I was thinking about posting a new article but then I remembered this piece that I wrote. This article was originally published in a newsletter for the Ruth Institute a few years ago, but the content is still on target. Under President Obama, black unemployment is higher than it has been in over forty years. Because his inauguration followed so closely to Dr King's birthday, I wanted a little separation between the two events.
Over the last few years, as I have travelled the country, I could not help but notice that many large cities have a street named in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Unfortunately, I also noticed that these streets are often in the worst part of those cities. As such, King’s memory receives a dubious honor, at best. But perhaps some honor is better than none at all.
In like manner, King’s dream is only partially fulfilled. To be sure, black people have equal rights. Unfortunately, we do not have an equal chance at success. Was this the design of conservative white men? Not at all, in fact, this situation was put into place by liberal men of all stripes. More specifically, men who subscribed to socialism. When president Lyndon Baines Johnson began his Great Society program, he consigned many black people to familial breakdown, immorality and poverty. Granted, this was not his intent, but socialism did to black people what it does to everyone. It rewards vice instead of virtue by financially encouraging irresponsibility, and self destructive behavior.
Rather than strengthening the family, it encouraged women to have children out of wedlock, and for the men not to be fathers to these children. Rather than empowering black people to succeed, the Great Society made us dependent on the state. The government provided housing, a modicum of food, and other bare necessities. Should the mother begin work to have a better life, the government would stop all support to make their situation even worse. Thus, for almost four decades, black people were trapped in a system that was the opposite of King’s dream. In all fairness, many more white people were locked onto this system as well. As black people only comprise 10% of the population of the U.S. more of us were adversely affected.
The result of socialism is that black people have a higher rate of out of wedlock births. We also have a higher divorce rate, a higher poverty rate, and a far greater tendency to be a victim of crime. Boys without fathers are far more likely to be involved in crime. Girls without fathers are far more likely to experiment with sex and have children at an early age. Children without fathers are more likely to be high school dropouts, experiment with drugs and alcohol. Socialism distorted and destroyed many black families. With socialism, the state becomes a cruel god, or perhaps more accurately, a devil. This devil will grant some desires, but at an outrageous price.
Thomas Sowell reports, that in spite of racism, the black community before the Great Society was experiencing great economic growth.[i] The family is the building block of any community. Strong communities are based on strong families. After the Great Society, the black community is a mess. It may not be experiencing King’s dream, but it at least has a street named after him. Somehow, I think King would prefer to see his dream fulfilled.
In the 1990s, president Bill Clinton, with the help of a number of Republicans, greatly reduced the scope of the Great Society. He was aware of its deleterious effects and took action to make changes. Many Democrats are committed to socialism and fought Clinton’s changes tooth and nail. Many so-called black leaders (I did not vote for them) urged them on, in spite of socialism’s immoral, anti-family agenda from Hell. These men are quick to invoke King’s name, but somehow they have either forgotten or ignored his dream. Instead of King’s dream, they offer a nightmare that keeps the black family and the black community in a state of distress.
In many ways, I am an example of the success that King hoped for black people. There are many other examples to point at, and there are more all of the time. The free market results in a rising tide that lifts all boats. Nonetheless, there are many more black people who are victims of the socialist system, who can’t get out. They believe that these socialist politicians care about them, when in actuality, these politicians are using them to stay in power and maintain the status quo.
It is not an accident, that Martin Luther King Jr. was a family man and a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He was empowered by the theological virtue of love (latin- caritas) The love of God and the love of man for God’s sake. This love moved him to do great things. This love cost him his life. This is not to say that King was perfect. History teaches us that the best of men are men at best. King’s dream, is a goal that all should strive for. His dream of a land of equal opportunity for all should extend far beyond the streets that are named after him.
[i] Thomas Sowell, Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality? (New York: Quill, '1984), 82-85.