Note to conservatives about Martin Luther King

Yes, I know you hate the fact that the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom is being (1) being treated as a civic, rather than a factional, event and (2) that the speakers at the anniversary rally, and the accompanying news coverage, stressed liberal themes such as voting rights and health care.

Well, as the guy being guillotined said, I think I see your problem. Since MLK is now officially a hero, you’d like him to be a civic hero rather than a hero of the faction opposed to yours. But while he was alive, and for some time after his death, your faction hated him, and everything he stood for, and tried to defame him. No prominent conservative or libertarian politician, writer, or thinker supported the civil rights movement he led.

The factional split was not identical to the partisan split. There were (mostly Southern) Democratic racists who opposed the civil rights movement; they were known as Dixiecrats or “conservative Democrats,” and their heirs followed Strom Thurmond into the Republican Party, which they now dominate. There were also Republican supporters of civil rights; they were called “liberal Republicans” (I voted for a few of them) and your faction now calls people like them RINOs and has successfully purged them from the Republican Party.

Your faction was, adamantly and unanimously, on the wrong side of history, as spectacularly as the small share of progressives who supported the Soviet dictatorship. Even today, I have failed to find a single libertarian or conservative prepared to speak out against gutting the Voting Rights Act.

Martin Luther King died while on a campaign to support a public-sector labor union. You’re entitled to say that he was a bad man and a Communist, as your faction did while he was alive, and that his assassination was the natural result of his use of civil disobedience, which is what Ronald Reagan said at the time. You’re entitled to say that he was a great man but that his thoughts are no longer applicable to the current political situation. But what you’re not entitled to do is to pretend that, if he were alive today, MLK would not be fighting against you and everything you stand for. He would.

Comments

  1. Ed Whitney says

    I have been trying to source this quote from Reagan and it seems that Rick Perlstein keeps getting cited by bloggers drawing on the same MSNBC broadcast. Anthony Lewis of the New York Times wrote a column in 1983 when Reagan signed the King holiday into law, and cites Ronnie Dugger for the King assassination quote, but the full original source remains difficult to trace, making it hard to know just what Reagan was trying to imply. What were the sentences preceding and following “it’s the sort of great tragedy when we begin compromising with law and order and people started choosing which laws they would break” that Perlstein quotes on TV?

    It may be that Reagan said that King had it coming, but the isolated and brief quote itself provides insufficient evidence of that interpretation. Or any other interpretation, for that matter.

    • calling all toasters says

      The original source per Anthony Lewis is Ronnie Dugger’s “On Reagan: the Man and His Presidency,” from transcripts of Reagan’s radio addresses.

      Personally I find the meaning crystal clear, and not inconsistent with the rest of Reagan’s rhetoric.

      • Ed Whitney says

        That Lewis column was the one I alluded to above, where Dugger is credited with having found transcripts of Reagan’s broadcasts from 1975 to 1979. I think the quote I am looking for is from 1968 on or about the day of King’s funeral. So it is not one of the radio speeches, but it occurs in his first term of governor. Was it a press conference? Was it a speech delivered before an audience somewhere? Was it a response to a direct question about King, or was it something written somewhere? Was he speaking as governor or was it an off-the-cuff remark?

        Dugger’s book appears to be out of print and my library does not have a copy. I have memories of some nasty remarks by conservatives at the time of the funeral, including an editorial in the Santa Fe New Mexican which was not exactly an expression of grief.

        I have never mastered the art of finding crystal clear meaning in sentence fragments. I cannot tell if this is a “serves him right; good riddance” sentiment or if it is more of a “there is plenty of blame to go around” kind of waffling statement that are so beloved of politicians then and now who want to have it both ways. Could be yet a different meaning which would be clarified by context.

        • Brett Bellmore says

          I don’t think there is any such art; My general rule is that, if somebody quotes a sentence fragment in support of a proposition, I will assume the complete sentence, in context, supports the contrary, or else they would not have gone with the fragment. Perhaps this is unduly suspicious of me, but it’s a suspicion which has been justified in many cases where I went to the trouble of tracking down the complete, in context utterance.

          In fact, the almost universal tendency of the media to use sentence fragments and paraphrases instead of complete sentences with context, is one of my main beefs with them.

          • Brett Bellmore says

            Oh, please! Then prove it using complete sentences.

            Remember the back page of Mad Magazine? With that long quote, arranged so that if you folded it just right to hide part of the quote, you got a completely different meaning? A lot of ‘news reporting’ is like that.

            Is “quote complete sentences, and give context” really an outrageous policy to follow? Is suspicion of those who don’t follow it really so unreasonable?

    • Kenneth Almquist says

      I also tried to find the source of the quote, with an equal lack of success. Mark Kleiman might want to reconsider whether his claim is appropriate for a blog that aspires to be reality based.

      • Ed Whitney says

        Oh, I would not go that far; Mark’s claim is not in question here. This does show us that Google does not have access to everything in the world.

        I did try the Amazon site for the book but it did not have a “look inside” option to find the page number of the quote.

        I would bet that Perlstein was drawing on Dugger’s book since he is a scholar of that era and has read about a jillion books.

        With any luck, an expert RBC reader can tell us more; it is too much of a hassle to go to the library for interlibrary loan, but us geezers used to resort to that kind of thing all the time.

        • Kenneth Almquist says

          Fair enough. What I found on Google was a bunch of people making more or less the same claim, and supporting it by linking to someone else. Following the links ultimately gets you to an article which quotes Rick Perlstein, who doesn’t cite any sources or provide any evidence to support his claim.

          I don’t know anything about Perlstein. If, as you imply, he’s a reputable scholar, it may be reasonable to treat his assertions as authoritative.

          What inspired my prior, rather petulant comment is that when I saw an otherwise unsupported claim containing a link, I was expecting that clicking on the link would lead be to evidence supporting the claim.

    • John says

      I have the Dugger book right here. This paragraph can be found on page 200 (the context of the overall chapter and section is on Reagan’s views on race):

      “After the Detroit riot in 1967 Reagan has said that the rioters were ‘mad dogs against the people.’ On the day of Martin Luther King’s funeral, Reagan said that King’s death ‘was a great tragedy that began when we began compromising with law and order and people started choosing which laws they’d break,’a statement that associated King’s death with his historic campaign of civil disobedience against segregation laws.”

      There is no direct citation or attribution to that quote in the text of the Dugger book, but that quote apparently appeared in the New York Times on April 10, 1968 in an article titled “Reagan Not Sure Johnson Has Quit.” The dateline for that article is Albuquerque, New Mexico on April 9, 1968, and the author is listed as Gladwin Hill. The entirety of the quote in that article is as follows:

      “Referring to the funeral today of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Governor Reagan commented that the death of the civil rights leader ‘was a great tragedy that began when we began compromising with law and order and people started choosing which laws they’d break.’

      “‘It seems possible that he was betrayed because he wasn’t traveling fast enough,’ Mr. Reagan said.

      “Asked if he was implying that Dr King’s murder might have been a Negro, Governor Reagan said no–that he simply meant that the crime might have originated among ‘those who want dissent and insurrection.’

      “‘We have plenty of evidence,’ he said, ‘that there are white people who will do anything for their own purposes. They’ve tried with the Vietnam struggle and will with any struggle–will do anything to further their own ends.’”

  2. Manju says

    You’re entitled to say that he was a bad man and a Communist, as your faction did while he was alive

    This is rich. JFK, LBJ, and RFK are part of our faction now? Along with Hoover, these are the men most responsible for smeared MLK as a communist. And LBJ, a former segregationist, did this post-64. The go-to man on this issue is David Garrow…the historian who obtained the FBI’s MLK wiretapping transcripts:

    On October 10, 1963, U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy committed what is widely viewed as one of the most ignominious acts in modern American history: he authorized the Federal Bureau of Investigation to begin wiretapping the telephones of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. Kennedy believed that one of King’s closest advisers was a top-level member of the American Communist Party, and that King had repeatedly misled Administration officials about his ongoing close ties with the man.

    • says

      I think LBJ gets something of a pass because he did, in fact, eventually do the heavy lifting to actually pass so many important civil rights bills despite his belief that it would come at a political cost.

      But as for JFK and RFK, I think the charitable thing to say about them was that they saw MLK and the civil rights movement as a nuisance. And they would have been quite happy had the FBI been able to successfully discredit King.

      • Brett Bellmore says

        I always thought the best you could say of RFK was that, while he doubtless wouldn’t have wanted to be assassinated, having it happen so early in his administration did wonders for his eventual reputation. Would have been a train wreck if it had continued.

          • Ralph Hitchens says

            Brett’s channeling Ann Coulter on how “lucky” Max Cleland was to get his legs & arms blown off in Vietnam.

          • Matt says

            It doesn’t take a perfect command of English to read the not-subtle subtext of your message. “Would have been a train wreck if he had continued.” Thankfully, he was assass……..

  3. Manju says

    the speakers at the anniversary rally, and the accompanying news coverage, stressed liberal themes such as voting rights and health care.

    All true, but you left something out.

    According to the “Veterans of the Southern Freedom Movement”, MLK saw “…the march as a protest of, and challenge to, the administration’s shameful civil rights record of inactivity, neglect, and collaboration with Southern segregationists.”

    “Collaboration.” Strong word.

    The Veterans claim that Kennedy appeased the Segregationists. They say he publicly supported the Movement, but behind the scenes tried to undermine it. They cite ‘the “Seditious Conspiracy” case in Americus GA and the “Jury Tampering” Frameup in Albany GA.”‘

    http://www.crmvet.org/tim/tim63b.htm#1963rfk

    If you want conservatives to admit there was more to the march than just “don’t judge by the color of one’s skin”, ie that many marched for liberal economic policies, then you need to admit that many marched to protest liberal collaboration with evil. But as the guy being guillotined said, I think I see your problem.

    —————–

    *This website is of and by Veterans of the Southern Freedom Movement during the years 1951-1968. It is where we tell it like it was, the way we lived it. With a few minor exceptions, everything on this site was written or created by Movement activists who were direct participants in the events they chronicle.

    • Anonymous says

      I think Phil Ochs made this observation back in 1966 in his song, “Love me, I’m a Liberal.” From Wikipedia:

      According to Ochs’ biographer Michael Schumacher, “Love Me, I’m a Liberal” would evoke “a strange mixture of laughter, from nervous tittering from those who recognized themselves in Phil’s indictment, to open roars of approval from the radical factions in the audience.”[8] Eric Alterman describes “Love Me, I’m a Liberal” as “a scorching indictment of liberal cowardice by a bitter adversary, not the good-natured ribbing one might expect from an affectionate ally”.

      So 47 years later, you’re in complete agreement with Phil Ochs!

  4. Manju says

    No prominent conservative or libertarian politician, writer, or thinker supported the civil rights movement he led.

    Everett Dirksen

    • byomtov says

      Well, OK.

      But the fact is that conservatives were overwhelmingly segregationist. The best example, possibly the most prominent, was the sainted William Buckley, who produced a number of Klan-worthy screeds during the era. While Buckley was avowedly a racist, some tried to hide behind the cloak of “states’ rights.” Oddly, none of them ever tried to get Jim Crow laws repealed at the state level.

      Sorry, manju. You can recite these votes all you like, but you know that, as Mark said, the liberal/conservative ideological lines o fthe times did not match the Democratic/Republican lines the way they do today. Those votes confirm Mark’s thesis. Conservatives were wrong – as wrong as possible – actively wrong – on civil rights.

      • Manju says

        The fact is that conservatives were overwhelmingly segregationist…those votes confirm Mark’s thesis. Conservatives were wrong – as wrong as possible – actively wrong – on civil rights.

        First, take a look at this data for the House and Senate, showing Party means on a purely ideological dimension….I’ll explain what this is later, but trust me for now…if you take a look at my other sources I’m sure you will agree, they are all impeccable.

        http://voteview.com/images/polar_house_means.jpg

        http://voteview.com/images/polar_senate_means.jpg

        Now, we all know who the red hot supporters of Jim Crow where: Southern officeholders, almost all of whom where Democrats. Now take a look at where they stood ideologically in relation to Republicans and Northern Dems. From the New Deal Era to the Civil Rights one, they where largely moderates who leaned left.

        The Republicans have long been the Right-wing party. For you and mark to be correct about conservatives being overwhelmingly segregationist, we would’ve seen much more folks in the R column voting no on all the lists I’ve published.

        Yet in 1957 there where 0. Ditto for 1960. 1964 saw 6. ’64 = 2. ’68 = 3, ’70 = 1.

          • byomtov says

            Show me all th egraphs you like. Then show me the great conservative pro-civil rights voices of the 60′s. Show me the contemporary conservative admirers of King. Show me the conservative editorial writers who condemned Jim Crow. James Kilpatrick, perhaps?

            No. It won’t wash.

    • Mark Kleiman says

      False. Dirksen negotiated with LBJ the terms under which he would provide enough Republican votes to pass various pieces of legislation. In every case – most dramatically fair housing and employment non-discrimination – the price was weakening LBJ’s proposals. (Andy Sabl, who has written on Dirksen as a kind of hero, can correct me if I’m wrong.)

      And of course it’s true that King was well to the left of the then-current Democratic leadership, including people then thought of as liberals. But he worked with them, and they with him and with moderate-to-liberal Republicans, to write a fair proportion of his goals into statute. Their opponents were the people who were then called conservative Republicans and Democrats, and who make up the core of today’s Republican Party.

      • says

        How about Charlton Heston? Bob Dornan?

        Look, it’s definitely true that there weren’t MANY such people, and that the intellectual leadership on the right opposed civil rights. But I don’t think it’s accurate to say that nobody prominent on the right supported it.

        • Brett Bellmore says

          “and that the intellectual leadership on the right opposed civil rights.”

          Not precisely, no. They opposed certain forms of ‘civil rights’ legislation, on principle: The 14th amendment, it is argued with substantial textual basis, does not extend the reach of the federal government to private individuals, only to governmental entities. On that basis, the 1964 civil rights act and it’s successors were unconstitutionally over-reaching.

          But, of course, you can in all fairness say that the intellectual leadership on the left opposes civil rights. Just different civil rights, property rights and the right to keep and bear arms, and free exercise of religion. There’s certainly as much basis for saying it.

          • says

            I don’t think it was just “principle” Brett. A lot if conservatives claimed as National Review did that whites were superior and integration was bad.

            And plenty of politicians were looking for votes from racists.

            Finally, the “principle”– white people ought to be able to enforce a system of private discrimination through violence– was wrong. It was a failure of libertarian.

          • byomtov says

            Dilan is correct.

            Buckley’s views, complete sentences, paragraphs even, have been widely quoted on the Internet. I’m sure you’ve encountered them. And they reflected the tenor of others’ views. There was, at the time a widely held view that, as Kilpatrick put it, the “Negro race is an inferior race.”

            Nothing legal or constitutional about that.

            And no “intellectual leader” can reasonably be considered to have only opposed certain legisation on constitutional grounds who did not also discuss segregation as a moral matter. That was far and away the most compelling domestic issue of the time. Few conservatives opposed it and even those few who may have were largely tepid in their sentiments.

            Look. I know it’s a sore spot. But that doesn’t change the facts.

          • says

            Yeah, to add to what Byomtov said, I can imagine a hypothetical conservative or libertarian in 1964 saying the following:

            “I believe that discrimination against any human being on account of his or her race or color is fundamentally wrong. It is an offense against one’s fellow human being, one’s country, and one’s God. I believe that people who believe in segregation or discrimination should be treated as the outcasts of society, and that all decent people should support the fight currently being waged by civil rights protesters to secure the basic rights of citizens. In that regard, I fully support efforts to pass federal and state legislation to prohibit any discrimination, by any governmental agency, on the basis of race. I support passage of laws to secure the fundamental rights of all citizens to participate in the political process without regard to their race. And I support all efforts in the courts to implement decisions desegregating every arm of every government within these United States, federal, state, or local.

            “Further, many Americans who continue to favor the old, discredited ways of the past, have responded to the demands of the civil rights movement with systematic violence. This must stop, and I favor action in the courts, in the Department of Justice, and in federal law enforcement to deliver severe legal sanctions against anyone who attempts to use violence to perpetuate systematic racial discrimination anywhere in our nation.

            “However, I also believe that individuals should be free to believe things that are wrong. Our legal tradition holds that the best cure for bad ideas is exposure to better ideas. That freedom includes the right to be wrong. And that individuals do have a right to choose whom they associate with. Accordingly, while I sympathize with those who desire that the federal government make it illegal for private businesses to engage in racial discrimination, I believe that in order to preserve these important principles, the cure for this must be found in the marketplace. If we decide not to patronize discriminatory businesses, not to rent from discriminatory landlords, and not to work for discriminatory employers, we can change hearts and minds and plant the seeds of a fair society where everyone has an equal opportunity. But if someone refuses to change, we cannot force him or her to do so. We cannot solve the problem of hate with mere legislation. Thus, I do not believe that the federal government should take the extraordinary step of requiring that the entire private sector be subject to antidiscrimination laws.”

            The fact is, nobody said it. And the reasons were what I set out– the opponents of civil rights laws didn’t believe it, and/or they were trying to get the votes of racists.

            Had they said it, as I said, they still would have been wrong. But the fact that they didn’t say it basically nixes any thought that they were just expressing a principled libertarian objection to civil rights laws.

          • CharlesWT says

            This is very much the libertarian point of view. However, many libertarians felt that racial discrimination by private institutions was so ingrained, laws against private discrimination was justified.

            I think Goldwater had a similar point of view. Also, he integrated a department store he owned before any law required him to do so.

  5. Manju says

    There were also Republican supporters of civil rights; they were called “liberal Republicans”

    This would make every single Republican Senator in 1957 or 1960 a “liberal Republican”, since not a single one of then voted against the ’57 or ’60 cra’s.

    Here’s a list of every Senator who voted against them:

    1957:

    AL Nay [D] Hill, Joseph [D]
    AL Nay [D] Sparkman, John [D]
    AR Nay [D] Fulbright, James [D]
    AR Nay [D] McClellan, John [D]
    FL Nay [D] Holland, Spessard [D]
    GA Nay [D] Talmadge, Herman [D]
    GA Nay [D] Russell, Richard [D]
    LA Nay [D] Ellender, Allen [D]
    LA Nay [D] Long, Russell [D]
    MS Nay [D] Eastland, James [D]
    MS Nay [D] Stennis, John [D]
    NC Nay [D] Ervin, Samuel [D]
    NC Nay [D] Scott, William [D]
    SC Nay [D] Johnston, Olin [D]
    SC Nay [D] Thurmond, J. [D]
    VA Nay [D] Robertson, Absalom [D]
    VA Nay [D] Byrd, Harry [D]
    OR Nay [D] Morse, Wayne [D]
    —————————————–

    1960:
    AL Nay [D] Hill, Joseph [D]
    AL Nay [D] Sparkman, John [D]
    AR Nay [D] Fulbright, James [D]
    AR Nay [D] McClellan, John [D]
    FL Nay [D] Holland, Spessard [D]
    FL Nay [D] Smathers, George [D]
    GA Nay [D] Talmadge, Herman [D]
    GA Nay [D] Russell, Richard [D]
    LA Nay [D] Ellender, Allen [D]
    LA Nay [D] Long, Russell [D]
    MS Nay [D] Eastland, James [D]
    MS Nay [D] Stennis, John [D]
    NC Nay [D] Ervin, Samuel [D]
    NC Nay [D] Jordan, Benjamin [D]
    SC Nay [D] Johnston, Olin [D]
    SC Nay [D] Thurmond, J. [D]
    VA Nay [D] Robertson, Absalom [D]
    VA Nay [D] Byrd, Harry [D]

    • byomtov says

      So the Senators from the Confederacy opposed civil rights legislation. No one has ever claimed otherwise.

      • says

        Here’s the thing.

        Opposition to Civil Rights among conservative intellectuals was quite widespread. That famous Buckley quote from National Review in the 1950′s was no accident. Eventually, as conservatives took over the Republican Party (a story everyone is familiar with), that gradually became the dominant position in the Republican Party, although at the same time the Overton Window was moving left and the “anti-civil rights” position became somewhat more grudgingly accepting of racial equality.

        What Manju is showing you is a snapshot of the world at the very start of that process. At that point, the Republicans are still to some extent the “Party of Lincoln”. And there’s a Republican President who was a supporter of Civil Rights. In that context, there was unanimous support in the Senate caucus for civil rights. This was Eisenhower’s party, and the anti-civil rights conservatives had not yet taken it over.

        But Manju is right that there is no reason to think that all of those Republicans were liberals or moderates. Here are some of the Republicans in the Senate in 1960:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barry_Goldwater
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gordon_L._Allott
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Hruska
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Everett_Dirksen
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wallace_F._Bennett

  6. aisaac says

    Am I having a DMT flashback or did Kleiman link to a neo-nazi website called “The Occidental Observer?” Politics makes strange bedfellows indeed.

    • Mark Kleiman says

      Yes, it’s true that to find a site that reflects the “conservative” view of race as of 1963 you now need to link to a site that calls itself neo-Nazi. Progress, of a sort. But you don’t have to pay attention to his views; just follow his links. He has the chapter and verse on what conservatives were saying then, whatever they would like us to believe now.

  7. Manju says

    The factional split was not identical to the partisan split.

    What partisan split? Going by the all-important Senate again, 6 republicans voted against the 1964cra.

    2 against the ’65 one. 3 for 1968. 1 for 1970 (a former dem).

    1964:

    AL Nay [D] Joseph Hill
    AL Nay [D] John Sparkman
    AR Nay [D] John McClellan
    AR Nay [D] James Fulbright
    FL Nay [D] George Smathers
    FL Nay [D] Spessard Holland
    GA Nay [D] Herman Talmadge
    GA Nay [D] Richard Russell
    LA Nay [D] Russell Long
    LA Nay [D] Allen Ellender
    MS Nay [D] John Stennis
    MS Nay [D] James Eastland
    NC Nay [D] Samuel Ervin
    NC Nay [D] Benjamin Jordan
    SC Nay [D] Olin Johnston
    SC Nay [D] Strom Thurmond
    TN Nay [D] Herbert Walters
    TN Nay [D] Albert Gore
    TX Nay [R] John Tower
    VA Nay [D] Absalom Robertson
    VA Nay [D] Harry Byrd
    AZ Nay [R] Barry Goldwater
    IA Nay [R] Bourke Hickenlooper
    NH Nay [R] Norris Cotton
    NM Nay [R] Edwin Mechem
    WV Nay [D] Robert Byrd
    WY Nay [R] Milward Simpson
    —————————————–
    1965

    AL Nay [D] Hill, Joseph [D]
    AL Nay [D] Sparkman, John [D]
    AR Nay [D] Fulbright, James [D]
    AR Nay [D] McClellan, John [D]
    FL Nay [D] Holland, Spessard [D]
    FL Nay [D] Smathers, George [D]
    GA Nay [D] Talmadge, Herman [D]
    GA* Nay [D] Russell, Richard [D]
    LA Nay [D] Ellender, Allen [D]
    LA Nay [D] Long, Russell [D]
    MS Nay [D] Eastland, James [D]
    MS Nay [D] Stennis, John [D]
    NC Nay [D] Ervin, Samuel [D]
    NC Nay [D] Jordan, Benjamin [D]
    SC Nay [D] Russell, Donald [D]
    SC Nay [R] Thurmond, J. [R]
    TX Nay [R] Tower, John [R]
    VA Nay [D] Robertson, Absalom [D]
    VA Nay [D] Byrd, Harry [D]
    ————————————————
    1968:

    AL Nay [D] Joseph Hill
    AL Nay [D] John Sparkman
    AR Nay [D] John McClellan
    AR Nay [D] James Fulbright
    FL Nay [D] George Smathers
    FL Nay [D] Spessard Holland
    GA Nay [D] Herman Talmadge
    GA Nay [D] Richard Russell
    LA Nay [D] Russell Long
    LA Nay [D] Allen Ellender
    MS Nay [D] John Stennis
    MS Nay [D] James Eastland
    NC Nay [D] Samuel Ervin
    NC Nay [D] Benjamin Jordan
    SC Nay [D] Ernest Hollings
    SC Nay [R] Strom Thurmond
    VA Nay [D] William Spong
    VA Nay [D] Harry Byrd
    AZ Nay [R] Paul Fannin
    DE Nay [R] John Williams
    ————————————–
    1970:

    AL Nay [D] Allen, James [D]
    AL Nay [D] Sparkman, John [D]
    FL Nay [D] Holland, Spessard [D]
    GA Nay [D] Talmadge, Herman [D]
    GA Nay [D] Russell, Richard [D]
    LA Nay [D] Ellender, Allen [D]
    MS Nay [D] Eastland, James [D]
    MS Nay [D] Stennis, John [D]
    NC Nay [D] Ervin, Samuel [D]
    SC Nay [D] Hollings, Ernest [D]
    SC Nay [R] Thurmond, J. [R]
    VA Nay [D] Jr. Byrd, Harry [D]
    WV Nay [D] Byrd, Robert [D]

    • byomtov says

      Again, the Senators from the Confederacy oppose civil rights legislation. Those states are now among the deepest red states in the country. Draw any conclusions?

  8. Freeman says

    There were (mostly Southern) Democratic racists who opposed the civil rights movement; they were known as Dixiecrats or “conservative Democrats,” and their heirs followed Strom Thurmond into the Republican Party, which they now dominate.

    So, they don’t really count as Democrats, having not been true Scotsmen, eh? But former Libertarians (and even their offspring who have never been members of the LP) who join the Republican Party are still considered Libertarians for the purposes of smearing all other Libertarians, right? Yeah, that’s reality-based.

        • Brett Bellmore says

          Got that right: Who else is demanding racially discriminatory policies today, besides liberals? Liberals are reduced to insisting that not discriminating on the basis of race is somehow discriminatory, that it’s racist to NOT take race into account. That, to be blunt, it is bigoted to judge men on the content of their character instead of the color of their skin.

          A clearer example of Neitche’s aphorism about dragon hunters and dragons could not be wanted.

          • Marc says

            You do know MLKs views on affirmative action, right? Of course not. Getting a leg up for white skin or a rich daddy is totally OK. It’s just noticing that there is a history of discrimination that’s a problem.

          • CharlesWT says

            We’re so determine to have a colorblind society, that we’ll keep look at color until we go blind.

          • agorabum says

            Well, the NYPD is demanding racially discriminatory policies.
            The Republican party in North Carolina and Texas are enacting discriminatory voting restrictions.
            Recognizing that segregation and discrimination was a part of this country and trying to make amends is different than supporting segregation…

          • Brett Bellmore says

            “The Republican party in North Carolina and Texas are enacting discriminatory voting restrictions.”

            No, actually they aren’t. A discriminatory voting restriction would have to discriminate, and neither North Carolina nor Texas have passed any such law. You’re talking about “disparate impact”, but disparate impact is no proof of discrimination. For instance, blacks are more likely to be poor than whites, so equal prices for groceries will have disparate impact.

            Is Krogers guilty of racial discrimination for charging the same price for a pound of hamburger regardless of your skin color? That’s the logic of accusing North Carolina and Texas of enacting “discriminatory” voting restrictions, when those restrictions do not hinge in any way on race, or any other suspect category.

          • Matt says

            Texas and North Carolina place more arduous restrictions on voting than were previously in place–and these restrictions are tailored to limit the numbers of working poor, who tend to be minorities, from voting. They knowingly make it more difficult for certain demographics to vote.

            You can use your arbitrary definitions (disparate versus discriminatory impact, etc,) but don’t play coy. You know full well what is going on. As do the Republicans who are enacting this legislation. They are making it more difficult for minorities to vote, with no purpose other than that.

          • Brett Bellmore says

            Yeah, I’m fully aware that it’s an effort to discourage Democrats from voting. Just like expansions of early voting, easy absentee ballots, counting votes cast in the wrong polling place, are all efforts to encourage Democrats to vote; You’d never have any interest in them if you thought they’d increase the voting advantage of Republicans.

            What it isn’t is discriminatory. In order to be discriminatory a policy has to discriminate. This may be “an” evil”, but it’s not THAT evil.

          • Matt says

            Precisely, Brett. Allowing more citizens to vote, as is their right in a democracy, helps Democrats. Preventing citizens from voting, as these laws do, helps Republicans.
            You made my point beautifully.

          • Brett Bellmore says

            It’s not a matter of “allowing”. The same set of people will be “allowed” to vote before and after the laws in question. It’s a matter of how convenient it will be.

            It has been a long standing belief, on the part of both Republicans AND Democrats, that Republican voters are more motivated. You know, the usual business of Republicans hoping for a rainy election day, Democrats hoping for good weather? And despite recent successes the Republican establishment has had, in demotivating their base, this belief is still widespread: Both Democrats and Republicans think Democrats are less likely to vote if there is any inconvenience involved at all.

            For this reason, Republicans have long wanted voting to be a little inconvenient, and Democrats have wanted it to be as easy as possible.

            But “inconvenient” and “convenient” are not the same thing as “prohibited” and “allowed”.

            Democrats have multiple motives for making this a case of racial discrimination, starting with the fact that your only effective tool for preventing it is a law that prohibits racial discrimination, not attempts to gain partisan advantage, so that the Voting Rights act ceases to be relevant if you admit there’s nothing racial about this.

            That is why the loss of Section 4 was such a blow to the Democratic party: You usually control the DOJ, even when Republicans control the executive branch the permanent bureaucracy are like occupied territory rife with insurgencies. Under the regime of pre-clearance, you didn’t need to prove election practices you didn’t like were actually racially discriminatory. You could just flatly prohibit any change you thought not to your advantage.

            Now you have to use lawsuits under Section 2, where the burden of proof is on the DOJ, not the state, and you have to demonstrate that racial discrimination you were talking about, not just assert it. I think you’re mostly going to fail.

            But those motives do not MAKE laws which do not hinge on race in either their text or application racially discriminatory. Like my example of the fixed price hamburger, disparate impact isn’t racial discrimination. At most, it is a hint you might want to look for it. But you still have to find actual evidence of it.

          • Matt says

            Fine. Instead of “Allowing,” let’s say “enabling.”

            Democrats want to make it easier for all citizens to vote regardless of circumstance, by widening the time window and locations to vote. Republicans want to make it harder, by narrowing the window and locations in which to vote. One is an act of increasing democracy, the other is an act of shrinking democracy. Period. Your circumlocutions can be simplified to this fact.

            I don’t particularly care about all your twaddle about racism, disparate impact, section 4, etc (though the GOP policies are implicitly racist, and racist in their results, as you and the GOP well know. Don’t play coy.) What I care about is making it easier for every citizen to vote in a democracy.

          • Andrew Laurence says

            If state law says you must have a government-issued photo ID to vote, and you don’t have one, and the law also says that you need a birth certificate to get said ID, and the county records office says you need a photo ID to get a copy of your birth certificate, then guess what? You can’t vote. You are _prohibited_ from voting even though, as a US citizen over age 18 and not in prison or on parole for a felony, you have the Constitutional right to vote. This is not at all about convenience.

            And of course it should be convenient for all eligible voters to vote, regardless of their party or ideology.

    • J. Michael Neal says

      They don’t count as Democrats now because they overwhelmingly changed parties.

      • Freeman says

        Yep, just like the racist former Libertarians this site likes to use to smear all Libertarians. That’s the whole point of my post.

        • J. Michael Neal says

          And I will point out to you, again, that Mark used “libertarian” rather than “Libertarian”. You don’t get to define who goes into the former category. All of the people I know who call themselves “libertarians” revere Barry Goldwater. Almost all of them say great things about Ron and Rand Paul.

          You may not like the fact that you are stuck with a bunch of racists espousing an ideology similar to yours, but you are stuck with the fact that they do.

          • CharlesWT says

            Apparently, we’re also stuck with people who reserve the right to define what is racist.

          • Freeman says

            CharlesWT: Bingo!

            J. Michael Neal: My last two references to libertarians should have been small-l, as you point out, but that doesn’t change my point at all. Should I smear all democrats with the sins of Strom Thurman? How is that different from smearing all libertarians with the sins of Ron Paul? And I will point out to you, again, the Tea Party types who you say “call themselves libertarians” are nothing of the sort, nor do they espouse an ideology similar to mine.

          • J. Michael Neal says

            Find me a current individual who both calls himself a liberal and says lots of nice things about Strom Thurmond. And if the Tea Party doesn’t represent your ideology, then the simple fact is that you have lost the battle over the meaning of the word “libertarian”. While you can define it however you like, it’s stupid of you to go around lambasting people for attacking the majority of those who call themselves libertarians by calling them libertarians. If you want to spend the rest of your life going through the process of saying that you’re a libertarian but that you aren’t like all of those other self-proclaimed libertarians, that’s up to you. The rest of us aren’t going to spend much time worrying about offending you.

          • Freeman says

            Haters gonna hate. Fine. I suppose you’ll go on deliberately confusing tea partiers with libertarians and lumping them all together as the “other”, and those of us who identify with Libertarian principles will go on finding your bigoted comments offensive. You wanna be that guy, be that guy.

          • Matt says

            Yes! “Find me a current individual who both calls himself a liberal and says lots of nice things about Strom Thurmond.”

            Whereas I’m hard pressed to find a libertarian who doesn’t love Ron Paul. Ooops….except for the racism stuff. Of course they don’t love that! But still, on the whole, the civil rights movement was a disaster for America, as R. Paul the second says. But not for racist reasons! For reverse-racist reasons!

            Of course, it all comes back somehow to guns: Why do the libs support basic civil rights for minorities, like being able to sit where I want on a public bus, but not for me to own six assault rifles? Totally equivalent situations! Amirite, libertarians?

      • Manju says

        They don’t count as Democrats now because they overwhelmingly changed parties.

        J. Michael Neal…Allow me to begin debunking your commonly-held myth by starting with the most powerful segregationists in the land:

        Below, every Dem Senator who voted against the 1964 cra, or the 1965 vra, or cloture on either

        AL Nay [D] Joseph Hill
        AL Nay [D] John Sparkman
        AR Nay [D] John McClellan
        AR Nay [D] James Fulbright
        FL Nay [D] George Smathers
        FL Nay [D] Spessard Holland
        GA Nay [D] Herman Talmadge
        GA Nay [D] Richard Russell
        LA Nay [D] Russell Long
        LA Nay [D] Allen Ellender
        MS Nay [D] John Stennis
        MS Nay [D] James Eastland
        NC Nay [D] Samuel Ervin
        NC Nay [D] Benjamin Jordan
        SC Nay [D] Donald Russell (against ’65, was not in 64 Senate)
        SC Nay [D] Olin Johnston
        SC Nay [D] Strom Thurmond
        TN Nay [D] Herbert Walters
        TN Nay [D] Albert Gore
        VA Nay [D] Absalom Robertson
        VA Nay [D] Harry Byrd
        AZ Nay [D] Carl Hayden (against cloture only)
        NV Nay [D] Alan Bible (against cloture only)
        WV Nay [D] Robert Byrd

        I defy you to find more than one who became a Republican

    • Barry says

      The point is that there was a major political party realignment, and the racist wing of the Democratic Party (for the most part) went into your party, *because* racism was more welcome there.

      • Freeman says

        Wrong party, Barry — I’m independent, not a member of any party. I lean left-libertarian on most issues. As far as the Libertarian Party goes, racists like Ron Paul have found a more welcome home in the Republican Party as well. All I’m asking is how is that different?

        • CharlesWT says

          Regardless of whether Ron Paul is racist or not, the policies he espoused would do more to benefit minorities than many who self-righteously proclaim themselves non-racist and point their fingers at everyone else.

          • Freeman says

            CharlesWT: True that. I’ve said before that I’m a fan of Ron Paul’s voting record, as are many libertarians I know. Regardless of whether or not he is personally a racist (and I believe that there is ample evidence for that view of his personality). Doesn’t make me and all of my libertarian acquaintances racists any more than admiration for MLK Jr.’s accomplishments makes one a philanderer, no matter how many admirers someone may personally know who are, or how challenging one might assume it is to find an example of one having publicly spoken out against a particular instance of philandering.

            But people are generally loathe to give up their favorite prejudices which automatically and without question place them (in their own minds) above the “other”. Haters gonna hate. I’m just trying to point out how offensively fugly and alienating that bigoted attitude is to their potential allies on the libertarian left (who many here seem to vehemently deny the very existence of).

          • worn says

            This is a response to Freeman’s 8/28 comment at 5:30 (which doesn’t have an associated reply button):

            This whole discussion is rather interesting. Without weighing in one way or another concerning Mark’s post, I would simply posit that there’s a major difference in a private, personal moral failing not in the public sphere and attaching one’s name to a publically-distributed newsletter* that for years regularly featured racist material or having a major staff member of your political outfit who made a name for himself trumpeting racist nonsense in the public sphere, most notably via a popular radio show.

            I might also point out that were Dr. King a legislator (quite improbable, given the circumstances of the day) andhe actually wasn’t ashamed of philandry I would still worry more about the voting preferences of the sort of folks alluded to in my 1st paragraph than he. And I’m white. But I also originally hail from the South, and so have a pretty no-nonsense attitude about the racial crap.

            For better or worse.

            *an eponymously named publication, no less!

          • Freeman says

            I agree with you, worn. My point is that you are talking about one former member of the Libertarian Party who found a more welcome home in the Republican Party (just like the Dixiecrats), and one who never was a member of the LP. Some of the folks here are insisting that those old newsletters and Rand’s ghostwriter somehow show that small-l libertarians are all the same (racist), and I think that’s a bigoted point of view. I have no problem renouncing the racism expressed in those newsletters (which I wasn’t aware of at the time — it was pre-internet and I wasn’t a subscriber), and I will happily renounce Ron Paul’s congressional voting record if someone will show me how those votes express his racism. But I would no sooner agree that the behavior of pseudo-libertarians reflects on the character of everyone calling themselves a libertarian than I would that the behavior of a few abortion doctor assassins reflects on the character of everyone calling themselves a Christian (even though “All of the people I know who call themselves” Christians are against abortion).

      • Manju says

        The point is that there was a major political party realignment, and the racist wing of the Democratic Party (for the most part) went into your party, *because* racism was more welcome there.

        Barry…I published a comprehesice list of Segregationist Dem Senators above.

        Now for the House.

        Below, every House Dem from the 11 former confederate states who voted against the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

        AL Nay [D] George Andrews
        AL Nay [D] Carl Elliott
        AL Nay [D] Kenneth Roberts
        AL Nay [D] George Grant
        AL Nay [D] Robert Jones Jr.
        AL Nay [D] George Huddleston Jr.
        AL Nay [D] Albert Rains
        AL Nay [D] Armistead Selden Jr.
        AR Nay [D] James Trimble
        AR Nay [D] Wilbur Mills
        AR Nay [D] Oren Harris
        AR Nay [D] Ezekiel Gathings
        FL Aye [D] Claude Pepper
        FL Nay [D] Robert Sikes
        FL Nay [D] Don Fuqua
        FL Nay [D] Donald Matthews
        FL Nay [D] James Haley
        FL Nay [D] Paul Rogers
        FL Nay [D] Charles Bennett
        FL Nay [D] Dante Fascell
        FL Nay [D] Sam Gibbons
        FL Nay [D] Albert Herlong Jr.
        GA Nay [D] Robert Stephens Jr.
        GA Nay [D] James Tuten
        GA Nay [D] Charles Weltner
        GA Nay [D] George Hagan
        GA Nay [D] John Flynt Jr.
        GA Nay [D] John Pilcher
        GA Nay [D] John Davis
        GA Nay [D] Elijah Forrester
        GA Nay [D] Carl Vinson
        GA Nay [D] Phillip Landrum
        LA Nay [D] Otto Passman
        LA Nay [D] Joseph Waggonner Jr.
        LA Nay [D] Theo Thompson
        LA Nay [D] James Morrison
        LA Nay [D] Felix Hébert
        LA Nay [D] Thomas Boggs Sr.
        LA Nay [D] Gillis Long
        LA Nay [D] Edwin Willis
        MS Nay [D] John Williams
        MS Nay [D] William Winstead
        MS Nay [D] Thomas Abernethy
        MS Nay [D] William Colmer
        MS Nay [D] Jamie Whitten
        NC Nay [D] Roy Taylor
        NC Nay [D] David Henderson
        NC Nay [D] Ralph Scott
        NC Nay [D] Basil Whitener
        NC Nay [D] Herbert Bonner
        NC Nay [D] Lawrence Fountain
        NC Nay [D] Harold Cooley
        NC Nay [D] Horace Kornegay
        NC Nay [D] Alton Lennon
        SC Nay [D] Albert Watson
        SC Nay [D] William Dorn
        SC Nay [D] Lucius Rivers
        SC Nay [D] Robert Ashmore
        SC Nay [D] Robert Hemphill
        SC Nay [D] John McMillan
        TN Nay [D] Robert Everett
        TN Nay [D] Thomas Murray
        TN Nay [D] Joseph Evins
        TX Nay [D] Ovie Fisher
        TX Nay [D] Robert Casey
        TX Nay [D] George Mahon
        TX Nay [D] Lindley Beckworth Sr.
        TX Nay [D] James Wright Jr.
        TX Nay [D] Omar Burleson
        TX Nay [D] Graham Purcell Jr.
        TX Nay [D] Olin Teague
        TX Nay [D] John Dowdy
        TX Nay [D] William Poage
        TX Nay [D] John Patman
        TX Nay [D] Joe Kilgore
        TX Nay [D] John Young
        TX Nay [D] Joe Pool
        TX Nay [D] Walter Rogers
        TX Nay [D] Herbert Roberts
        VA Nay [D] William Tuck
        VA Nay [D] Julian Gary
        VA Nay [D] Porter Hardy Jr.
        VA Nay [D] William Jennings
        VA Nay [D] Thomas Downing
        VA Nay [D] John Marsh Jr.
        VA Nay [D] Watkins Abbitt
        VA Nay [D] Howard Smith

        How many of these racists became republicans?

    • Mark Kleiman says

      Please point me to a single libertarian thinker of the 1960s who supported open access to public accommodations, an end to voting discrimination, open housing, or employment non-discrimination. Please point me to a single libertarian thinker of today who objects to Republican attempts to suppress black voting (e.g., the North Carolina law eliminating Sunday voting)?

      • Freeman says

        I refer you to your comment on another post. I’m not inclined to do your homework for you just because you’ve done the equivalent of “shout[ing] triumphantly, “Now prove to me that I’m wrong or you’ve conceded that I’m right!””

      • CharlesWT says

        It would likely be more profitable to look classical liberals involved in civil rights than libertarians. I don’t think libertarian was that common of an identifier at the time. Classical liberals would supported open access to public accommodations and an end to voting discrimination, but might be against open housing and employment non-discrimination laws.

  9. Anniecat45 says

    Don’t know about the Reagan quote, but I was growing up in the South during the civil rights movement and white people unanimously not only thought King’s murder was a result of his civil disobedience, but said out loud that he deserved it. some of them had been saying out loud, for years before he was killed, that they hoped he would be killed.

    Given that kind of feeling among white Southerners, quibbling about what Ronald Reagan said is really at the level of moving deck chairs on the Titanic.

    And, sure, the Kennedy administration did not do enough to advance the civil rights movement. But “not doing enough” is not the same as “virulent and violent opposition.” President Kennedy, in August 1963, made a nationally televised speech that said (IIRC, don’t have the quote in front of me) that it was wrong to base a society on treating people differently because of their skin color.

    I don’t see how that’s anywhere near the same thing as William Buckley saying the South was entitled to defend its way of life.

    And LBJ, for all his mistakes, pushed for passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. That’s not the same thing as voting against it.

    So what if some liberals were squishes? There’s a right-wing sheriff who thinks I’m garbage because I’m a liberal. If I own liberal squishes, conservatives own him, as well as Rush Limbaugh and others of that ilk.

    • Ed Whitney says

      My main reason for seeking a source for the Reagan quote is that there are at least a couple of Reagan admirers with whom I come in contact often, and if they challenge me on the quote it will not do to have only a 1983 newspaper column citing a book with no further information on the circumstances or context of the utterance.

      There was a widely circulated poster (which may have been promoted by George Wallace) showing MLK at a “communist training school,” even though it was just the Highlander Folk School (where the music director wrote “We Shall Overcome”). This poster appeared in the mid-sixties and gained popularity after the assassination of MLK. Conservatives were not overly critical about the details of the photograph (King happened to be sitting next to a labor organizer whom J. Edgar Hoover considered a communist); to them it was incontrovertible evidence that King was a commie.

      • CharlesWT says

        There are at least nine books that contain the quote, but none of them seem to provide a source. Footnotes or appendixes might have something. Some of the books predate the article being referenced.

        • Ed Whitney says

          I had forgotten that Perlstein used this quote in Nixonland. His reference there is to the Chester, Page, and Hodgson book. This is also out of print but my library does have the book. If this leads to a solid source I will pass it along.

          Nixonland does, on that same page, go on to describe how Spiro Agnew, then an obscure Maryland governor, in response to the King murder, lectured black civil leaders in front of TV cameras, making it clear that in his mind there were no differences between these ministers and Urban League officers, who had been laboring to prevent rioting, and “the circuit-riding, Hanoi-visiting…caterwauling, riot9inciting, burn-America-down type of leader.” He received 1250 telegrams in approval, and 11 in disapproval, according to Perlstein.

          Sixties nostalgia is for amnesiacs.

        • Ed Whitney says

          Well, American Melodrama by Chester, Hodgson, and Page was published in February 1969, ten months after the King assassination, and it indeed does have Reagan saying that this was the sort of “great tragedy that began when we began compromising with law and order, and people began choosing which laws they’d break.”

          The book has no footnotes or references. It does not that neither Reagan nor George Wallace went to the funeral, and also that Wallace had nothing to say. Nixon did attend the funeral.
          So we are left with a floating sentence fragment without its mooring.

  10. AndrewBW says

    Via Kevin Drum, http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2013/08/quote-day-republicans-civil-rights-anniversary:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2013/08/29/gop-leader-chose-oil-industry-over-mlk-marchers/

    GOP leader chose oil industry over MLK marchers

    By Alex Seitz-Wald, Published: August 29 at 9:36 am

    There are 233 Republicans in the House of Representatives, 46 in the Senate and 30 in governor’s mansions across the country. Guess how many made the effort to appear at Wednesday’s giant rally commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington. Zero. Ed O’Keefe reports:

    Not a single Republican elected official stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Wednesday with activists, actors, lawmakers and former presidents invited to mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington — a notable absence for a party seeking to attract the support of minority voters.

    Event organizers said Wednesday that they invited top Republicans, all of whom declined to attend because of scheduling conflicts or ill health.