Weekly Round-up 9/23/2023
Another week in the books! This week’s articles focused on a range of topics, from a forgotten string of church invasions committed by mobs of socialists to extended coverage of the legal and cultural aftershocks of the 2020 George Floyd riots.
The next article in the ongoing series on the First Red Scare will cover the circumstances surrounding the bribery trials of ACLU hero Clarence Darrow. Although today Darrow is known as an influential and passionate civil rights lawyer, in his own day he was regarded as a charlatan huckster who was caught trying to bribe a juror in order to free terrorist bombers who he knew killed 21 innocent people. When Darrow spoke in his own defense, he argued that the bombings shouldn’t even be considered a crime.
Darrow was acquitted in his first bribery trial (it was later revealed that he had bribed one of the jurors in that trial) and had a hung jury in the second one (8 voting to convict, 4 against). I’m assuming he bribed at least one juror in that second trial, too, but just didn’t leave any evidence of it. The DA offered to stop pursuing Darrow for the bribes if he agreed to never practiced law in California again. Darrow accepted this deal. Although he was unambiguously guilty of the crime, he maintained his innocence to his dying breath.
My hope with this initial round of articles is to provide important background to the First Red Scare (1919-1920). When I began this project I was operating under the assumption that, just like with the Second Red Scare, the mainstream narrative of the period today was extremely revisionist and left out important facts. I have several articles already written about events during the actual Red Scare in main, but in my research I keep coming across incidents in the preceding decade that provide invaluable context to the drama that unfolded in 1919. You can’t really understand the reaction without also understanding the events they were reacting to.
In studying the Second Red Scare, people generally aren’t made to understand that there really was a massive communist presence in the government and other important sectors following the Roosevelt administration. That wasn’t something that McCarthy was making up. For the First Red Scare, it’s generally left out that there was actually a huge wave of terrorism and other unrest that was overwhelmingly supported and facilitated by mainstream liberals of the time. The conciliatory approach of previous years made the problem worse instead of better.
With this information in mind, it’s much easier to see why Americans were fearful of a repeat of the then-recent Russian Revolution happening at home. It wasn’t just unfounded paranoia, and the unprecedented actions taken by the US government to halt domestic radicalism weren’t undertaken on a whim.
On that note, I’d like to take another moment to beg for more subscribers. If you’ve been enjoying what you’ve read so far, please help to support my work. I’m literally begging you. Pleading. With socks on my hands. The paid subscription is only $5 a month. It gives you access to all the paywalled history articles and the Watch-alongs listed below. Just open your settings, click on “Subscriptions,” select Conundrum Cluster, and then press the “Upgrade to paid subscription” button. Every subscription makes a real difference for me. Thank you very much to everyone who’s already subscribed.
One final note, the elite Patrician Ultraman Group (P. U. G.) subscription tier will be having its first classic game night this weekend. This tier is only $15 more than the regularly annual subscription and gives you access to exclusive discussion posts and game nights (info is only visible to P.U.G. subs). Our first game is going to be Zombie Panic! Source, which is free and whole lot of fun. I hope you can make it.
There were six new articles this week:
In March 1914, socialist mobs invaded and shook-down churches all over New York City (Paid) - Provides an introduction to the socialist/anarchist International Workers of the World union by detailing a series of violent “protests” they staged in New York City during an economic downturn, targeting local churches. It turns out that people often didn’t like the “Wobblies” for pretty understandable reasons
Watch-along #1: The North Water E1 (Paid) - The first in a series of live reactions to various TV shows. The idea is that you can scroll through my notes/trivia as you view, and we can all watch and discuss the same thing at roughly the same time. The premier series is The North Water, an exceptionally good miniseries following a drug addict surgeon on an ill-fated whaling expedition. Classic adventure
IM-1776 publishes Conundrum Cluster article! (Free) - Provides a link to my new history article “FDR’s Censorship Regime” which was published in the conservative magazine IM-1776. The article describes the clash between FDR’s liberal Office of War Information and studios over a film about Andrew Johnson and Reconstruction
"Comedian" crafts the myth of the 21st century on Netflix (Free) - Thoughts on the recent revelation that apparently famous television host Hasan Minhaj, whose “comedy” acts often involved sharing personal stories of racism and discrimination, actually fabricated many of the incidents he described. When confronted, Minhaj was unapologetic and claimed that his lies were “emotionally true”
BLM gunman convicted of manslaughter, not murder, for shooting police officer to death (Free) - Describes yet another incident of politically-motivated jury nullification by liberal jurors. A BLM militant shot a police officer unprovoked during a routine stop but was convicted of the lesser crime of manslaughter, rather than murder, at trial several years later
Daughter of cyclist murdered by “teens” tells people not to draw obvious conclusions (Free) - Coverage of the sad aftermath of the murder of a white cyclist by two non-white teenagers. The murder was filmed and was apparently committed solely for the purpose of entertainment. The victim’s family gave a press conference where they asked the public not to focus on the obvious racial element of the story
Alright, that’s it. See you next week! You can find the full catalog below.
Culture & Politics
Clown Car Crash (Free)