It seems that you're asking whether it's possible that more good has been created in the world as a result of King's early death than might otherwise have been the case had he lived longer.
I'm just observing the fact that he was killed, and proposing that is both the timing and manner of his death may be a factor in the MLK saint brand.
We haven't spoken of the manner of his death, but that seems a factor too. He didn't die of the flu, this historic man of peace was violently murdered, which connects the King brand to one of the central iconic stories of our culture, the Jesus story. The fact that he was murdered by a lower class white man meshes perfectly with the story line, in a way that say, the murder of Malcolm X by a black man doesn't.
A further discussion might explore the impact of the MLK saint brand. It seems quite positive now, given that the King brand serves as an ideal, a clear and inspiring example of behavior we wish to celebrate and encourage. How many of today's children will go on to do great things as result of their exposure to this brand?
It's harder to calculate the impact over time. We can see how the Jesus brand has been manipulated and mangled etc. Time will tell...
That may be the case but it's purely speculative as for all we know King could have gone on to become the first black President and the world today could be a very different place. Any number of things could have happened, good and bad.
Yes, I agree with all this. Of course it's speculative.
My only point is that while anything could have indeed happened, one possibility that seems not too likely is that the King brand would have remained as pristine perfect as it currently is. This isn't a reflection on King himself, but just an observation on the reality of the human condition. As example, if King had become President he would have become mired in all the controversial complexities that afflict any President. As a result of some policy choice or another, some people who aren't currently mad at him would have become mad.
The act of murdering King is bad though no matter what good may have resulted from it so bad acts should be condemned...
I agree the act should be condemned, and it has been condemned a billion times. I condemn it. We all condemn it.
So, does our condemnation, which we all agree on, require us to now stop thinking?
...and saying that James Earl Ray might have done us a favour seems to imply that he did something good when he didn't.
I didn't say Ray did something good in the moral sense.
Whether his action had positive implications within the larger picture is another question.
Here's another example of this kind of irony. You know who saved the Democratic Party from oblivion? Yep, that's right, George Bush.
The history of the Clinton administration was to treat terrorism as a law enforcement issue. This plays in to the stereotype that Dems are weak on national defense.
Suppose Gore had won, and then 911 happened. The entire terror issue would have been branded as a classic Dem failure, this brand would have been accepted by the public, and it would have taken them a generation to get past the political catastrophe.
Without George Bush, here's the current President of the US.