Imagine, for a moment, anyone saying stuff like this today.
I want to say one other challenge that we face is simply that we must find an alternative to war and bloodshed. Anyone who feels, and there are still a lot of people who feel that way, that war can solve the social problems facing mankind is sleeping through a great revolution. President Kennedy said on one occasion, “Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind.” The world must hear this. I pray to God that America will hear this before it is too late, because today we’re fighting a war.
… It is no longer a choice, my friends, between violence and nonviolence. It is either nonviolence or nonexistence. And the alternative to disarmament, the alternative to a greater suspension of nuclear tests, the alternative to strengthening the United Nations and thereby disarming the whole world, may well be a civilization plunged into the abyss of annihilation, and our earthly habitat would be transformed into an inferno that even the mind of Dante could not imagine.
Martin Luther King, Jr., Remaining Awake Through A Great Revolution
Nonviolence is absolute commitment to the way of love. Love is not emotional bash; it is not empty sentimentalism. It is the active outpouring of one’s whole being into the being of another.
Martin Luther King, Jr., 1957
And the leaders of the world today talk eloquently about peace. Every time we drop our bombs in North Vietnam, President Johnson talks eloquently about peace. What is the problem? They are talking about peace as a distant goal, as an end we seek, but one day we must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal we seek, but that it is a means by which we arrive at that goal. We must pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means. All of this is saying that, in the final analysis, means and ends must cohere because the end is preexistent in the means, and ultimately destructive means cannot bring about constructive ends.
Martin Luther King, Jr., “A Christmas Sermon” 24 December 1967
The chain reaction of evil–wars producing more wars — must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.
Wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.
Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation.
We have guided missiles and misguided men.
If you succumb to the temptation of using violence in the struggle…your chief legacy to the future will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos.
The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction…. The chain reaction of evil — hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars — must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.
“Strength to Love” (1963)
Today, many will claim to honor the man. But the truth is, if he were alive and saying the same things today many people would call him a traitor.
Aaron McGruder — in “The Return of the King,” last night’s episode of The Boondocks — had it exactly right.