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Monday, January 20, 2020

On Martin Luther King, Jr.

Below I have reposted something I wrote in 2014, on the occasion of Martin Luther King Day. I think it holds up ok and I am not going to add or subtract from it. The only thing I would note is that we have come a long way away from his vision of a color-blind America in which we judge on the basis of character and not skin tone. The guilty ones in that regard are the left and the "woke ones" who have an obsession with race and anything else that promotes division and sabotage of the great American Experiment.  Very sad.

January 21, 2014

The Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Yesterday was Martin Luther King Day in the US; the TV and other media were full of stories about King and his times, and what it all means today. He has been compared to Gandhi and Mandela, become an icon for American "progressives," and, of course, a historical symbol of the nonviolent civil rights struggle of the 1950s and 1960s. He won the Nobel Peace Prize, almost every major American city has a thoroughfare named for him, and, as noted, we have a national holiday in his honor--making him and Columbus the only ones to have such holidays. Gunned down in 1968, at the age of thirty-nine, he left the civil rights movement to less capable and less visionary successors who undermined his legacy and his goal of a color-blind nation.

Was he a great man? He showed great courage, commitment to his cause, insistence on nonviolence, strong political and leadership skills, patriotism, and became a highly eloquent spokesman for civil rights. "I Have a Dream" is one of the great speeches in the English language. King's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" more than equals any Thoreau or Gandhi writings, and is not something that today's civil rights leaders, such as they are, could match, nor could the typical graduate of almost any university in the world today. (The letter's pacing, erudition, and, above all, the surgical preciseness with which it takes down opposing arguments bring to mind General Sherman's letter to the Mayor of Atlanta.) King's life made a difference to millions of people. The answer, therefore, to this paragraph's question is yes, he was a great man.

That said, serious problems exist with some of the narrative spun about King, in particular, and the civil rights struggle, in general. Part of the problem, of course, is that King died young, enabling others, as with the two Kennedy brothers, to fill in the rest of the story and use it to further certain political agendas. King died short of his fortieth birthday; had he lived longer, presumably he would have evolved and, possibly, become a very different man than he was when he died--we will never know. What we do know is that the Democratic Party and their "progressive" media and education machines have rewritten the history of the civil rights struggle. This was driven home to me some years ago while visiting a college campus. The students assumed King was a Democrat, and the segregationists confronting the peaceful marchers, and using fire hoses, snarling police dogs, and truncheons, and wearing white hoods were Republicans. They assume a Republican killed King--today's college kids probably believe the Tea Party had him killed. That the exact opposite is true, shocks many. King came from a staunchly Republican family--his father, a prominent leader in his own right--openly endorsed Richard Nixon against JFK in the 1960 presidential election. The Democrats had a one-party lock on the South. The party of slave owners and secessionists, had become the party of Jim Crow, school segregation, anti-miscegenation laws, poll taxes, and on and on.

Many Americans, not to mention foreigners, do not realize not only that the Republican party was formed in opposition to slavery and that Lincoln was a Republican, but that the famous Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, whose rulings dismantled the legal basis for segregation and put serious limitations on the power of police, was a former Republican Governor of California. It was, furthermore, war hero and Republican President Dwight Eisenhower who sent troops to Arkansas to enforce court-ordered desegregation at Little Rock Central High School. Congressional Republicans were the main supporters of civil rights legislation; their votes ensured passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, over the opposition of a significant bloc of Democrats--let us also not forget that Congressional Democrats for years blocked Republican efforts to pass federal anti-lynching legislation. All this, of course, is history, but an important chunk of American history that is being lost, distorted, or otherwise flushed down the memory sewer--along with the fact that anti-leftist J. Edgar Hoover proved the most formidable foe of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), an organization founded and staffed by Democrats, such as long-time Democratic Senator Robert Byrd.

Before I get back to King, let me address another issue that has been badly distorted and become something of a meme among the quasi-literate left. I refer to the idea that the parties have "switched places." This is something I have heard from some lefties who, knowing the true history of the Democratic and Republican Parties when it comes to race and civil rights, try to argue that that was then, and this is now. Since FDR or so, they argue the Democratic and the Republican Parties "switched" places on the race issue, with Republicans taking the role of protecting white privilege and keeping minorities, especially blacks, down. The truth is quite different. What happened was that the old party of slavers, segregationists, lynch mobs, and secessionists figured out that government programs and intervention were the means to deprive Republicans of a significant voter bloc. The aim was to keep black Americans dependent on the largesse of government and Democrat-run urban political machines. Anyone who doubts that should read the crude comment in which President Johnson revealed the real purpose underlying his massive social program expansion, i.e., to keep black Americans voting Democratic. The Democrats have succeeded admirably at this objective.

Back to King and the civil rights movement. By the time of his death, King was losing control of the movement. It was fragmenting. King's vision of a nonviolent effort was under assault by radical elements. The message of non-violence and concentration on individual liberty was losing attraction. The thirty-nine-year-old King seemed old, thundering out a message from another time. A new generation of black activists, inspired by the increasingly confrontational and violent atmosphere in the country challenged King for the spotlight, and found allies in violence in the largely white anti-Vietnam War movement. The civil rights struggle was becoming part of the noise of the very bad closing years of the 1960s, which saw bloody race riots shake nearly every major American city, and numerous incidents of domestic terrorism. In addition, what had been a largely grass-roots, private sector movement was being sabotaged by growing government involvement. Many black leaders were being syphoned off by government programs to "fight poverty." Activists increasingly focused on getting handouts to their followers rather than, as noted above, on King's more lofty, ancient-sounding focus on liberty, and the goal of having people judged not by their color but by the "content of their character." This new generation of government-oriented and dependent leaders did not fit in with King's conservative, Southern, church-based movement. They wanted racial turmoil, not racial harmony. We need also remember that Attorney General Robert Kennedy had put King under FBI surveillance, including the making of compromising tapes of King having extra-marital liaisons, providing the government excellent blackmail material against him.

All these factors, in my view, had begun to take a toll on King; he aged dramatically in appearance, and had begun talking about issues not directly related to the civil rights struggle, e.g., the Middle East, Vietnam. Had he lived longer, we likely would have seen King becoming radicalized, pushed leftward as he sought to retain control of the movement--but, as noted before, we will never know.

In sum, he was a great man with a great vision. His successors, many of them frauds of the first rank, largely have not been faithful to that vision of liberty and color-blindness, and we all have suffered for it.


  1. This is something I have heard from some lefties who, knowing the true history of the Democratic and Republican Parties when it comes to race and civil rights, try to argue that that was then, and this is now. Since FDR or so, they argue the Democratic and the Republican Parties "switched" places on the race issue, with Republicans taking the role of protecting white privilege and keeping minorities, especially blacks, down. The truth is quite different.

    Which party had delegates leave because of it's civil rights platform? The Democratic party. Racist Strom Thurmond knew where he belonged; he switched to the Republican party in 1964. Modern-day racists know exactly where they are welcome; today's Republican party. I find it hard to believe you are ignorant of all this.

    King traditionally supported many policies you would have associated with liberals today (quotas, welfare, etc.). It's both funny and sad when conservatives try to claim him for their own.

    1. Yet it was Ev Dirksen (R-Il), whom every good Leftist execrates, who helped LBY push the 1964 Civil Rights Act through the Senate.

      We also see that before LBJ, the black illegitimacy rate, while significantly higher than the white, was still a largish minority of black births, and not that much higher than the white. After the Johnsonian welfare revolution, illegitimacy is the norm for black births.

      Since the death of King, the Civil Rights Movement introduced to the American mainstream the execrable Malcolm X, whose great accomplishment was to get a borderline mentally dieficient pugilist to drop the name of a "walk the walk" abolitionist to claim that of a red-haired, long-nosed, thin-lipped, freckle-faced Albanian mercenary who stole Egypt from the Ottomans in order to get a lock on the Sudanese slave trade to the Middle East.

      I don't doubt that American post-WWII hubris met a Waterloo, and that our foreign policy probably should be a lot less proactive. Yet I also see the pro-Communism of the post-King Civil RIghts Movement as a large part of what made the Silly 'Sixties Silly.

    2. Kepha,

      I fully acknowledge there were many conservative Democrats and liberal Republicans in 1960s and earlier, and that the liberal Republicans were instrumental in civil rights legislation.

      Looking at this, it's clear illlegitimacy increased for mothers of all races between 1970 and 2010. From here, it's also clear this trend started in the 1940s, well before Johnson.

      Since Malcolm X died three years before King, the only way he would have been so introduced is if he were a significant influence upon many people.

    3. His speeches were pro-personal-responsibility (sometimes pragmatically advising people to live-within-their-means, for example) which is typically not a welfare-attitude (government should provide the means for your lifestyle of choice).
      King was definitely against discrimination in the workplace. The breadbasket operation was anti-discrimination, but not necessary pro-quota.

      - reader #1482

    4. You're hanging a lot on one guy. I'll see your Strom Thurmond and raise you Robert Byrd, Al Gore Sr., Fritz Hollings, William Fullbright, and that's just a quick search not comprehensive. Plenty of "former" segregationists stayed in the Senate as Democrats until they died or became too old to win elections. They were praised as role models by Bill and Hillary Clinton. Go check the House. You will find the same thing. So when did the parties change sides again? They didn't.

    5. reader #1482,

      King was not someone who thought our current economic system was fair or right. It went beyond just racial injustice; he was worried about economic injustice as well.


    6. Doctor Weasel,

      Thank you for these excellent example of the change in the Democratic party.

      Byrd started as an anti-civil-rights legislator, but changed. By 2003-4, he was earning perfect ratings from the NAACP.

      Al Gore Sr. was voted out in 1970 for being too liberal for Tennessee.

      Hollings definitely had a mixed record, but among other things endorsed Jesse Jackson for President.

      Fullbright lost the primary 1974 to the more liberal Dale Bumpers.

      By all means, feel free to perform a more comprehensive search.

      There is no specific "when" the parties changed sides, because 1) throughout the first half of the 20th century, there were liberals and conservatives in both parties, so neither really had a side, and 2) the sifting of the conservatives from the Democratic party, and the liberals from the Republican party, was a process that happened over decades.

    7. First of all, I caution against any site claiming to be 'fact checking'. 'Fact check' is newspeak for 'my personal slant'. Second of all, the reference provided claims that the anti-capitalist quote attributed is in fact, false. As with 'fact checking', the article continues on in order to "Dan Rather" the subject ('fake but true', right?).
      MLK spoke at length about personal fiscal responsibility. He emphasized that heavily. Did he *like* perceived unfairness? I don't see evidence that he was "pro" having poor people in the model of Venzuela, for instance.
      MLK was pro-reparations, or some reasonably-assumed-the-same version of it. In that fashion, he wouldn't be considered strongly conservative.
      In many cases, he was pretty centrist. Calling him a lefty is a big stretch. Calling him right-wing would be too. Tranplanted to today, my opinion is that he'd probably be center-right.

      - reader #1482

    8. odespeek n' right on da track #### clickity-clack! Dats jest Dem dry bones-- daze sure dont like all dis transplantin jukejointjive-- speciality ifn weez all woke up n' loaded on a leakyboat headin for Veneiceawhala wit us'ns pokets fulla greenbakadollas :+O

      hOWlin like a dawg~~~
      "march on he said"

    9. You may claim as you will One Brow,



      Which as a matter of course I'll be betting you'll respond as expected.


    10. reader #1482,

      We all have a tendency to hear what we want to hear. Of course King spoke of personal responsibility, I would expect that would resonate with you. He also spoke many times about the overall unfairness of the system not just with regards to race, but also to wealth.

      I'm sure you're not much of a fan of Belafonte's politics, and perhaps you don't trust his testimony. However, one of the reasons King associated with him regularly and personally was that they had a great deal of overall agreement on issues like this.

    11. hOWlin like a dawg~~~

      You very much belong here.

    12. JK,

      If you're expecting a response, who am I to disappoint?

      Still, there's not much there. Just another quote mine of one line from one speech, taken to mean the opposite of everything King worked for. The usual stuff.

    13. Not really... predominantly the usual "Lefties stealing stuff" and "Lefties pretending they're not racists, eugenicists, nazis... etc.."
      Mostly true... that.
      'Progress' requires sacrifice, and progressives are more than happy to require that sacrifice of others.

      Bernie knows what's good for the country and puts the country first... that's his nationalism... and we're well versed with his socialism... put the two of them together and it spells "Democrat".

      - reader #1482

    14. "I'm sure you're not much of a fan of Belafonte's politics, and perhaps you don't trust his testimony." Uni

      What "politics"?! Junior was only supposed to bring the weed to the picnic, and stick to testifying about bananas and tarantulas! His advice to Obumba, was expected tho, "work like a third-world dictator and just put all of these guys in jail" 6foot 7foot 8foot Hut~~~ Then there's his buddy Bernie ... don't get me started!
      "Let's Calypso"

    15. And I think it's fair to call it "Dan Rather the issue"? Or not? The quote was bunk, find another source as a counterexample. I'm not saying my mind is going to change, as I don't particularly think MLK was all that conservative. But I do think he would not be accepted by today's 'progressives' in the slightest, simply because he *did* hope for color-blindness and content-of-character. Those are anathema to progressives, who wish in large for the 'various colors' to be preserved in their museums (today, we call those ghettos), and for the entire concept of character to be banished (to avoid reminding people of flaws they don't wish to acknowledge, perhaps?)

      Progressive anger is always directed at anything but the 'real' problem, and it's never directed at themselves. hmmm...

      - reader #1482

    16. reader #1482,

      Progressives are just as fond today of content-of-character as King was in '63. Celebrating differences is not preserving ghettos; that work was done by the Federal government and various developers (not working in concert).

    17. Can't 'celebrate differences' which have not been maintained. Maintaining differences among people is the purpose of the progressive. It is a source of conflict, and one for which progressivism will claim to have the 'solution'. That 'solution' will include more division, and thus more conflict. The cycle is as transparent and obvious.

      - reader #1482

    18. reader #1482,

      Cultural inertia does a great job of maintaining differences without any intention required. Differences only create conflict among those whose dislike novelty.

      The solution of accepting differences will reduce conflict much more than trying to eliminate differences.

    19. Not at all. Cultural dispersion is quite the norm except where resisted by malcontents (in this case, progressives).
      Ghettos developed by Democrats in the US and various liberal powers in europe are aimed at resisting that dispersion.
      Entropy will win in the end, but progressives will certainly work their best to continue with division and stoking hatred.

      - reader #1482

    20. Cultural dispersion only happens when groups regard each other as relative equals. No one adopts what they consider to be an inferior culture.

      Thank you for agreeing that conservatives helped godify ghettos in the US.

      I refuse to see dividing out the divisive and hating those who encourage hate as a vice.

    21. Cultural dispersion happens *unless* groups are separated (I live in a very mixed culture). Historically this separation was enforced by geographic/transportation limitations. In the modern world, this is enforced by progressive policy. Progressive multiculturalism would have entire groups confined to their own museum wing.... though it's more like.. a menagerie.

      (I have no idea what your other claims are about, 'godify' ghettos? what? And yes, dividing people, even those we don't want to deal with, is certainly very 'progressive'.)

      - reader #1482

  2. Thank you Dip'!
    Your 2020 MLK-Day post including
    your Jan 21,2014 MLK/Civil Rights reprise,
    has been sent off to my favorite Gator,
    with love, and a prayer that she will
    have the insight and wisdom to see
    and comprehend the historical and
    spiritual truth which defines
    our blessed country.

    On Watch~~~
    "Let's Roll"

  3. https://twitter.com/emilytgreen/status/1220494557323853824

    Reckon we'll see our media reporting on that this evening?


    1. not a twit, and twitter is a cesspool... what's it about?

  4. One Brow, Take a trip through YouTube and search for Robert "3K" Byrd's circa 2005 interview where he referred to melanin-deficient n+6 letters. Byrd was eulogized as a great person by the Democratic party elite.

    1. TheOldMan,

      According to Wikipedia, Byrd talked about "white niggers" in 2001, a couple of years before he got that perfect rating.

      Byrd did some harm when he was young, saw the error of his ways, reformed imperfectly, and did his best to do some good. I don't know that's eulogy, but that's about all you can ask of a person.