Phi Beta Cons

MLK Essay in The Chronicle of Higher Education

The Chronicle of Higher Education has an essay on Martin Luther King, Jr., this week, emphasizing that King was not only antidiscrimination but also antiwar, anticapitalist, etc. All true, but of course these points have been made in the past not only by Jesse Jackson but also by Jesse Helms.   
But I’d like to raise a different issue.  Early on the essay notes that even conservatives revere King:  “While dismantling affirmative action, a policy King advocated, they cite King’s aspiration that Americans be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”  Two points:  First, I see it frequently asserted that King endorsed affirmative action.  I’m not an expert on everything that King wrote and said, but the only place I’m aware of where King came close to endorsing racial preferences is in his book Why We Can’t Wait, and that endorsement is ambiguous and can be read as favoring class-based rather than race-based affirmative action.  Second, even if it is true that at some point King endorsed racial preferences, it would not follow that there is anything wrong with conservatives (and anyone else) citing his “I Have a Dream” speech’s declaration of the broader ideal of colorblind justice — just as there was nothing wrong with Lincoln citing the Declaration of Independence’s ideal of equality notwithstanding that document’s authorship by a slaveowner.

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Elections

Hell, No

Editor’s Note: If you would like to read more pros and cons on voting for President Trump, further essays on the subject, each from a different perspective, can be found here, here, and here. These articles, and the one below, reflect the views of the individual authors, not of the National Review editorial ... Read More
Elections

Hell, No

Editor’s Note: If you would like to read more pros and cons on voting for President Trump, further essays on the subject, each from a different perspective, can be found here, here, and here. These articles, and the one below, reflect the views of the individual authors, not of the National Review editorial ... Read More
Music

Stevie Nicks, Like Springsteen, Preaches and Preens

In the 1970s, Stevie Nicks and Bruce Springsteen made impressions on pop-music culture with romantic rock landmarks, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours album and Springsteen’s Born to Run. But their new 2020 releases, Nicks’s single “Show Them the Way” and Springsteen’s Letter to You film and album, make the ... Read More
Music

Stevie Nicks, Like Springsteen, Preaches and Preens

In the 1970s, Stevie Nicks and Bruce Springsteen made impressions on pop-music culture with romantic rock landmarks, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours album and Springsteen’s Born to Run. But their new 2020 releases, Nicks’s single “Show Them the Way” and Springsteen’s Letter to You film and album, make the ... Read More
Elections

Vote Your Conscience

At the 2016 Republican convention, Senator Ted Cruz spoke a controversial phrase: “vote your conscience.” I think about this phrase, this idea, fairly often. I’m not one to give advice on voting (or much else). But when asked for advice, I usually say, “Vote your conscience.” Sweet conscience! One of ... Read More
Elections

Vote Your Conscience

At the 2016 Republican convention, Senator Ted Cruz spoke a controversial phrase: “vote your conscience.” I think about this phrase, this idea, fairly often. I’m not one to give advice on voting (or much else). But when asked for advice, I usually say, “Vote your conscience.” Sweet conscience! One of ... Read More
Media

‘Anonymous’ Falls Flat

On the menu today: The op-ed page of the New York Times made the deliberate decision to hoodwink America about the identity of “Anonymous”; the sense of guilt that pervades legacy media -- a very apt label; and wondering whether or not we will even see long lines on Election Day with early voting being so ... Read More
Media

‘Anonymous’ Falls Flat

On the menu today: The op-ed page of the New York Times made the deliberate decision to hoodwink America about the identity of “Anonymous”; the sense of guilt that pervades legacy media -- a very apt label; and wondering whether or not we will even see long lines on Election Day with early voting being so ... Read More