As is my custom, each year for the Federal holiday celebrating Martin Luther King (whose birth date in January 15), I send out a cautionary essay I first began researching back in 2018. What I was attempting to do was urgently remind readers, specifically so-called “conservatives,” that King and his holiday are emblematic of the ongoing radical transformation of the American republic: the mindless canonization and glorification of King, especially by the conservative movement, only advances this project. And the fact that most Republicans and “conservatives” now buy into it illustrates their puerility and abject surrender to a Leftist agenda. The resulting revolutionary destruction of the United States, our traditions, and our history cannot be overstated.
For in placing King and his legacy on a pedestal, alongside George Washington or Ronald Reagan, conservatives—whether they intend to or not—buy into that radical agenda. You simply cannot create a legitimate opposition to the madness that currently afflicts us by accepting the essential principles and foundation of our enemies.
King is now the salutary, untouchable, indeed, indisputably holy and magical American talisman—an Icon—whose legacy cannot and must not be questioned. To do so means you are by definition a “racist,” a “white supremacist,” probably a “fascist,” as well. And from the usual Progressivist voices to almost the entirety of the pundits on FOX (can you find an exception?) and in the Establishment conservative media, King is the newest Founding Father who confirms the imposed narrative that “America was founded on the ‘proposition’ of Equality’.” The problem, however, is that this historical template is false, undone by a serious and thorough examination of history and the documentation available. But it is used by both the Progressivists AND the “Movement Conservative” advocates to advance an agenda that in the end leads irreversibly Left…and the destruction of our Western civilization.
Once again on the third Monday of January, Federal and state offices and many businesses either close or go on limited schedules due to Martin Luther King Day. We are awash with public observances, parades, prayer breakfasts, stepped-up school projects for our unwary and intellectually-abused children, and gobs and gobs of over-the-top television “specials” and movies, all geared to tell us—to shout it in our faces, if we don’t pay strict attention—that King was some sort of superhuman, semi-divine civil rights leader who brought the promise of equality to millions of Americans, a kind of modern St. John the Baptist ushering in the Millennium. And that he stands just below Jesus Christ in the pantheon of revered and adored historical personages…and in some ways, perhaps above Jesus Christ in the minds of many of his present-day devotees and epigones.
It may seem to do no good to issue a demurrer to this veritable religious “cult of Dr. King.” There are, indeed, numerous “Christian” churches that now “celebrate” this day just as if it were a major feast in the Christian calendar. In short, Martin Luther King has received de facto canonization religiously and in the public mind as no other person in American history.
Mention the fact that King probably plagiarized as much as 40 % of his Boston University Ph.D. dissertation [cf. Theodore Pappas, Plagiarism and the Culture War: The Writings of Martin Luther King, Jr, and Other Prominent Americans, 1998 and Martin Luther King Jr Plagiarism Story, 1994], or that he worked closely with known Communists throughout his life, or that he advocated American defeat in Vietnam while praising Ho Chi Minh, or that he implicitly countenanced violence and Marxism, especially later in his life [cf., Congressional Record, 129, no. 130 (October 3, 1983): S13452-S13461]—mention any of these accusations confirmed begrudgingly by his establishment biographers David Garrow and Taylor Branch, or mention his even-by-current-standards violent “rough sex” escapades which apparently involved even under-agers (cf., Cooper Sterling, VDare.com, January 13, 2018) and you immediately get labeled a “racist” and condemned by not just the zealous King flame-keepers on the Left, but by such “racially acceptable” Neoconservatives as Brian Kilmeade and Dinesh D’Souza who supposedly are on the Right.
Indeed, in some ways Establishment “conservatives” such as Kilmeade, Rich Lowry (National Review), D’Souza, Glenn Beck, the talking heads on Fox, and many others, not only eagerly buy into this narrative, they now have converted King into a full-fledged, card-carrying member of “Conservatism Inc.”—the (contemporary) “conservative movement”—a “plaster saint” iconized as literally no one else in our history.
Celebrating King becomes a means for these ersatz conservatives to demonstrate their “civil rights” and “egalitarian” bona fides. The Neoconservatives—who dominate modern conservatism—with their philosophical and ideological origins over on the Trotskyite Left of the 1930s and 1940s, when they made their pilgrimage towards conservatism in the 1960s and 1970s brought with them a fervent believe in a globalist New World Order egalitarianism that characterized Trotskyite Marxist ideology, and the determination to redefine and re-orient the traditional American Rightwing, and to re-write, as well, American history.
Thus, the purges of the old conservative movement in the 1980s and 1990s—there was no room for Southern conservatives like Mel Bradford, no room for traditionalist Catholics like Frederick Wilhelmsen or Brent Bozell Sr., no room for paleo-libertarians like Murray Rothbard, no room for Old Right anti-egalitarians like Paul Gottfried, and no room for “America Firsters” like Pat Buchanan…And those traditional conservatives who were too significant in the “pantheon of greats,” like a Russell Kirk, they attempted to simply whitewash and give them new, cleaned up images and identities (part and parcel of their “rewriting” of conservatism). Thus, Kirk’s opposition to the civil rights bills of the 1960s and 1970s, his staunch arguments against egalitarianism, his willingness to debate cognitive disparities between the races (publishing, for example, reviews of Dr. Audrey M. Shuey’s study, The Testing of Negro Intelligence, in his publication, The University Bookman--I know, as I was there in Mecosta, Michigan, working as his assistant when it happened) are all swept under the carpet or carefully ignored.
In this, in fact, the dominant Neocons have joined with their cousins on the “farther Left,” to the point that Bush consultant guru and Fox pundit, Karl Rove, could boast that hardcore Marxist/Communist anti-South historian Eric Foner (who lamented the collapse of Soviet Communism) was his favorite historian (when examining Reconstruction) (See Dr. Paul Gottfried’s incisive critique of Foner and those “conservatives” who have praised him, “Guilt Trip,” The American Conservative,” May 4, 2009, pp. 21-23). And now neo-Reconstruction historian Allen Guelzo is warmly welcomed in the pages of establishment mainstream “conservative” publications.
King Day has become, then, for the Conservative Movement an opportunity for it to beat its chest, brag about its commitment to civil rights and the American “dream,” the unrealized idea of equality (that is, to distort and re-write the history of the American Founding), and to protect its left flank against the ever increasing charges that it could be, just might be, maybe is—“racist” or “white supremacist.”
And for the “farther Left,” that catapulting cultural “woke” juggernaut that continues to move the societal and political goalposts to the Left, King Day becomes as a major ideological blitzkrieg, a weaponized cudgel used to strike down and silence anyone, anywhere, who might offer the slightest dissent to the latest barbarity and latest “advance” in civil rights, now expanded to include not just everything “racial,” but also same sex marriage, transgenderism and abortion on demand. Martin Luther King–that deeply and irredeemably flawed and fraudulent figure imposed upon us and our consciousness—has become an icon, a totem, who serves in martyred death the purposes of continuing Revolution.
The heavily-documented literature detailing the real Martin Luther King is abundant and remains uncontroverted and basically uncontested. During the debates over establishing a national “King Day” in the mid-1980s, Senators Jesse Helms and John East (both North Carolinians) led the opposition, supplying the Congress and the nation, and anyone with eyes to read, full accounts of the “King legacy,” from his close association and collaboration with the Communist Party USA to his advocacy of violence and support for the Communists in North Vietnam, to implicit support for Marxist revolution domestically. Ironically, it was Robert Woodson, a noted black Republican, who highlighted in a lecture given to honor the “conservative virtues” of King at the Heritage Foundation on November 5, 1993, the difficulties in getting black advocates of the older generation to respect King’s role as a Civil Rights leader. According to Woodson, as quoted in an excellent essay by Paul Gottfried,
“…when Dr. King tried to bring the Civil Rights movement together with the [Marxist] peace movement, it was Carl Rowan who characterized King as a Communist, not Ronald Reagan. I remember being on the dais of the NAACP banquet in Darby, Pennsylvania when Roy Wilkins soundly castigated King for this position.” [Paul Gottfried, “The Cult of St. Martin Luther King – A Loyalty Test for Careerist Conservatives?” January 16, 2012]
Indeed, as reported by The Washington Post, at a celebration of the life of W.E.B. Du Bois at Carnegie Hall in February 1968, King, while praising the co-founder of the NAACP who became a Communist in his later years, declared that America was possessed of an “irrational obsessive anti-communism.”
But not only that, behind the scenes there were voluminous secretly-made FBI recordings and accounts of King’s violent sexual escapades, often times with more than two or three others involved in such “rough sex” trysts; and of his near total hypocrisy when discussing civil rights and other prominent civil rights leaders. It is, to put it mildly, a sorry record, scandalous even by today’s standards…Indeed, King makes Harvey Weinstein look like a meek choirboy in comparison.
But you won’t hear any of that mentioned by the falling-all-over-itself Mainstream Media or the media mavens on Fox. In fact, such comments will get you exiled to the far reaches of the Gobi Desert and labeled a “racist,” quicker that my cocker spaniel gobbles down his kibble.
Rather than rehash and restate all the various accusations, backed up with substantial and overwhelming documentation, let me offer something of an annotated bibliography and history of MLK Day. Almost all the material is now available and accessible online, including material from the Congressional Record.
First, essential to understanding the background of just how we got King Day, the late Dr. Samuel Francis’s account is critical. Originally written to preface the publication of voluminous testimony and documentation placed in the Congressional Record by Senator Helms, Francis’s essay and the Helms’ dossier were eventually published in book form. A few years back Dr. Francis’s introduction and his detailed background essay and the lengthy Congressional Record material (which he prepared for Helms) were put online. For a complete understanding of King’s association and cooperation with American Communists and his endorsement of Vietnamese Communism, as well as his putative endorsement of Marxism here in the United States while condemning the free enterprise system, these two items are essential reading:
Dr. Samuel Francis, “The King Holiday and Its Meaning,” February 26, 2015.
Dr. Samuel Francis, “Remarks of Senator Jesse Helms. Congressional Quarterly,” February 26, 2005.
To fully understand the serious plagiarism charges leveled against King and the academic and politically-correct skullduggery that surrounded Boston University’s decision not to rescind his doctoral degree, Theodore Pappas’s two detailed studies, cited above, offer fascinating and scandalously revealing details. But other writers, also, upon cursory examination, have found numerous other instances of his plagiarism.
Remember the “I Have a Dream” speech? Well, as Jim Goad wrote in Takimag back in 2012:
“…the immortalized in MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech in the part where he beseeches God…to “Let freedom ring from the Stone Mountain of Georgia.” King stole that passage about Stone Mountain from a 1952 oratory delivered by another black preacher at the Republican National Convention. He also allegedly plagiarized parts of the first public sermon he ever delivered back in 1947.” [Jim Goad, “I’m So Bored with MLK,” Takimag, January 16, 2012]
But, say the Neocon scribblers at National Review and the pundits on Fox, wasn’t King really a conservative at heart, an old-fashioned black Baptist who believed in the tenets of traditional Christianity? Shouldn’t we simply overlook these all-too-human foibles?
To answer that I should mention VDare editor Peter Brimelow’s superb essay which offers additional insight on the King Day holiday and which summarizes much of the information, ideological uses, and controversy surrounding him and his holiday. It was originally published in 2015, but he has republished it each year to coincide with this annual national paroxysm: “ ‘Time To Rethink Martin Luther King Day’–The 2017 Edition.”
Finally, I can think of no better summation of the real meaning of King Day and its bare-knuckled ideological use to deconstruct, dissolve and obliterate American traditions and heritage than to cite, again, Sam Francis:
“[T]he true meaning of the holiday is that it serves to legitimize the radical social and political agenda that King himself favored and to delegitimize traditional American social and cultural institutions—not simply those that supported racial segregation but also those that support a free market economy, an anti-communist foreign policy, and a constitutional system that restrains the power of the state rather than one that centralizes and expands power for the reconstruction of society and the redistribution of wealth. In this sense, the campaign to enact the legal public holiday in honor of Martin Luther King was a small first step on the long march to revolution, a charter by which that revolution is justified as the true and ultimate meaning of the American identity. In this sense, and also in King’s own sense, as he defined it in his speech at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963, the Declaration of Independence becomes a “promissory note” by which the state is authorized to pursue social and economic egalitarianism as its mission, and all institutions and values that fail to reflect the dominance of equality—racial, cultural, national, economic, political, and social—must be overcome and discarded.
“By placing King—and therefore his own radical ideology of social transformation and reconstruction—into the central pantheon of American history, the King holiday provides a green light by which the revolutionary process of transformation and reconstruction can charge full speed ahead. Moreover, by placing King at the center of the American national pantheon, the holiday also serves to undermine any argument against the revolutionary political agenda that it has come to symbolize. Having promoted or accepted the symbol of the new dogma as a defining—perhaps the defining—icon of the American political order, those who oppose the revolutionary agenda the symbol represents have little ground to resist that agenda.” [January 16, 2006]
I will not be celebrating this day; rather, it is for me a mournful reminder of what has happened and is happening to this country.
This post was previously published on MyCorner.
Boyd D. Cathey holds a doctorate in European history from the Catholic University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain, where he was a Richard Weaver Fellow, and an MA in intellectual history from the University of Virginia (as a Jefferson Fellow). He was assistant to conservative author and philosopher the late Russell Kirk. In more recent years he served as State Registrar of the North Carolina Division of Archives and History. He has published in French, Spanish, and English, on historical subjects as well as classical music and opera. He is active in the Sons of Confederate Veterans and various historical, archival, and genealogical organizations.