The Corner

Politics & Policy

Admire King, but Not Blindly

CNN wants you to know that the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wasn’t just about all that “I have a dream” stuff. “He’s an environmental hero,” CNN writes via Twitter. He was a socialist before it was cool.”

(Oh, socialism is “cool,” is it, CNN?)

King had a lot of batty ideas and a few truly dumb ones, and he did indeed flirt with the idea of democratic socialism toward the end of his life. But he was right about the thing we remember him for, and that was important.

Using King’s moral stature to promote socialism or global-warming legislation in 2018 is morally and intellectually dishonest, as its the adoption of King as a charismatic mascot for all things leftish. (One wonders what the Christian minister would have thought about the modern Democratic party, particularly its attitudes toward abortion and homosexuality.) King belongs in a category with Mohandas Gandhi and Thomas Jefferson, men who were giants on the issue most closely associated with them but who also had some pretty bad ideas, including destructive political ideas, and each man of course fell short of the glory in the usual human ways.

No one knows what King would have thought about the Paris climate agreement or publicly funded abortions. And even if we did know, there would be no reason to treat his preferences as dispositive, inasmuch as he was wrong about a great number of important things during his own life.

One may admire Gandhi without sharing his reverence for cattle, and one need not take the Mammoth Cheese along with one’s Jefferson. And one may admire the best of King without admiring blindly.

Most Popular

Education

An Idea for Student Loans: Get Rid of Them

Here is a three-part plan for something practical the federal government could do to relieve college-loan debt. Step 1: The federal government should stop making college loans itself and cease guaranteeing any such loans. Step 2: It should prohibit educational lending by federally regulated financial institutions ... Read More
White House

The Problem with the Mueller Report

So much for collusion. The media conversation has now officially moved on from the obsession of the last two years to obstruction of justice. That’s because the first volume of the voluminous Mueller report, the half devoted to what was supposed to be the underlying crime of a Trump conspiracy with Russia, ... Read More
White House

MoveOn.GOP?

Some of you will be familiar with a lefty, partisan Democratic organization called MoveOn, formerly MoveOn.Org. It was founded during an investigation into President Bill Clinton’s shenanigans (which were not, Democratic mythology notwithstanding, strictly sexual in nature) and argued that it was time for the ... Read More