Outside Paradise, government will never be perfect. But that's no reason to give up
on it—any more than the fact that we can't love our children perfectly entails giving up on loving them as well as we can.
In 1859, an 11-year-old Catholic boy, Thomas Whall, refused to recite the Ten Commandments from the King James Bible in a public school. McLaurin Cooke, an assistant principal, whipped Whall's hands with a rattan rod for 30 minutes. With his hands bleeding and swollen, the boy finally gave in. Police arrested Cooke, but a court dismissed charges of assault and battery.
When broadcaster Edward R. Murrow wrapped up a 1954 documentary on Joseph McCarthy, the demagogic anticommunist senator from Wisconsin, he said that McCarthy “didn’t create this situation of fear—he merely exploited it, and rather successfully.” Murrow added that this was not the time for people who opposed McCarthy’s methods to remain silent. Today no one in the news media today has the stature or the audience that Murrow had in the 1950s. Most reporters and commentators have been reluctant to push back against Donald Trump’s rhetoric and falsehoods, lest they be charged with partisanship. However, when leading Republican figures speak out against Trump, reporters are given some cover for challenging Trump’s claims (Columbia Journalism Review, July 15).