I saw this on social media over the the last week or so – a quote from Martin Luther King…:
“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
…followed by a list of moral advances that’d seem to prove the proposition:
1776: Do we really need a king?
1863: Should people own slaves?
1954: Should schools be desegregated?
1967: Can a state legally prohibit interracial marriage?
2017: Is taxation theft?
The guy who wrote the post – who I think would fairly describe himself as an anarcho-libertarian – meant well. So did the guy who made the original quote, Martin Luther King.
But can there be a more toxic, wishful, pollyannaish platitude than this one?
Kevin Williamson reframed it well – the moral arc of the universe bends inexorably toward tyranny and barbarism.
Look st the list of moral advances of the past 241years. through the good graces of pushback against *that* moral arc, often at huge risk (like the signers of the Declaration of Independence); the king and slavery were removed with an exceptional amount of bloodshed; desegregation was neither bloodless nor inevitable. The fact that some struggles don’t require bloodshed show that our society can, often, work out issues without going to war.
Not sure that aphorism recognizes what an anomaly modern Western civilization is. Definitely sure people who casually use the saying don’t know it.