Cross-posted at the Left Coast Rebel
As I continue to plug along with my undergrad studies (have I told everyone here?), consumed by work and schoolwork, once in a while I come across something amazing. For example, my entire weekend has been dominated by a 10-page paper on Martin Luther King Jr., particularly his "Letter from Birmingham Jail" essay that he literally wrote from the not-so-comfy confines of a Birmingham jail cell. Look it up.
I wasn't particularly excited to write about diving into the topic, nevertheless the choices were bleak - "Letter" or Barack Obama's post-nomination speech. I loathe Obama in every sense of the word so opted for MLK. To compare Obama to MLK? Oh the humanity...
Good: research has led me all across academia and I have found some extremely interesting things. For example, I read a 20-page essay by a professor that just happens to be an expert on MLK and Alexis de Tocqueville as well. I mean, she was quoting Tocqueville. My jaw dropped and hit the floor.
Bad: Liberal perspective on MLK abounds, most of it is simply boring to me. Good thing I have the liberty to choose my sources.
Interesting: Martin Luther King Jr.'s opinion of communism. In 1958 MLK published Stride Toward Freedom in which he gave his thoughts on everything from Gandhi to Hitler; from communism to... Nietzsche and a lot in between.
I found that MLK was squishy on Marx (in essence he thought Marx brought up necessary discussion on the problems with capitalism) but what interested me the most (of course) was his take on communism.
Second, I strongly disagreed with communism’s ethical relativism. Since for the Communist there is no divine government, no absolute moral order, there are no fixed, immutable principles; consequently almost anything-force, violence, murder, lying-is a justifiable means to the “millennial” end. This type of relativism was abhorrent to me. Constructive ends can never give absolute moral justification to destructive means, because in the final analysis the end is preexistent in the mean.
Third, I opposed communism’s political totalitarianism. In communism the individual ends up in subjection to the state. True, the Marxist would argue that the state is an “interim” reality which is to be eliminated when the classless society emerges; but the state i s the end while it lasts, and man only a means to that end.
And if any man’s so-called rights or liberties stand in the way of that end, they are simply swept aside. His liberties of expression, his freedom to vote, his freedom to listen to what news he likes or to choose his books are all restricted. Man becomes hardly more, in communism, than a depersonalized cog in the turning wheel of the state. This deprecation of individual freedom was objectionable to me. I am convinced now, as I was then, that man is an end because he is a child of God.
Man is not made for the state; the state is made for man. To deprive man of freedom is to relegate him to the status of a thing, rather than elevate him to the status of a person. Man must never be treated as a means to the end of the state, but always as an end within himself.
I simply love the quote at the end:
---Man must never be treated as a means to the end of the state, but always as an end within himself.
Doesn't progressivism, in its very essence do just that -- treat man as a means to the state's ends?
What say you, progressive statists and academic collectivists?
Image via Wikipedia.