Dr. King On Power, Love and Justice

Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice.

Dr. King in conversation with President Lyndon Johnson (credit: Yoichi R. Okamoto & LBJ Library and Museum)

In Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos Or Community?, Dr. King wrote:

Power, properly understood, is the ability to achieve purpose.  It is the strength required to bring about social, political or economic changes.  In this sense power is not only desirable but necessary in order to implement the demands of love and justice.  One of the greatest problems of history is that the concepts of love and power are usually contrasted as polar opposites.  Love is identified with a resignation of power and power with a denial of love.  It was this misinterpretation that caused Nietzsche, the philosopher of the “will to power,” to reject the Christian concept of love.  It was this same misinterpretation which induced Christian theologians to reject Nietzsche’s philosophy of the “will to power” in the name of the Christian idea of love.  What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive and that love without power is sentimental and anemic.  Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice.  Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love.

Think on that.

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Rob Fields is the founder and publisher of Bold As Love Magazine. Follow him on Twitter at @robfields.

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