As I have said in a previous article, I am no longer of the belief that President Trump will be serving a second term beginning on January 20th, as a result of an election which was stolen by the establishment and the usual safeguards against election theft were utterly ignored.
We will be getting an illegitimate and unconstitutional Biden/Harris administration (we’ll see if they Old Yeller Old Man Joe), but we’ll be getting such an administration nonetheless. And though they will point to the Capitol Riot as a reason for their future authoritarian actions, there is no doubt in my mind that they would have done the things they are calling for in any case. They hate us and want to destroy us, and are just using that event (which was nowhere near as destructive or insurrectionist as the Antifa/BLM riots of last year) as an excuse for their tyranny.
However, there is good news to be had: there will always be bright days ahead.
Not likely in the short-term future, and such days will likely be very dark for our nation and our people, but let me tell you of another dark period in our nation’s history which has largely gone forgotten but which will likely seem similar under the next administration.
Let me tell you about the illegal, unconstitutional, and “Reign of Terror”-like Palmer Raids of the Wilson administration.
The Foundation for Economic Education is my main source here, and they have a great article that goes into more detail regarding this event than I will, so it’s worth to check them out. Lawrence W. Reed wrote, back in January of 2020, about how 100 years have passed (obviously, now 101) since one of the biggest infringements of people’s civil liberties and rights: the Palmer Raids.
Reed begins: “Exactly a hundred years ago this morning – on January 3, 1920 – Americans woke up to discover just how little their own government regarded the cherished Bill of Rights. During the night, some 4,000 of their fellow citizens were rounded up and jailed for what amounted, in most cases, to no good reason at all and no due process, either.”
Some contextual information is obviously necessary to understand what we are talking about here. The Palmer Raids, illegal and unconstitutional police raids, are named after their instigator, Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer, President Woodrow Wilson’s last Attorney General. The event in question, in Reed’s own words, “constituted a horrific, shameful episode in American history, one of the lowest moments for liberty since King George III quartered troops in private homes.”
The targets, ironically, were radicals and Leftists who were deemed by the Wilson administration to be hostile to “American values.” I say this is ironic for a number of reasons. Primarily, Wilson was, himself, a Leftist Democrat. Wilson was the first president to have movies shown in the White House, and shamefully, the first such film ever shown was a pro-KKK film named “The Birth of a Nation”, originally called “The Clansman.” He was an actual racist who sought to segregate federal government as much as he could and held Old Southern values, obviously.
I am not sure just how different he was from these “radicals” and “Leftists” whom his administration targeted, but his very actions demonstrate his own Leftist and authoritarian values.
It’s worth pointing out that other former presidents, even prior to Wilson, had done some damage to people’s civil liberties and Constitutional rights. John Adams, for example, himself a founding patriot and our nation’s second president (so it took two presidents for tyranny to rear its ugly head in this country), got Congress, led by Adams’ Federalist Party, to pass the Alien and Sedition Acts, which made it easier for the government to deport foreigners, made it harder for new immigrants to vote (so far, so good) and made it so that fines and imprisonment could be handed out to those who “write, print, utter, or publish… any false, scandalous and malicious writing” against the government, according to USHistory.org.
Now, in the era of fake news which has been meant to utterly derail and undermine the Trump administration, one might be more open to considering such an act as being good, but the problem comes in the fact that the very government passing such a law is the one which gets to determine the definition of “false, scandalous and malicious writing.” For example, more than 20 Democratic-Republican newspaper editors were arrested and, some, imprisoned. One prominent example of those imprisoned by this law was Vermont Representative Matthew Lyon, who wrote a letter critical of Adams’ “unbounded thirst for ridiculous pomp, foolish adulation, and self avarice.”
So basically, imagine if fake news media journalists could be imprisoned for merely calling Trump a racist, or “worse than Hitler.” While I think it’s obscene that they would so callously call him those things, they have First Amendment rights to say those things, as well they should. Just like we have First Amendment rights to call Biden a racist and sex offender, particularly if there is proof of that.
And President Lincoln suspended political opponents’ habeas corpus rights during the Civil War.
So it wasn’t exactly unprecedented for Wilson to be a violator of civil liberties and rights, but that doesn’t mean what he did was right at any capacity. Further, his legacy can be felt even to today, seeing as his administration oversaw (and endorsed) the 16th and 17th amendments to the Constitution, which made it so that the federal government would begin taxing people’s personal income, and made it so that U.S. Senators would be elected through popular vote instead of appointed by state legislatures similar to the president, respectively. Also, he created the Federal Reserve, and I don’t have to tell you how that one is felt today.
Wilson’s administration also created the Committee on Public Information (CPI), which was basically just a department of propaganda to try and convince Americans that The Great War was right and just and necessary for the preservation of democracy. “Two months later,” writes Reed, “under intense pressure from the White House, Congress passed the Espionage Act. Any person who made ‘false reports or false statements with intent to interfere’ with the official war effort could be punished with 20 years in jail or a fine of $10,000 (at least a quarter-million in today’s dollars), or both. It was amended in May 1918 by the Sedition Act, which made it a crime to write or speak anything ‘disloyal or abusive’ about the government, the Constitution, the flag, or a US military uniform.”
Wilson’s then-Attorney General, Thomas Watt Gregory, also did something similar to what de Blasio encouraged New Yorkers to do during the pandemic: spy and snitch on each other. The Justice Department would receive thousands of accusations of “disloyalty” every single day.
This, for those who are relatively familiar with French history, is reminiscent of one of the aspects of the Reign of Terror which made it as awful as it was. The French citizens were encouraged by the Jacobins to spy on one another and report any acts or beliefs deemed to be “counter-revolutionary.” Any expression of sympathy for King Louis XVI or any critique of the revolutionaries, particularly of Robespierre, were deemed as crimes punishable by guillotine.
While it wasn’t quite that bad for Americans a hundred years ago, it was still pretty awful nonetheless. What’s more, the Post Office would destroy certain mail instead of delivering it and began banning magazines which would “embarrass” the government. According to Reed: “An issue of one periodical was outlawed for no more reason than it suggested the war be paid for by taxes instead of loans.”
Anything that was deemed critical of American allies like France or Britain was also banned, including a movie about the Revolutionary War wherein the British were seen as the bad guys… because of course they were back then, but by the time of the war, the British were allies and Wilson didn’t want any critique of them.
“Of the roughly 2,000 people prosecuted under the Espionage and Sedition Acts, not a single one of them was a German spy. They were all Americans whose thoughts or deeds (almost none of them violent) ran counter to those of the man in the big White House. Hundreds were deported after minimal due process even though they were neither illegal immigrants nor convicted criminals.”
So all those laws did was infringe on people’s free speech rights as well as due process rights and they did nothing to deter spying and disinformation from the Germans, who would be defeated a little more than a year and a half after the United States “entered” the war (we officially entered the war in April of 1917 but wouldn’t even land in Europe and enter combat until months later).
After the end of World War I, Wilson’s next big bad enemy of American democracy was what became known as the “Red Scare.” And while I agree that communism is, indeed, antithetical and a threat to the American REPUBLIC, Wilson himself was also a big threat to it as he had proven throughout his two (potentially almost three, had he been healthier) terms as president.
In March of 1919, Wilson appointed a new Attorney General, A. Mitchell Palmer, who was, in Wilson’s own words: “young, militant, progressive and fearless.” Interesting how “progressive” was used even by Leftists back then and how that word was used in its exact opposite intention. I cannot say that there was anything about Wilson’s administration that was progressive in the sense that it helped pave the way forward in a positive sense, and it only led to regression in terms of people’s civil liberties. There is a reason Reed calls back on King George III’s quartering of troops in people’s homes when discussing this subject.
At any rate, actually getting to the raids now, the first of the two biggest raids happened on November 7th. 1919, where Palmer and his newly appointed deputy, J. Edgar Hoover, spearheaded the operation wherein “federal agents scooped up hundreds of alleged radicals, subversives, communists, anarchists, and ‘undesirable’ but legal immigrants in 12 cities – some 650 in New York City alone. Beatings, even in police stations, were not uncommon,” wrote Reed.
January 2nd, 1920 was the second of the major raids, the largest and most aggressive one yet, which Reed calls “a night of terror: about 4,000 arrests across 23 states, often without legitimate search warrants and with the arrestees frequently tossed into makeshift jails in substandard conditions.”
Interestingly enough, The Washington Post had an opinion piece, where one person wrote: “There is no time to waste on hairsplitting over infringement of liberties.” So the WaPo was not exactly a friend of freedom even a hundred years ago.
Now, you might be asking roughly why I’m talking about this, particularly to this length. Well, there is no doubt that the Left is as authoritarian today as they were back then and will usurp our liberties and rights for whatever cockamamie reason they give such as “social justice” or whatever else to try and justify it. Wilson used the war and the rise of the Soviet Union as the reason for being an authoritarian himself, and the Left today will use Trump, Trumpism and the Capitol riot as the reason for being authoritarians in our near future.
Already, there are calls from some on the Left to designate MAGA rallies as terrorist gatherings. They will use things like the Patriot Act (another infringement on people’s freedoms, courtesy of George W. Bush) to destroy as many of our liberties as possible, claiming to be fighting “domestic terrorism” (all the while they are openly supportive of Antifa and BLM terrorist actions).
Despite the dark days that are most likely in our future, it’s worth mentioning, and a bit of a sigh of relief, that bright days are what lay ahead of dark ones. Despite the actions of Wilson, America still saw times of great prosperity, such as under Eisenhower, Reagan and Trump. There is no denying that Wilson eroded many liberties of Americans, which for the most part, have not been undone by any future administration, but the pursuit of liberty is always a worthwhile endeavor. It’s unlikely we will ever see an America which our founders envisioned (and, to an extent, some of the founders even had a hand in ensuring that, given Adams’ actions), at least on this Earth.
The Founders likely envisioned what was the closest thing to Heaven on Earth back then, but Man’s evil nature is what prevented them from being able to fulfil it, and it’s what prevents us from being able to get close to it.
But despite what is likely ahead of us, look forward to the future which will come after it. Apart from Christ’s, no victory is permanent. The Left will taste defeat again sooner than they expect.
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
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