a reply to: matafuchs
Oh man, where to even begin. How about free speech? That's something the modern conservative likes to talk about in the context of "political
correctness" a LOT.
1836 - The "gag rule" passed by the House as part of the Pickney Resolutions. It straight up prevented even the discussion of anti-slavery proposals.
Pickney was a member of the Nullifier Party which was a conservative "States' Rights" party.
1873 - The Comstock Law is passed for the "Suppression of Trade in, and Circulation of, Obscene Literature and Articles of Immoral Use." It made it
illegal to send contraceptives, erotica, sex toys, abortifacients, any literature pertaining to those things and even personal letters with sexually
explicit language, through the USPS.
1917 - Espionage Act of 1917
1918 - Sedition Act (amendments to Espionage Act of 1917)
1919 - Schenck v. U.S. - Socialist Party members from Philly convicted of violations of Espionage Act for distributing pamphlets urging conscription
age men to resist conscription.
Abrams v. United States - anarchist convicted under Espionage Act for throwing anti-war flyers from a hat factory window.
Debs v. U.S. - Debs was a labor figure and a presidential candidate for the Socialist Party who was convicted for giving an anti-war speech and
sentenced to 10 years in prison and disenfranchisement for life.
Also in 1919 was the arrest of Benjamin Gitlow for publishing the ""Left Wing Manifesto."
These cases are what led to the formation of the ACLU in 1920. Now the argument could be made that Wilson asked Congress to pass it and that in many
ways, Wilson was a progressive. However Wilson started out as a Southern conservative and ended up a right-wing progressive. He was a complex
character from a complex time. That said, the acts themselves were used to silence socialists, people in the labor movement, anti-war protesters, etc
during the first "Red Scare" which peaked in 1919-1920.
1925 - Gitlow v. New York is the first major case fought by the ACLU and they lost. SCOTUS upheld Gitlow's conviction.
Also in 1925 was the "Scopes Monkey Trial" - John Scopes was a high school teacher from Tennessee was convicted of violating the Butler Act (TN law)
for teaching evolution in school. He was convicted but it was overturned on a technicality later.
There were a bunch of noteworthy cases here but I'm not writing a text book. It bears mention in 1933, FDR pardoned everyone who'd been convicted
under the Espionage Act (which includes the Sedition Act of 1918).
1938 - Life
magazine is banned in the USA for publishing pictures from a health film called The Birth of a Baby
1940 - Smith Act makes it illegal to advocate the violent overthrow of the government. Over 200 communists, anarchists, socialists, etc were convicted
under this act. The act was named for Howard Smith who was Southern Democrat (Rep from VA). You might try to argue he was not a conservative because
he was a Democrat but you would be woefully wrong and he was in fact the leader of the
(argue that with Conservapedia if you don't believe me). He was
staunchly anti-labor (led opposition to and later investigation of the NLRB), pro-segregation, etc.
Also in 1940 was Minersville School District v. Gobitis in which two siblings in Pennsylvania were expelled for not saluting the flag. SCOTUS upheld
the PA law but it was later overruled in another case.
1947 - The "Hollywood Ten" are found in contempt of Congress after the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) subpoenaed them (and like 70
other people) on the grounds that among other things, they were suspected of planting communist propaganda in their films. This is what the movie
1951 - Dennis v. United States - SCOTUS upholds convictions of a dozen communists convicted under the Smith Act for... being communists.
NY's Commissioner of Education rescinds license to show the short movie The Miracle
on the grounds that it was sacrilegious. This ultimately
ended up being heard by SCOTUS (Burstyn v. Wilson) and the decision is what put an end to blasphemy laws.
1957 - Roth v. United States, Samuel Roth was convicted for mailing "obscene materials" (a magazine with erotic stories and nude photos) and SCOTUS
decides that fee speech doesn't cover erotica.
1959 - Barenblatt v. United States - SCOTUS upholds conviction of college professor who refuses to testify before the HUAC.
1968 - David Paul O'Brien's conviction for burning draft cards in protest is upheld by SCOTUS (United States v. O’Brien)
I know I'm leaving out quit a bit and I've probably missed some important events but see the trend? Starting in the 70's a series of SCOTUS rulings
began to expand First Amendment protections which is why Bernie Sanders isn't in prison right now.
In case you weren't aware, Saint Ronnie who was the SAG President for maybe 10-12 years was a snitch in the late 40's and 50's for the FBI, turning
over lists of those in Hollywood that he suspected of possibly being communists or even being sympathetic to communists. He himself testified in 1947
in front of the HUAC as a "friendly witness" — all to do his part in McCarthy's second Red Scare.
You think there are things "political correctness" prevents you from saying? Imagine if you got drug in front of a kangaroo court, blacklisted or
worse, convicted and thrown in jail for your political opinions which is pretty much what right-wing conservatives did for the largest part of the
Maybe you'd like to talk about segregation next?
edit on 2016-5-19 by theantediluvian because: (no reason given)