Arc of the Moral Universe

The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.

—Martin Luther King, Jr. paraphrasing Theodore Parker, August, 1967

Heartening words, delivered by King in an inspiring fashion. This morning I got to asking myself though, what reason have I for believing in Parker’s concept of a moral universe? I found Parker’s oratory against the war with Mexico well-crafted and affecting when I read it this summer, but I am not in the habit of studying nineteenth century cosmologists, and it occurred to me that there is no empirical evidence for believing Parker’s claim.

I was considering the question this morning perhaps as a result of attending an Our Revolution party last night, and a Brand New Congress meeting the night before. Neither organization seems to present the slightest hope of impeding a Clinton or Trump continuation of Bush and Obama’s wars. What if instead of Parker and King it was Eric Blair who was the more prescient?

But always — do not forget this, Winston — always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.

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