Saturday, January 16, 2010

martin luther king jr. - hero?

today is the federal holiday designated to honor the dr. reverend martin luther king jr., a man widely recognized as the premier leader of the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s. his efforts did a great deal to bring about the passing of the civil rights act of 1964.

king is regarded as a hero among the majority of mainstream americans for his courageous campaign against racial discrimination in the united states and his outspoken opposition to u.s. involvement in the vietnam war. while i share his opposition to racism and war, and admire his dedication and courage in his pursuits, i wish to dispel the myth of his heroism and expose his ideas as morally corrupt and the product of logic stemming from false premises.

what should stand out first to the casual observer is that king is "honored" with a federal holiday. anything or anyone with its own federal holiday should at once be considered suspect. criminal organizations like the u.s. federal government don't honor anything that doesn't empower them against the unfortunate society burdened by their existence. king's role in bringing about the civil rights act of 1964 is considered by most as his greatest accomplishment, it was, in fact, a great setback to freedom in the u.s., empowering the government against private individuals and compromising the rights of property owners.

while king's crusade against racial discrimination was, in my opinion,a noble one, the fact is that people have the right to discriminate against anyone they want at any time and for any reason. while most of us despise such discrimination, we do not have the right to impose our beliefs onto others through force, which is what the civil rights act of 1964 does. the act contains provision for the outlawing of discrimination in virtually all private matters in title 2 and title 7. this use of force in private matters is likely to have hindered race relations by creating a social "grudge" between races not open to such integration at the time that has persisted even until today.

king advocated the forced redistribution of wealth by government to "disadvantaged americans" to compensate for historical wrongs. while it is undeniable that actions of the past have been a setback to certain groups in the u.s., advocating the redistribution of wealth in the present to right such setbacks is morally wrong. though i ardently advocate restitution of victims by aggressors against their person or property, it is a logical non sequitur to force such restitution to those not directly harmed by such attacks by those who didn't perpetrate the aggression. forcing americans to compensate the descendants of transgressions is just such an example. as illustrated above, discrimination in itself is the right of the individual and does not constitute such a transgression. slave-holding, on the other hand, does. all slave holders should be forced to compensate all slaves, since they aggressed against the person and property of such people. the lack of such justice, while in itself a tragedy, does not justify forcing the descendants of slave holders, who never held slaves, to compensate the descendants of slaves, who were never slaves.

king also advocated a move toward "democratic socialism" citing that "something is wrong with capitalism", probably stemming from a common misunderstanding of the difference between capitalism and corporatism and a lack of understanding of the role of profit in the functioning of markets in society. such ideas are based on the idea that some people (those calling themselves "government") have the right to redistribute the property of others. if that's so, what gives those people the right to the property of others? wasn't king's agenda rights equality?

probably the brightest spot in king's legacy was his opposition to the vietnam war. even here, though, one can see king's cognitive dissonance. king said, "(the u.s. government is) the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today", and who could deny that that statement is just as true today as it was then. the problem starts with king's recognition that the u.s. government is violent, but he doesn't seem to understand that foreign peoples are not the only recipients of such violence. king's own actions brought about violence against the person and property of u.s. citizens at home by stopping them, through force or the threat of force, from exercising their right to discriminate. he also seems oblivious to the fact that democratic socialism requires violence to force wealth away from some in order to give to others. while i admire king's stance against war, he was confused on the issue of violence and what, exactly, constitutes violence - namely, the use of force against individuals and their property.

for all of his virtues; courage, persistence and dedication, king's actions, all-in-all, were a stepping stone for government's increased power to crush individual rights in america and further impede upon freedom. his ideas evolved from a mixture of people from the heroic, such as ghandi, tolstoy, thoreau and Jesus Christ, to the evil, such as lincoln and marx. without a firm ethical principle, king's legacy is a mixture of good and evil, tainted by the fact that his federal recognition stems not from virtue or ideal, but government empowerment.

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