Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Triple Prong Sickness

There is a laundry list of ailments effecting this country but they all stem from three root causes MLK prophetically and simply pointed out. On August 31, 1967 he delivered a speech titled: The Three Evils of Society, Delivered at the National Conference on New Politics. The three problems are: racism, economic exploitation, and militarism. Everything else is just a head of the hydra. It takes a herculean effort to survive. Below is an edited arrangement of his speech which can be listened to in full here.


Millions March NYC 12/13/14
The deep rumblings that we hear today, the rumblings of discontent, is the thunder of disinherited masses rising from dungeons of oppressions to the bright hills of freedom. All over the world like a fever, freedom is spreading in the widest liberation movement in history. The great masses of people are determined to end the exploitation of their races and lands. And in one majestic chorus they are singing in the words of our freedom song, “ain’t gonna let nobody turn us around”.

I wish that I could say that this is just a passing phase in the cycles of our nation’s life; certainly times of war, times of reaction throughout the society but I suspect that we are now experiencing the coming to the surface of a triple prong sickness that has been lurking within our body politic from its very beginning. That is the sickness of racism, excessive materialism and militarism. Not only is this our nation’s dilemma it is the plague of western civilization.

Arnold Toynesbee has said that some twenty-six civilizations have risen upon the face of the Earth, almost all of them have descended into the junk heap of destruction. The decline and fall of these civilizations, according to Toynesbee, was not caused by external invasion but by internal decay. They failed to respond creatively to the challenges impingent upon them. If America does not respond creatively to the challenge to banish racism, some future historian will have to say, that a great civilization died because it lacked the soul and commitment to make justice a reality for all men.

Racism

There has never been a solid, unified and determined thrust to make justice a reality for Afro-Americans. The step backwards has a new name today, it is called the white backlash, but the white backlash is nothing new. It is the surfacing of old prejudices, hostilities and ambivalences that have always been there.

This does not imply that all White Americans are racist, far from it. However for the good of America, it is necessary to refute the idea that the dominant ideology in our country, even today, is freedom and equality while racism is just an occasional departure from the norm on the part of a few bigoted extremists. Racism can well be, that corrosive evil that will bring down the curtain on western civilization.

Economic Exploitation

When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people the giant triplets of racism, economic exploitation and militarism are incapable of being conquered. A civilization can flounder as readily in the face of moral bankruptcy as it can through financial bankruptcy.

Again we have diluted ourselves into believing the myth that Capitalism grew and prospered out of the protestant ethic of hard word and sacrifice, the fact is that Capitalism was build on the exploitation and suffering of black slaves and continues to thrive on the exploitation of the poor – both black and white, both here and abroad.

The poor, black and white, are still perishing on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. What happens to a dream deferred?It leads to bewildering frustration and corroding bitterness.

Militarism


The final phase of our national sickness is the disease of militarism. We are arrogant in professing to be concerned about the freedom of foreign nations while not setting our own house in order. A nation that continues year after year, to spend more money on military defense then on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

So let us stand in this convention knowing that on some positions; cowardice asks the questions, is it safe; expediency asks the question, is it politic; vanity asks the question, is it popular, but conscious asks the question, is it right. And on some positions, it is necessary for the moral individual to take a stand that is neither safe, nor politic nor popular; but he must do it because it is right.

Posted by: E. Rey


Source:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/134362247/Martin-Luther-King-Jr-The-Three-Evils-of-Society-1967#scribd

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