“The Three Evils,” Delivered at the National Conference on New Politics August 31, 1967, Chicago, Il
What they [Democrats and Republicans] truly advocate is Socialism for the rich and Capitalism for the poor.
[W]e are now experiencing the coming to the surface of a triple prong sickness that has been lurking within our body politic from its very beginning. That is the sickness of racism, excessive materialism, and militarism.
[W]hen scientific power outruns moral power, we end up with guided missiles and misguided men. When we foolishly maximize the minimum and minimize the maximum, we sign the warrant for our own day of doom. It is this moral lag in our thing-oriented society that blinds us to the human reality around us and encourages us in the greed and the exploitation which creates the sector of poverty in the midst of wealth. Again we have deluded ourselves into believing the myth that Capitalism grew and prospered out of the protestant ethic of hard work and sacrifice. The fact is that Capitalism was built on the exploitation and suffering of black slaves and continues to thrive on the exploitation of the poor both black and white, both here and abroad.
The time has come for America to face the inevitable choice between materialism and humanism…We must also realize that the problems of racial injustice and economic injustice cannot be solved without a radical redistribution of political and economic power.
The final phase of our national sickness is the disease of militarism…We are arrogant in professing to be concerned about the freedom of foreign nations while not setting our own house in order…We are willing to make a Negro 100% of a citizen in warfare, but reduce him to 50% of a citizen on American soil.
No enemy has ever been able to cause such damage to us as we inflict upon ourselves. The inexorable decay of our urban centers has flared into terrifying domestic conflict as the pursuit of foreign war dissolves our wealth and energy.
When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, economic exploitation, and militarism are incapable of being conquered. A civilization can flounder as readily in the face of moral bankruptcy as it can through financial bankruptcy.
True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It understands that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.
A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.