- Accuses rich people of venal motives for supporting nonviolence: "Why wouldn't they be? They've got what they want."
- Likens the use of tax loopholes and accounting to using fire hoses and attack dogs to attack protesters.
- Thinks "empathy" is the solution.
In what could become more controversial remarks, an old video of Barack Obama has surfaced showing the then-state senator accusing rich people of using their economic power to "violate" the lives of their employees, and keep them down.
Morgen Richmond appears to have uncovered this latest attack on the wealthy by the man who would be president. It comes from an address by Obama on Martin Luther King day in 2002, first uploaded to Google Video three years ago, and recently publicized on the blog Patterico's Pontifications.
Patterico describes the speech this way:
By and large it is a nice speech by a rising politician. Obama speaks about the need for empathy in society, about taking responsibility for our actions, and the audacity of hope. He levels barbs at the wealthy and unempathetic, but also criticizes those who blame the system for the arrest of O.J. Simpson and the crack epidemic. Although the audio quality is poor because of the echo in the church, one can tell that Obama is well spoken and articulate. Joe Biden would have been proud.
But there are a few times when the mask slips, just a little.
View the controversial section of Morgen's video below, followed by Patterico's transcript:
The philosophy of nonviolence only makes sense if the powerful can be made to recognize themselves in the powerless. It only makes sense if the powerless can be made to recognize themselves in the powerful. You know, the principle of empathy gives broader meaning, by the way, to Dr. King’s philosophy of nonviolence. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but rich people are all for nonviolence. Why wouldn’t they be? They’ve got what they want. They want to make sure people don’t take their stuff. But the principle of empathy recognizes that there are more subtle forms of violence to which we are answerable. The spirit of empathy condemns not only the use of firehoses and attack dogs to keep people down but also accountants and tax loopholes to keep people down. I’m not saying that what Enron executives did to their employees is the moral equivalent of what Bull Connor did to black folks, but I’ll tell you what, the employees at Enron feel violated. When a company town sees its plant closing because some distant executives made some decision despite the wage concessions, despite the tax breaks, and they see their entire economy collapsing, they feel violence.
TheBlaze has not yet managed to find evidence of these clips getting traction during the 2008 election cycle. However, that's not to say that their existence went completely unnoticed, and given that the video was posted three years ago, it's eminently plausible that at least one media outlet noticed. Nevertheless, it seems this is the first sustained coverage these clips have received, and they are certainly of interest.
View the full, unedited speech below:
You can watch more excerpts from the speech over at Patterico's Pontifications.