Progressivism and a Neo-Victorina Era


Michael Barone has an interesting piece called Is America Entering a New Victorian Era? over at Real Clear Politics.

Today, several widely unanticipated trends — certainly unanticipated by me — suggest that America is in some significant respects entering a new Victorian Era. Some may regard that as regrettable, others as welcome, still others as a mixture of good news and bad news. But it’s certainly news, especially to the aging baby boomers who expected the Age of Aquarius to continue indefinitely.

Read the whole thing. His piece got me thinking about the connection between the Victorian Era and what became American Progressivism around the turn of the twentieth century. A significant aspect of the goals of many early Progressives was control over the lives of others. Prohibition comes to mind.

A hundred years ago, the big bugaboo was booze. Now, it may be campus sex. Of course, drinking to excess and promiscuous sex are dangerous activities. Religion,  common sense, and our moral betters all warn against them. Where our moral betters fail us and themselves is by failing to realize that they are morally powerless to control anyone’s behavior but their own. Failing that, they try to use coercive power. For Progressives, that’s the power of the state.

Prohibition. The War on Drugs. Yes Means Yes. Perhaps a cycle is repeating.

The Confederate Flag


Since everyone else seems to be expressing an opinion about the Confederate flag, here’s mine. Take it down and put it in a museum.

I’m a Southerner. I was born and raised in Tennessee. On my father’s side of the family, my great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather were slave owners. On my mother’s side, my great-great-grandfather served as a captain in the Confederate Army. The Confederacy is a part of my heritage, but it isn’t something I’m especially proud of.

For some, the Confederate flag is a symbol of regional pride, but it has taken on a darker meaning for most of the world. Good manners suggest that it would be both polite and wise to avoid flaunting such a emotionally-charged symbol when it is likely to be offensive.

The question is not whether people have the right to peacefully display the Confederate flag. Of course they do; that’s protected by the First Amendment. The question is should they do so; is it wise? My answer, at least for places such as government buildings, is, “No. It’s unwise and unkind.”

Take it down. Put it in a museum.

UPDATE—I’ve held this same opinion concerning the Confederate flag since I was a kid. It wasn’t so much of a big deal among folks I knew until the Civil War centennial. I saw enough of it then, and I had seen enough of it by 1965. I suppose it boils down to this: I’m an American and not a Confederate.

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day


On June 11, 1980 petitioner was sentenced to four years following his conviction in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana.

On November 3, 1980 petitioner received a consecutive 12 year sentence following his conviction in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana for possession and illegal use of Department of Defense insignia, illegal use of the Seal of the President of the United States, and impersonation of a federal officer.

On June 4, 1981 petitioner received a consecutive five year sentence following his conviction in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana for receipt of explosives by a convicted felon.

On December 30, 1981 petitioner received a 50-year concurrent sentence from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana for possession of an unregistered destructive device, unlawful manufacturing of a destructive device, malicious damage by means of explosives, and malicious damage by means of explosives involving personal injury. As set forth in his presentence report, during a six day period in September, 1978 eight bombs made of Tovex 200 dynamite were detonated in the Speedway, Indiana area. One bomb, placed in a gym bag in the Speedway High School parking lot, detonated on September 6, 1978, when it was picked up by Carl and Sandra DeLong after a high school football game. Sandra DeLong received permanent nerve damage caused by bomb fragments in her leg. Her husband Carl lost his right leg and two fingers. Carl DeLong received additional injuries to his inner ear, stomach, chest, neck and arm due to bomb fragments, and endured a series of operations. On February 23, 1983 Carl DeLong committed suicide at the age of 44.

On October 23, 1983 a Marion County, Indiana jury awarded $360,000 to Sandra DeLong for her injuries, and $1,250,000 for the wrongful death of Carl DeLong. The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the wrongful death judgment, holding that Carl DeLong’s suicide was, as a matter of law, an intervening cause. The Supreme Court of Indiana reinstated the wrongful death judgment on June 13, 1994, finding that Carl DeLong’s death “was within the scope of harm intended by Kimberlin’s intentional criminal conduct.”

Sandra DeLong attempted to collect on her judgment by obtaining a writ of attachment against petitioner’s prison commissary account after a United States Probation Officer informed her that petitioner regularly transferred money to someone outside the prison. Petitioner promptly sued Mrs. DeLong, her lawyer, the probation officer, and various Bureau of Prisons and Department of Justice officials for money damages. Petitioner’s action was not successful. See Kimberlin v. U.S. Department of Justice, 788 F.2d 434 (7th Cir.1986).

Kimberlin v. Dewalt, 12 F.Supp.2d 487, 489-490 (D.Md. 1998).