WWMLKD? — Am I the

WWMLKD? — Am I the only one who finds it distastefully presumptuous to invoke Martin Luther King's memory for the anti-war cause? I have no idea what the man would have thought of our present situation, and I doubt others are in a much better position. I guess when you do such an awful job making a moral case against the war, you'll take whatever associations of moral authority you can muster. (And this from someone who is by no means in favor of the war.)

[UPDATE: One of Glenn's readers sent him this link to a piece by MLK on Zionism and anti-Zionism. King argues that anti-Zionism is inherently anti-semitic, which is, as Glenn notes, a position not likely to be well-received by some anti-war protestors. However, I don't believe any of us can divine what King would have thought of the present claims the Palestinians, had he been more fullly aware of their plight and their tactics of retaliation. Nor can we venture to guess whether King would see a war against Iraq as a mission of liberation, or an act of dangerous and uwarranted aggression. It has been a long time since he died. And King was nothing if not an independent mind. It does no honor to his memory to make him a posthumous ideologue.]
[MORE: OK, I turns out the MLK letter I linked to is bogus. Glenn's got the skinny. Chuck says in a comment below that he thinks MLK's position would have turned out about the same as Jesse Jackson's. Maybe, but I think MLK was a far more intelligent man than Jackson is, had a more independent mind, and a far more developed and discerning moral sensibility. Which is not to deny he would have been against the war; there's a good chance he may have been. But the Iraq affair has several layers of moral ambiguity, and the arguments on both sides have great merits that I believe MLK would have understood. In any case, this kind of question is about as useful and unanswerable as “Would Jefferson (Thomas, not George) have been a Republican?” The only reason to answer it either way is to try to create a halo effect for your own opinions that cannot be achieved by genuine argument.]

Author: Will Wilkinson

Vice President for Research at the Niskanen Center