Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Execrable Oliver Wendell Holmes

Long post over at Popehat.


...After Holmes' opinions in the Schenck trilogy, the law of the United States was this: you could be convicted and sentenced to prison under the Espionage Act if you criticized the war, or conscription, in a way that "obstructed" conscription, which might mean as little as convincing people to write and march and petition against it. This is the context of the "fire in a theater" quote that people so love to brandish to justify censorship.

No surprise that Holmes--revered by the Left--was also a Statist jerk.

Pertinent to the below post:

...Holmes blurred the line between what the government should be able to prevent (speakers urging listeners to imminent lawbreaking, like riots) and what it would merely like to prevent (loss of support for the war). Similarly, Chayes and her ilk blur the line between what the government should be able to prevent (speech intended to incite, and likely to incite, people to imminent lawbreaking), what it would like to prevent (violence by mobs, whether actually motivated by insulting videos or whether manipulated by forces using those videos) and what it should not be able to prevent (expressions of opinion which might offend someone and be used as an excuse for violence).

Holmes later reversed himself, clumsily and disingenuously.

Popehat also reminds us of Holmes' most evil opinion.  Good for him!!

HT:  Coyote

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