Libertarian Party Monday Message: Celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Posted a week ago at

Dear Friend of Liberty,

While Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. never held political office, his impact on American politics and public policy was huge.

Dr. King knowingly risked his life working for freedom and equality during dangerous times for blacks in America. He advocated using non-violent means, such as civil disobedience, to achieve change, and he was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize. Shortly before his assassination, he was an outspoken critic of the Vietnam War.

I do not think Dr. King was a libertarian. I think he had much more faith in the ability of government to fix unfairness and lift people out of poverty than most libertarians. However, I think most Libertarians agree with Dr. King’s goals of ending government-imposed discrimination, segregation, and oppression.

The following is from the Preamble of the Libertarian Party Platform:

We believe that respect for individual rights is the essential precondition for a free and prosperous world, that force and fraud must be banished from human relationships, and that only through freedom can peace and prosperity be realized.

Consequently, we defend each person’s right to engage in any activity that is peaceful and honest, and welcome the diversity that freedom brings. The world we seek to build is one where individuals are free to follow their own dreams in their own ways, without interference from government or any authoritarian power.

I’d like to thank again all of our Libertarian Party members, volunteers, and candidates who continue working daily to promote freedom for everyone in America.

Wes Benedict
Executive Director
Libertarian National Committee

One thought on “Libertarian Party Monday Message: Celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

  1. Starchild

    I would like to commend Libertarian Party Executive Director Wes Benedict for his Monday Message last week on Martin Luther King Jr. Thank you for this timely reminder of Dr. King’s noble legacy.

    Here are a few inspiring MLK quotes that I believe deserve wide circulation in our movement, along with some observations on what I believe they say about his beliefs and character.

    MLK was someone who believed in principles:

    “A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.”

    He believed in radical action and change, but only when your cause is good:

    “When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative.”

    He was not a gradualist:

    “For years now I have heard the word ‘Wait.’ It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This ‘Wait’ has almost always
    meant ‘Never.’ ”

    “The time is always right to do the right thing.”

    He saw the importance of nonconformity:

    “Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.”

    He was a globalist, not a nationalist:

    “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of
    destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.”

    He did not believe in obeying the law just because it is the law:

    “One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws, but conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust

    He did not believe in watering down his message in order to appeal to the masses:

    “On some positions, Cowardice asks the question, “Is it safe?” Expediency asks the question, “Is it politic?” And Vanity comes along
    and asks the question, “Is it popular?” But Conscience asks the question “Is it right?” And there comes a time when one must take a
    position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right.”

    “I think I have a role to play which may be unpopular.”

    He was an extremist:

    “Was not Jesus an extremist for love — ‘Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, pray for them that despitefully use you.’ Was not Amos an extremist for justice — ‘Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.’ Was not Paul an extremist for the
    gospel of Jesus Christ — ‘I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.’ Was not Martin Luther an extremist — ‘Here I stand; I can do none other so help me God.’ Was not John Bunyan an extremist — ‘I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience.’ Was not Abraham Lincoln an extremist — ‘This nation cannot survive half slave and half free.’ Was not Thomas Jefferson an extremist — ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’ So the question is not whether we will be extremist but what kind of extremist will we be. Will we be extremists for hate or will we be extremists for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice–or will we be extremists for the cause of justice? In that dramatic scene on Calvary’s hill, three men were crucified. We must not forget that all three were crucified for the same crime–the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thusly fell below their environment. The other, Jesus
    Christ, was an extremist for love, truth and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment. There was a time when the church was very powerful. It was during that period when the early Christians rejoiced when they were deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians
    entered a town the power structure got disturbed and immediately sought to convict them for being ‘disturbers of the peace’ and
    ‘outside agitators.’ But they went on with the conviction that they were ‘a colony of heaven,’ and had to obey God rather than man. They
    were small in number but big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be ‘astronomically intimidated.’ They brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contest.”

    “Though I was initially disappointed at being categorized as an extremist, as I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained
    a measure of satisfaction from the label. Was not Jesus an extremist for love: ‘Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to
    them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.’… Perhaps the South, the nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.”

    He was an optimist:

    “Don’t ever let anyone pull you so low as to hate them. We must use the weapon of love. We must have the compassion and understanding for
    those who hate us. We must realize so many people are taught to hate us that they are not totally responsible for their hate. But we stand
    in life at midnight; we are always on the threshold of a new dawn.”

    “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

    And despite placing perhaps too much faith in government, he believed in freedom:

    “There’s nothing on earth more valuable than freedom; it’s worth paying for, it’s worth going to jail for. I’d rather die in abject poverty with my convictions, than to live in inordinate riches without self respect.”

    I invite you to save or bookmark these quotes, and next year as you enjoy you three-day weekend around Martin Luther King Day, take a minute or two to send them to some friends, family, or freedom movement colleagues whom you believe they could help educate or inspire. Libertarians can be thankful that the person in whose honor this holiday is observed, whatever his imperfections (and who among us is without them?), truly did have a message worth celebrating and contemplating.

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