Many thousands of Conservatives gathered in Washington in late August; a great rally, vowing to "Restore Honor" to America. Unfortunately the focus was off target, illustrating a problem increasingly evident among American Conservatives over the past generation: A tendency to avoid aspects of reality deemed too controversial, even to an extent of sometimes giving lip service to demonstrably false premises. The "Civil Rights" movement, which disrupted race relations, as well as traditional American perspectives on a wide variety of subjects from the end of World War II through the Kennedy/Johnson era, provided a major impetus to this avoidance; as witness the increasing number of nominal Conservatives, who have not only failed to recognize the actual ideological issues involved, but have even embraced a fantastic--as in fantasy driven--view of same.
The rally, organized by a popular media personality & featuring talks by him and some prominent political figures, was hailed as a success by many self-styled Conservative spokesmen. Since the organizers, speakers & participants, were decidedly more "Right" than "Left" on major ideological issues, we will honor their effort with the assumption that the intention was honorable. But we can not applaud the result. In the presentations--as in the original promotion--the late Martin Luther King was eulogized as a model. Yet Martin Luther King was anything but a champion of traditional American values; his advocacy, the very antithesis of an honorable defense of American principles. It is only by quoting phrases from his speeches, completely out of the context of what those speeches actually demanded, that it is even possible to suggest otherwise.
Martin Luther King's whole adult life was a challenge to traditional American values. He continually sought Federal intervention into matters which had always been considered local, outside the realm of delegated power. He employed disruptive tactics, such as sit-ins, first introduced into America by Marxist dominated elements of American labor during the turbulent thirties. He opposed America's efforts to stop Communism in Viet Nam. The very March on Washington in August 1963, to which the "Restoring Honor" rally referred, honored & extolled, was organized by men with well documented Communist ties, seeking to put pressure on the Federal Government to severely restrict property rights & freedom of association across America. This pattern--the reality of Martin Luther King--is not refuted because some, conservative on other issues, may find phrases within the context of his demand for ever more intrusive Government, which they can quote completely out of that context of time & content.
One could also cite outrageous personal behavior by many in King led demonstrations; weekend attendance by King at the Communist front Highlander Folk School in 1957, a phenomenon documented by a former neighbor, who devoted much of his adult life to exposing Communist directed & influenced activity; the fact that King's records have been sealed for sixty years--not something that anyone would have proposed for Mother Theresa, Albert Schweitzer or any Godly person. But to better understand what is involved, a brief look at how the Left undermines heritage & values in America--the "Honor" the 2010 rally was intended to restore:
Attack by the Academic Left on traditional moral precepts & values takes many forms. There are the supercilious sneers, the raised eyebrows, by which poseurs & mountebanks on College faculties intimidate underclass men & women into doubting what their families held sacred. There is the group think, not stated as such, but clearly implied: 'We, the elite, see it this way; we are too "enlightened" to accept "prejudice" & superstition." ' They then focus on any appearance of inconsistency on our side!
But the "Civil Rights" movement also employed a 'bait & switch.' It worked thus:
The "Civil Rights" movement did not focus directly on the right of an individual to reflect his or her personal preferences, in the use of private property. There was no reason, no rational reason, why ownership of a business should be suddenly stripped of the attribute of ownership that includes determining whom to hire in that business. So the attack was never so framed. Rather, Americans were bombarded with examples of hateful acts, cruel misdeeds, against people of one race, ethnic origin or Faith, by those of another; examples augmented by a deliberate provocation of angry responses, through such vehicles as so-called "Freedom Rides," whereby young agitators from Northern campuses descended upon small towns in the Old South, as a deliberate insult to local feelings.
Since much of the Media & Academia embraced the movement, the absence of logical connection between the actual acts & a proposed Legislative & Judicial attack upon individual liberty, was ignored; while the press glamorized the agitators, usually without even reporting their acts of provocation, only any hoped for reaction. Yet no rational champion of traditional liberty, a freedom to manage one's own property & govern the pattern of one's own associations, has advocated--or now advocates--hate based acts against anyone because of their race, origin or Faith.
There is no rational connection between hiring or associating with someone, based upon personal perceptions of congeniality, and hostile acts towards others. There is markedly less nexus here than even between the nasty acts, to which married couples sometimes degenerate when love goes awry, and the freedom to marry. Yet who would advocate abolishing marriage--although marriage, unlike free association with kindred types, may in fact provide a platform for possible future misbehavior?
To fully appreciate the assault on fundamental social & economic liberty involved in what the rally confused with "honor," consider two other points: A genuine spokesman for the aspirations of Black Americans, the self-educated Booker T. Washington, first burst on the Continental scene in America by urging Southern White employers to give preference to their Negro neighbors, with whom they shared a common history & common loyalties, over the waves of new immigrants, entering America in the late 19th Century. What the "Civil Rights" movement & Martin Luther King were seeking in the 1963 rally, made it illegal for employers to even consider Washington's plea.
Secondly, what the "Civil Rights" movement & Martin Luther King sought & achieved, also made it illegal for religious Americans to consider whether a prospective employee was guided by a Faith that might make him or her more trustworthy. Who will seriously deny that such a consideration is not only economically sound; it goes to the very essence of religious freedom?
Some may argue that an effort to place King within the American mainstream is legitimate outreach to a generation, misled by a contrived Holiday and forty years of Media & Academic hype to accept a popular mystique, which portrays Martin Luther King as almost an American equivalent to St. George, the patron Saint of England. But enlarging a myth is no way to build a sustainable Conservative movement.
The logical inconsistency, reflected in a combination of factual ignorance with moral pontification--a reclaiming of "American Honor" by honoring a Marxist influenced agitator--can not simply be overlooked on the basis that the organizers did some good in bringing a large crowd to Washington to protest contemporary evil--a correctly recognized, wholesale misuse of Federal power. In premising a protest on false premises, in honoring one whose whole adult life was spent in challenging the very principles the organizers claimed to champion, they undermined whatever good was accomplished by their rally. In absurd eulogies--focused on a deceased radical with a clear record opposed to the stated purpose of the rally--they implanted seeds for total refutation of their avowed message. It was equivalent to packing a large quantity of wired plastique into the foundation of a great building, with street access to the wires available to any miscreant who would destroy the edifice.
Believing that most of those involved, both in the planning & focus of the rally, were sincere--indeed were committed to the very values that Martin Luther King fought to undermine, we refrain from aspersing motives; we avoid the names. Given the Academic & Media climate in America since World War II, a Conservative awakening, in any individual, may involve several stages. Few will see the whole picture at one time; in fact, one alarmed by a particular program, action or policy, may only gradually see inevitable parallels to other areas of social or economic concern. Few, indeed, even analyze issues that do not seem immediate, within a personal perspective; or within that perspective, ones on which they have never focused. We remember the stages in our own awakening, as a High School student over a three year period. We would not be judgmental: Our sincere hope, that some, who originally embraced the rally, will reconsider; will come to see the deeper issues.
How significant were traditional American views on property & freedom to associate with like folk in the creation of America? They provided a motivational essence for much of the settlement! Puritans went to Massachusetts (after returning to England from the Netherlands to keep their English ethnicity) specifically to live with like minded coreligionists rather than with those who held diverse views. Cavaliers--often "second sons," who would not inherit land in England--went to Virginia & the Carolinas to acquire land with which they could live the lifestyle to which they aspired, with a right to pass such land to their posterity. Similar, parochial aspirations, may be found in the settlement of the other Colonies.
As the Preamble to the Constitution made abundantly clear, the foundations of America were about securing the Blessings of Liberty to the specific folk involved, and to their posterity--their lines of descent. How could peoples so different in their social aspirations as those in Massachusetts & Virginia, ever have come together in that foundational document? The answer was in mutual respect! In a very real sense, the three pillars of American heritage were these: Respect for private property, and the right to use & pass on private property to one's heirs. Respect for the right to associate with those for whom one felt true congeniality. Respect for one another, based upon mutual acceptance of the differences between them, as well as for those first two fundamental rights.
What did the "Civil Rights" movement challenge? It attacked the right of one to employ whom he wanted--under his, not the State's, preferences--on his own property. It attacked the right of one to sell his property to whom he saw fit, without regard to the State's preferences. It attacked the right to associate on a basis of ethnic kinship or religious congeniality, if there were any public agency, such as a State Government, even remotely involved. Finally, it attacked the traditional mores of a whole region, a group of constituent States, in clear repudiation of a Union based upon mutual respect for our differing mores. How can any Conservative, steeped in the heritage that brought the original Americans together, honor a movement so directly antithetical to foundational principles implicit in that heritage?
We tend to react with enthusiasm to what we perceive as threats to a way of life, yet fail to recognize other more serious threats--even to resist palpable evidence of those threats--if it may lead us into unwanted controversy. Conservatives, unlike reformers & revolutionaries, prefer to avoid controversy where they do not feel threatened. Manifestly, many who attended the "Honor" rally in Washington did not feel threatened by the "Civil Rights" movement. Yet it represented a more serious threat to the foundations of heritage in America than the half-baked, anti-business, policies of the present Administration. A closer look at the "Civil Rights" movement will reveal the actual collectivist (socialist/utilitarian) roots of Obamanist values.
Again! It was the "Civil Rights" movement & Martin Luther King which most aggressively challenged traditional American respect for property, traditional American rights to associate with those found most congenial; indeed, the very heritage passed down from Magna Carta through the philosophic insights of the Founding Fathers. Finally, it was a degeneration in ethnic pride, flowing out of that "Civil Rights" movement, which played a major role in the Obama election.