Zman has a really appalling story, demonstrating just how far down the road to PC totalitarianism things have gone in this country, even in basicaly rural red states like Kentucky.
This story [is] from Kentucky, of all places… Two children and two adults have been arrested for racism. Thatâ€™s not the specific charge. Instead the state has invented a novel new crime called â€œharassing communicationâ€ which means it is against the law to upset the wrong people with your public utterances. Since thereâ€™s not official list of people one must avoid upsetting, the state is free to arrest anyone for their speech on the claim that someone may be upset by it.
At this point, it is tempting to make a comparison to the Stasi or maybe Stalinâ€™s KGB, but that would be a slander against the communists. They were always quite clear about who you could never criticize and what you must never dispute. When Stalinâ€™s boys dragged you from your home, you knew exactly why you were being hauled away by the police. Every man in the gulag knew why he was there. The novelty of liberal democracy is in keeping everyone in the dark about these things.
Another novelty is that in communism, everyone also knew to avoid taking the side of the accused and they knew why to avoid it. That was another thing Westerners would brag about during the Cold War. In America, when someone was bullied by the state, lawyers would volunteer to defend the accused. A common phrase used by Progressive civil and political rights activists back then was â€œI may disagree with what you say, but Iâ€™ll fight to the death for your right to say it.â€
It turns out to have been a complete lie. Not only will no one fight to the death to defend speech, the great and the good line up to condemn anyone for speaking out. Where is the ACLU in these cases? Certainly not rushing to defend children against the crime of saying mean things. No, the ACLU is too busy ratting out heretics and blasphemers, who dare question the liberal democratic ideology. In one of lifeâ€™s great ironies, all of the civil rights groups now work to limit your civil rights.
Notice also how the concept of rights has changed. Thirty years ago, even left-wing political actors accepted the old definition of rights, as limits on the state. Your right to speak out against the government was really a hard limit on the state to police the speech of the citizens. Today, rights are just demands from an increasingly minoritized population for things to which no one can have a right. In this Kentucky case, they demand the community celebrate their mating decisions.
That should be the story here. This family moves to the community and begins making demands on the community. The white mother and her mulatto daughter start harassing the school about the racial complexion of the curriculum. The father demands the teachers change their classrooms to satisfy the demands of his children. This mixed-race family instantly became a cancer on the community, by making an increasingly narrow set of demands in the name of their rights.
This is one of the new realities of liberal democracy. Instead of people fearing the secret police and their many spies, the people fear the civil rights activists and their auxiliary army of novel weirdos. A mixed-race couple of trannies moves into the neighborhood and everyone is gripped with fear. It not only means everyone has to play make-believe with the lunatics, but must live in fear of upsetting them in some way. The agent of terror is the bespoke weirdo and its crazy demands for acceptance.
When exactly did Americans citizens acquire a right to never be called bad names? When did American voters concede to our noisiest, most sensitive, and most opinionated the authority to define exactly what attitudes and opinions are “acceptable”?
Alan Bellows informs us that one American advertising icon had a lot more interesting personal history than anyone would have supposed.
The seventh of May 1931 was a hot, dusty day in the mountain town of Corbin, Kentucky. Alongside a dirt road, a service station manager named Matt Stewart stood on a ladder painting a cement railroad wall. His application of a fresh coat of paint was gradually obscuring the sign that had been painted there previously. Stewart paused when he heard an automobile approaching at high speedâ€”or what counted for high speed in 1931.
It was coming from the northâ€”from the swath of backcountry known among locals as â€œHellâ€™s Half-Acre.â€ The area was so named for its primary exports: bootleg booze, bullets, and bodies. The neighborhood was also commonly referred to as â€œthe asshole of creation.â€
Stewart probably squinted through the dust at the approaching car, and he probably wiped sweat from his brow with the back of a paint-flecked wrist. He probably knew that the driver would be armed, angry, and about to skid to a stop nearby. Stewart set down his paint brush and picked up his pistol. The car skidded to a stop nearby. But it was not an armed man that emergedâ€”it was three armed men. â€œWell, you son of a bitch!â€ the driver shouted at the painter, â€œI see you done it again.â€ The driver of the car had been using this particular railroad wall to advertise his service station in town, and this was not the first time that the painterâ€”the manager of a competing stationâ€”had installed an ad blocker.
Stewart leapt from his ladder, firing his pistol wildly as he dove for cover behind the railroad wall. One of the driverâ€™s two companions collapsed to the ground. The driver picked up his fallen comradeâ€™s pistol and returned fire. Amid a hail of bullets from his pair of adversaries, the painter finally shouted, â€œDonâ€™t shoot, Sanders! Youâ€™ve killed me!â€ The dusty roadside shootout fell silent, and indeed the former painter was bleeding from his shoulder and hip. But he would live, unlike the Shell Oil executive lying nearby with a bullet wound to the chest.
This encounter might have been as commonplace as any other gunfight around Hellâ€™s Half-Acre were it not for the identity of the driver. The â€œSandersâ€ who put two bullets in Matt Stewart was none other than Harland Sanders, the man who would go on to become the world-famous Colonel Sanders. He was dark-haired and clean-shaven at the time, but his future likeness would one day appear on Kentucky Fried Chicken billboards, buildings, and buckets worldwide.
Jean Ritchie, the best singer in the American Appalachian folk tradition, passed away last evening at the age of 92. She was born in Viper, an unincorporated settlement in Eastern Kentucky, and died in Berea, Kentucky.
America Folklife Center announcement. Formal obituaries have yet to appear.
The Melungeons are an ethnic group, commonly described as a “tri-racial isolate,” resident in the Cumberland Gap neighborhood of Eastern Tennesee, Southwest Virginia, and Eastern Kentucky. The Melungeons’ comparatively dark complexions and other exotic characteristics have been attributed to mixed Amerindian and Spanish or Portuguese descent. Other alleged origins included shipwrecked Turkish slaves or descent from Gypsies. One legendary account claims that they descend from a native people resident before the arrival of European colonists.
Recent research seems to offer a much simpler explanation: descent from African freedmen.
[A] new DNA study in the Journal of Genetic Genealogy [Not apparently yet available on-line] attempts to separate truth from oral tradition and wishful thinking. The study found the truth to be somewhat less exotic: Genetic evidence shows that the families historically called Melungeons are the offspring of sub-Saharan African men and white women of northern or central European origin.
Several members of the quaint religious minority which shuns modernity ran afoul of the law in Kentucky by refusing to pay fines assessed for refusing to afix orange triangles to the buggies, claiming a religious exemption. They were jailed for contempt of court. Where is the ACLU?
If you can’t see an entire horse and buggy, it’s hard to see that an orange triangle is going to help you.