Texas Liberal

All People Matter

A Strain Of Nihilism In My Belief In Democracy

In Revolutionary Characters–What Made The Founders Different, author Gordon Wood says the following about Thomas Jefferson—

Jefferson’s faith in the natural sociability of people…lay behind his belief in minimal government….Jefferson would have fully understood the Western world’s recent interest in devolution and localist democracy….For Jefferson, there could be no power independent of the people, in whom he had absolute faith.

I find myself tending more in a belief in democracy for its own sake. People must have a say in how they are governed. I don’t know to what extent the root of my belief in democracy is faith in the people. I don’t find I need that faith to believe in democracy.   

There is a strain of nihilism my view. The people must govern whatever the outcome. Safeguards must exist for the protection of minority groups in society. But in the end, if a society as a whole pursues policies that lead the end of that society, so be it.

People are born to be free. What they do what that freedom is another question.

May 28, 2008 Posted by | Books, History | , , , , | 3 Comments

New Martin Luther King Book

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I bought a new Martin Luther King book last week. It’s called From Civil Rights To Human RightsMartin Luther King And The Struggle For Economic Justice.  It was written by Thomas Jackson who is  an Associate Professor of History at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro.  

This book discusses Rev. King’s economic views and his role as a fighter for a broad array of rights beyond racial equality.  This larger focus is often forgotten in what is recalled about Dr. King.  

Here is a review of the book from the Texas Observer.

From the review—

Jackson describes King as a democratic socialist—one who believes that economic and political power should be distributed equitably among all the people of a polity. From his teens, when King wrote of his “anti-capitalist feelings,” throughout his college, graduate school, and seminary years, and finally into his life as a public figure, his beliefs were strikingly consistent. (Pastor King was thrust onto the national scene during the Montgomery bus boycott at the age of 26; he became the youngest person ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize at 35 and was assassinated at 39.) To gain a wider audience, King resisted labeling his prescription for what ailed America. “Call it democracy, or call it democratic socialism,” Jackson quotes him as saying, “but there must be a better distribution of wealth within this country for all God’s children.” Nonetheless, King emerges from this portrait as a democratic socialist, first, last, and always, who also happened to be a civil rights leader. For King, the right to vote was no more or less essential than the right to a job and a decent place to live. Human beings had a natural claim to all of them.

I look forward to reading this book. I have read so many King books that I have to be convinced that any new title is worth the time. 

If I like the book, I will add it to my Martin Luther King Reading & Reference List. My Martin Luther King reading & Reference List is the best of its kind by any blogger and maybe the best on the web.

May 28, 2008 Posted by | Books, Martin & Malcolm | , | Leave a comment