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Killing and Co-opting a King

The Washington Post’s Editorial Board Aggressively Whitewashes Dr. King in Service of the Ideology That Killed Him

A conservative who protected the powerful would not be harassed, arrested, or killed by the powerful. Martin Luther King was no conservative. (Photo by Joseph Louw/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

The powerful will always co-opt our heroes. They cannot tolerate the masses being inspired by those who challenged their system. If they did, the powerful would not only have to fight our heroes they would have to fight all of us who were touched by them.

This is why writers are the most powerful weapon in the arsenal of control. Writers have the ability to revise history based on their political agenda and assert their propagandistic narrative as mere journalism or history. What’s more, talented writers are able to accomplish their political goals with flowery language and gentle prose meant to lull the reader into a sense of satisfaction with the propaganda they consumed.

But even in the midst of a sea of political journalism and the full knowledge of the revisionist technique, the editorial board of the Washington Post has outdone any other with their “tribute” to Dr. King: Martin Luther King Jr. was a true conservative.

The premise of this article is as transparent as it is insidious. The editorial board of the Washington Post defined Dr. King as a tool that protected the American status-quo against unsavory radical elements in the fashion of Franklin Roosevelt protecting America from international socialism by pacifying the nation with the New Deal.

The editorial board writes:

Just as Franklin D. Roosevelt, who as despised by many conservatives of his day, helped keep American society from succumbing to the radical ideologies that brought death and devastation of much of Europe and Asia, Dr. King worked to turn back extremism, violence and racial nationalism at the height of the civil rights movement, and to keep the cause of essential long-overdue change in the American mainstream. 

The logic of this statement suggests that King sought to protect America from what conservatives viewed as social, political and economic radicalism. This reduces King to being a mere cog of conservatism’s status quo.

Yet, Dr. King was assassinated precisely because he challenged every aspect of American society. While it may be futile to address the logical fallacy of the Post’s assertion, it must be said that if King defended the American establishment as well as the Washington Post claims, surely he would not have been a target of the American establishment. Anyone working to uphold the status quo would not need to fear being assassinated by those who profit from the status quo.

King’s focus included but went beyond Civil Rights, racism, and white supremacy. King challenged America’s militarism and capitalistic exploitation of poor people around the world. He challenged the very nature of America.

It didn’t cost the nation one penny to integrate lunch counters. It didn’t cost the nation one penny to guarantee the right to vote. But now we are dealing with issues that cannot be solved without the nation spending billions of dollars and undergoing a radical redistribution of economic power. – King

King was a threat to the social, political and economic order of the day because he was capable of succinctly defining the problem, conveying the nature of the problem to the average American, and galvanizing people of all races to address that problem. He was a threat to the status quo. For that, he was assassinated.

And that the editorial board of the Post saw fit to align King with the very forces that killed him not only serves as a disgusting reminder of revisionists history, it also serves as living propaganda meant to continuously rob us of our heroes.

On Conservatism

The Post inadvertently defined conservatism in the most appropriate fashion: the status quo position of the United States that neither acknowledges or challenges the prevailing political and economic structure.

Conservatism sees America as, by default, exceptional and views the problems of America as a problem of the individual rather than systemic. This allows demagogues to direct the language of “change” towards the individual while never addressing changing the economic, political and social systemic problems of the United States.

In this manner, conservativism is not bound by contemporary definitions of conservatism–although it does include today’s definition. Conservatism, as defined by the Post, includes today’s Republican Party and many, if not most, of the Democratic Party. Both major parties have mastered the language of American exceptionalism and the intentional avoidance of any policy or national discourse that challenges the current political-economic paradigm.

The political establishment must own our heroes. They cannot allow us to have inspiration fostered by someone who challenged their system. They must control religious rhetoric because of the mobilizing power religion has.

This is why the powerful wield the image of Christ as an American-empire ordaining, capitalist– a revolutionary whose legacy has been as whitewashed as his skin-tone. What greater hero to co-opt than a god? America could not allow a god who condemned their actions. It needed a “god” who could service their imperialistic motivations, and the revisionist interpretation of Christ has served America well. Here, again, is where Dr. King was revolutionary and not conservative:

The only acceptable interpretations of historical figures are those that serve the ruling class instead of those that present it a challenge.

When a person’s ideology, philosophy or even their life becomes too great a threat to the reigning political-economic elite, their death becomes necessary, and their revised-legacy becomes a useful tool of the ruling class.

Writers are the most effective tool in the toolkit of control. And the Washington Post’s revisionists “tribute” to Dr. King is a masterpiece of propaganda in servitude of the political-economic establishment.


Written by Benjamin Dixon

Benjamin Dixon is the Editor in Chief of Progressive Army and a member of its Editorial Board.

Find Benjamin's new media work HERE
Host of The Benjamin Dixon Show on YouTube and Spreaker.


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    • Check out his show for more gems on youtube or spreaker. And, if you want his best become a patron for his bonus shows. I’ve almost been listening for a year, and he is always on point.

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