Worst Attempt Yet to Coopt MLK

The right’s moronic and dishonest campaign to coopt Martin Luther King and make him sound like a conservative may have hit its high point — err, low point — when Michael Peroutka, former Constitution Party candidate for president and a genuine theocrat — went on the Steve Deace show and said this:

He (MLK) was claiming rights for people that were promised in the Declaration of Independence but never in that speech did he actually call for civil rights. He was a champion, I believe, of God-given rights, what has been perverted and now called civil rights, he didn’t call them civil rights, I believe he was a champion of God-given rights. He said in that address, he made it clear that he wasn’t saying the rights he was demanding originated in human government, but he said that a right to equality before the law is ordained by God, and therefore it is a right the civil government has a duty to protect and defend.

And once again we are stuck with the obvious question: Is he lying or a weapons-grade ignoramus? Seriously, how many statements from MLK demanding civil rights by exactly that phrase would we need to prove this wrong? One will do, but one could offer hundreds of them. Warren Throckmorton offers several of the most famous and easily found with a Google search, like his Letter from a Birmingham Jail:

I have hope that Mr. Boutwell will be reasonable enough to see the futility of massive resistance to desegregation. But he will not see this without pressure from devotees of civil rights. My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain in civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals.

And his acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize:

It is impossible to begin this lecture without again expressing my deep appreciation to the Nobel Committee of the Norwegian Parliament for bestowing upon me and the civil rights movement in the United States such a great honor.

The argument is just so stupid. Let’s turn it into a syllogism:

P: Martin Luther King fought for equal rights and claimed that God wanted us to have those rights.

P: I fight against equal rights and claim that God doesn’t want anyone but Christians to have those rights.

C: Therefore MLK agrees with me.

Throckmorton also notes the irony that the League of the South, the pro-secession, neo-confederate group of racists — on whose board Peroutka sits — has spent most of the last 50 years savaging MLK as a communist and ranting about the evils of the civil rights movement. Now Peroutka says, “Hey, he was on our side all along.” One would have to be ignorant, stupid or utterly deluded to buy that argument.

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  • http://www.gregory-gadow.net Gregory in Seattle

    All that stuff about Civil Rights was actually written by that pinko (in multiple senses) commie, Bayard Rustin, or someone else. It couldn’t possibly have been written by the REAL Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • http://www.thelosersleague.com theschwa

    MLK was speaking ironically when he spoke of civil rights. He was trolling the commies.

  • Trebuchet

    And once again we are stuck with the obvious question: Is he lying or a weapons-grade ignoramus?

    Ed, you keep using that bolded word in these questions. It’s inappropriate. AND is the correct phrasing.

  • schism

    While I’m normally a big proponent of answering “both” to the stupid or liar question, this is the Constitution Party we’re talking about. “Stupid” is the only feasible possibility.

  • http://aceofsevens.wordpress.com Ace of Sevens

    I was dubious when I saw the headline. That bar has been set pretty high, but I think you’re correct.

  • bushrat

    MLK was speaking ironically when he spoke of civil rights. He was trolling the commies.

    So, he’s just like Jesus when he spoke out against the rich money lenders, but was actually pro banker, and pro republican.

  • tbp1

    One would have to be ignorant, stupid or utterly deluded to buy that argument.

    In other words, a Republican. And again, don’t discount the possibility of “and” in place of “or.”

  • http://umlud.blogspot.com umlud

    One would have to be ignorant, stupid or utterly deluded to buy that argument.

    Well, remember that there are all those people who continue to brainlessly parrot the point that MLK was a Republican and that Lincoln was a Republican, therefore Republicans actually helped more on Civil Rights and the end of slavery than Democrats, and (because of these facts from history) therefore people who support Civil Rights should vote Republican.

    (Or something like that. I’m not really sure what the complete “logic” is behind that association, since it basically ignores everything that happened with race and politics since the 1960s.)

  • grumpyoldfart

    “The Big Lie”

    It works, and it works well. People will never, ever, stop using it.

  • garnetstar

    “Is he lying or a weapons-grade ignoramus?”

    At some point this becomes moot. Those who lie over and over again end up believing the lie themselves. It’s so much easier to sound sincere when you are, in fact, sincere.

  • cottonnero

    It’s just like how in fifty years, the Republicans will have always been in favor of gay marriage.

  • coffeehound

    So, to further the point you made with the syllogism, I then take it that since MLK felt that garbage workers on strike had a God given right to fair wages, Deace will honor his memory and stand with striking workers everywhere?



    So Deace doesn’t really have any fucking point to this logical lemming stampede over the cliff……

  • meg

    Hang on – he’s run for President of the USA, but is also a secessionist?

  • Ichthyic

    One would have to be ignorant, stupid or utterly deluded to buy that argument.

    I will lay money that it will indeed gain traction, since that is in fact a significant portion of the US populace.

    perhaps even nearing 30% sadly.

    the ignorant, stupid, and utterly deluded have been empowered over the last 30 years by the political machinations of the Right, and now feel their time has come.

    I would not at all be shocked to find 10s of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, would be easily swayed by Peroutka. What’s more, the more popular he gets, the more will be swayed, approaching that 30% who truly believed Mitt Romney would become the next PotUS.

  • David Marjanović

    30 %? I’m reminded of the crazification factor (1, 2, 3, 4).