Fanaticism and ignorance is forever busy and needs feeding.  Clarence Darrow

“Inherit the Wind” is one of the best movies of its kind ever made. If you have not yet seen it, I recommend it. Not only is it brilliantly acted and directed based on a script taken largely from the actual trial, but it is shockingly relevant. Shocking because the trial was in Dayton, Tennessee in 1925.  It ought to feel old but it’s horribly current. The script for “Inherit the Wind” starring Spencer Tracy, Frederic March, and Gene Kelly uses language that’s directly from the transcript of the Scopes Monkey Trial.

Inherit the Wind” (1960) was directed by Stanley Kramer. The trial was held in Dayton, Tennessee because teaching evolution had been banned by the state’s Butler Act.

You would think we’d have come a long way since then. On the surface, we did. But we never imagined merely passing laws didn’t mean Americans would abide by them. So, we didn’t pass strong measures to maintain these laws. Despite all of the wars in which we’ve participated, this is not a militaristic nation. Our laws prohibit the military from interfering domestically. We wrote laws but all it took was one president who cared nothing for laws or tradition to break us down and make the our laws and traditions meaningless.

We passed legislation. Civil rights and more. We eliminated as much of the remaining Jim Crow laws as we could — and almost immediately began doubling back. We are still doubling back and doing it at warp speed. It’s hard to imagine we will ever find our road again. 

We’re marching down a bleak, dark road. We apparently lack a memory of having been here before. If we remembered, we’d know just how badly it will end.

A nation led by hatred, ignorance is a bad place to live.

Categories: Ethics and Philosophy, film, Film Review, History, Movies, Politics, Religion

Tags: , , , , , ,

19 replies

  1. How advanced we think we are but many of us are no better than those folk nearly 100 years ago. So much for progress.


    • We can pass laws, but we can’t make people want to obey them. There aren’t enough police in the world to make a country unwilling to live by the rule of law to obey them. All it took here was one man who had no respect for laws, the constitution, or tradition to break down the structure. How or IF it will ever be remade? I have no idea. I suppose time will tell, but I don’t think I’ll be here to see it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The movie is, indeed, one of the great ones. But it seems that America is reverting back, devolving, and that the ignorance, hatred, bigotry, and religious fervor and intolerance that once infected our country has returned with a vengeance, like some new, highly contagious variant of COVID-19, and there is no vaccine available to stop its spread.


    • It turns out laws can only be maintained by a citizenry willing to BELIEVE in the importance of the rule of law. Once you break down the traditions and respect that give laws value and meaning — whether or not you agree with them — there aren’t enough police in the world who can fix it.

      To be a democracy or republic, you need people who believe in the freedoms offered by those paths. Once you lose that, you can only wonder how or IF if the structure can be rebuilt. I don’t know. I don’t think it will happen in my lifetime. It would take a miracle and we seem a bit short on miracles.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly right. It is heartbreaking. Decline of another empire!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It was a brilliant movie brilliantly acted. Couldn’t agree with you more, Marilyn.


  4. Inherit the Wind is one of the all-time great movies. Spencer Tracy was nothing short of amazing He was nominated for an Academy Award but lost to Burt Lancaster.


    • All it took was ONE “president” who cared nothing for laws or traditions. Just one. I actually thought we were smarter than this.


      • I thought the constitution was. It didn’t take into account that an utter self-serving fool would be elected president. But should have.


      • Nor did it take into account the fact that all three divisions of government could become corrupt at the same time–therefore, no checks and balances


        • Our government was made up of self-serving fools from the get-got. Not QUITE AS awful as Trump, but bad enough. Hell, in the first administration — that of Geo. Washington — there was at least one duel and Hamilton died. Despite what people say these days about George Washington leaving office because he thought two terms was enough for any president, he left because the press — they had one even then and it was completely unregulated and about as accurate as Facebook is today — was tearing him to shreds. He was absolutely miserable and just wanted to go home and be a farmer again. This government was always corrupt, probably because all governments are corrupt. It’s just that the level of corruption has risen to heights never imagined AND the people running it are not the people we see. They are the billionaires who run the corporations and conglomerates — and fund the morons we see on TV or social media. What I think was never imagined was the amount of MONEY that would be involved. The apparently limitless number of payoffs to so many officials. It’s breathtaking.


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