Inherit The Wind began life as a play by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Lee. The big screen version is one of my favorite lawyer movies.
It’s a fictionalized account of the Scopes Monkey Trial in which William Jennings Bryan appeared for the prosecution and Clarence Darrow for the defense. It’s a good example how someone can move from the far left to the far right. In Bryan’s case it was because of his religious beliefs, which made him a foe of the teaching of evolution in the schools.
In 2022, history repeats itself with the whole CRT mishigas as well as the disgusting antics of Sam the Sham Alito & the Federalist Society Pharaohs.
There’s a delicious irony in the casting of the Bryan-like Matthew Harrison Brady and the Darrow-like Henry Drummond. Brady was played by Frederic March an ardent liberal Democrat and Drummond by Spencer Tracy an equally ardent conservative Republican. They were both great in Inherit The Wind.
In the movie, Drummond convinces Brady to testify as an expert on the Bible. That’s where the quote of the day comes in. It’s from a speech by Drummond during his examination of Brady:
“Can’t you understand? That if you take a law like evolution and you make it a crime to teach it in the public schools, tomorrow you can make it a crime to teach it in the private schools? And tomorrow you may make it a crime to read about it. And soon you may ban books and newspapers. And then you may turn Catholic against Protestant, and Protestant against Protestant, and try to foist your own religion upon the mind of man. If you can do one, you can do the other.
Because fanaticism and ignorance is forever busy, and needs feeding. And soon, your Honor, with banners flying and with drums beating we’ll be marching backward, BACKWARD, through the glorious ages of that Sixteenth Century when bigots burned the man who dared bring enlightenment and intelligence to the human mind.”
That goes for Sam Alito’s dreadful and retrograde opinion in the Dobbs case as well. I’m glad it leaked. It ripped the mask of civility off Sam the Sham’s face. He can go Bork himself.
If you missed any of the Sam the Sham Alito & the Federalist Society Pharaohs Trilogy here are the links:
The Leak Heard Round The World
We’re Living In Robert Bork’s America Now
Sam the Sham Alito & the Federalist Society Pharaohs Can Go Bork Themselves
I’m inordinately proud of these posts. It was my way of making lemonade out of Alito’s draft opinion lemon. I was, however, wrong about the source of the leak in the first post. It came from the hard right.
The last word goes to Richard Thompson:
2 thoughts on “Quote Of The Day: Inherit The Wind Edition”
Or, equally appropriate to Alito’s blue-nosed bullying (h/t A Man for All Seasons):
Roper: So now you’d give the Devil benefit of law?
More: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
Roper: I’d cut down every law in England to do that!
More: Oh? And, when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you – where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country’s planted thick with laws from coast to coast – man’s laws, not God’s – and, if you cut them down – and you’re just the man to do it – d’you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake.
It’s been a long time, but I seem to recall an excellent Stephen Jay Gould essay where he presented the case that Bryan’s wrongness about science and his rightness about so many other things came from the same place in his heart. The problem wasn’t, per Gould at least, that Bryan became right-wing (which is what the paleontologist Gould, writing in the ’80s or ’90s assumed before he went digging); the problem was that Bryan conflated Darwinism and Social Darwinism (of course the second is nothing more than racism dressed up in a distorted parody of the first), and so saw “Darwinism” as he misunderstood it as being an apologia for the ideologies he spent his life opposing.
If he’d been correct about Darwinism being Social Darwinism, his opposition to the Theory of Evolution might be taken as noble. As things are, Bryan’s beliefs were perhaps still noble, but woefully and tragically misguided. My recollection is that Gould found himself grudgingly admiring a historic enemy of his field and profession for being a principled man.
It’s far harder to admire Samuel Alito’s principles, if he has them. If he’s not a hypocrite, he’s merely cruel. Bryan, if Gould measured the man correctly (and yes, I phrased that on purpose), opposed the concept of hierarchical biological development because he believed in human dignity. Alito really doesn’t.
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