Martin Luther King Jr saved our nation with the idea of peaceful protest. In the face of blatant injustice, as a Christian minister, he saw from Gandhi and Socrates that unarmed civil disobedience was the only way to win a victory worth having. The movement was concerned primarily with equality, but also secondarily with liberty. What I am suggesting is the conjunction of the idea of peaceful protest and the primary concern with our vanishing American liberty.
The recognition of equality has now become so well established in popular opinion that its excesses are ignored. The idea that keeps recurring is to join the quest for the re-establishment of liberty with the methods and the idea of Martin Luther King and peaceful protest.
As a student at a conservative Catholic school. we studied the American founders in an exciting spirit of the recovery of our political tradition. Yet we did not study even Thomas Jefferson very much. The Bill of Rights was generally neglected, and we did not even begin to learn about Martin Luther King.
King found what may be the only way for Christians to participate in politics rather than withdraw from the world’s injustice to the peace and safety of the monastery. As it turns out, they were a government school, and St. Martin was still considered as J Edgar saw him, as a something closer to a communist than an American, despite King’s constant appeal to the Declaration and the Constitution, and to justice.
Whether the reader can realize it or not, our nation is facing some changes, and is headed for some serious internal dangers. Armed protest has broken out occasionally, with the blacks in Baltimore and the Whites in Oregon most recently. Violence at political speeches surrounding the presidential campaigns is becoming routine. The reason is that the Americans are missing something, and what appears is then drawn toward the emerging opposites or extremes. Meanwhile, in the face of blatant injustice, our politicians will do nothing, at least until complaints are converted into money and power. We could scream bloody murder, about the most obvious abuses, and its like the whole nation is on Oxy, or has been so dumbed down that it goes in one ear and out the other, like we were speaking to a box of rocks.
But violent protest strikes those who are innocent, like the officers of the peace who daily risk their lives to protect the citizens, and are thrown into the front lines as in the protest in Baltimore. There is no addressing the hidden powers responsible for the problems, we can only scratch and claw at one another.
It always amused me, studying politics at that Southern Catholic Conservative School, that they did not appreciate the peaceful protest of St. Martin. They were into this idea like the problem with the Christians is that they are too meek and contemplative, and did appreciate the masculine idea of violence or fighting. Christianity turned mankind away from the body, and what we need to do in modernity here is to recover the concern with the things of the body, with wealth and power, and war in defense of liberty. They of course were thinking of our foreign enemies and the suppression of crime, and there is some truth to these Machiavellian thoughts, if it does not quite come out the way the Machiavellians would have it.
But it remained an enigma, why they were against St. Martin, or why they did not seem to notice what a blessing the idea of peaceful protest is, especially in domestic but also, when possible, in foreign matters.
Our Declaration of Independence states that it is our right and duty to rebel against our government when a tyranny is established, or when government fails “to secure these rights.” This idea is behind the advocates of the second Amendment, who see the government seizure of arms, or gun control, as the first step toward tyranny. But armed rebellion in our age will fail, and again, would harm innocents. The officers who work a peaceable assembly, where citizens exercise their constitutional right to petition their government for the redress of grievances, have nothing to do with the billionairs who devised the heroin-oxy scandal or the corrupt politicians who cannot even hold office anymore without “campaign contributions,” which are indistinguishable from legal bribery. We cannot get at the invisible internet billionaires who work to stifle free speech even as I write. Nor can we approach the drug companies that persuaded the doctors to set aside medicine for the practice of legal drug dealing. And as has been said regarding the armed opposition to federal property seizures, they do not have a George Washington to lead a rebellion, and the far right in armed rebellion is in fact the straightest road to tyranny.
What I am suggesting is that this idea be joined not with armed rebellion, but with peaceful protest. As Martin addressed injustice by taking blows like Jesus, without even striking back, so libertarian protest can proceed, and may only be able to proceed, by following Dr. King in non-violent protest.
The true revolution is within, within ourselves and in the soul, not the body of our nation. We are sliding toward tyranny, but bloodshed will only make things worse. The way to address this slide is within: we just say no to the profiteering doctors, the corrupt internet companies and the corrupt politicians, beginning with us, the people, or from within. We will simply stand upright. Then we will simply sit down, and not participate, like Rosa Parks and the Birmingham bus boycott. We will step aside from the corrupt world, and only live in the just world. We will leave aside the internet, the cell phones now useless because they are so marketed and hacked, and perhaps, for women, even the public restrooms. Much of modern technology has become useless, because without integrity these things do more harm than good. Then, perhaps the voters get off their opium couch and elect some representatives who are capable of more than selling used cars and lining their own pockets to the great applause of the many, when they look up between their serious pursuits of porn, drugs and video games. We will simply not participate, and we will say why, and keep saying why, whether or our speech is blocked and anyone ever listens, or not.