Leftists Make MLK Whatever They Need Him to Be

King's true legacy was not socialism or "environmental justice," but legitimate and needed racial reconciliation.

Nate Jackson · Jan. 16, 2018

Yesterday was, of course, Martin Luther King Jr. Day. That means the annual ritual of leftist attempts to culturally appropriate his legacy for their modern political ends. Here are two examples:

First, the NAACP, in its endless efforts at justifying its continued existence, wants to turn King’s legacy toward fighting climate change. “We see climate change as a civil rights issue,” insisted Jacqueline Patterson, head of the NAACP’s environmental and climate justice program. See? Put “justice” in the department or job title, and anything can be used for leftist political gain. Indeed, that’s exactly what Patterson went on to say, noting that ecofascists, er, environmental activists see the climate as an “environmental justice” issue, since “minority and low-income populations are disproportionately affected by global warming.” Patterson is merely taking a cue from Barack Obama’s former EPA administrator, Gina McCarthy, who declared in 2014, “If we want to protect communities of color, we need to protect them from climate change.” What McCarthy and Patterson neglect to inform their audiences is that leftist climate policies disproportionately hurt poor blacks due to increased energy prices. But, you know, “justice” or something.

Second, according to CNN’s John Blake, MLK wasn’t just an “environmental hero,” he “was a socialist before it was cool.” Wait a minute — socialism is cool? It’s true that King’s associations with communists have been the subject of a lot of disagreement over the years. A 1968 FBI file on King characterized him as a “whole-hearted Marxist who has studied it [Marxism], believes it and agrees with it, but because of his being a minister of religion, does not dare to espouse it publicly,” though one could be forgiven for doubting FBI dossiers. Still, King did say, “The country needs a radical redistribution of wealth,” and “America must move toward a democratic socialism.” He was a socialist, but that’s not why our nation celebrates him.

In any case, Democrats have long denied that King had communist leanings because socialism wasn’t yet “cool.” In the age of Bernie Sanders, however, socialism has enjoyed an unfortunate but real surge of popularity, particularly among ignorant Millennials who know nothing of even the modern horrors of socialism.

Barack Obama wrote of himself in The Audacity of Hope, “I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.” Leftists do much the same with Martin Luther King, whose true legacy was not socialism or “environmental justice,” but legitimate and needed racial reconciliation — something they’d now prefer not to have.

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