In lieu of the usual movie review this week, I’m taking advantage of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to lighten my blogging load slightly. I’ll have another Midweek Mad Scientist Movie Madness post for $3 and up subscribers on Wednesday, so if you want your weekly fix of filmic schlock, check back then. An aunt of mine has requested a movie review, and as soon as I figure out how to watch the flick, I’ll be reviewing it one Monday (I’m looking out for you, Aunt Marilyn).
After a week of virtual learning and lots of time alone (well, with Murphy, at least), I’m eager to get out of the house, but I will likely spend today prepping for the abbreviated school week and getting the house in order. I’m thankful for the day off, but I’d probably appreciate it more—as I did in January 2020—if I were utterly exhausted—as I was in January 2020. I think slightly less appreciation is a worthwhile trade-off, though!
This post from 2020 delves into some of the complexity of the Reverend Dr. King’s legacy, and warns against excessive idolization of historical figures—even martyrs. Much of the inspiration from the stories of Christian Saints, for example, derives from their human frailty. Even the great Saint Augustine, when praying to God for control over his lustful nature, prayed, “Grant me chastity and self-control, but please not yet.”
From the evidence, it appears that King participated in some really debauched, even evil, sexual practices. The FBI’s suspicions that he may have been are Marxist were probably justified to some extent, even if the FBI treated him shabbily and is a despicable tool of oppression. If King were alive today, I’d wager he’d be knee-deep in the CRT foolishness that his famous “I Have a Dream” speech explicitly rejects.
Yet from this extremely imperfect vessel came ringing declarations of spiritual equality. Regardless of our race, we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights. That is the part of King’s legacy we should celebrate, while remembering he was a deeply flawed individual.
In other words, let us put our faith and trust in Christ, not in men.
With that, here is January 2020’s “MLK Day 2020“:
Here’s to another Monday off from work (for those of us blessed to work in fields that give out random days off liberally). Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is one of those holidays that feels like an excuse to have a little taste of the recently-departed Christmas holiday. Everyone is still dragging in January, coming off the high of Christmas and New Year’s. I find the cold intellectually stimulating, but most of us are spending our time comfortably indoors, basking in central heating. It all makes for seasonal sluggishness.
Last year’s MLK Day post sought to take advantage of the day’s cozy laziness with some suggested reading. Contra the whole “make it a day ON” virtue-signalers, it really is the perfect day to crank up the heat, brew some coffee, and enjoy reading with some fried eggs (over medium, please) and toast (and, for us Southerners, a hearty helping of grits). It’s one of the last tastes of the hygge before the warm weather creeps back in (which occurs sometime in late February or early March here in South Carolina).
That’s all by way of lengthy preamble to today’s post. I thought this year it might be worth looking at the holiday itself, and the man behind it. The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was, indeed, a remarkable man, and one who did a great deal to advance the cause of liberty, more equally enjoyed. But while we’re not allowed to say so—MLK has been elevated to something like sainthood in the American Pantheon—he was an imperfect vessel in many ways.
I remember vividly listening to Michael Savage’s program on the radio on the way home from a family trip to the beach. He was talking about MLK’s legacy, and it was the first time in my life I’d ever heard anyone say anything critical about MLK (I was probably in the tenth grade). It blew my mind—never had I heard anyone say anything negative about him. It was eye-opening, and riveting. I remember anxiously asking my parents to turn back the dial when they turned away during a commercial break.
I’m all for imperfect vessels—I love Donald Trump after all. I don’t expect leaders to be spotless paragons of virtue. But there’s such an aura of unmitigated godliness around MLK (unlike Trump, who we all know has been sowing his seed all over), revelations of his lurid sexual peccadilloes are (or should be) more shocking.
It does seem the man was involved in some shady stuff. The FBI surveillance of him may have been a hit job, but there were legitimate concerns about Marxist infiltration and such in the 1960s.
My point is not to smear Martin Luther King, Jr., but rather to bring some nuance to the discussion of his legacy. His legacy is overwhelmingly positive. His famous “I Have a Dream Speech” is a classic statement of the American ideal as embodied in the Declaration of Independence. We can judge the man based on his life and actions, to be sure, but I’m usually more interested in a man’s ideas (and ideals). MLK was, allegedly, a sexual scoundrel and a forceful defender of civil liberties. Both can be true.
It is interesting to note that in our age of #MeToo witch hunts and intersectional identity politics, King’s ringing declarations of political and spiritual equality between the races is no longer in vogue. King would not find a welcome reception on the Left today. Nor do I think it’s accurate to claim King was somehow a conservative Republican. After the luster of his “I Have a Dream Speech” had passed, he was championing the Poor People’s March, which advocated for a much more activist, statist approach to addressing poverty.
Republicans in a race to avoid being called “racist” have tried to rewrite history to make MLK fit within the Republican mold. I do think his ideas, as expressed in the “I Have a Dream” speech, are far more consistent with the Republican Party of today than the Democratic Party, which has gone whole hog on embracing identity politics—which are incompatible with the notion that “all men are created equal.”
Regardless, for a full treatment of the MLK Day controversy, check out VDare.com’s annual dissection. They update it annually with the latest information. I’m not as critical as they are, but they’re doing yeoman’s work that is too politically incorrect for most other outlets to touch.