Pricking the Bubble of Gandhi, MLK and Mandela WorshipSubmitted by Menschken on Tue, 10/15/2013 - 00:24
Far be it from me to destroy anyone's childish faith, but the level of sappy, ignorant, head in the sand adulation of these 20th century secular saints gets to be stomach turning after a while. Sorry, but I can't resist pricking a good, overblown bubble when it gets this obnoxious.
For one thing, all three were one manner or another of socialist, ranging from the militant communism of Mandela to the more ethical socialism of Gandhi with its subtle nuances, MLK being somewhere in between. I'll leave the economics aside for now, as it is secondary.
Gandhi, despite his many admirable qualities, was an out an out racist who regarded the black "kaffirs" of South Africa as uncivilized savages who ought not be classed with Indians. His offense at Indian nationals being thrown together with black natives under the British dominion in South Africa was part of what motivated his early nationalism and political activity.
“A general belief seems to prevail in the colony that the Indians are little better, if at all, than the savages or natives of Africa. Even the children are taught to believe in that manner, with the result that the Indian is being dragged down to the position of a raw Kaffir.”
“We believe as much in the purity of race as we think they [the British] do, only we believe that they would best serve these interests, which are as dear to us as to them, by advocating the purity of all races, and not one alone. We believe also that the white race of South Africa should be the predominating race.”
In response to the mixing of Indian workers and blacks in South Africa, Gandhi wrote "Why, of all places in Johannesburg, the Indian Location should be chosen for dumping down all the Kaffirs of the town passes my comprehension. [. . .]Of course, under my suggestion, The Town Council must withdraw the Kaffirs from the Location. About this mixing of Kaffirs with the Indians, I must confess I feel most strongly.”
His supportive view of India's caste system are more controversial and changed over the years, so I won't go into that.
Mises had quite a low regard for Gandhi and expressed this in his Socialism and Omnipotent Government. He opined in the former that Gandhi's anti-colonialism promoted the expropriation of rightful property claims and constituted the theft of capital investment from individuals and firms which had provided the basis for India's industrialization. Companies that had entered into contracts in good faith and modernized India's economy had their rights trampled by state collectivism and political nationalism. Ayn Rand had similar views on the expropriation of western investment by nationalistic political movements using the state for confiscatory purposes.
Mises also pointed out the hypocrisy of Gandhi, who he felt had undermined his own convictions the moment he stepped into a western hospital to be treated for illness. From Omipotent Government: "Mahatma Gandhi expresses a loathing for the devices of the petty West and of devilish capitalism. But he travels by railroad or by motor car and, when ill, goes for treatment to a hospital equipped with the most refined instruments of Western surgery."
For good measure Gandhi also abandoned his wife for a homosexual affair with a German body builder. According to the recent Huffpo review of New York Times executive editor Joseph Lelyveld's Gandhi biography Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi And His Struggle With India: "Gandhi is also said to have encouraged his 17-year-old great-niece, Manu, to be naked during her "nightly cuddles" with him, and began sleeping with her and other young women. He reportedly told a woman on one occasion: "Despite my best efforts, the organ remained aroused. It was an altogether strange and shameful experience."
I'll make shorter work of M.L.K. and Mandela.
Reverend King was an absolute moral reprobate who could not control his sexual appetites and regularly cheated on his wife with prostitutes. He was so blatant and non-discreet about it that J. Edgar Hoover had him on tape in the act bellowing obscenities damning enough to constitute blackmail for slippery J. Edgar and to be sealed from the public from FOIA requests until the year 2027 by our transparent federal government. Apparently our benevolent overseers, and the King family, consider it better for our emotional well being not to know these tidbits.
King was also a noted plagiarist who shamelessly used the writings of others in his own speeches and doctoral dissertation without attribution.
He hobnobbed with Communist party members like his main financial handler, speechwriter and organizer Stanely Levison, who was was in the leadership of the Communist Party USA in the 1950s.
Well, enough on this questionable character who children sing to.
Nelson Mandela was a raised fist communist and an actual terrorist who was convicted of helping plan murders and bombings as part of the leadership of South Africa's communist African National Congress. He was not a pacifist nor an innocent man imprisoned unjustly for crimes he did not commit. He had blood on his hands and was punished for crimes he did commit. Only the leniency of the South African government saved him from execution to allow for his later release and canonization. For his role in transforming South Africa into a modern democracy, each can judge for himself how that turned out!
I realize that it is rhetorically convenient to embrace these establishment saints and try to claim them as libertarian icons, the way a charlatan like Glenn Beck does. I even understand the sentimental pull of their overpowering public images. In the phrase of Joseph Conrad, they seem like "emissaries of light, something like a lower sort of apostle," paragons of unselfishness and virtue. It is hard to separate the real men from their legends.
But truth has to win out over sentiment. If we are to be honest in our own hearts and respect ourselves intellectually, we have to abandon these shady figures. If you need heroes to worship, I'd suggest finding some new ones who aren't so clearly tainted and dependent on establishment whitewashed history.
The power of truth will ultimately prevail and things with feet of clay will fall. There are plenty of real heroes we can celebrate rather than borrowing the spent cultural elites febreezed dirty laundry and recycled trash. The power of love will show the way to honoring the unsung men and women of real moral character who get no such accolades.
To them, then!