Some like MLK with their tea

January 18, 2011 § 1 Comment

WHEN FALLIBLE MEN are turned into idols, expect various factions to fight over who gets to speak in “god’s” name — and control the flock.

Remember Glenn Beck and his “Restoring Honor” rally last fall, a weird collision between MLK’s “I Have a Dream” theme, and the worst sort of worshipful, flag-waving militarism? Beck even got MLK’s niece, Alveda King, to appear and speak at this bizarre event.

Well some time afterwards, I found a blog comment about this from a young, evidently “liberal”-leaning, lady. It wasn’t the militarism she objected to: her beef was that Beck and conservatives are invoking MLK and civil rights to promote the Constitutional tenets of limited government and States’ rights, which in her ideology, are bad things.

She concluded: “Tea Party activists see the federal government as a source of oppression; King and the Civil Rights Movement recognized that the source of racism and discrimination was unrestrained individuals and state governments that could only be reined in by the federal government.”

That just kinda set me off. And I had to — I mean, I was compelled to — dash off a reply. Which went something like this:

Black libertarian/Tea Partier here. I can’t help but comment on this.

1) I am not a Beck fan. I voted for Ron Paul in the 08 primary, and Libertarian Chuck Baldwin in the fall. (We were the original Tea Party; we are not responsible for what the Glenny-come-latelies have done to the movement since then.)

2) I thought the rally and its stated purpose to be weird and cultlike. The attempt to link MLK to frenzied worship of flag & military was strained, to say the least.

3) However, none of the above precludes Beck’s having actually been correct about many things.

“Civil Rights” most definitely needs reclaiming from the orgs and (self-) anointed leaders who have claimed exclusive ownership of the issues.

Folks need to also realize that the construct of “civil rights” is a bowdlerized version of real Constitutionally-guaranteed rights. For example, many so-called civil rights leaders have militantly opposed — or aligned with those who oppose — the individual right to self-defense via firearms. Many also oppose the equal right to life of all human beings of all ages (they deny the right of those yet to be born). This is especially ironic given that at one time, all blacks, young and old alike, suffered such dehumanization.

Yet at the same time, with the rest of the Left, the civil rights crowd espouses the notion of “positive rights”  — i.e., the presumed “right” to have government give you anything and everything you demand, as long as you yell loudly enough. This concept negates real rights, since it requires  that government have unlimited power to take from some and give to others.

The negation of real, God-given rights, along with the invention of an infinite list of bogus entitlement “rights” calculated to require both dependency on and infinite empowerment of government, is the recipe for tyranny. I want my actual rights, no more and no less. I want the same for you.

Equal protection under the law is a right, from which we can derive the right to have equal economic opportunity. There are ways to level economic opportunity that don’t involve handing absolute power to a central government to enact arbitrary and punitive schemes that steal what some produce and hand it to others — which is the current state of political economy in post-Civil Rights America.

[Quote:] The Tea Party activists believe that only less government can secure these civil and equal rights. … The Civil Rights Movement, under King’s leadership, recognized that it was the states that had deprived black Southerners of their Civil Rights.

Half a century later, in 2010, that’ s kind of a moot argument. Whatever arguments may have been expedient under emergency circumstances back then, the emergency passed a long time ago.

After they’ve struck out a fire, the firefighters turn off their hoses and they pack up and leave, and allow the property owner to rebuild. Washington should do the same. I think King, were he alive now, would agree.

But of course, powermongers never intend to give up power. [Edit: as Frederick Douglass famously said, “power concedes nothing without a demand.”]They fight tooth and nail to hang on, and grab more. “Civil Rights,” sadly, was and is a convenient pretext for this.

Centralizing power in Washington, under whatever pretext, removes it from the people  — no matter how much “democracy” rhetoric accompanies the trick. It also teaches a poor lesson in citizenship, and it deprives people of the right of meaningful participation in the issues that affect their lives.

Also, consider that there are 50 united States. Most Americans — indeed, about half of black Americans at the time — were not living in southern States. The non-jim crow States did not deserve to have their rights, and their buffer against federal abuses, dissolved.

To purportedly counter the violation of one vital class of rights by destroying others (States’ rights — the People’s right to a State barrier against similar or worse violations by Washington — as well as individual property rights) isn’t a solution. Advocates for full Constitutional rights would have found a way to preserve the rights of both individuals and the several States. Lamentably, it seems MLK and fellow travelers were more influenced by socialists, and some of those interests were not interested in a win-win solution; they wanted centralism — a defeat for States and local government and ultimately, the individual — and they got it. Now we are all slaves. Or perhaps you prefer to think of yourself as “free” when you cannot board an airplane wihtout federal employees photographing your naked body and sexually molesting you. And as you know, those are some of the nicer things being done to people in the name of the “War on Terror.” See also: warrantless surveillance, extraordinary rendition and indefinite imprisonment without trial, and torture.

For just a couple more examples, see the federal “War on Drugs” — wherein you are branded an enemy of the state, subject to being imprisoned, having your property stolen or even being murdered on the suspicion that you might have possessed, grown or sold leaves of a plant. And of course, see actual “War,” itself the genesis of a host of despotisms and deceptions.

The belief that the Washington government is not capable of abuses as great as State or local governments — and far worse — is wishful thinking.

When the local good ole boys or even an entire State government are corrupt, you can at least move out, as millions of Southern blacks, including my parents, did. Yet “progressives” have delivered near-absolute power to Washington. Now the corrupt good ole boys are running the whole show [edit: via a “black mascot,” no less]. Where do you move to now?

White supremacism was bad, but it jumped the shark decades ago. Government supremacism is still going strong and growing day by day. And this ideology has murdered, maimed, tortured, imprisoned and oppressed more people by orders of magnitude.

[QUOTE] King avoided defying federal court orders, even when a federal court barred him from marching.

Another on the list of disappointing facts about King.

To Monday-morning-QB it: in any other context a federal court order barring people from marching would have been rightly interpreted as an intolerable assault on rights even more fundamental than the right to sit at lunch counters or have your children be government-indoctrinated alongside white children.

The rights to free speech and to assemble to petition the government for redress of grievances are so fundamental they’re put first in the Big Ten.

Sadly, King failed to find and adhere to consistent principles. He marched against State tyranny. He did protest Washington’s militarism and other issues. But he gave the discrepant signal that to get our rights from States we have to put up with some oppression from Washington. This uneven foundation, and his followers’ decision to continue building on it, may in part explain why his dream, to this day, has not been realized.

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