Tuesday, 29 December 2009

By the Strength of Their Character

(Readers may know what a Liberal is, especially if they've ever been bitten by one, but a Transnational Progressivist (or "Tranzi") may require some explanation. So click here, although Medawar doesn't endorse every analysis and sentiment therein. Apply your own judgement to the new ideas, and see below for why that is good.)

It is nearly fifty years since a Southern Baptist minister stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and made a speech, listened to by something like three hundred thousand people in the flesh and millions more on radio and television, that set out a simple recipe for peace and justice.

Nearly always, the Liberal and “Transnational Progressivist” political elite and their media homeboys will refer to the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King as a “civil rights leader” and pay some kind of patronising, creeping lip-service before attempting to append his legacy to what is effectively the opposite of what he recommended.

Because Doctor King had a dream, (dreaming a dream is a very Baptist experience), and that dream was that everyone, regardless of their race, should be judged on the strength of their character and not the colour of their skin. In a single sentence, Doctor King destroys the basis of racial politics. But he doesn’t merely destroy racism, or neo-nazism, or nationalism. He destroys the other side of racial politics -and most of liberalism, too.

Firstly, Doctor King did not say, and most definitely did not mean, that black people or any other “oppressed” ethnic group should avoid being judged on their colour, whilst members of the supposed “oppressor” races should still be condemned as oppressors by virtue of their whiteness, or anglo-saxon-ness. He meant that no individual should be judged by the colour of their skin, for either good or bad.

Secondly, he very carefully used words such as “every” and “each” and not “all”. It was very much the individual who should never be judged by the colour of their skin, and it was the individual who should be judged by the strength of their character.

There are two concepts here which Liberals and “Tranzis” will recoil from like a vampire in a crucifix factory: individuals, and strength of character as a measure of worth.

Doctor King’s speech was not just an “anti-racist” soundbite, nor was it merely a generic “Christian” platitude. It was a Baptist sermon of great passion and power and this means that there was far more to it than “anti-racism” or civil rights.

Doctor King wanted to set his people free, but “his people” are, potentially, everyone. And he didn’t just want to set them free from racism: he wanted to set them FREE!

Every and each, embracing the whole human race as individuals. In deciding to judge us by our strength of character, Doctor King requires each of us to have a character. We have to be our own person, form our own view, decide for ourselves what we believe. Ohhhh! That man was a Baptist alright! Being judged, fairly, is freedom. If we are truly slaves, we do nothing by choice, we cannot be judged.

But everything we can be judged on, is a choice we were free to make. If we are to be judged, we have to be free. There is more in that than race: race is the least of it!

We do not, and can not, make the world better by labelling some communities as “oppressed” and, by political machination, moving them around the world until they are living amongst an “oppressor” community who can be made to suffer by way of reparation. Bear-baiting is as deadly to the hounds as to the bear: yet the essentials of the “Transnational Progressivist” concept of racial justice amounts to bear-baiting with whole communities. Always communities, groups, races; Transnational Progressivists cannot see individuals, only masses. Yet they currently “own” (anti-) racism and social justice as issues, which is like Herod the Great owning childcare as a political issue.

No-one will ever find personal freedom in their racial or ethnic identity. Freedom is in their own individual identity. Racial identity is all very well, and perhaps a genetic reality, but unless it is firmly in second place, behind individual identity, it is a barrier to freedom.

If you are a white Liberal, genuinely concerned for the rights and liberties of your black neighbour, the best thing you can do is find out his name and stop thinking of your neighbour as black. If you are a black power activist and very much not a liberal, an equivalent exercise could be very healthy. If you are a Transnational Progressivist, seeing nation states as the source of all evil: you need to see that nations are mostly ideas, not races or geographical entities, and that individuals will stand first with those with whom they can share ideas. If you want an end to nations, it probably is necessary to suppress the individual at every level and in every area of life, and the “Tranzi” movement has set about doing that with a will, but in that case an end to nations means an end to humanity.

What Doctor King set out for us was not “ a way of life” but the way to life. We must see everyone as an individual and not as part of any group, racial or social. We must grant them every freedom as an individual, and we must also hold them to account as individuals. Not on the assumption that all will fail and all are corrupt: Doctor King would not have subscribed to the doctrine of original sin, but because being held to account, being judged for good or bad, is a privilege when it comes with the inherent freedom to be good or bad. And Doctor King spoke in such a godlike way, not because he held any schizophrenic or pathological delusions that he was God, but because he was an obedient servant of God, striving throughout his life to understand God’s will -and then speaking it with an eloquence, simplicity and grace that makes it hard for any but the clinically obtuse to doubt that he spoke as a man inspired.

It wasn’t just the Ku Klux Klan who had reason to be discomforted by Doctor King’s words: the Liberals, Tranzis, Black Power Leaders and almost every known species of extremist would, if they thought about it, find something to hate and fear in that speech from the Lincoln Memorial. Our assumptions, therefore, about what manner of sinister conspiracy must have been behind Doctor King’s cowardly murder several years after that speech, may need to be revisited in the understanding that his words smote a lot more widely than the racist extreme right. In fact, the delay of several years almost certainly means that his killing was commissioned, not by the first and obviously apparent target of his challenge, but by someone who needed to sit and think it through before they understood that here was a man with the power to destroy their movement just by opening his mouth and speaking a single sentence.

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