9

Recent race riots, labor strikes were making the elite nervous. And a bomb had exploded on the attorney general’s doorstep—the opening strike, the papers warned, in a grand Bolshevik plot.1 WE KNOW today those race riots and strikes were a cry for justice. We also know that our government officials in general, and Mr J. Edgar Hoover in particular, knew exactly how to get people stirred up by blaming a bomb on x, y or z scapegoat target in order to get more funding for his growing FBI empire.

I don't know who placed that bomb. But looking at it from today's revelations, I think it was an inside job. Like 9/11 today, they needed a pretext to crack down. If it didn't just happen, I'm sure J. Edgar was up to the task of rigging a bomb and blaming it on the commies, anarchists or whatever pejorative name the establishment had for people who wanted justice and weren't afraid to make their voices heard.

Now Holmes' dissent was serious feather ruffling for the elites. Was he now going to give "comfort to the enemy"?1

What did his fellow judges do? They pulled the old "National Security" trick on Holmes to "get him to see reason". The nation’s security was at stake!1, they told Holmes. He was urged to close ranks and set aside his personal views. They weren't belligerent. He was, after all, one of them and they respected him. Holmes listened thoughtfully. He had always respected the institution of the Court and more than once had suppressed his own beliefs for the sake of unanimity. 1

But this time he felt a duty to speak his mind. He told his colleagues he regretted he could not join them, and they left without pressing him further.1
Three days later, Holmes read his dissent in Abrams v. United States from the bench. As expected, it caused a sensation. Conservatives  denounced it as dangerous and extreme. (Another thing those CONS had in common with the ones in 2013 ). ][img width=3= height=30]http://www.createaforum.com/gallery/renewablerevolution/3-141113183729.png[/img]Progressives hailed it as a monument to liberty. 1

Free speech stopped being a Constitutional rhetorical flourish to be used as an elite fig leaf to claim OUR elites were "different" from the elites in other countries (until 9/11, of course).

Agelbert NOTE: Admittedly, the Constitution DID do away with landed gentry and titles. Of course, humans being clever rascals, new forms of wealth hogging dynasty tricks accomplished the same thing without titles. But that's another story. 

The justices’ visit to Holmes isn't just a remarkable piece of Constitutional history. Going to a judge's house to disuade him from a dissenting opnion just wasn't done. :o1 That these judges were involved in such intrigue smacks of industrialists strong arming them to make sure the "rabble was kept in check". War profiteering magnates had already made fortunes on the war and they did not want anyhting upsetting theAmerican race to empire though profitable wars (The predators are always thinking ahead). ;)

There is no known High Court History of such a personal appeal to one justice by a group of his colleagues. That it took place in the privacy of Holmes’s study, in the presence of his wife (the justices sought her help with their appeal!) only heightens the intrigue.1

Second Half of OWH Jr. Article

Key Historical Events; That you may have NEVER HEARD OF.
The Great Dissenter: Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. Second Half of Article

Holmes was a loyal member of the elite establishment. Prior to his dissent in Abrams he had done as much as any judge to render the First Amendment toothless. In one of the first Court opinions to address the topic, he had embraced the cramped English view that freedom of speech prohibits only prepublication censorship but places no limits on the government’s power to punish speakers after the fact.  He had even affirmed the conviction of an anarchist for **** sunbathing.1             

As a judge on the Massachusetts Supreme Court he was no friend of free speech. When a policeman complained that he had been fired for expressing his political views, Holmes had famously responded,
--- Quote ---“The petitioner may have a constitutional right to talk politics, but he has no constitutional right to be a policeman.”
--- End quote ---

Holmes once said that the law not being based on logic, but on experience! He was NOT a friend of the Constitutional Rights. Freedom of Speech was just one of those rights he sniffed at. 10   That's what makes his dissent here so special. He was a man who thought and learned throughout his life. He was also a supporter of the will of the people; something not usually associated with a high court judge UNLESS he is a progressive.

For his love of truth, I believe he became a thorn in the establishment side and, had not the Republican administrations of the 1920s and early 1930s not kept putting more fascist judges in the court, he would have left earlier. For more than a decade, until Louis D. Brandeis joined him on the Court, Holmes was often in dissent and often alone.While Brandeis joined him in many later dissents, it was Holmes's vision of the law expressed in those opposing views that made him "The Great Dissenter."10

Hughs Supreme Court (1930-1932)

I recommend you research the pack of calloused, predatory capitalist supporting, child labor abuse ignoring bunch of criminals on this court that Holmes (Supreme Court 1902-1932) had to contend with. You will then understand why, except when Brandeis (Supreme Court 1916-1939), joined him in a dissent, he was alone in his dissents.

He became well known for his DISSENTS on a long line of cases involving progressive labor laws. The conservative (i.e. fascist) majority of the Court had repeatedly invalidated these laws, arguing that minimum-wage and maximum-hour regulations deprived businessmen and workers of their “liberty” (i.e. the ability ensure the "sanctity of contracts" for labor - just as long as the employer dictated the terms!) and thus violated the Fourteenth Amendment. 1Yes friends, THAT 14th Amendment originally written for the benefit of African American Slaves was now a totally Orwellian (long before Orwell!) document. What a massive private joke it must have been for the one percenters of those days.  >:(

These "conservative" (conserving cruelty, inhumane working conditions and predatory capitalist profts) , using the rhetorical fig leaf of "laissez faire", didn't really give a tinke'rs damn  about the “right” of employees to work fourteen hour days at rock bottom wages; they were really protecting the consciense free power of employers to get cheap labor.

But while Holmes’ dissents in these cases made him a hero to progressives, he was not motivated by any sympathy for the common workers. He once called them “thick-fingered clowns”. 1

Plainly speaking, he saw humans as cogs in a nation's wheels to be used as needed by the governemnt. I think he was a realist about what government REALLY is and didn't sugar coat it.

--- Quote ---“Every society rests on the death of men,” he liked to say. If a nation needs soldiers, it seizes young men and marches them off to war at the point of a bayonet. If an epidemic breaks out, it forces the public to get vaccinated.
--- End quote ---

He knew government is a compromise where the citizenry gets certain benefits but the lion's share of those "benefits" will always be controlled by an elite establishment. I think he just didn't want the elite establishment to become a dicatorship. But, considering the goons that populated the high court then, he was a breath of fresh air. 

He believed, unlike most of his stuffed shirt peers, that VOX POPULI (the voice of the people) must be respected if a nation is to remain united.  As a judge he felt he had no business standing in the way of pro-labor legislation because the very same government that snatches people off to war has the right, through its elected representatives, to limit working hours and regulate conditions too.

--- Quote ---“If my fellow citizens want to go to Hell I will help them,” was another favorite saying. “It’s my job.”
--- End quote ---

So why did he defend Freedom of Speech in his famous dissent? Why did a man who disdained liberal sentimentality his whole life write one of the canonical statements of American liberalism? Was his opinion somehow consistent with everything he had said and done throughout his life? Did he SEE the effects of industrialization? Did he vist a ghetto or watch children working in a factory? Arthur Conan Doyle, the writer of the Sherlock Holmes books was no friend of predatory capitalism.Was it something he read? Did he ponder what the original intent of the 14th Amendment was and how much it ahd been perversely twisted? I don't know.

But he gave progressives the boost they needed and an era of positive change resulted (until Reagan).

His dissent continues to influence our thinking about free speech more than any other single document.1

He hung on to be the longest serving Supreme Court Justice. He was named by Theodore Roosevelt and left the court in 1932, BEFORE FDR was elected, due to ill health (he was also 90 years old). 11

But an excellent replacement was made by Hoover, as strange as that sounds. Hoover replaced Holmes with Benjamin N. Cardozo, an honest and passionate liberal. Cardozo became known was a member of the Three Musketeers along with Brandeis and Stone, which was considered to be the liberal faction of the Supreme Court. This probably angered Justice James McReynolds  (a notorious anti-Semite) because Cardozo was a Jew. Cardozo more than made up for Oliver Wendell Holmes' absence with his contributions to the court, despite the fact that the majority of the stuffed shirts there were obstacles to freedom, democracy and human rights.11

Another stuffed shirt you never heard of that did a LOT of damage to the cause of Freedom, Democracy and Human Rights in the USA. Hitler must have admired this GOON.

--- Quote ---McReynolds would not accept "Jews, drinkers, blacks, women, smokers, married or engaged individuals as law clerks". A blatant anti-Semite, Time "called him 'Puritanical', 'intolerably rude', 'savagely sarcastic', 'incredibly reactionary', and 'anti-Semitic'". McReynolds refused to speak to Louis Brandeis, the first Jew on the Court, for three years following Brandeis's appointment and, when Brandeis retired in 1939, did not sign the customary dedicatory letter sent to justices on their retirement. He habitually left the conference room whenever Brandeis spoke. When Benjamin Cardozo's appointment was being pressed on President Herbert C. Hoover, McReynolds joined with fellow justices Pierce Butler  and Willis Van Devanter    in urging the White House not to "afflict the Court with another Jew".
--- End quote ---

Back to Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

He made a clear differentiation between Freedom of Speech and using the "freedom of speech" fig leaf as a license to obstruct, delay and destroy the abilty to reach the truth through honest interchange of fact based opinions.

It's okay to have an agenda. It's not okay to pretend you don't. 

Everyone reading the above will agree with the CONCEPT that the "power of free and vigorous debate to change the course of history" is a good thing. The problem is in defining "vigorous" and defining "free". Obstructive tactics, ad hominem or/and fact free gratuitous insults are not, and should not EVER be considered "free Speech". 

Only when the goal of said free and vigorous debate is the TRUTH by both parties can the "course of history" be changed for the BETTER.

The human experience has been mostly the opposite no matter what Martin Luther King ( “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”) believed. I hope he is right but I am NOT encouraged by what I have experienced.  The "arc" looks too much like a ballistic trajectory and we passed the apex right around the time the industrial revolution began. God help us.  :(

If a person derails a thread or refuses to argue the merits but instead stoops to attacking the messenger, said person is practicinng obstructionism, NOT Free Speech and deserves to be censored, period. I believe Justice Oliver Wendell Homes Jr. would agree.

Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. was a man of his time. But I like that tough old bird. He had a great sense of humor. Here are some of his quotes for your enjoyment:

--- Quote ---A child's education should begin at least one hundred years before he is born.

The language of judicial decision is mainly the language of logic. And the logical method and form flatter that longing for certainty and for repose which is in every human mind. But certainty generally is illusion, and repose is not the destiny of man.

Certitude is not the test of certainty. We have been cocksure of many things that were not so.

The greatest act of faith is when a man understands he is not God.

A moment's insight is sometimes worth a life's experience.

Young man, the secret of my success is that an early age I discovered that I was not God.

A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged; it is the skin of a living thought and may vary greatly in color and content according to the circumstances and time in which it is used.

Nothing is so commonplace has the wish to be remarkable.

Most of the things we do, we do for no better reason than that our fathers have done them or our neighbors do them, and the same is true of a larger part than what we suspect of what we think.

The mind of a bigot is like the pupil of the eye. The more light you shine on it, the more it will contract.

We should be eternally vigilant against attempts to check the expression of opinions that we loathe.

To have doubted one's own first principles is the mark of a civilized man.

It seems to me that at this time we need education in the obvious more than the investigation of the obscure.

Man's mind, stretched by a new idea, never goes back to its original dimensions.

The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving.

Men must turn square corners when they deal with the Government.

A man is usually more careful of his money than of his principles.

Any two philosophers can tell each other all they know in two hours.

The only prize much cared for by the powerful is power.

Beware how you take away hope from any human being.

Every event that a man would master must be mounted on the run, and no man ever caught the reins of a thought except as it galloped past him.

Don't be 'consistent,' but be simply true.

Truth is tough. It will not break, like a bubble, at the touch, nay, you may kick it about all day like a football, and it will be round and full at evening.
--- End quote ---

Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. was a man of TRUTH.  We could use someone like that on the Supreme Court today.

1.  [img width=60 height=100] http://www.createaforum.com/gallery/renewablerevolution/3-131113204809.jpeg[img] http://us.macmillan.com/thegreatdissent/ThomasHealy

2.  http://www.neatorama.com/2008/01/21/the-origin-of-sherlock-holmes/#!n7G0M

3.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberal_Unionist_Party

4.  http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/LadyEl&showFullAbstract=1

5.  http://www.flu.gov/pandemic/history/1918/

6.  http://www.flu.gov/pandemic/history/1918/life_in_1918/index.html

7.  http://library.thinkquest.org/J0112391/civil_war_amendments.htm

8.  Read Farwell v. Boston & Worcester Rail Road for an EXCELLENT example of 19th century US law on responsibility for workplace accidents (ALWAYS the worker). Follow the decision to the twisted logic the juidge used and you will find the BASIS of the so called "Sanctity of Contracts"(ONLY the ones employers demand you write). And it's worse than that. When there is NO written contract, the worker assumes ALL RESPONSIBILITY. No wonder so-called conservaives and libertarians want to take us back to the 19th century!  http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1399&context=fss_papers

9.  http://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/hine-photos/

10. http://www.fofweb.com/History/MainPrintPage.asp?iPin=APL128&DataType=AmericanHistory&WinType=Free

11. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_N._Cardozo

--- Quote ---On August 19, 1914, Wilson appointed him to the Supreme Court, to a seat vacated by Horace H. Lurton. McReynolds was confirmed by the United States Senate and received his commission the same day, starting with the new term on October 12, 1914. However, it was also accepted that Wilson only appointed McReynolds to the Supreme Court because he did not want to work with him anymore.
--- End quote ---

13. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Clark_McReynolds

14. http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/o/oliver_wendell_holmes_jr.html

Thanks for researching and writing this. Upon reading this, what occurs is that we have some very quaint ideas about the law. The law is, after all, only what a judge says it is. The light you have shone upon the Supreme Court in Holmes' time showed me details I was not aware of as well.

In many ways apparently, the fix has always been in.

This was a rewarding read. thanks for strolling through some dusty archivds to dredge this one up.

Your correspondent,
A Thick-Fingered Clown

You are welcome. If you could tack this on to FB to help give my forum some views, you will be helping another thick fingered clown.  ;D

Yes, I certainly qualify as an "anarchist" or "bleeding heart commie". WHY? Because I have the distinction of having organized a pilot's union (we got a national Labor Relations Board rep to come down and help us organize the official vote!) and promptly get fired for it! I was the ultimate "traitor" because I was Chief Pilot of that air taxi at the time. I'll blog that experience soon. It was quite an education in Nicole Foss's "real world" (the fake world that predatory, conscience free humans pretend is the real world). Voltaire wasn't far off the mark when he said that "Hell is other people."  >:(

By the way, wasn't that an eye opener about what Brandeis had to put up with from the McReynolds

--- Quote ---McReynolds refused to speak to Louis Brandeis, the first Jew on the Court, for three years following Brandeis's appointment and, when Brandeis retired in 1939, did not sign the customary dedicatory letter sent to justices on their retirement. He habitually left the conference room whenever Brandeis spoke.
--- End quote ---

McReynolds claimed to be a Christian! 

In Brandeis' shoes, I would have been hard pressed to not offer McReynolds a knuckle sandwich! >:(

And that part about President Wilson "kicking McReynolds upstairs to the Supreme Court" was priceless.  ;D 
--- Quote ---..it was also accepted that Wilson only appointed McReynolds to the Supreme Court because he did not want to work with him anymore.
--- End quote ---

Isn't it absolutely TRAJIC that several decades of potentially progressive American jurisprudence were through under a bus by a world class bigot just because a President didn't have the balls to FIRE that hate filled, intolerant piece of human fecal coliform?  :(

Wilson knew the score and was simply afraid to rock the boat in the cesspool of American power politics.
--- Quote ---Since I entered politics, I have chiefly had men's views confided to me privately. Some of the biggest men in the United States —in the fields of commerce and manufacturing—are afraid of somebody. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it.
--- End quote ---

Another bought and paid for COWARD with a big vocabulary. So it goes.


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