Monday, January 16, 2006
More than one dream
"Many people fear nothing more terribly than to take a position which stands out sharply and clearly from the prevailing opinion. The tendency of most is to adopt a view that is so ambiguous that it will include everything and so popular that it will include everybody. Along with this has grown an inordinate worship of bigness. ... Not a few men, who cherish lofty and noble ideals, hide them under a bushel for fear of being called different. Many sincere white people in the South privately oppose segregation and discrimination, but they are apprehensive lest they by publicly condemned. Millions of citizens are deeply disturbed that the military-industrial complex too often shapes national policy, but they do not want to be considered unpatriotic. Countless loyal Americans honestly feel that a world body such as the United Nations should include even Red China, but they fear being called Communist sympathizers. A legion of thoughtful persons recognizes that traditional capitalism must continually undergo change if our great national wealth is to be more equitably distributed, but they are afraid their criticisms will make them seem un-American. ... How few people have the audacity to express publicly their convictions, and how many have allowed themselves to be 'astronomically intimidated'!
"Blind conformity makes us so suspicious of an individual who insists on saying what he really believes that we recklessly threaten his civil liberties. If a man, who believes vigorously in peace, is foolish enough to carry a sign in a public demonstration, or if a Southern white person, believing in the American dream of the dignity and worth of human personality, dares to invite a Negro into his home and join with him in his struggle for freedom, he is liable to be summoned before some legislative investigative body. He most certainly is a Communist if he espouses the cause of human brotherhood!
"Thomas Jefferson wrote, 'I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.' To the conformist and the shapers of the conformist mentality, this must surely sound like a most dangerous and radical doctrine. Have we permitted the lamp of independent thought and individualism to become so dim that were Jefferson to write and live by these words today we would find cause to harass and investigate him? If Americans permit thought-control, business-control, and freedom-control to continue, we shall surely move within the shadows of facism [sic]."
-- Martin Luther King Jr., in "Transformed Nonconformist," Strength to Love, pp. 23-24.
Hey there Caleb. Just happened across your blog today and a very pleasant find, it was indeed. I quite enjoyed the About Me section. It's nice to know that there are others out there using their blog as a place to muse upon and articulate ideas rather than rant at length about life's annoyances. I'm looking forward to reading more.