Martin Luther King Day: The Rise Of The New Feudalism
As time passes, the
controversy once associated with
Martin Luther King Day fades. People who remember
the controversy die, and new generations are only
thankful for the
three-day holiday. Eventually, people may forget why
the holiday is celebrated.
King was a brave and courageous person. I agree with
him that a person should be judged by the content of his
character and not by the color of his skin. To those who
stress King`s loose sexual morals, I reply that sin is
that for which we ask God`s forgiveness.
My problem with Martin Luther King Day is that it
celebrates a civil rights revolution that achieved the
opposite of King`s intention. Today we are judged by the
color of our skin.
This conclusion is inescapable wherever we look.
Those with darker skins have become
“preferred minorities” with rights to
employment, promotions, training programs, university
admissions, and federal contracts that are greater than
those of “whites.”
New crimes known as “hate
crimes“ are being created that only “whites”
can commit and only “preferred minorities” can
suffer. If a “white” assaults a “black,”
the charge will be
assault and a hate crime. If a
“black” assaults a “white,” the charge
“Preferred minorities” have special rights to
be offended that “whites” do not have. Indeed, a
“white” who offends a “black,” whether
unintentionally, can be charged with racial
discrimination or with a hate crime.
Preferred minorities can
call whites names, but whites cannot call preferred
Ordinary language has become a minefield for whites,
tiptoe around, aware that the slightest mishap can
bring a lawsuit or destroy a career.
These persecutions happen in the name of
“diversity,” but diversity suffers. There can be
black fraternities and organizations, but not white
ones. Southern cultural symbols, together with all
symbols of the South`s defense of states` rights, are
headed down the memory hole. Is there never to be an end
Whites are demonized in movies, theater,
rap lyrics, and school textbooks.
Christopher Columbus and the American Founding
Fathers have been
reduced to evil racists who practiced
white male European hegemony over minorities and
textbook author who described preferred minorities
in comparable language would be
driven from academic life.
Was there ever a time when whites were taught to
judge blacks by the color of their skin? Many people
may have had prejudices that produced a similar
result, but blacks were not demonized.
If we insist that blacks were demonized, how is it an
improvement to demonize whites? Today, blacks are taught
skin color judgments, just as feminists teach gender
judgments, and communists teach class judgments. Whites
are taught the same skin color judgments, which explains
The great paradox of the civil rights revolution is
that instead of enforcing and expanding equality before
the law, the revolution created differential rights
based on race, gender, and, any day now, sexual
orientation. The great liberal revolution, centuries in
the making, that brought forth equality in law, has been
overthrown. In its place we see rising a new feudal
legal order of status-based rights.
Lawrence Stratton and I documented the rise of the
new feudalism in complete detail in our book,
The New Color Line. Not a word of refutation of
our account has ever appeared. Americans have accepted
the overthrow of liberalism. As the new feudal order
arises, strife will be its handmaiden.
What would Martin Luther King do if he were alive
today? Would he endorse redistributive “racial
justice,” which means the
end of limited government and the death of legal
equality, or would he come to the defense of equality
before the law?
Martin Luther King knew that
legal equality was the promise of the American
compact. Those who take his name in vain assume that
they will always be the ones who determine the
boundaries of discord.
But the evisceration of legal equality overturns the
promise of liberty.
In the wake of liberty`s demise will follow evil,
plunder, and violence.
Craig Roberts was Associate Editor of the WSJ editorial
page, 1978-80, and columnist for “Political Economy.”
During 1981-82 he was Assistant Secretary of the
Treasury for Economic Policy. He is the author of
Supply-Side Revolution: An Insider`s Account of
Policymaking in Washington.