The US, for instance, has recently been downgraded from full democracy to a flawed democracy. Over time, populist policies can destabilize democracies, turning them towards nationalism, militarism and anti-capitalism. The outcome of populist regimes in history ranges from higher taxes to nationalizations and violations of private property, to commercial and military conflicts. Neoliberal theory and its policy offshoots have failed.
Promoting individual happiness as our utmost ethos is self-defeating, as deeply divided societies turn unstable and unhappy.
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By virtue of its universal, humanitarian scope, the natural-rights principle to which the republic originally dedicated itself entailed, as King and other great exemplars of the mainstream black American protest tradition interpreted it, a commitment to a broadly integrated America.
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The mission of the U. The language of brotherhood that King used here and in many other instances signals the expansiveness of his integrationist vision. To see this more clearly, we must consider that he derived his idea of moral personhood from a source he believed to be even more authoritative than the rationalist natural-rights argument summarized in the Declaration. King was above all else a minister of the Gospel, and his idea of personhood was formed most profoundly by his Christian upbringing and vocation.
By the same light, we can see that God loves all of His children impartially, without reference to such morally accidental distinctions as those of race, color, or nationality. King held freedom to be a very great but not the highest human good.
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Those fighting for independence have the purpose to drive out the oppressors. King framed his rejoinder to Malcolm X in language that was highly significant for his overall vision. He employed it often to signify a desirable quality of protests or protesters, but in its most elevated meaning, it signified a divine attribute. By endowing us with freedom, however, God also created us with the power to sin—to sever the divinely ordained bonds of love among us and thus to separate or alienate ourselves from God, from fellow human persons, and from our better selves.
At the deepest level, King believed, segregation is wrong for the same reason that violence in response to it is wrong and that black-nationalist calls for division or separation are wrong: All represent forces of disintegration rather than integration, destruction rather than creation of community.
Integration was the only way to achieve freedom and dignity for blacks in America, and given the long history of race-based division and injustice, it could be achieved only by a profoundly affecting appeal to moral sympathies harbored by Americans—at best, by all human beings—in common.
King displayed that self-overcoming, forgiving love at the height of its affecting, binding power in his extraordinary responses to two horrific bombings, one at his own Montgomery home in and the other at a Birmingham church in I want you to love our enemies…. Love them and let them know you love them. We must not lose faith in our white brothers.
Somehow we must believe that the most misguided among them can learn to respect the dignity and worth of all human personality. King regarded the progress signified by the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act as at once urgently necessary and woefully incomplete. The second phase concerned socioeconomic outcomes: the fruitful exercise of rights as distinct from the legally guaranteed possession of rights, whatever one made of them. We seek … not just equality as a right and a theory but equality as a fact and equality as a result.
King held that blacks across the U.
One imprisons them on the basis of color, while the other confines them within a separate culture of poverty. You are in a real way depriving him of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Philip Randolph and others in advocating an unprecedented expansion of federal anti-poverty programs. In keeping with other social-democratic liberals of his era, King believed that modern societies had solved the problem of producing wealth.
This was consonant with his fundamental commitment to integration and moral universalism. Believing that a greatly expanded anti-poverty program would end the riots by correcting the conditions that caused them, he considered the immediate enactment of such a program to be the very highest moral and political priority. Failure by the federal government to act on the grand scale required would amount to fiddling while America burned. From the beginning, however, King experienced frustration in his attempt to construct a national anti-poverty movement on the foundation of his successful civil rights campaign in the South.
It also produced a rising spirit of backlash among whites, with each of those forces drawing energy from the others.
The American Dream is now just that for its middle classes – a dream
But what frustrated him most was the white reaction. The depravity of the white backlash shattered the hope that new attitudes were in the making. His post reassessment of the power of racism in America yielded grimly disappointing conclusions. That King in those later years called for revolution signified in itself no departure from his earlier position. He would die in a spirit of anxious, frustrated exhaustion, his hopes unsettled by events. Yet to the end, his essential spirit of hopefulness remained unbroken.