Yet I don’t want the government making lists of what not to read and burning books.
Often viewpoints now seen as mainstream started as an fringe view in the past.
Voting rights for women and African-Americans were not mainstream views in the eyes of America’s founding fathers. Sometimes America has needed time to grow into the promise of “…all men are created equal…”
Other times fringe views have remained just that, rants in the darkness.
Sedition is complicated and difficult ground for journalists to cover. Publications that are mainstream like the then Telegram-Tribune do not want the taint of appearing of disloyal, especially in a time of war.
Repeating the offending language, even in an explanatory story, risks almost certain indictment. The language may be offensive to readers so the story talks around the specific language.
Governments often use the charge of sedition to muzzle opposition. Secret trials and stifling viewpoints are all anathema to what aspires to be an open form of government.
“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety,” wrote Benjamin Franklin.
Balancing the civil rights for individuals who oppose both the government and the majority of citizens during a time of crisis is at the heart of one story on the front page of the then Telegram-Tribune July 23, 1942.
Atascaderan Faces New U.S. Charge
William Kullgren of Atasacdero whose publication, “The Beacon Light,” brought him before a federal grand jury in Los Angeles last week on charges of sedition, was among the 28 persons listed today by Attorney General Francis Biddle as named in a secret indictment for conducting a nation-wide conspiracy to interfere with the war effort, according to a United Press bulletin from Washington D.C.
Kullgren, who is being held in the Los Angeles county jail in default of a $25,000 bail set after his plea of innocent, will be tried on Oct. 6. He was charged by the grand jury with attacks upon President Roosevelt in “The Beacon Light.” The tousel-haired, bespectacled publisher was accused of advocating insubordination of military forces and obstructing the recruiting of soldiers.
The article outlines nationwide indictments of 28 others accused including the author of the communist sounding “The Red Network.”
The accused were members of fringe organizations like “Make Europe Pay Her Debts Committee,” and “No Foreign War Coalition, Inc.” and the American Silver Shirts. They authored publications like “X-Ray” and “The Broom.”
According the Astro Databank website Kullgren was a British-born author/astrologer who published anti-Semitic, pro-Hitler material in “Beacon Light.”
According to the Metapedia website Kullgren was a member of the Silver Shirts. According to the website he never brought to trial. Kullgren died November 4, 1966 continuing to publish his views after the war.
The American Silver Shirts or Silver Legion of America were an paramilitary organization that were modeled after Hitler’s Brownshirts, who were modeled after Mussolini’s Blackshirts. The German and Italian examples were intimidation used by the dictators to bully their way into power. Though the American example did not find their way to power, there are active websites debating the words and works of Kullgren and his ilk.
Did I mention I find hate speech repugnant?
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