Being consistently nonviolent

Lest the state and its media lackeys fully coopt the legacy of a man they once considered a dangerous enemy, let's hear from the man:

My third reason...grows out of my experience in the ghettos of the North over the last three years--especially the last three summers. As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action; for they ask and write me, "So what about Vietnam?" They ask if our nation wasn't using massive doses of violence to solve its problems to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without first having spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence I cannot be silent.

Been a lot of applauding over the last few years. They applauded our total movement; they've applauded me. America and most of its newspapers applauded me in Montgomery. And I stood before thousands of Negroes getting ready to riot when my home was bombed and said, "We can't do it this way." They applauded us in the sit-in movement--we nonviolently decided to sit in at lunch counters. The applauded us on the Freedom Rides when we accepted blows without retaliation. They praised us in Albany and Birmingham and Selma, Alabama. Oh, the press was so noble in its applause, and so noble in its praise when I was saying, "Be nonviolent toward Bull Connor"; when I was saying, "Be nonviolent toward Jim Clark." There's something strangely inconsistent about a nation and a press that will praise you when you say, "Be nonviolent toward Jim Clark," but will curse and damn you when you say, "Be nonviolent toward little brown Vietnamese children."

Hat tip to Jesse Walker. Previous musings about MLK's legacy.

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Depends on the war

but will curse and damn you when you say, "Be nonviolent toward little brown Vietnamese children."

What if MLK had been speaking at the height of American involvement in WWII and had characterized American involvement (say, on the European front) as "violence toward little blue-eyed German children"? If he had done that, then his speech would have been a public embarrassment and few of his fans would like to quote it.

So: it depends on the conflict. And since it depends on the war, then consistent nonviolence would be an embarrassment, since the point of "consistent" here is that it does not depend on the conflict.

Granted, some libertarians regret American involvement in WWII as well. However, I expect it would be possible to find some side of some conflict that they did not bash.

 

non violent action

I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action

Yeah... right...
asking the big bully to do the dirty job is nonviolent

Also

You can't talk about solving the economic problem of the Negro without talking about billions of dollars. You can't talk about ending the slums without first saying profit must be taken out of slums. You're really tampering and getting on dangerous ground because you are messing with folk then. You are messing with captains of industry… Now this means that we are treading in difficult water, because it really means that we are saying that something is wrong… with capitalism… There must be a better distribution of wealth and maybe America must move toward a democratic socialism

"What if MLK had been

"What if MLK had been speaking at the height of American involvement in WWII and had characterized American involvement (say, on the European front) as violence toward little blue-eyed German children? If he had done that, then his speech would have been a public embarrassment and few of his fans would like to quote it."

That's a very good point, and part of the reason I think the paleolibertarians are even more consistent in their advocacy of peace and non-interventionism than even many aging hippies. People tend to think the opposite because the former like their guns and defend violence in the abstract under certain hypothetical conditions, while the latter eschew all of that subtly violent "self defense" talk and speak of hearts, minds, dialogue and positive energy.

MLK Not Real Good Outside of his Field

If MLK were a true pacifist he would not take sides in any war but oppose both sides. Rightly or wrongly the US got involved in the Vietnam War. MLK was free to issue a policy analysis giving his reasons for opposing this particular war even if he were not a pacifist. If so the fact that there was killing going on was not sufficient reason. Killing is the result of war, not its basis. In this case it was due to the will to power of Ho Chi Minh and his colleagues.
Further, to oppose the war because the skin color of some of the combatants was brown was irrelevant. Was he implying that the war would have been OK with him if white people were being killed? Or did he think the fact that white people are killing the brown skinned people was the point and that it would not be so bad if brown skinned people were doing the killing. Maybe so since he said nothing about the atrocities the Viet Cong and the North Vietnams Army committed against supporters of the South Vietnamese government, their children and innocent bystanders.
In both the Tet Offensive and in the Battle of Hue the Communists committed a systematic program of assassinations and mass executions. The final take over was accompanied by typical Communist terror which is the usual method of operation used by totalitarians. Any violence committed against American civil rights demonstrators pales in comparison. Bull Connor was a sweetheart compared to Ho Chi Minh. An estimated 3 million North and South Vietnamese soldiers and civilians died in the war and for what? They still don’t have the civil rights MLK had even before he began his demonstrations.
Thirdly to bring in the issue of children itself without evidence Americans were targeting them was another phony issue. In any war where civilians are present children get killed. Was he proposing that his reason for opposing the war because he was claiming that Americans were purposely targeting children? If so this was a truly scurrilous charge with little to back it up. MLK deserves fame for leading his people peacefully to the goal of civil rights. Since Communists in Vietnam committed numerous atrocities as an organized part of their campaign to take control of South Vietnam, he should have condemned these tactics.
No doubt the war in Vietnam was unfortunate. As we see again today getting out of a war is not as easy as getting into it. It is easy to gain support from some people by opposing a war halfway into it if things are not going well because we all hate war.
If peace supporter's recommendations aren't followed their position is cost free because they don't have to account for any of its negative effects. It is a good way to get cheap political support.
I don’t think MLK was a traitor but naive like Mohammed Ali.A key element in psychological warfare is to convince the people that their cause is hopeless and that they should give up. This is not to condemn all people who call for peace, but these calls ought not to be taken lightly.
Scoundrels are always the first in line. Sometimes peace lovers go down in history as heroes even if they happen to be the hero of fools. The ones who are willing to pay the price for sticking it out, taking all the risks and dying are reviled while the free riders collect their Nobel Peace Prizes. This situation has always made me sick.
Dave

Consistent non-violence isn't always the moral stance

Being consistently non-violent can be the immoral position. Sometimes one has a moral duty to get violent.