Martin Luther King Jr: The Arc of the Moral Universe is Long, but it Bends Towards Justice

The world marches forward into the new year with a mix of hope and trepidation. The words of Martin Luther King who warned that either we commit to “nonviolent coexistence or violent coannihilation” ring as true today as they did when they were spoken in 1968. In that speech, King stated prophetically that “this may well be mankind’s last chance to choose between chaos and community”.

Had Martin Luther King not been gunned down on the balcony of the Loraine Motel just at the very moment when he was leading a transformation of the civil rights movement into a global movement for economic justice and also resisting the Vietnam War (which today’s Middle East wars are but an extension), the world might have become a very different place.

We stand at a moment which is shaped by great danger as the potential for nuclear war grips our future despite the many olive branches of peace having been offered to the west by the leaders of the multipolar alliance and growing Belt and Road Initiative. Unbeknownst to many westerners, this alliance has generated a new economic-security architecture, which has brought King’s dream of a world of peace and cooperation into reality and which today provides the greatest salvation to the west.

Martin Luther King Jr who, who would have been 92 years old this year understood something deeper about the nature of the species and the lawful universe in which we were created to which we must tune our hearts and minds if we are to be able to navigate through the oncoming storms facing civilization. No where was this vision made more clear than in King’s August 1967 speech titled “Where do We go from Here?”

“I want to say to you as I move to my conclusion, as we talk about “where do we go from here?” that we must honestly face the fact that the movement must address itself to the question of restructuring the whole of American society…

Now, don’t think you have me in a bind today. I’m not talking about communism. What I’m talking about is far beyond communism. …Communism forgets that life is individual. Capitalism forgets that life is social. And the kingdom of brotherhood is found neither in the thesis of communism nor the antithesis of capitalism, but in a higher synthesis. It is found in a higher synthesis that combines the truths of both. Now, when I say questioning the whole society, it means ultimately coming to see that the problem of racism, the problem of economic exploitation, and the problem of war are all tied together. These are the triple evils that are interrelated…

And I must confess, my friends, that the road ahead will not always be smooth. There will still be rocky places of frustration and meandering points of bewilderment. There will be inevitable setbacks here and there. And there will be those moments when the buoyancy of hope will be transformed into the fatigue of despair. Our dreams will sometimes be shattered and our ethereal hopes blasted. We may again, with tear-drenched eyes, have to stand before the bier of some courageous civil rights worker whose life will be snuffed out by the dastardly acts of bloodthirsty mobs. But difficult and painful as it is, we must walk on in the days ahead with an audacious faith in the future….

When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds of despair, and when our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, let us remember that there is a creative force in this universe working to pull down the gigantic mountains of evil, a power that is able to make a way out of no way and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows. Let us realize that the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

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