Monday, January 21, 2019


Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, guys. As I did in 2004, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2017, I have taken a tour of the conservative sites celebrating this year's edition.

At National Review, Congressional Liberty Caucus troll Mike Lee:
Toward the end of his life, Martin Luther King Jr. turned his attention from an exclusive focus on racial justice to unequal opportunity more generally. The United States was “a nation gorged on money,” he wrote, “while millions of its citizens are denied a good education, adequate health services, decent housing, meaningful employment, and even respect, and are then told to be responsible.” He specifically blamed federal policymakers for “subsidies of the rich and unemployment and underemployment of the poor.”
This may put you and I in mind of King's proposed guaranteed income plan, but Lee is all about the Constitutional right to starve (in both the transitive and the intransitive sense), and so celebrates Martin Luther King by comparing him to one of his Fox News heroes:
King’s indictment against the status quo of his time, and against the political and economic elite responsible for it, could be leveled almost word for word today. Indeed, some people — and not just liberals — are still making that indictment today. 
In the wake of Tucker Carlson’s viral populist manifesto earlier this month, populist- and libertarian-leaning conservatives have been debating the same point King raised over 50 years ago. Does economic inequality depend on individuals’ good and bad choices, or on the social circumstances in which individuals make those decisions?
In case you missed it, Carlson's speech -- widely heralded in the rightwing intellectual Kingdom of the Blind -- mainly complained that capitalism wasn't doing enough for poor white people. Lee is also worried about whitey, but spares a thought for black folk, who suffer from the bitter legacy of slavery -- not because of continued racism by whites, but because slavery discouraged marriage ("Husbands and fathers were prohibited from exercising the authority that men at the time were supposed to wield") and, as we all know, marriage makes you rich, so we can show our solidarity with our black brothers and sisters by nagging them into wedlock and cutting food stamps.

Elsewhere, the Daily Signal talks with King's anti-abortion crackpot daughter Alveda ("the baby’s not her body. Where’s the lawyer for the baby?"). At Liberty Unyielding Mark Angelides does the traditional wingnut yak about how while King's "clarion call to look past race, color, and creed... has been distorted by the left and become nothing more than a hierarchical structure based on characteristics rather than character." Shorter: You're the real racist! Angelides -- who, "hailing from the UK... specializes in EU politics and provides a conservative/libertarian voice on all things from across the pond" -- then goes further, blaming the media for "its overvaluing of content based on protected characteristics" of the sort found in civil rights legislation, which is presumably the real racism. The argument of a British Brexit operative should count just as much as that of your local blackamoors!

And God help us, Jeff Jacoby:
As MLK Foresaw, Racism in America Has Been Largely Overcome 
“I have no despair about the future,” wrote the Rev. Martin Luther King in his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” in April 1963. “I have no fear about the outcome of our struggle in Birmingham…. We will reach the goal of freedom in Birmingham and all over the nation, because the goal of America is freedom.” 
He was right.
Thus Jacoby reduces King from a civil rights leader to a crystal-ball gazer, like Criswell. He was the real Negrodamus! Racism is "only a minor problem now," says Jacoby, "one that has grown steadily less toxic and less entrenched." The polls all say so! If you're still complaining, you're just a Gloomy Gus, because like V-E Day and V-J Day, MLK Day is about celebrating the end of something bad.

And John Hinderaker at Power Line pretends to be puzzled that a basketball team from a predominantly black high school refused to play a rural white team whose fans displayed a Trump banner at their game on MLK Day. To anyone with half a brain the situation is obvious, but Hinderaker plays dumb -- "I don’t think it is particularly appropriate, but why does Walker think the fact that his team is predominantly black is somehow relevant? President Trump has done a great deal more for black Americans than Barack Obama ever did" -- and then throws up his hands: "Oh, please. 'People of color in the U.S.' are among the most privileged people on the planet." By the way, in case you were wondering why people think the Covington students' defense by other prominent conservatives is bullshit, this is why.

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