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

Immigration

Angela Rye Knows You’re Racist

The political philosopher Michael Oakeshott said that the “rationalist” is hopelessly lost in ideology, captivated by the world of self-contained coherence he has woven from strands of human experience. He concocts a narrative about narratives, a story about stories, and adheres to the “large outline which ... Read More
Immigration

What the Viral Border-Patrol Video Leaves Out

In an attempt to justify Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s absurd comparison of American detention facilities to Holocaust-era concentration camps, many figures within the media have shared a viral video clip of a legal hearing in which a Department of Justice attorney debates a panel of judges as to what constitutes ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Pro-Abortion Nonsense from John Irving

The novelist has put up a lot of easy targets in his New York Times op-ed. I am going to take aim at six of his points, starting with his strongest one. First: Irving asserts that abortion was legal in our country from Puritan times until the 1840s, at least before “quickening.” That’s an overstatement. ... Read More
Film & TV

Murder Mystery: An Old Comedy Genre Gets Polished Up

I  like Adam Sandler, and yet you may share the sense of trepidation I get when I see that another of his movies is out. He made some very funny manboy comedies (Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, The Waterboy) followed by some not-so-funny manboy comedies, and when he went dark, in Reign over Me and Funny People, ... Read More