Ticket to a Freedom Ride

Today's Democrats use minorities as pawns, as they always have.

The last hundred years have seen many examples of members of a specific tribal, racial, or cultural group being deliberately killed or expelled in a short time.  In Rwanda, the Hutu-based government slaughtered an estimated 800,000 Tutsi in a period of 100 days.

The Turkish government slaughtered 1.5 million Armenians in 1915 in what historians consider to have been "genocide."  The word was invented in 1943 by Raphael Lemkin, a lawyer of Polish-Jewish origin, who applied it to Nazi Germany and the Jews in his book, Axis Rule in Occupied Europe.

The gentler-sounding term "ethnic cleansing" was coined in the aftermath of the Yugoslav wars in Bosnia and Herzegovina which followed the death of Marshal Tito.  "Ethnic cleansing" is the systematic removal, either through force or persuasion, of ethnic, racial and/or religious groups from a given territory by a more powerful ethnic group which wants to purify their society.

Yugoslav factions didn't necessarily want opposing groups killed, they merely wanted them gone.  They used the softer term "ethnic cleansing" to distinguish their actions from "genocide" which implies that the victims are killed instead of merely being forcibly urged to leave.

It Could Be Worse

Given a choice, we at Scragged would far rather be ethnically cleansed than genocided - all the more so since the one often leads to the other if it fails, but at least you have some warning and might be able to do something to save your life.  When Mr. Lemkin coined the term "genocide" to describe how the Nazis tried to kill millions of Jews during World War II, he overlooked the fact that Hitler's efforts to purify the Reich started out expelling Jews in acts of ethnic cleansing.

After Adolf Hitler took power in 1933, Germany passed laws that isolated Jewish people by restricting their ability to move freely, shutting down businesses, and reducing educational opportunities.  Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass, was a pogrom against the Jews carried out by the Nazi party's storm troopers, whose most similar modern group is the black-clad Antifa who riot against conservatives in the US.  During the night of 9-10 November 1938, rioters destroyed 267 synagogues throughout Germany, Austria and the Sudetenland.  Over 7,000 Jewish businesses were damaged or destroyed.

Although hundreds of Jews were killed during Kristallnacht, it was, strictly speaking, an act of ethnic cleansing rather than genocide.  The Nazis wanted Jews out of Germany, but at that point in time, they were happy to see them leave with their skins intact.

Some 937 foresighted German Jews saw the handwriting on the wall, purchased Cuban entry visas and boarded the St. Louis, a ship which flew the Nazi flag, to emigrate.  The Nazis let them peacefully board the ship and waved them on their way out of German territory, waters, and Europe entirely.

Unfortunately, the Cubans weren't that much fonder of Jews than the Germans and were far less strict in their adherence to the bureaucratic niceties of international red tape.  By the time the ship reached Cuba, the Cuban government had decided to simply dishonor most of the visas that had been granted in Germany before the ship sailed, and only 28 Jews were permitted to disembark.

The passengers begged Cuban President Federico Laredo Bru, and then U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, for sanctuary.  Mr. Roosevelt had considered trying to get Jews out of Germany a year or so before the St. Louis sailed, but had rejected the idea because it would be unpopular and because he was focused on the coming war.  The Jews sent a petition to Canada, but were denied permission to land there as well.

"If these Jews were to find a home [in Canada]," said immigration minister Frederick Blair, "they would be followed by other shiploads ... the line must be drawn somewhere."  [emphasis added]

Some passengers were permitted to land in other countries, but the refusal to take them in ultimately resulted in the death of 254 refugees - the leftovers who were returned to Germany and, eventually, the ovens.  Having tried to send live Jews away in an act of ethnic cleansing to no avail, the Nazi government escalated to genocide.  Millions of Jews and other "inferior races" died in the Holocaust who would probably have stayed alive if other countries had been willing to take them in.

Lessons Learned?

Given the Nazi's murderous dislike of Jews, hindsight shows that it was a morally good thing for the Nazis to accommodate Jews who were smart enough to leave while they could.  Exiling someone is inarguably preferable to murdering them.

Similarly, it can be seen that it was a bad thing for so many countries to refuse to let Jewish refugees land.  This became so brutally obvious after the fact that various UN conventions have been adopted which govern how refugees fleeing for their lives are supposed to be treated.

It's quite startling to consider the relatively minuscule numbers of would-be refugee Jews.  Indeed, Hitler's attempted complete purge of Jewry from all of Europe resulted in perhaps 6,000,000 murder victims.  In America today, we have between three and six times as many people living here illegally, not counting many times more lawful immigrants.  All the Jews of Germany and the rest of Europe could have vanished without trace into the vastness of America, Canada, or the world at large had they been permitted entry.

After the war, everybody did the same math and justly felt ashamed.  There really was no reason why fleeing Jews could not have been accommodated in a thousand different places.  That's why the various international conventions on refugees were passed basically without opposition.

At the time, nobody anticipated that millions upon millions would try to flee chaos and poverty in the Middle East, Africa, and South America in numbers sufficient to overwhelm the receiving countries.  To re-quote Canadian immigration minister Frederick Blair, "they would be followed by other shiploads ... the line must be drawn somewhere."  Since most Western countries are unwilling today to draw a line anywhere, large swaths of what once were European cities are now unrecognizable.

Morality? Or Hypocrisy?

There's another obscure event which reminds us that although ethnic cleansing is preferable to genocide, it doesn't always work out as planned.

"The Cruel Story Behind the 'Reverse Freedom Rides'" takes us back to the early days of the Civil Rights struggle:

In the summer of 1961, black and white activists, who became known as the Freedom Riders, boarded Greyhound buses and crisscrossed the South with the goal of integrating interstate buses and bus terminals. When the buses pulled into Southern cities, they were greeted by mobs armed with bats and firebombs.

Southern segregationists, who were still furious over the school desegregation fights that dominated the 1950s, saw the Freedom Riders as sanctimonious provocateurs. In a television interview from the time, Ned Touchstone of Louisiana - a spokesperson for a local segregationist group - said the North was "sending down bus loads of people here with the express purpose of violating our laws, fomenting confusion, trying to destroy 100 years of workable tradition and good relations between the races."  [emphasis added]

The explicit tactic of the "Freedom Riders"  was to violate Southern segregation laws such as white-only drinking fountains, hotels, and lunch counters.  Their motives were suspect from the beginning:

Touchstone and other segregationists thought there was no way the Freedom Riders or their fellow Northern liberals actually cared about integrating interstate transit or advancing civil rights. Instead, they were convinced it was a strategy to embarrass the South and capture black votes for the Democratic party[emphasis added]

The civil rights efforts did indeed capture 90% of the black vote for Democrats unto this day, just as Mr. Touchstone feared.  This is well-known today, and was part of the plot: as Democrat President Lyndon Johnson said privately at the time,

I'll have those n******s voting Democratic for 200 years.

Contemptuous language aside, the idea of a politician earning votes from a particular group of citizens by granting them rights previously denied them is hardly alien to American politics or the principles of liberty in general.  One could argue it's the fundamental principle of the history of American governance.

What's not as well-known is that Mr. Touchstone was equally right about Northern liberal hypocrisy:

Amis Guthridge, a lawyer from Arkansas who helped spearhead the Reverse Freedom Rides. "We're going to find out if people like Ted Kennedy ... and the Kennedys, all of them, really do have an interest in the Negro people, really do have a love for the Negro."

His reasoning was that since Southerners didn't particularly like having Negroes around and Northern liberals professed such a love for them, Southerners ought to raise money and engage in ethnic cleansing by sending Negroes north, where liberals, if they truly held the principles they proclaimed, should welcome them with open arms.

"They targeted people who were either welfare recipients or prison inmates," said Webb [a historian who has studied the Reverse Freedom Rides]. "People who were placing a burden, as they saw it, on public resources."

Then, they sought media attention. George Singelmann of Louisiana, who claimed credit for the original idea, had once worked in a newsroom. He made sure to alert the press.

"Negro 'Ride' Plan Stirs New Furor" read a front-page headline in The New York Times. The Boston Herald added, "14 More Jobless Negroes Sent North." As spring rolled into summer and then fall, nearly daily articles chronicled the scheme as it unfolded.

Relishing the coverage, Guthridge said in an interview, "If it takes two weeks, two months, two years, five or 10 years, we will continue it until the white people up there ... tell those politicians we are tired of using the American Negro for a pawn just for their votes."

Indeed, liberal hypocrisy was amply demonstrated:

As the Reverse Freedom Riders adjusted to their new lives, the country around them debated whether to intervene.

Illinois' governor compared the Reverse Freedom Rides to Nazis deporting Jews. A Mississippi congressman delighted in watching the North squirm, saying, "They want to 'free' the Negro in the South, but want to shun responsibility for him once he has been 'freed.'" Gov. John Volpe of Massachusetts pledged to help, but worried his welfare budget would be depleted. He asked the federal government to step in.

President Kennedy largely tried to avoid the topic. When worried and enraged citizens wrote letters to the White House, the standard reply was that the situation was "deplorable" but "there is no violation of law." When Kennedy was asked about it at a news conference, he paused before saying, "Well I think it's, uh, a rather cheap exercise in ...." He hesitated, stumbled and tried to dodge the question for more than a minute.  [emphasis added]

As the Canadian immigration minister said, "the line must be drawn somewhere."  Kennedy at least was honest enough to recognize the logical contradictions in refusing to accept in-migration: were not American blacks U.S. citizens?  Did not all U.S. citizens have an absolute right to travel freely throughout the country?  On what possible grounds, then, could these migrations be prevented?  He didn't attempt to block the migration, but didn't exactly offer a warm welcome, either.

The Southerners who paid for the bus tickets eagerly sought publicity for their program of sending Negroes north.  They, like Kennedy, were also confident in the lawfulness of generously providing traveling funds to another U.S. citizen who freely desired to travel elsewhere.  At the same time, they realized that Northerners would be no more eager to accept poor southern blacks than Americans had been to accept Jews from the St. Louis.

Unfortunately for them, they hadn't reckoned with the attitude of the national press - biased then as now, simply more effective at concealing it.  The media spread the sentiment that the Reverse Freedom Rides exposed the callousness of the Southern segregationists - which, of course, was being revealed in all its infamy in the news every day.  On the other hand, they carefully concealed the mirror-image hypocrisy of the Northern liberals who bought their newspapers, in their less-violent but still strident objection to poor blacks being dumped into their lily-white neighborhoods.

Of Past and Future

Today, we correctly look back in shame at FDR who, while doing many other things right, nevertheless earned an abiding moral blot by rejecting the hapless passengers of the St. Louis.  Why then, do we not equally shame the Democrats of the North who were just as opposed to accepting blacks fleeing what they themselves called inhumane treatment in the South?

Of course, all this ignores the unfortunates themselves; we don't know what they thought of the racism they encountered in the supposedly more tolerant North.  Jews have not forgotten the St. Louis - nor have they forgotten that one of Hitler's first acts on taking power was to disarm the entire German population.

These memories increase their determination to defend a country of their own - they'd rather die on their feet than live on their knees.  The Israeli Defense Forces swear in recruits on top of Masada where on April 15, 73 A.D., more than 900 Jews committed suicide rather than submit to the Roman army.  The ceremony ends with "Never again!"

We know full well what lesson the Jews learned from the Holocaust - not just "Never again" but "We're going to be so well-armed, so wealthy, and so independent that we can make darn sure it never happens again." The entire history of the nation of Israel, its fights with the BDS movement, hostile UN resolutions, AIPAC lobbying, preemptively bombing a Syrian nuclear reactor, inventing the Iron Dome anti-missile system, and all its wars are an ongoing process of doing just that.

What lesson did American blacks fleeing Southern Democrat racist segregationists learn?  NPR reports:

The goal of the National African American Gun Association is to introduce black Americans to guns and also instruct them on how to use them. ...

24% of African Americans say they personally own a gun, compared with 36% of whites and 15% of Hispanics.

The association observes that many people react with alarm at the sight of a black person with a gun.  Gun ownership is politically fraught and racial politics are if anything more fraught.  The combination is potent indeed:

"The colors of our skin is politicized, sadly. Gun ownership is politicized, sadly," Doyle [one of the Atlanta chapter's few white members] says.

"The idea that an African-American gun association would be blithely silent on matters of race and gun ownership, would be absurd."

Townhall reminds us that gun control came about specifically because racist Democrats did not want black people to have guns:

"Few Americans remember today that the first task of the Ku Klux Klan was to disarm the black population in the South. Even fewer know that, in the days before the Civil War, citizen militias repelled white mobs that attacked black neighborhoods in many Northern cities. On at least two occasions, those militias were composed entirely of black gun owners."  [emphasis added]

As Dr. Martin Luther King was denied a gun permit in 1956 even after his house was bombed, many anti-semitic groups are incensed that Jews in Israel have both the means and the will to defend themselves.

The National African American Gun Association has learned the same lesson as the Jews - if you want protection, learn to protect yourself!  Never again!

Will Offensicht is a staff writer for Scragged.com and an internationally published author by a different name.  Read other Scragged.com articles by Will Offensicht or other articles on Politics.
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