Monday, January 21, 2008

The Radical As Conservative

by Paul Greenberg - January 20th, 2008 - Washington Times

History is up to its old tricks again. The radical agitator of one generation becomes the conservative icon of another. Martin Luther King Jr. meets the very definition of an American conservative — someone dedicated to preserving the gains of a liberal revolution. Even when he was leading the civil rights movement, what appeal could have been more conservative or more American than his now classic speech before the Lincoln Memorial in August 1963?

"I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

Very interesting premise, Martin Luther King, Jr. as a conservative. And not far wrong. It comes down to who quotes him. I think it is arguable that more conservatives quote Martin Luther King, Jr. today than liberals. The liberals invoke him as an icon, but really don't agree with what he believed. It is typical of the fact that liberals love Franklin Delano Roosevelt, unless you make them read what he said and ask them to live up to his ideals rather then their newly invented interpretations of what he should have meant. His view of social security is a perfect example.

Both King and Roosevelt are bigger than life, and in the process their followers impute to them whatever they want to impute. They don't care what they actually believed.

To some extent we are getting the same problem in the Republican Party. Very few remember that Ronald Reagan opposed capital gains taxes being lower than regular taxes. How can you claim to believe in free enterprise and argue the taxes should be different. If a plumber works hard and makes $100,000 and the son of a rich father makes $100,000 from his inherited investments, why should the plumber pay more than the "investor"? Do you not believe that the free enterprise system has determined their contribution to society? If you don't, how can you say free enterprise is a fair system?

Reagan also pulled our troops out of Lebanon, projecting weakness that lead to 9/11, and granted amnesty to illegal aliens, creating a tsunami of more immigrants. Neither were what he expected, but what would he really believe today? Is there any proof he would not still believe those were the right actions for the times? Would he feel any differently today, just because the democrat party is arguing in favor of the same actions he took?

King as a conservative and Reagan as a liberal. Sure gives a different view to history doesn't it?

I agree wholeheartedly with the conclusion of this article. "You can tell a lot about an age by the heroes it chooses. While the Malcolms and Farrakhans come and go in favor, Martin Luther King Jr. remains the standard by which all other leaders are measured, and not just black leaders. That's a hopeful sign."


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