Home/Rod Dreher/Who Is The MLK Of The Deplorables?

Who Is The MLK Of The Deplorables?

King speaks at the March on Washington (US National Archives)

This is blowing up on the right-wing Internets this morning. It’s a Project Veritas undercover compilation of the chief legal counsel for PBS letting it all hang out regarding his opinions of conservatives:

You should watch the whole thing. You might say that they took these quotes out of context. But listen to the whole thing — there is no way any of that sounds any better in any context.

I am utterly confident that this man, Michael Beller, means what he says. I heard that same kind of hatred from time to time when I moved in circles that included elites like him. So many of you readers have over the years reported the same kind of extreme spite within the media, academic, and corporate circles where you work.

People like Beller really do hate us. He is a powerful man. They are all powerful, within their own spheres. Here’s the thing, though: when people on the Right do things like give themselves over to quixotic quests like “Stop The Steal,” show up at big public rallies with guns (even legally brandished), and, I dunno, stage an insurrection on the US Capitol and stomp around the halls chanting, “Hang Mike Pence!” — things like that only increase and solidify the power of people like Michael Beller.

They do so because they confirm the views of those people, and also of liberals and moderates who don’t share Beller’s hatred, but fear the right-wing mob more than they loathe Beller’s bitchy snobbery.

Here’s a thought experiment. Imagine that it’s 1957, and a young civil rights activist secretly records a high-level Washington bureaucrat — someone of Beller’s station — making the same kind of vicious remarks about black civil rights advocates. What would be the smarter move?

  1. For civil rights leaders and activists to stage marches, including violent marches, and embrace violent rhetoric; or
  2. For those same leaders and activists to embrace peaceful rhetoric and actions, including civil disobedience, to gain sympathy for their cause?

The answer is obvious. The civil rights leaders knew that they were badly outnumbered, and that if they were going to prevail, they had to win a majority of Americans to their cause. They did this through non-violence. Can you imagine how hard it was for King and the others to take beatings and abuse, year after year, without fighting back?

But that’s how they won! That, and having concrete goals.

You will remember that the Democratic data scientist David Shor lost his job last summer for posting this data. The loony young left within the Democratic party professional establishment despised him for casting a shadow of a doubt over whether or not the BLM protests and riots were anything but splendid:

Take the same logic and apply it to our situation on the Right. After the Washington insurrection, do you really think that the share of Republican vote will increase because of that?

In the year of race riots, Antifa, “All Cops Are Bastards,” and so forth, had Donald Trump had been only a bit more normal, he would have been re-elected and the Senate would still be Republican. But that’s not how it shook out.

The Right has to understand that it has the Michael Beller class firmly against us — and they hold the power in this society. Violent radicalism, and the language of violent radicalism, only increases their power. Trump pulled off an extraordinary thing, getting elected, and showed the power of populist ideas. But he did not govern with discipline or intelligence, or by principle, and thus squandered a golden opportunity. It is going to be hard to get that opportunity back. Inevitably the hatred the the Belleristas will cause them to overplay their hand, in the same way the passions of the MAGA mob drove it to do the same thing. But we can’t count on that.

We need serious strategy. We need serious leadership: moral, disciplined, driven by love, not hate. The question is this: Who is the Martin Luther King of the Deplorables?

Do we even have the culture on the Right — especially in the churches — capable of producing  an MLK of the Deplorables?

UPDATE:Michael Beller resigned. 

UPDATE.2: It turns out that Beller was not PBS’s chief legal counsel, but rather much farther down the totem pole. I regret taking Project Veritas at their word. Every word Beller was caught on tape saying was repulsive and offensive, but he was not the power-holder that O’Keefe said he was. I think they should have left him alone. The general view on liberal power-holder elitism I espouse is still true, but I regret that they went after someone relatively low-level, and I regret not checking his position out before promoting O’Keefe’s clip. Won’t make that mistake again.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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