“A second way oppressed people sometimes deal with oppression is to resort to violence and corroding hatred. Violence often brings about momentary results. Nations have frequently won their independence in battle. But in spite of temporary victories, violence never brings permanent peace. It solves no social problem; it merely creates new and more complicated ones.” fallacy
— Martin Luther King
King is America’s true moral conscience. And like all consciences, the POINT of his ideas are largely ignored in practice. This is a mistake.
On a personal note, I put King in my triumvirate of American’s who make me most proud to be an American: King, Ben Franklin, and Mark Twain. All very different men.
However, in addition to the ideas, methods, and lives resonating with me deeply — the union of their Minds covers what I’d consider to be the best of what the American Mind has to offer — and with which we can combat the WORST of what the American Mind has to offer…
A sad mistake we make in education is the over-identifying of people with their OWN time. And miss — completely — that humans are human. Time and country obscure the similarities.
“I came. I saw. I conquered.”
We have named a salad after him. And yet, any modern leader with that attitude would hardly be winning our admiration. Why do we do this? Because we forget about the humanity of the humans of the past, and how that reality applies to today.
King read Gandhi and thought, “Son of bitch, that shit applies to ME.” (paraphrased, lol)
We should read King the same way.
“Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it.”
— George Santayana
An example of this historical problem is how we teach the lessons of the Holocaust.
The REAL lessons of the Holocaust are NOT that it was so unique and horrifying, but that it was so horrifically standard.
Humans have engaged in levels of systematic genocide regularly — like clockwork, in every corner of the world — have tortured, annihilated, murdered, raped, maimed, and enslaved as a way of life throughout our entire existence of this earth. From the Spanish Inquisition to the Ancient Chinese, from Romans to Aztecs, the more we learn about what REALLY happened, the scarier it gets.
Human’s have been living in a perpetual holocaust. The research in this area is frightening beyond belief. And the conclusions are worse: Humans are the paragons of ultra-violence.
We are required to shed this “uniqueness” fallacy of history and embrace the dreadful truth: evil is natural to our species.
If we fail to do so, it will all happen again — only this time, we will be the perpetrators.
Now go lift something heavy,