Sunday, November 27, 2011

Martin Luther King, Jr., on Communism

Cross-posted at the Left Coast Rebel

As I continue to plug along with my undergrad studies, consumed by work and schoolwork, once in a while I come across something amazing. For example, my entire weekend has been dominated by a 10-page paper on Martin Luther King Jr., particularly his "Letter from Birmingham Jail" essay that he literally wrote from the not-so-comfy confines of a Birmingham jail cell. Look it up.

I wasn't particularly excited to write about diving into the topic, nevertheless the choices were bleak - "Letter" or Barack Obama's post-nomination speech. I loathe Obama in every sense of the word so opted for MLK. To compare Obama to MLK? Oh the humanity...

Good: research has led me all across academia and I have found some extremely interesting things. For example, I read a 20-page essay by a professor that just happens to be an expert on MLK and Alexis de Tocqueville as well. I mean, she was quoting Tocqueville. My jaw dropped and hit the floor.

Bad: Liberal perspective on MLK abounds, most of it is simply boring to me. Good thing I have the liberty to choose my sources.

Interesting: Martin Luther King Jr.'s opinion of communism. In 1958 MLK published Stride Toward Freedom in which he gave his thoughts on everything from Gandhi to Hitler; from communism to... Nietzsche and a lot in between.

I found that MLK was squishy on Marx (in essence he thought Marx brought up necessary discussion on the problems with capitalism) but what interested me the most (of course) was his take on communism.

Fascinating:

Second, I strongly disagreed with communism’s ethical relativism. Since for the Communist there is no divine government, no absolute moral order, there are no fixed, immutable principles; consequently almost anything-force, violence, murder, lying-is a justifiable means to the “millennial” end. This type of relativism was abhorrent to me. Constructive ends can never give absolute moral justification to destructive means, because in the final analysis the end is preexistent in the mean.

Third, I opposed communism’s political totalitarianism. In communism the individual
ends up in subjection to the state. True, the Marxist would argue that the state is an “interim” reality which is to be eliminated when the classless society emerges; but the state i s the end while it lasts, and man only a means to that end.

And if any man’s so-called rights or liberties stand in the way of that end, they are
simply swept aside. His liberties of expression, his freedom to vote, his freedom to listen to what news he likes or to choose his books are all restricted. Man becomes hardly more, in communism, than a depersonalized cog in the turning wheel of the state. This deprecation of individual freedom was objectionable to me. I am convinced now, as I was then, that man is an end because he is a child of God.

Man is
not made for the state; the state is made for man. To deprive man of freedom is to relegate him to the status of a thing, rather than elevate him to the status of a person. Man must never be treated as a means to the end of the state, but always as an end within himself.

I simply love the quote at the end:

---Man must never be treated as a means to the end of the state, but always as an end within himself.

Doesn't progressivism, in its very essence do just that -- treat man as a means to the state's ends?

What say you, progressive statists and academic collectivists?

Image via Wikipedia.

21 comments:

  1. Truman, JFK, and RFK were ALL virulent anti-Communists. It's wonderful to see that MLK was as well.

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  2. Les, MLK was arguing against totalitarianism. Do you honestly believe modern American liberals are arguing against that?

    JMJ

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  3. JMJ,

    You said: (mistakenly, I believe)

    "Les, MLK was arguing against totalitarianism. Do you honestly believe modern American liberals are arguing against that?"

    No. Liberals are definitely NOT arguing against that.

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  4. JMJ: To answer your question: on most issues, unfortunately, liberals do argue in favor of totalitarianism. Taking the side of "the government should decide, not the people". Especially on economic matters.

    Rational: your blog is again blocking comments from logged-in users.

    signed, DMarks

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  5. Government plays a role in making our lives better. That's my liberal take Les. It's always been.

    Whatever you are trying to get at is a mystery to me.

    When and where are liberals arguing for totalitarianism? Don;t recall anyone demanding Obama be made generalisimo..

    I do admire the sheepish loyalty of the righties that keep up this meme though. The truth is you people are followers of right wing totalitarianism and don't even realize it.

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  6. Joe - Another line of crap from the sheeple from the left. I have no more time for the flat our BS.

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  7. Joe,

    "Government plays a role in making our lives better."

    Government should only play the role that we as the people determine it should play. The status of my life, be it miserable or happy, has nothing to do with the self-inflated egos and machinations of your government.

    Government needs to fear us. There is nothing the government can offer us to make us happy, unless it will leave us the hell alone and focus on true governance and remove itself from all social-engineering, ie, liberalism.

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  8. Another thing Joe, MLK understood many things that have obviously escaped the grasp of modern liberals. IE: progressives.

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  9. You guys wouldn't know totalitarianism from summer camp.

    JMJ

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  10. MLK was a great American. I've always admired him.

    "Bayard Rustin counseled King to dedicate himself to the principles of non-violence, and served as King's main advisor and mentor throughout his early activism, and was the main organizer of the 1963 March on Washington."

    MLK on political parties:

    "I feel someone must remain in the position of non-alignment, so that he can look objectively at both parties and be the conscience of both—not the servant or master of either."

    "I don't think the Republican party is a party full of the almighty God nor is the Democratic party. They both have weaknesses ... And I'm not inextricably bound to either party."

    King critiqued both parties' performance on promoting racial equality:

    "Actually, the Negro has been betrayed by both the Republican and the Democratic party. The Democrats have betrayed him by capitulating to the whims and caprices of the Southern Dixiecrats. The Republicans have betrayed him by capitulating to the blatant hypocrisy of reactionary right wing northern Republicans. And this coalition of southern Dixiecrats and right wing reactionary northern Republicans defeats every bill and every move towards liberal legislation in the area of civil rights."

    Personal and political advocacy:

    "Although King never publicly supported a political party or candidate for president, in a letter to a civil rights supporter in October 1956 he said that he was undecided as to whether he would vote for the Adlai Stevenson or Dwight Eisenhower, but that 'In the past I always voted the Democratic ticket.'

    MLK's stance on compensation:

    "Martin Luther King Jr. expressed a view that black Americans, as well as other disadvantaged Americans, should be compensated for historical wrongs. In an interview conducted for Playboy in 1965, he said that granting black Americans only equality could not realistically close the economic gap between them and whites. King said that he did not seek a full restitution of wages lost to slavery, which he believed impossible, but proposed a government compensatory program of $50 billion over ten years to all disadvantaged groups. He posited that 'the money spent would be more than amply justified by the benefits that would accrue to the nation through a spectacular decline in school dropouts, family breakups, crime rates, illegitimacy, swollen relief rolls, rioting and other social evils.' "

    MLK:

    "A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: "This is not just."

    Shaw Kenawe

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  11. @JMJ,

    You said:
    "You guys wouldn't know totalitarianism from summer camp."

    Not true, sir. I was raised by Democrats., and the teachers in my high school were all failed hippies. I have seen liberal totalitarianism up close and personal, wrapped up in victimhood and racial/religious/sexual segregation/class warfare all the while being touted as 'unity' and 'for the people'. Fah.

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  12. Shaw Kenawe wrote:


    JMJ:

    "You guys wouldn't know totalitarianism from summer camp."



    ecc102: "Not true, sir. I was raised by Democrats."


    So your parents were totalitarian tyrants? Most children believe that. LOL!

    "...and the teachers in my high school were all failed hippies."

    Hyperbole. And not to be believed.

    ecc102: "I have seen liberal totalitarianism up close and personal, wrapped up in victimhood and racial/religious/sexual segregation/class warfare all the while being touted as 'unity' and 'for the people'. Fah."

    Your experience, skewed as it is and backed up by not one iota of outside evidence, is indicative of nothing, except perhaps a person who was unhappy with his/her parents and everyone else in his/her life.

    The religious claim is risible. How on earth would leftwing, totalitarian commie, atheists impose their religion on you.

    You've cataloged a list of teenage grievances and made sweeping genralizations that no rational person would believe.

    You lost credibility at this nonsense: "...and the teachers in my high school were all failed hippies."

    Les often critizes us liberals for making such statements.

    Project much?

    Shaw Kenawe

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  13. @Shaw,

    *yawn* Your comments are full of so many holes, I feel as though I have seen the verbal equivalent of Swiss cheese.

    Next. I have already seen the workings of people like you, (Chuck), and I've no desire to engage in any dialogue. My comment was at JMJ. He can surely answer for himself, unless of course you feel he is incapable. Being a liberal yourself, that is not a stretch.

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  14. I was unaware that roads and other infrastructure. Police and Fire protection as well as a strong military and public health programs weren't supposed to make our lives better Les and ecc.

    Thanks for clearing all that up for us. You guys aren't "conservatives." You're anarchists.

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  15. Shaw said: "The religious claim is risible. How on earth would leftwing, totalitarian commie, atheists impose their religion on you."

    Actually, it did and does happen. Religious oppression in the name of the hardline Atheism faith has been rather common in socialist/communism regimes, with millions slaughtered for not conforming to the official religion of the dictators (strong atheism). By totals of victims, it's the deadliest religious persecution in history.

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  16. Atheism is not a religion. Atheism is, per dictionary definition... 1 a) a disbelief in the existence of deity b) the doctrine that there is no deity 2 UNGODLINESS, WICKEDNESS

    Therefor an atheist is s person that does not believe in a mystical or mythical higher being, a god, or one who created the universe etc.

    Put another way... "Every argument for God and every attribute ascribed to Him rests on a false metaphysical premise. None can survive for a moment on a correct metaphysics . . . .

    Existence exists, and only existence exists. Existence is a primary: it is uncreated, indestructible, eternal. So if you are to postulate something beyond existence—some supernatural realm—you must do it by openly denying reason, dispensing with definitions, proofs, arguments, and saying flatly, “To Hell with argument, I have faith.” That, of course, is a willful rejection of reason.

    Objectivism advocates reason as man’s sole means of knowledge, and therefore, for the reasons I have already given, it is atheist. It denies any supernatural dimension presented as a contradiction of nature, of existence. This applies not only to God, but also to every variant of the supernatural ever advocated or to be advocated. In other words, we accept reality, and that’s all." Ayn Rand Lexicon

    dmarks statement is a twist, and really has little meaning. It is a play on the emotional belief that socialism, communism, etc. is evil because they are atheistic. In other words the implication is BECAUSE they are not guided by a belief in a supernatural (and presumably good) deity they are evil.

    It is the lust for POWER that is vested in dictatorial and tyrannical regime(s) that is the evil. This is so because all such regimes in essence view the the people (as the subjects of the government in power) as servants to the state... Which has nothing to do with the belief in or lack of a belief in a supernatural deity.

    A study of history will bear out the fact that religious intolerance and state controlled religion is often very tyrannical. In the case of the Church's influence in governance during the middle ages up to per-enlightenment thinking could be quite deadly.

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  17. Hitchens says it better than I could ever state it:


    59 people liked it

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    “Our belief is not a belief. Our principles are not a faith. We do not rely soley upon science and reason, because these are necessary rather than sufficient factors, but we distrust anything that contradicts science or outrages reason. We may differ on many things, but what we respect is free inquiry, openmindedness, and the pursuit of ideas for their own sake.”

    Shaw Kenawe

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  18. "Man is not made for the state; the state is made for man. To deprive man of freedom is to relegate him to the status of a thing, rather than elevate him to the status of a person. Man must never be treated as a means to the end of the state, but always as an end within himself."

    Rand would agree with this MLK statement.

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  19. Jersey said, "You guys wouldn't know totalitarianism from summer camp." Hey, dude, you do know, don't you, that a lot of bloggers on the left used to refer to Bush and McCain as members of something called the "Far Reich"? It seems to me like there's a fairly humongous "perspective gap" on both sides these days.

    ReplyDelete

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