Postmodern Conservative

Happy MLK Day

Happy MLK Day! At Berry College, we get today off after just a week of classes. Many or most other colleges haven’t had any classes yet and so they don’t get credit for celebrating the greatness of, as they say, a transformational American hero.

What’s the contribution of this great man? The Supreme Court, in Brown v. Board of Education II (1955), failed to give a timetable for the implementation of the desegregation decision of 1954. Its only standard was “all deliberate speed,” which could only be read as a license to stall. So the courageous and loving direct action of the civil-rights movement was required, as Dr. King said, to get white moderates who know what’s right — but prefer order to justice — to stop waiting for a more convenient season to do what’s right. Today is really shaming-white-moderates day, while giving them (us) due credit for their capacity to be shamed.  

I have the authoritative statement (so far) for our season of political anger here.

People are asking: Why don’t you like Donald Trump? I actually do sort of like him — and certainly don’t hate him. But give me a break: He shouldn’t be president. 

They’re also asking: Why don’t you like Ted Cruz? It’s true I’m having trouble. One problem is his voice. Another is his face: He doesn’t have enough face control to hide when he lies. I’m not in a position to say he lies more than the other candidates, but I just notice it more.. Cruz doesn’t lie, you say. Well read Saletan’s article on Slate, where he documents otherwise in considerable detail. It’s good to remember, to prevent being too seduced by any candidate who claims “I am the change we can believe in,” that pretty much all politicians and even great leaders are lying liars who lie at least some of the time.  I’m admitting here that some to most of my aversion to Cruz is unreasonable, and that I might need therapy.

Peter Augustine Lawler — Peter Augustine Lawler is Dana Professor of Government at Berry College. He is executive editor of the acclaimed scholarly quarterly Perspectives on Political Science and served on President George ...

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