“Cornerites” Cope with King Day

Today being Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. day, I figured I’d look at how the National Review‘s “Corner” has tried to cope with King’s life and legacy… by shoving its own ignominous past into the memory hole At the National Review website, there is a perfunctory post which completely glosses over the fact that, as commenter MikeM points out, National Review was extremely hostile to Civil Rights and Desegregation efforts throughout its ignoble history.  It’s no mystery that the particular moment of history that William F. Buckley tried to stand athwart yelling “STOP!” was the moment that desegregation was beginning to be implemented.  In 1957, Buckley wrote his most infamous take on race:

“The central question that emerges . . . is whether the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas in which it does not prevail numerically? The sobering answer is Yes – the White community is so entitled because, for the time being, it is the advanced race. It is not easy, and it is unpleasant, to adduce statistics evidencing the cultural superiority of White over Negro: but it is a fact that obtrudes, one that cannot be hidden by ever-so-busy egalitarians and anthropologists.”

“National Review believes that the South’s premises are correct. . . . It is more important for the community, anywhere in the world, to affirm and live by civilized standards, than to bow to the demands of the numerical majority.”

“The South confronts one grave moral challenge. It must not exploit the fact of Negro backwardness to preserve the Negro as a servile class. . . . Let the South never permit itself to do this. So long as it is merely asserting the right to impose superior mores for whatever period it takes to effect a genuine cultural equality between the races, and so long as it does so by humane and charitable means, the South is in step with civilization, as is the Congress that permits it to function.”


Yeah, just let that sink in, all the while remembering what Buckley characterized as “cultural superiority”:


Also in 1957, Richard M. Weaver wrote a book review in the National Review titled “Integration is Communization”.  Here’s the “money” quote from this piece:

“‘Integration’ and ‘Communization’ are, after all, pretty closely synonymous. In the light of what is happening today, the first may be little more than a euphemism for the second. It does not take many steps to get from the ‘integrating’ of facilities to the ‘communizing’ of facilities, if the impulse is there”


In 1964, to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the “Brown vs Board of Education” decision, Buckley wrote this:

“But whatever the exact net result in the restricted field of school desegregation, what a price we are paying for Brown! It would be ridiculous to hold the Supreme Court solely to blame for the ludicrously named ‘civil rights movement’ – that is, the Negro revolt . . . . But the Court carries its share of the blame. Its decrees, beginning with Brown, have on the one hand encouraged the least responsible of the Negro leaders in the course of extra-legal and illegal struggle that we now witness around us. . . .

“Brown, as National Review declared many years ago, was bad law and bad sociology. We are now tasting its bitter fruits. Race relations in the country are ten times worse than in 1954.”

National Review was at the vanguard of the “idtellectual” wing of the conservative movement, and their staff had a hate-on for anyone who was working for desegregation and equal rights.  Again, WFB’s stated purpose was to stand athwart history yelling “STOP!”, by which he really meant, “STOP GRANTING CIVIL RIGHTS TO UPPITY NEGROS AND STRIDENT WOMEN!” There’s no memory hole deep enough for the cornerites to bury all of the garbage that their magazine has written about Dr King’s struggles, and their failure to own up to their past sins is doubleplusungood.


For a good dissection of conservatives’ failed attempts to co-opt Dr King’s legacy, this post is hard to beat.

Cross posted at my eponymous blog.  Hat tip to commenter MikeM at NRO

Posted by Big Bad Bald Bastard on 01/21/13 at 07:30 AM • Permalink

Categories: PoliticsNutters

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Great Post! @B4

First hand knowledge of the Civil Rights movement is dying out with the Boomers.  I think few of the follow-on generations have a very clear idea of how that all went down because too many are happy to let it rest.

Neither do they understand the frustration of realizing how unsatisfying the net effect has been.  It was a good reminder (and a major tactical error) to watch Republicans pull the old voter intimidation playbook out, this election. 

One other thing that struck me, in your post, was the impact of this:

Integration’ and ‘Communization’ are, after all, pretty closely synonymous.

Few people today realize the power of that statement back in 1957 when Communism was the ultimate evil, striking real fear into the hearts of Americans.

Interesting how, even today, our black president is painted with the “Socialist” brush . . .

Old prejudices die hard.

Too much thought-provoking stuff in this post to cover it all, but from a Brit’s point of view, this stands out:

The sobering answer is Yes – the White community is so entitled because, for the time being, it is the advanced race. It is not easy, and it is unpleasant, to adduce statistics evidencing the cultural superiority of White over Negro: but it is a fact that obtrudes, one that cannot be hidden by ever-so-busy egalitarians and anthropologists.”

This “culturally superior” “advanced race” was partly made up of those who fled or were ejected from Britain in the face of economic and sometimes religious persecution (or in fewer cases, to seek their fortune by exploiting others’ labor and funneling proportions of it back to the motherland), then shored up their position by persecuting others in even worse ways than they’d been persecuted themselves.

This “culturally superior” “advanced race” was partly made up of those who fled or were ejected from Britain in the face of economic and sometimes religious persecution (or in fewer cases, to seek their fortune by exploiting others’ labor and funneling proportions of it back to the motherland), then shored up their position by persecuting others in even worse ways than they’d been persecuted themselves.

Too true, @YAFB, one of the most pervasive and enduring American myths is the hero worship of the founding separatists, lavishly expanded over the years by imputing noble morality, humanism and an enlightened religiosity on the malcontent Masons.

Similar to our ability to blot out some of the more unsavory chapters of our history like the systematic annhilation of the indigenous people who got in the way of our founding heroes indulging their rapacious “vision.”

Also, too, there’s the fictional account of the purpose of the 2nd Amendment which had more to do with keeping unruly slaves in line than fighting off non-existent tyrants.

Race relations in the country are ten times worse than in 1954

This could only be written by someone with NO knowledge of what 1954 was really like. It was not happy gospel-singing darkies contented with their lot. It was only nine years after the war when Black soldiers came home and found their sacrifices meant nothing. Jim Crow ruled. Lynchings were less common than in the thirties but still happened. Immense swaths of people (mostly Black) lived without even the basics of life—electricity, plumbing, education past grade school. Oh yeah, things were so much better then.

Vicious AND ignorant—the right never disappoints.

Thank you, BBBB, for this tidy capsule of the kind of horrible shit the Civil Rights activists were facing, decades before the children of these dicks were trying to co-opt Dr. King.

Just think, if Obama had been president a mere 50 years ago, people would have been calling him a Communist and claiming he wasn’t American and saying he should be removed by force.

Sounds so quaint now, doesn’t it?

I think another important thing to remember is the extent of WFB’s racism and general assholery- current conservatives want to portray him as a genteel elder statesman and public intellectual, but he was just a thug with a thesaurus.

just a thug with a thesaurus.

Sweet!

WFB tucked a nice little shout out to the South African apartheid regime in that quote too; racists of the world unite! 

Asshat.  And his thesaurus too.

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