The Brett Kimberlin Saga:

Follow this link to my BLOCKBUSTER STORY of how Brett Kimberlin, a convicted terrorist and perjurer, attempted to frame me for a crime, and then got me arrested for blogging when I exposed that misconduct to the world. That sounds like an incredible claim, but I provide primary documents and video evidence proving that he did this. And if you are moved by this story to provide a little help to myself and other victims of Mr. Kimberlin’s intimidation, such as Robert Stacy McCain, you can donate at the PayPal buttons on the right. And I thank everyone who has done so, and will do so.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Moral Absolutism and Revolution: My Martin Luther King Day Tribute

This picture of Dr. King, in minister's robes and standing before the American flag, is oddly appropriate given
the subject of this post
As regular readers know, every year I try to write a post celebrating Dr. King’s birthday.  As I have said, if Dr. King had not been born, or if he didn’t do what he did, I probably would not have gone to college, let alone graduated from Yale Law School,* I would not be a lawyer, and I very likely would not have been legally allowed to marry my wife.  So a debt of gratitude is appropriately owed.

This year I will talk about a passage that you might not know of from Dr. King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail.

I remember when I first read the letter—or thought I read it—in middle school in North Carolina, I was less than impressed.  I remember reading this passage in particular:

You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court's decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may well ask: “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.”

And I remember thinking that was, at best, only a partial answer to the question.  What, after all, was the difference between an unjust law and a just law?  Certainly the KKK would tend to think the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments were unjust laws, so what do you say to them?

Well, the answer is that the book I read it in was censoring Dr. King’s words.  Here’s the passage they left out of my textbook:

Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority. Segregation, to use the terminology of the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, substitutes an “I it” relationship for an “I thou” relationship and ends up relegating persons to the status of things. Hence segregation is not only politically, economically and sociologically unsound, it is morally wrong and sinful. Paul Tillich has said that sin is separation. Is not segregation an existential expression of man's tragic separation, his awful estrangement, his terrible sinfulness? Thus it is that I can urge men to obey the 1954 decision of the Supreme Court, for it is morally right; and I can urge them to disobey segregation ordinances, for they are morally wrong.

(Source.)  Ah, now that makes a little more sense, doesn’t it?  Of course the side of evil will still try to echo his words and say that segregation is good and desegregation is evil, but it will be wrong... more or less because God says so.  Dr. King was not a moral relativist.  He did not believe that all points of view on what is right and what is wrong were equally valid.  He believed there was one right side, one wrong side, and (aside from personal moral failing) he tried to be on the right.

In fact, an early sermon I will discuss in a moment makes it clear that Dr. King believed that being a moral absolutist was a necessary ingredient in his success as a revolutionary. And yes, Dr. King was a revolutionary, in the style of democratic revolution fostered by our American system.  I have long said that our republic is designed to a significant amount to allow for “controlled revolution,” not by bullets but by ballots.**  Think about it.  Every four years we decide whether or not to “kill” the king (i.e. the President) not by literally killing whoever is in office, but by peacefully voting him or her out.  Likewise, every two years we get the opportunity to throw out the entirety of the House of Representatives, and every six years we can clean out the Senate.  Even the election of 1800, which swept Thomas Jefferson and his Republican Party** into power, was popularly known as the Revolution of 1800.  And while Dr. King’s revolution was focused more on the souls of Americans than getting any specific people into power, the kind of peaceful revolution that Dr. King led was exactly how our system was supposed to work.

Truly, every major revolutionary in history was a moral absolutist, starting with the guys who Founded this country.  The Declaration of Independence, for instance, says that

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

The very first words of that passage—“We hold these truths to be self-evident”—were not literally true.  There were tons of kings and tyrants who believed just the opposite, not to mention a multitude of slaveholders in America who disputed the point.  What they really meant is that if you couldn’t agree on those principles as being axiomatically true, then there was no point in further discussion.  If you didn’t agree that all people had an equal right to life and liberty, you were beyond convincing.

Likewise, the other major set of founders—the people who founded the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments—were not moral relativists, either.  The great mass of them were evangelical Christians who believed that slavery was a sin and took the Declaration’s preamble as divinely inspired.  Even Abraham Lincoln—who was less expressively religious than many at the time—made it clear that his opposition to slavery involved his rejection of moral relativism.  For instance, consider this speech he gave when praising a gradual emancipation statute in Maryland:

The world has never had a good definition of the word liberty, and the American people, just now, are much in want of one. We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatable things, called by the same name—liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatable names—liberty and tyranny.

The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep’s throat, for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as a liberator, while the wolf denounces him for the same act as the destroyer of liberty, especially as the sheep was a black one. Plainly the sheep and the wolf are not agreed upon a definition of the word liberty; and precisely the same difference prevails to—day among us human creatures, even in the North, and all professing to love liberty. Hence we behold the processes by which thousands are daily passing from under the yoke of bondage, hailed by some as the advance of liberty, and bewailed by others as the destruction of all liberty. Recently, as it seems, the people of Maryland have been doing something to define liberty; and thanks to them that, in what they have done, the wolf’s dictionary, has been repudiated.

Inigo Montoya is very disappointed with those who
call terrorists "Freedom Fighters."
Lincoln was getting at the idea that evil often called good “evil,” and evil “good,” often on the same terms that good people used that language.  And we see this pattern today, where it is objectively true that “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” in the sense that the Islamofascist terrorists are called “freedom fighters” by some because some people have redefined “freedom” to mean the very opposite of what the word actually means.  There will always be a dictionary of the wolf.  There will always be those who oppose liberty and would redefine “liberty” to describe what is actually tyranny.  And sometimes, those who read from the dictionary of the wolf will be the ones in power.

Whether we are talking about the Founders of 1776, or the those who led the “Second American Revolution” in 1860 (as the Republicans of that era called the election of Lincoln and the Civil War), or the more peaceful revolutionaries led by Dr. King, their rejection of moral relativism and their embrace of moral absolutism has been a common thread.

And this, dear reader, is not a bug.  It is a feature.  I would posit that it was a necessary ingredient, that these various revolutionaries could not have been revolutionary if they were also moral relativists.  Consider, for example, one of Dr. King’s earliest sermons: Rediscovering Lost Values.  You can read the whole thing, here, or you can listen, here:

But I want to highlight one passage in particular:

The first thing is that we have adopted in the modern world a sort of a relativistic ethic. Now, I’m not trying to use a big word here. I’m trying to say something very concrete. And that is that, that we have accepted the attitude that right and wrong are merely relative to our. . . .

[long space missing from the recording]

Most people can’t stand up for their, for their convictions, because the majority of people might not be doing it. (Amen, Yes) See, everybody’s not doing it, so it must be wrong. And, and since everybody is doing it, it must be right. (Yes, Lord help him) So a sort of numerical interpretation of what’s right.

But I’m here to say to you this morning that some things are right and some things are wrong. (Yes) Eternally so, absolutely so. It’s wrong to hate. (Yes, That’s right) It always has been wrong and it always will be wrong! (Amen) It’s wrong in America, it’s wrong in Germany, it’s wrong in Russia, it’s wrong in China! (Lord help him) It was wrong in two thousand B.c., and it’s wrong in nineteen fifty-four A.D.! It always has been wrong, (That’s right) and it always will be wrong! (That’s right) It’s wrong to throw our lives away in riotous living. (Yeah) No matter if everybody in Detroit is doing it. It’s wrong! (Yes) It always will be wrong! And it always has been wrong. It’s wrong in every age, and it’s wrong in every nation. Some things are right and some things are wrong, no matter if everybody is doing the contrary. Some things in this universe are absolute. The God of the universe has made it so. And so long as we adopt this relative attitude toward right and wrong, we’re revolting against the very laws of God himself. (Amen

In Dr. King’s eyes, moral relativism was the siren song of inaction.  How could he say that segregation was wrong, without first believing that right and wrong could not be a matter of mere opinion?  After all, if you believe that what is right or wrong is defined was what the majority thinks is right or wrong—or worse yet, what every individual thinks is right or wrong—then he couldn’t oppose racism—after all, the majority thought it was right.  He necessarily had to believe in an absolute, authoritative source of morality so that he could say “Some things are right and some things are wrong, no matter if everybody is doing the contrary.”  And without that belief, no revolution is possible.


* By which I mean that my ability to have a more equal opportunity as a disabled person was probably contingent on the success of the racial civil rights movement.  After all, if we couldn’t convince people to stop discriminating based on race, what chance would disabled people have?

** This is not to denigrate the role the Second Amendment plays in all of this.  The Second Amendment is designed to preserve the ability of the people to rebel should it become necessary—and one of the circumstances where it might become necessary is if the systems allowing for revolution by ballot and not bullet breaks down.  It might even be fair to say that part of the reason why our ballots are respected by those in power is because they are backed up by bullets.

*** Yes, Jefferson’s party was known as the Republican Party.  They later changed their name to the Democratic Party, the same we know of today—at least in the sense of it having an unbroken line of succession.  As for the Republican Party, it was consciously named that to represent what they saw as getting back to Jeffersonian principles, which was a dubious claim.  Certainly they were reclaiming some of what Jefferson believed by deciding that slavery was an affront to natural law, but the Republican Party was far more friendly to industry than Jefferson was likely to tolerate.  But all of that fits with the pattern in America of conservative revolution, where you are revolutionary, but simultaneously claim that you are simply reclaiming what the founders wanted in the first place, albeit dubiously.  Even Dr. King consciously followed that pattern, often saying that he was asking for nothing more than America to live up to its own ideals—such as those found in the Declaration of Independence.


Sidebar: So why did that textbook of mine leave that passage out?  My guess is because of fears that by leaving it in, the school would be seen as endorsing religion in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, which is foolish, but understandable in our litigious environment.


My wife and I have lost our jobs due to the harassment of convicted terrorist (and adjudicated pedophile) Brett Kimberlin, including an attempt to get us killed and to frame me for a crime carrying a sentence of up to ten years.  I know that claim sounds fantastic, but if you read starting here, you will see absolute proof of these claims using documentary and video evidence.  If you would like to help in the fight to hold Mr. Kimberlin accountable, please hit the donation link on the right.  And thank you.

Follow me at Twitter @aaronworthing, mostly for snark and site updates.  And you can purchase my book (or borrow it for free if you have Amazon Prime), Archangel: A Novel of Alternate, Recent History here.  And you can read a little more about my novel, here.



I have accused some people, particularly Brett Kimberlin, of reprehensible conduct.  In some cases, the conduct is even criminal.  In all cases, the only justice I want is through the appropriate legal process—such as the criminal justice system.  I do not want to see vigilante violence against any person or any threat of such violence.  This kind of conduct is not only morally wrong, but it is counter-productive.

In the particular case of Brett Kimberlin, I do not want you to even contact him.  Do not call him.  Do not write him a letter.  Do not write him an email.  Do not text-message him.  Do not engage in any kind of directed communication.  I say this in part because under Maryland law, that can quickly become harassment and I don’t want that to happen to him.

And for that matter, don’t go on his property.  Don’t sneak around and try to photograph him.  Frankly try not to even be within his field of vision.  Your behavior could quickly cross the line into harassment in that way too (not to mention trespass and other concerns).

And do not contact his organizations, either.  And most of all, leave his family alone.

The only exception to all that is that if you are reporting on this, there is of course nothing wrong with contacting him for things like his official response to any stories you might report.  And even then if he tells you to stop contacting him, obey that request.  That this is a key element in making out a harassment claim under Maryland law—that a person asks you to stop and you refuse.

And let me say something else.  In my heart of hearts, I don’t believe that any person supporting me has done any of the above.  But if any of you have, stop it, and if you haven’t don’t start.

1 comment:

  1. Great post. congrats on your win last week.