Monday, August 21, 2006

The Martin Luther King Quote

Martin Luther King, Jr. has been quoted as saying:

If your opponent has a conscience, then follow Gandhi. But if you enemy has no conscience, like Hitler, then follow Bonhoeffer.

I made use of this quote here. I have been unable to find the quote in a major reference work, or a cursory glance of King's original writings. The most authoritative source that I can find is "The Amazing Grace of Revolution." by Laurie J. Taylor in the Chicago Theological Seminary Register. v.91, n.1 (2001), p.30.


Jonathan said...

John, this was not the first time you had passed along this questionable information. The first time you passed along this questionable information (at least that I know of) was in a comment on a previous post.

The "situational pacifism" that you ascribe to MLK, would actually more appropriately be ascribed to Stokely Carmichael, who once had a close relationship with King, but who broke away to become a leader in the Black Panther party. Carmichael once described his differences with MLK in this way:

"He saw nonviolence as a principle, which means it had to be used at all times, under all conditions. I saw it as a tactic. If it was working, I would use it; if it wasn't working, I'm picking up guns because I want my freedom by any means necessary."

Thank you for helping to clarify these matters.

Jonathan said...

John, I ask you again, as I asked you before, what do you think of MLK? Was he irresponsible because he was a pacifist? This time, please answer the question without using any quotations that you cannot back-up.

John said...

Despite your logical fallacy of appeal to authority, I think that if King was an absolute pacifist, then he was naive and would not have succeeded under harsher, less civilized conditions.

Jonathan said...

So... when I quote MLK and can actually back up the quotation, I am using a logical fallacy. When you quote MLK and cannot back it up, you are being reasonable?

John said...

Nope. My argument was based on reason and logic. Yours was based entirely on pompous name dropping and book recommendations to show how gee golly smart you are in the hopes that no one would notice your hypocrisy.

Jonathan said...

John and I have agreed to stop arguing; John gracioiusly emailed me for a truce, even offering to let me have the last word. I have accepted his offer, and I have chosen to make these my last words on this subject: John you are a good debater, but we both have recognized that it's time to move on. I look forward to exchanging our views on other subjects in the future.