Why I'm not bending a knee

Because the Left’s accelerating campaign to force compliance with the dictates of the Blacks Lives Matter movement reeks of the Right’s 1950s anti-Communist Blacklisting demagoguery.

Back then the political climate favored the outing of communists, fellow travelers, comsymps (communist sympathizers) and any left-wing or liberal whose writing, speech or even thoughts made them dangerous. They were expelled from their jobs, hunted down by fanatical Republicans like the late Sen. Joseph McCarthy and dragged before an inquisition by the House UnAmerica Activities Committee.

McCarthyism resurrected in America.

McCarthyism resurrected in America.

McCarthyism” was so widely practiced that people lost their jobs, their reputations and their sanity over the accusations that they had not joined the anti-communist bandwagon. Blacklisting (no resemblance to the popular NBC “Blacklist” TV series) fell heaviest on Hollywood where anyone slightly tarnished by accusations–including false and anonymous ones–were driven from the business. Some screenwriters, for example, had to hide behind pseudonyms to make a living. Others fled the country.

People like McCarthy were eventually exposed as dangerous clowns, but not before they had done serious damage to society and our understanding of democratic values.

The same kind of danger is falling–crushing, I should say–any dissent from the agenda that requires all white Americans to genuflect in acknowledgment of their “privilege.”

It’s not enough to be outraged by the murder of George Floyd or to support police reforms to combat brutality. (Every) One must kneel before the accusers, acknowledge their guilt, apologize and plead for forgiveness. People must be driven from their jobs or their businesses forced to close. In a way, it’s even worse than the 1950s blacklisting that fell heaviest on Hollywood. Today’s neo-McCarthyism reaches into every corner, from wedding cake bakers, restaurateurs and–this is no surprise–scholarship.

There are too many cases to list here; a recent one is Nini’s Deli, shuttered

Chicago police officers stand outside Nini's Deli in Noble Square on June 5, 2020, in Chicago. (Erin Hooley / Chicago Tribune)

Chicago police officers stand outside Nini’s Deli in Noble Square  in Chicago. (Erin Hooley / Chicago Tribune)

after its owners were attacked for espousing their pro-life support and their opposition to the gay lifestyle. Those are positions are legitimate issues whose supporters are supposed to be protected by the First Amendment.

Here’s one more case: University of Chicago economist Harald Uhligh is being instructed to resign as the lead editor of the prestigious Journal of Political Economy because his views “belittle the movement.” Those views?

screen-shot-2020-06-11-at-12-16-00-pmIn a Twitter post he said that Black Lives Matter had “just torpedoed itself, with its full-fledge support of #defundthepolice…. Time for sensible adults to enter back into the room and have serious, earnest, restful conservations about it all. We need more police, we need to pay them more, we need to train them better.”

That’s a sensible observation and a reasonable ask. Parts of the Black Lives calls for, among things, reparations and “collective ownership” of the economy. To argue against that does not make one a racist who should lose his livelihood. Those are legitimate issues worthy of debate in our republic.

Cleansing the publication of Uhligh isn’t a fringe demand. It’s being led by, among others, Paul Krugman, a columnist for the New York Times, a paper showing its own  streak of craven obsequiousness by disavowing an op-ed that failed to conform to left-wing dictates.

The Founding Fathers recognized the dangers of a tyranny of the majority in their grand republican expert and thus constructed government with a series of checks and balances that protect minority or unpopular views. But that hell with that, we’re now told.

So,  ex cathedra pronouncements ought to be left to the Vatican. They have no place in a democracy. Instead, we have a modern-day  Alhambra Decree, demanding expulsion of dissent  from the marketplace of ideas and self-government. Failure to understand this strikes at the very heart of our nation’s ideals.



My historical novel: Madness: The War of 1812

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  • On the same day you published this, John Kass wrote a column in a similar vein. Coincidence?

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Great minds, etc. If you're suggesting that we double-teamed this or worked together in some way to write similar pieces, that would be wrong. He certainly doesn't consulted me nor I him.

  • The information you provided from the Daily Mail, a British tabloid comparable to our National Inquirer, you did not include that Uhligh apologized for what he wrote, including this about kneeling in protest about racial injustice:

    A newly resurfaced blog post he authored in 2017 also asked: 'Would you defend football players waving the confederate flag and dressing in Ku Klux Klan garb'

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Very well. Check these out:



    I know that you'll reject these accounts because you often argue from the logical error of authority. But apparently your favorite publications aren't bothering with the story.

  • Your comparison to McCarthyism seems valid to me, Dennis. Thank you. Where is this generation's Edward R. Murrow? (if you don't know him, fellow readers, look him up! He's one of the few people who feature in more than one biography on my bookshelves.)

  • Thanks, Margaret. I really hope they take your advice and look up McCarthy and Murrow.

  • In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    You're welcome, Dennis. Alexander Kendrick's "Prime Time" was great reading about those two when I was starting to study journalism in earnest (and in Valparaiso, Ind.) -- and it has the best ending to a biography I've ever read.

  • Grumpy old man

    "Florida was supposed to have been overwhelmed with deaths. It hasn’t happened."

    Think you left something off..."it hasn't happened...yet". It's starting now even though you don't have cramped cities like chicago, cases up to 2,600 yesterday and 48 new deaths, have fun, I'll enjoy watching your numbers. Less trump supporter as they die off

  • Tell me where your gravesite will be so I can piss on it every chance I get.

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