Tag: William Jennings Bryan

The Day Religion Clashed With Science

Crossposted from Daily Kos

On July 21, 1925, a court in Dayton, Tennessee found the defendant, John Scopes, guilty of teaching the theory of evolution in high school.  Writing in the Baltimore Evening Sun, journalist H.L. Mencken had some harsh words for anti-intellectuals opposing Scopes’ viewpoint

What its people ask for — many of them in plain terms — is suspended judgment, sympathy, Christian charity, and I believe that they deserve all these things… The civilized minority in the State is probably as large as in any other Southern State.  What ails it is simply the fact it has been, in the past, too cautious and politic — that it has been too reluctant to offend the Fundamentalist majority.  To that reluctance something else has been added: an uncritical and somewhat childish local patriotism. The Tennesseeans have tolerated their imbeciles for fear that attacking them would bring down the derision of the rest of the country.  

[F]undamentalism, after all, made men happy — that a Tennesseean gained something valuable by being an ignoramus — in other words, that a hog in a barnyard was to be envied by an Aristotle.

A Candidate Diary

Fourth Time Is The Charm!

After a long stretch of not actively endorsing a candidate, I have decided to come out both guns blazing for the one man who will ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY bring bold change to the White House, our nation ,and indeed the world, should he be elected. NONE of the other candidates can bring the perspective and unwavering, steadfast position of this fine, noble and no longer upstanding example of commitment to principle, values, and the working man of America.

My candidate is a man of values, both religious and social, a man of literally lifelong experience in foreign and domestic policies. A man who has proved time and again his willingness to take on special interests and vast corporate and business powers to advance the interests of the working man and the middle class, no matter what the cost to his own aspirations. He has been long…very long… an outspoken opponent of America as an Empirical power in the wold. An untiring and relentless candidate, he has a solid track record of walking his talk and of putting what he believes in above any petty political calculation.

Progressive Epilogue

It was a third party that captured 22 electoral votes and 4 states in a presidential race, elected governors in 7 states, sent dozens of legislators to Congress, and controlled all or part of numerous state Houses and Senates – yet it was only prominent on the national scene for a decade or so.  The People’s (a/k/a Populist) Party was born of anger and frustration at the failure of either major party to look after the concerns of a large segment of their ostensible constituency, and in the course of their stampede across the American political landscape, they shifted Overtons, crashed gates, and exerted their forceful, righteous will upon the craven Democrats and sold-out Republicans of their day.

It’s a good thing we’re safely removed from that sort of (way) pre-9/11 thinking – it allows us to historiorant in peace about a time when conflicts of class, pretense, and presumptuousness rent asunder the House of Donkey, and ushered onto the stage a cast of characters straight out of The Wizard of Oz.