The Corner

The Hidden Law, Fighting Words & Phelps

I am entirely sympathetic to this, from a reader:

 There’s another angle you are missing. The entire situation that

Fred Phelps causes is purely a result of our legalistic society,

where rather than deal with issues in a cultural manner, we resort

to the ever more burdened courts.

To be blunt, in the days of my grandfather, a good sized group

of men would have peeled off from the funeral, and informed

Rev. Phelps he was not welcome within eyesight of the funeral,

and that it was time for him to leave. Like, right now. If he

didn’t, then he would have been bodily removed, likely with

a variety of lumps and bruises, from the scene and warned that

if he returned, he would get a serious beating.

And nobody would have batted an eye. Any cops that were called

would have exercised discretion, looked over the situation, and

told Phelps “You had it coming, bub, beat it”. Any judge that

Phelps petitioned would have looked at the case, told Phelps

he was a horses hind end, and tossed it out of court with


However, that was in the days when the US had pretty much one

culture. Sure, lots of variations, but in 1950 a jerk like

Phelps would have gotten pretty much that reaction whether

he was disrupting a Marine’s funeral in Georgia, or Brooklyn,

or California. Because in those days, most people believed

in the same standards of behavior.

The sixties changed that. I can trace a direct line from the

“Do Your Own Thing” of ‘68, to Phelps standing outside of a

cemetery with “God Hates Fags” signs in 2009. By smashing

cultural norms, the left moved simple disputes such as this

from the cultural, low-level form of conflict resolution into

the legal system. And so now we have the absurdity of a mentally

disturbed man petitioning the Supreme Court for the “right” to

disrupt military funerals.

Thanks a lot, hippies…

It’s true. If this country worked more properly, if you saw  whole bunch of battered, bruised and bloodied people in an emergency room, you might ask “What happened to them?”

Then someone would say, “Oh they went to a Marine’s funeral and shouted something about ‘fags’ and  ‘thank God for dead soldiers.’ Then they wouldn’t leave when asked. So they got their asses beat.”

And you’d respond, “Ah. Sounds about right.”

And then you’d go about your day.

For a fuller take on hidden law, see this ten year-old G-File.

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