There are only a handful of men in the realm of law and politics that inspire me. Besides Christ … Gandhi, Bonhoeffer and Martin Luther King Jr. come to mind. These individuals not only demonstrate a greater understanding of the ethics of civil government but peacefully challenged the status quo at the cost of their own lives.
That type of action sets the bar quite high. I am indebted to Dr. King for his Letter From a Birmingham Jail and educating me on the difference between just and unjust law.
“… never forget that everything Adolph Hitler did in Germany was legal.”
“one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”
If you had walked into URBN Brewery/El Cajon the week before Christmas you would have found me with five friends and a copy of that letter before us. If you consider yourself a student of political science and have not yet read Letter From a Birmingham Jail please read no further. I share nothing below of greater value than that.
As our nation honors Martin Luther King Jr. we remember his courage upholding the great ideas our nation was founded upon;
“We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal: That they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,
that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”
It is because we hold these truths to be self-evident that we recognize beliefs held in contradiction to them are not truthful. They are self-evidently not valid.
Although a number of our friends believe King was a Republican, as was shared recently with me by a current candidate for state office, there is no evidence to sustain such a position.
If King was truly a proponent of individual freedom, limited government and free markets he would have been a supporter of Senator Barry Goldwater, the Republican nominee for President and the greatest advocate of these values at the time.
Instead, upon receiving the Noble Peace Prize, one month after Johnson had defeated Goldwater, King stated,
“We feel we have much to learn from Scandinavia’s
democratic SOCIALISTIC tradition . . . “
And the day after in his Nobel Lecture King stated;
“Another indication that progress is being made was found in the recent presidential election in the United States. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE REVEALED GREAT MATURITY BY OVERWHELMINGLY REJECTING A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE who had become identified with extremism, racism, and retrogression. The voters of our nation rendered a telling blow to the radical right. They defeated those elements in our society which seek to pit white against Negro and lead the nation down a dangerous FASCIST path.”
History records Goldwater’s view of law and economics to be the opposite of the fascist label given him by King. Goldwater was a classical liberal.
When we move to the field of limited government and economics it is King, if you will pardon me, who holds the aberrant view. The self-evident truths which guided King so well in the civil rights movement and when addressing the Vietnam War were abandoned for socialist ones when it came to the field of economics and President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society.
“We have deluded ourselves into believing the MYTH OF CAPITALISM grew and prospered out of the Protestant ethic of hard work and sacrifices. The fact is that capitalism was built on the exploitation of black slaves and continues to thrive on the exploitation of the poor, both black and white, both here and abroad . . . the way to end poverty is to end the exploitation of the poor. INSURE THEM A FAIR SHARE OF THE GOVERNMENTS SERVICES and the nation’s resources. We must recognize that the problems of neither racial nor economic justice can be solved without a RADICAL REDISTRIBUTION of political and economic power.”
– The Three Evils of Society
I will continue to look to Martin Luther King Jr with admiration when it comes to the area of just law but feel I must look elsewhere when it comes to inspiration for the ideals of individual liberty, free markets and limited government.
Why? Because immoral means cannot bring moral ends.
“Christianity at its best refuses to live by a philosophy of ends justifying means. Destructive means cannot bring constructive ends, because the means represent the-ideal-in-the-making and the-end-in-progress.
IMMORAL MEANS CANNOT BRING MORAL ENDS,
for the ends are preexistent in the means.”
–Strength To Love, Martin Luther King Jr.
Eric Andersen is a member of the Central Committee of the San Diego County Republican Party and former Caucus Chair for the 71st Assembly District. He is a Co-Founder of the Republican Liberty Caucus of San Diego County and im2moro.com. He is a former Rock Church Citizen of the Year.