Martin Luther King’s Tragic Mistake

Saturday, December 10, 2005
Only recently have I realized that Martin Luther King caused more harm than good. He rightfully demanded that his followers reject violence. Sadly, he forgot to add one more nonnegotiable requirement: no radical leftists should have been allowed to join the civil rights movement. These people had their own agenda and the pursuit racial justice was secondary to destroying civilized society. In the long run, it was impossible to marginalize them. They would ultimately push the movement into a direction where King originally did not want to go. By hook or crook, they would grab power. The more moderate voices would be purged.

The childish behavior of so many Afro-American citizens during Hurricane Katrina is the direct result of their being turned into “victims” by the adversarial left-wing culture. They have been discouraged from becoming adults who are masters over their own lives. The dramatic increase in the destruction of black families did not occur until the beginning of King’s movement! Until the late 1950s the illegitimacy rate of American blacks was only slightly higher than that of the majority white community. All hell had broken out by the mid 1960s.

What might have happened if Martin Luther King had never become a major figure? Admittedly, the evolution of our society would have been slower. The South would likely have continued enforcing its unjust Jim Crow policies for another few years. But things were changing anyway. By the 1970s America’s blacks should have achieved their rightful place at the table. Quickening the pace of change was not worth the awful price tag. Far too many of our black citizens are presently members of the permanent underclass. This tragedy could have been avoided. The Reverend King had the best of intentions. As matter of fact, I may have well committed the same mistake had I been in his shoes. We have the distinct advantage of hindsight. If only a time machine existed and one could go back into the past and warn him.

25 comments:

who, me? said...

I agree. It is past time for this to be considered. A kind of genuflection is perceptible in the discussions of where the 60s led us astray, as they routinely launch with "of course the civil right movement was heroic and necessary and exempt from all but minor technical criticism; but the remaining pushes on the theory of 'rights' somehow were corrupted."
No. The analysis needs to go right back to Thurgood Marshall and Brown v. Board, and look at forces at work then.

Though it's only anecdotal, what of the report that Rosa Parks was mugged by a neighborhood kid, living in the liberating wake of social change? And what of the tsunami of superficiality and vulgarity that pits stable African American decency against the onrush of utterly nihilistic ghetto culture? Something is flawed in the very conception of the civil rights matter, perhaps white-race irrationality enforced by guilty consciences over slavery.

The over-inflation of MLK did neither him, nor his constituency, nor us any favors at all. Ask those who think deeply -- does affirmative-action access to Harvard sustain your identity, your peace of mind, or your soul/soul? Have you sold out for bleached pottage devoid of nutrition? To whom do you now look for thundering prophetic rhetoric? Where do you think it will take you?

What are the alternatives?

Rick Ballard said...

Had MLK lived would the CR movement had taken the course that it did?

For that matter, what would the CR movement have become had not Eastland (with Johnon's connivance) not stripped Section III (moving CR cases to the Federal Courts) from Eisenhower AG Brownell's 1957 CR legislation?

Pastorius said...

I don't really understand how it is MLK's fault that radical leftists took over the movement. The idea that change could have waited a few more years seems like in empathy and compassion to me. Think about it this way. What if your daughter was black? Would you have wanted her to have to wait 10-20 more years? You know, 15-30% of her life? Her growing up years? Her years in school? Trying to get into a decent college? Stepping out into the workforce? She should have waited?

David Thomson said...

“I don't really understand how it is MLK's fault that radical leftists took over the movement.”

It was definitely MLK’s fault. He had the power to keep them out. MLK put an immediate stop to the movement’s flirtation with violence. As I said before, though, I may have made the same tragic mistake.

“What if your daughter was black?”

You have half a point. I concede that a number of black youth’s lives could have been negatively impacted. However, you are overlooking the enormous destruction caused to many Afro-American families. Many black girls have never met their father. They were born illegitimately. In many of our urban areas, black illegitimacy has rocketed up to around 70%! This was directly caused by the radical left encouraging blacks to be self pitying and irresponsible. They were to perceive themselves as victims. The Ku Klux Klan has been little more than a mild irritation in the last fifty years. Not so, the leftist establishment. It is the worst thing that could have happened to black America.

I do not think that a more moderate and sensible course would have hindered the civil rights movement by more than a few years, if even that. And speed isn’t everything. Just ask someone who slammed into a wall going ninety miles an hour.

Pastorius said...

So, you think that most of the leftist's who have attained prominence and power since the 60's rode in on the Civil Rights movement?

That never occurred to me. And, I'm not sure it's true, but then, I've never read a critical history of the 60's.

terrye said...

david:

I disagree.

Martin lUther King could not keep the Balck Panthers from doing anything. The leftists in that movement were just part and parcel of the leftists in the rest of the political culture of the times. They saw and oppurtunity and took it.

I think a lot of people including Bill Cosby would agree with the fact that many of the Civil Rights leaders became more interested in demagoguery than real advancement.

But I grew up in that part of the country and I can remember people being killed, abused, and deprived of an education and the right to vote and the truth is if not for the Civil Rights movement a lot of those bigoted crackers would never have changed.

I can remember being a kid in OKC in the late 50's. We had stopped at some drive in to get something to eat. In those days you walked up to the little window to get your food.

We were sitting in the car eating when some old black man in overalls and a baseball cap came shuffling up...the white b**** working their told him to get lost, they did not serve niggers. My father cussed, got out and walked up to the old man who had already turned away to leave, he said "What would you like sir?" The old guy looked almost scared. I doubt if many white men had ever called him sir. He said to may Dad, "A cheeseburger and a cup of coffee."

Daddy turned to the pimple faced teenaged bigot and said "A cheeseburger and a cup of coffee and I hope to God I am white enough to get it"..


That is why there was a Martin Luther King, it was not the fault of the communists or the leftists, it was the fault of the rascists who left these people no alternative.

And now here we are talking about the break down in morality in the black community.

Well, what did people expect?

David Thomson said...

“Martin lUther King could not keep the Balck Panthers from doing anything.”

Martin Luther King could indeed no nothing about the Black Panthers, but he could have done something about the communists and ardent socialists within his own movement. His failure not to so opened the door for the eventual disaster.

“...and deprived of an education and the right to vote and the truth is if not for the Civil Rights movement a lot of those bigoted crackers would never have changed.”

Agreed. Still, the movement could have been successful without the radical left. That price was too much to pay.

“And now here we are talking about the break down in morality in the black community.

Well, what did people expect?”

Why didn’t this breakdown occur in the more racist 50s? No, it occurred after the inner city blacks were told to feel sorry for themselves and become “victims of an oppressive society.”

Rick Ballard said...

Pastorius,

I don't think a truly critical history of the '60's has been written yet. Horowitz does a decent job of tracing the hard left's cynical use of the CR movement in pushing the Panthers but that is only part of the story.

The link to the left goes back at least to WEB Dubois.

The attempt to accelerate general acceptance through the use of AA as the part of the CR movement is the point at which real damage began to be done. LBJ signed the Executive Order but it was Nixon who put teeth into it.

Weighing negative externalities is fun but will always come down to a matter of faith. AA might have been necessary for a bit but it has long outlived its utility.

terrye said...

david:

Oh come on. The man was killed by a white man. Shot down. The truth is Republicans were not volunteering to march with him back then and he took help from the only people willing to give it.

It is not fair to assume all those people are lazy. That is just plain not fair. And there was a lot of breakdown, but who cared? Nobody paid any attention until it started to effect the white population.

I grew up in Oklahoma, but I live in Indiana now. It was a freaking headquarters for the KKK. The locals tell me that until the 50's and 60's there were signs on the edge of a lot of the local towns around here [where there was no black population] that any black man still in town after dark would be thrown in jail.

That was just the way it was. There were people in the Civil Rights movement who could remember the KKK in their hey day.

And btw, poverty is color blind. I know white people who have been on welfare for generations too.

MeaninglessHotAir said...

The truth is Republicans were not volunteering to march with him back then...

I wonder how true that is. Considering that more Republicans than Democrats voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 I expect it is not correct. Do you know for a fact that no Republicans were marching with him?

David Thomson said...

“So, you think that most of the leftist's who have attained prominence and power since the 60's rode in on the Civil Rights movement?”

I most certainly do. The legitimate struggle for racial justice made it real easy for them to get into positions of power. If one dared object to their presence, they would be accused of racism. It is the radical leftists who made sure that many black people would become embittered and hostile towards “the white power structure.” Daniel Patrick Moynihan issued his warning about the increasing black illegitimacy rate in 1965. He was roundly criticized---and ultimately ignored. The childishly immature blacks of New Orleans we saw on television only a few months ago are the direct result of leftist social policies. Such behavior was unknown in the late 1950s.

MeaninglessHotAir said...

Considering Truepeers's post on Thought Control above, I wonder: is it legal to post this in Britain today? Questioning one of the saints of the Civil Rights Movement might be seen as a hate crime. You could be subject to prosecution for incorrect thoughts.

David Thomson said...

“Nobody paid any attention until it started to effect the white population.”

Daniel Patrick Moynihan was not interested in per se how the growing black illegitimacy rate effected the white population. Also, Charles Murray has written about the increasing underclass behavior of whites. The term, permanent underclass, transcends all racial and ethnic classifications.

You might like to read this article:

http://www.city-journal.org/html/15_3_black_family.html

Pastorius said...

Now, I have read the Invisible Man, so I am aware that Leftists exploited blacks and the issue of racism. I have also seen it with my own two eyes. But, I was not aware that that is how leftists ascended to power in the 60's.

Hmm, interesting, if true.

Syl said...

David, I either don't get your point or I totally object. Or even if I got it, I would object.

Sometimes change is just necessary. There are always unintended consequences that have to be dealt with. Perhaps it would be more useful to blame the Right for not stopping the Left.

If it weren't for those silly Wright Brothers, we wouldn't have any plane crashes.

terrye said...

meaninglesshotair:

My uncle Newt was a Republican, one of the few in the family.

When King died he said "It was high time somebody shot that nigger".

There were some yankees marching with King, but if you look at the pictures most of the people were black and there were not a lot of blacks in the Republican party back then.

There is a reason that most African Americans are Democrats. I do not doubt that some northern Republicans helped put the Civil Rights Act through, in fact it was Republicans who fought for the first Civil Rights Bill a century ago.

But as far as a lot of the blacks in the south were concerned the yankees sold them out when they pulled out the northern troops and let the whites kill elected black officials all over the South in the 19th century.

The left supported the poor blacks the same way they did the unions.

But the idea that without someone like Martin Luther King the white man would have eventually decided to do the right thing is naive.

terrye said...

david:

Well then let's just get rid of medicare and make everybody less dependent on government.Lazy old people.

My point is not all welfare recepients are black and nobody noticed the fact that there was a lot of crime and breakdown in the urban black population until it became a subject of how many taxes white people were paying.

chuck said...

The childishly immature blacks of New Orleans we saw on television only a few months ago

And there were other stories of heroic behaviour. Sorry, David, but I don't buy the MSM portrayal of NO, I think it reflected the outlook of the reporters more than the facts. We have still to see a disinterested telling of the story.

As to the left turn of the Dems, there have always been leftist members of the party, they just weren't ascendent until recently. I think Vietnam and the demonstrations had much more to do with the turn than CR. Even more, many of the leading leftist at that time were red diaper babies, such as Horowitz, or came from very liberal families and were naturally drawn to the counter culture. I remember meeting kids in college who had gone to summer camp where they acted in skits mocking evil capitalists in top hats. There was also a whole underlying stratum of intellectuals, such as Paul Goodman, who came forward. And let's not forget the folk singing revival with such as Pete Seeger leading the way. No, these were all pre-existing movements in the US, they had just faded into the background during WWII and the fifties. The fact that they have come to dominate the Democrats is more a reflection of the decline of the Unions and the loss of the South than of a great takeover. The Dems just don't have that diverse a base anymore.

terrye said...

I went to stanfordedu.com and checked out some of King's own views on the Republican party of that time:

On July 16,1964 King asserts that the nomination of Goldwater by Republicans will aid rascists.

He added that the Republican party geared its appeal to racsism, rections and extremism and said that Goldwater's policy was morally indefensible and socially suicidal.

He called upon every Negro and white person of goodwill to vote against the Republicans in the next election.

Now I am sure there were some very enlightened and fair minded people of both parties who wanted to see racial justice and equality, but the truth is the black voters did not feel the Republicans were on their side, any more than Jewish voters do today. We can argue that it is not fair, but that is the way people felt.

Which kind of leads me to assume that the RNC did not march to Birmingham with King.

terrye said...

The Civil Rights Act was voted for by both Republicans and Democrats.

Democrats: 153-91
Republicans: 136-35.

As to why the Republicans would vote for the Act and give the Presidential nomination to a Republican who did not support the Act, I don't know.

But Goldwater's attitude toward civil rights together with the fact that white Demcorats left the party and went to the Republicans seems to offset whatever good karma the Republicans should have earned from the whole civil rights movement.

Rick Ballard said...

Terrye,

It pays to think about the '64 act in terms of the political deals cut for its passage. LBJ got it through - what do you think he demanded as the price, who do you think he demanded it from?

He purchased thirty years of support and held the Dem majority for about 20 years longer than its natural life. Both sides made out on the deal - 'til the establishment of the black districts in the early '80's. Those districts effectively destroyed the value of the black vote as a bloc.

terrye said...

Rick:

No doubt you are right. I think that sometimes we forget what it was really like back then, however.

The same way the antiwar demonstrators pretend their precious little movement did not get anybody killed in SE Asia...the right pretends they never alienated minorities and working people.

It was a long time ago and while Martin Luther King was not perfect and the Civil Rights Movement failed blacks in many ways...it is still true that without people like Martin Luther King there would not have been change. Even then it was a century.

MeaninglessHotAir said...

Terrye,

Eisenhower got 60% of the black vote in 1956. In the Senate the voting on the Civil Rights Act was -- 69 percent of Democrats (46-21), backed the bill along with 82 percent of Republicans (27-6). Gore's father, Sen. Al Gore Sr., D-Tenn., was one of the 21 Democrats who voted against it. So was Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.V., himself a former member of the Ku Klux Klan. t was pretty much the same for the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In the House, 82 percent of the Republicans backed the bill; in the Senate, 94 percent of the Republicans backed it. Gore Sr. voted for the bill this time, but 17 other Southern Democrats voted against it -- including Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, a mentor to President Bill Clinton.

There was a change between 1956 and 1972.

Here's a link to an obituary a typical member of the Kansas Republican Party in the '50's.

I think things looked different in Oklahoma (traditional Democratic state) from the way they looked in Kansas (traditional Republican state).

In my view, mainstream Republicans always supported equal rights. One thing that changed was affirmative action, which Republicans opposed; this allowed the (traditionally racist) Democrats to tar the Republicans with the brush of racism. Now this slander has become an article of faith among idiots like Polly Toynbee, for whom American=Racist=Republican=Christian=Polluter=Jew=Devil Incarnate is an unquestionable article of faith.

Rick Ballard said...

MHA,

It is amazing to me that LBJ - who absolutely knew what he was doing in '64-'65 with the CR bills is not respected at all by Dem party leadership today.

The current Dem leadership doesn't amount to a pimple in political terms. For that matter JFK doesn't amount to a pimple in terms of accomplishments when compared to LBJ. A few decent speeches and a few more bad decisions are all that JFK left. LBJ bought the Dems time - which they immediately threw away. Humphrey-McGovern-Carter-Mondale-Dukakis-Clinton-Gore-Kerry. Rolling snake eyes eight times in a row would be enough to make me give up dice. Not one significant piece of legislation since Johnson bought the geezers with Medicare in '65.

terrye said...

MHA:

Yes I am sure that it was different in Oklahoma, but not so different in Liberal, Kansas. I know I lived there for awhile as a kid and a good deal of my family lived in the panhandle of Oklahoma, a stone's throw from Kansas.

I think the obvious truth is that if black people felt that the Republicans were pro civil rights why didn't they stick with them? What effect did Reconstruction [and the Hayes Compromise] have on that political relationship? And if blacks did not feel that the Republicans were pro civil rights, why not? Were they all just imagining things?

You can talk about how many blacks voted for Eisenhower, but how many voted for any Republican after? What and who changed?

It was regional as much as partisan, it always was..even back to the early days of the Republic. It was also about federalism and states rights.

The Republicans were the anti slavery party in the beginning and right after the Civil War blacks were very pro Republican, that changed.

Why? Was it just them? I think it was the KKK, and the KKK was not just the South. It was very big in Indiana, which has always been a Republican state.

So yes, there were Republicans that supported the concept of Civil Rights, but it was the people on the left who marched with them and faced down the people with the dogs and the hoses.