Monday, January 25, 2010

wilhelm reich in hell

RAW | As every schoolchild once knew - back in the reactionary days when schoolchildren were expected to know something -- the U.S. Constitution ordains that there shall be "no laws" abridging freedom of speech or of the press. There is considerable internal evidence in the Constitution, and external evidence in the other writings of the authors of the Constitution, to support the contention that the creators of the Republic were versatile in their handling of language and very precise in their usage. One would assume that when they wrote "no laws" they meant "no laws." Nonetheless, the U.S. Supreme Court sits every year and determines, in various cases, if certain laws abridging freedom of speech and of the press are or are not in violation of the Constitution. As the late justice Hugo Black said sardonically on one occasion, the majority opinion of the Court appears to be that "no laws" means "some laws."

Like Justice Black, I am a plain blunt man and not sophisticated enough to understand the recondite arguments by which the Supreme Court has arrived at the opinion that "no laws" means "some laws." Justice Black said that his problem was that he was a simple farm-boy and "no laws" in English seemed to him to mean "no laws." I'm not sure what my problem is, but I also have the naive view that "no laws" means "no laws."

It was with some horror, and considerable indignation, then, that I reacted to the news, in 1957, that the U.S. Government had seized all the scientific books and papers of Dr. Wilhelm Reich and burned them in an incinerator in New York City. This was only twelve years after the U.S. had fought a prolonged and bitter war against Nazi Germany and I had been raised on anti-Nazi propaganda in which the Nazi "crime against freedom" in burning books had been stressed as much as their crimes against humanity in killing people. I was astounded and flabbergasted that the U.S. government was imitating its former enemy to the extent of actually burning scientific papers it found heretical.

One result of all such Inquisitorial behavior, which Inquisitors never seem to expect even though it is historically predictable, is that some people get curious about books they are forbidden to read. I spent a lot of time, in 1957-58, hunting for people who owned copies of Dr. Reich's books and doing exactly what the Inquisitors had wished to prevent me from doing -- reading the verboten books and forming my own judgement on the validity or lack of validity in Dr. Reich's various theories.....