My Favorite 1960s Radical: Malcom X

Many in the liberty movement have reservations about the radical activists of the 1960s, often because of their associations with socialism.  However, I have found Malcom X to be someone I really admire from this era that does not posses that stigma. 

There are many things to admire about the man besides his courage to stand up for black rights, and ability to inspire and radicalize people.  These are the two things that initially earned my respect for him, but when you look further, you find that he was also a believer in the right to self defense, the Constitution, and that he hated government.  

Here is a clip of him speaking on the issues of education, non-violence, guns, and government:

As you can tell Malcom X was an excellent speaker, and felt strongly about how the government has harmed the lives of black people in America.

One of the differences between him and Martin Luther King Jr. was that Malcom praised the right to self defense and encouraged black men and women to use it if violence was being used upon them.  King obviously used peaceful resistance tactics and thought any violence being associated with black people would be harmful to their cause.  Malcom X, by contrast, encouraged owning firearms and recognized the historical and Constitutional importance of them.  

Malcom X is a controversial figure in the civil rights movement and I’m sure many would disagree with his ideas, but I think he is a man worth listening to.  Like many of us in YAL, he was a champion of freedom, and even went as far to say that “the price of freedom is death.” He may not have had the same idea of freedom as you or I, but he certainly rallied behind that cause.  

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