by Richard A. Epstein
August 27, 2013
The current inheritors of Martin Luther King Jr.'s civil rights movement never think beyond the illusory direct benefits to their favored short-term target, ignorant of the powerful pressures that chew up their social agenda. Rather than looking hard at their own programs, they tragically work to resurrect the moral outrage of 1963. The modern champions of the civil rights movement make overwrought comparisons to earlier days because they know that the regalvanized movement needs a fat target at which to shoot. The messy issues around labor, housing, and education don’t provide that target, but raise hard technical issues on which these leaders have nothing useful to contribute. So the current economic frustrations morph into a widespread uneasiness. Al Sharpton and his fellow speakers at the Washington rally have forfeited any claim to the universal appeal of the “I have a Dream” speech.