Tuesday, September 7, 2010


At the time Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his “I have a Dream” Speech on the steps of Lincoln Memorial, few would have guessed the speech would eventually find its way into the text books of American high school students as an example of one of the most inspiring speeches ever given.
Most Americans know the substance of the speech, which was a plea for all Americans to be judged by their character and not by the color of their skins. And most Americans have forgiven and forgotten King’s own character flaws, whether they were those of serial adultery or suspected plagiarism. He is forgiven because he had a dream so transcendent and powerful its soaring message rose above his character flaws.

It is most often so. Tolstoy and Ghandi, two men King drew upon for inspiration, were also deeply flawed. Tolstoy, best known for his interpretation of a gentle, communal and deeply pacifist Christianity, was often abusively cruel to his long-suffering wife. Ghandi, whose principles of peaceful non-violence have been widely imitated—most notably by MLK--had strange personal practices such as drinking urine and testing his vows of celibacy by sleeping with young women.

Yet both had dreams that inspired millions.

Good dreamers are most often mere men and women with feet of clay. They are usually acutely aware of their shortcomings, their weaknesses and frailties. That is why they want each human being to have the opportunity to transcend their sins and weaknesses, to dream of being better, to take the opportunities to pick themselves up and to try, try again.

Good dreamers dream with you. They want you to have freedom to achieve your own dreams, your own God-given potential, regardless of your skin color, class or gender. Those who dream with you want you and your children to be enabled by freedom. They want the burdens of state taken off your back, the overweening plethora of laws, rules and regulations whittled down.

But dark dreamers say, “I have a dream for you.” They want their perfect dreams for a utopian society to prevail over you and everyone else. Dark dreamers, most often those who think of themselves as perfect people, have templates for humanity, molds into which every human being is to be poured. Dark dreamers think their template is perfect for you--but not so much for them. Most often the dark dreams come in the guise of absolute equality, a strict egalitarianism which has its roots in fantastic unreality, is animated solely by power and ambition and achieved by force of the state.

Today the differences between good and bad dreams have never been so clear. As usual, the visions are divided into “Right” and “Left.” As the famous political philosopher Erik von Kuelnelt-Leddihn wrote, the Left is and always has been the “Great Menace…[The Left believes] in a state insured, government-prescribed, and—to make matters worse—socially endorsed collectivism [in which]our liberty, our Western personality, our spiritual growth, our true happiness is at stake."

Kuelnelt-Leddihn continues:

"All the great dynamic isms of the last two hundred years have been mass movements attacking—even as they mouthed the word ‘freedom’—the liberty, the independence of the person. This was done programmatically in the name of all sorts of high-and even low-sounding ideals: nationality, race better living standards, social justice, security, ideological conviction, restoration of ancient rights-- a happier world for all. But in reality, the driving motor of these movements was always the mad ambition of intellectuals—oratorically or, at least, literarily gifted—and the successful mobilization of the masses filled with envy and a thirst for revenge.” [Add to that list an anti-religious bias and a desire for uniformity, a ‘paradise’ in which everyone is the same. Parentheses mine.]

The Right, on the other hand, stands against statist power and for personal freedom. The Right is committed not to change for change’s sake, but to what is eternally true and valid, seeking either to “restore or the reinstall it, regardless of whether it seems obsolete…The ‘Man of the Right’ does not have a time-bound mind, but a sovereign mind. [He] stands for liberty, a free, unprejudiced form of thinking a readiness to preserve traditional values” as well as for a commitment to the sanctity of human life, as each life is unique and irreplaceable.

Dreams of the Right are dreamt by and held to by imperfect people who believe in transcendent values that hold for all societies in all times and places, values which create maximum individual freedom.

In sum, the dream of the Right is measured not by the person, but by its Truth.

In view of the upcoming elections, what does the above mean? It means you have a choice to vote for those who uphold the good dream or to ally yourself with those who uphold a dark dream; with those who will dream with you or with those who have a dream for you.

Realize that those who dream good dreams will be, like Martin Luther King, Jr., flawed human beings just like you.

But do what you must.

Choose your dream.

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