This video was posted to YouTube by Morgen Richmond and was brought to our attention by our friend Patterico.

It is from a January 21, 2002, speech at the University of Chicago.

Transcript via Patterico:

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 . . .



The lapdog media is silent, of course, but citizens are outraged:

Several people interpreted Obama’s statement as condoning violence committed by those who see themselves as disenfranchised:

  • Fire and Adjust!

    Does the spirit of empathy also condemn IRS accountants who fine regular working folks yet allow the Secretary of Treasury, members of congress, and members of the White House staff off scotfreo (scot-free) even though they’ve failed (sometimes willfully) to file or pay their own taxes?

    Does the spirit of empathy also condemn inequitable tax burdens placed on people who’ve been rewarded for their hard work and risk taking?

    Does the spirit of empathy condemn the use of dog whistles by the people who cry racism the most?

  • Bill

    would be a great Romney comeback to BHO tonight. I will not begin to discuss tax increases on the rich until you certify that everyone in your administration and in your executive branch are paid up on the taxes they owe, moreover, my message to Congress is the same. To me it is unconscionable to even consider raising taxes on anyone until taxpayer funded government employees have filed and paid their taxes. If they don’t they should be fired immediately.

  • redheadgrl

    So does Mr. Obama consider Dr. King rich? And that was why Dr. King was against violence? Did Dr. King have awesome accountants that found the LEGAL loopholes in the tax code? Geez. I tried to have a discussion with an Obama supporter the other day and she said she can’t vote for Romney because of his character – he didn’t pay enough taxes. I asked her, if you’re upset about the LEGAL tax breaks he took advantage of, why aren’t you upset with Congress and the tax laws that allow these tax breaks? She came back with “Oh, so just because it’s legal, you think it’s ok?” I said, YEP. Who wants to pay more taxes than they are legally obligated to pay?

    As for Enron, I just read “Conspiracy of Fools”, and what happened there is crazy, and can be tied back to the SEC for allowing the use of mark-to-market accounting for their gas/electricity trading. Of course, this allowed for huge fraud by the CFO and his team and the shell games they created with accounting. Government oversight was totally missing in their SEC filings (dating back to the early 1990s) along with corporate malfeasance and dereliction of duty by board. It really had nothing to do with the tax code and loopholes the executives might have used on their personal returns.

  • Richard Wells

    Trillion Dollars. We throw this number around all the time. But how
    much is it. 16 trillion dollars is enough to carpet the entire states of
    Delaware, Road Island and Florida in Dollar Bills. Now if
    reelect Mr Obama the Debt will grow to about 20 Trillion Dollars. But what
    the hell we can just carpet a few more states. Think about it folks. We
    need to get a handle on this before it gets a handle on us. It’s not to
    late yet, but we cannot afford another 4 years.

  • Bowdoin81

    Plant closing = violence.
    Violence = initiation of force.
    Initiation of force = abbrogation of individual rights.
    Therefore, plant closing = abbrogation of individual rights.
    Executives responsible for plant closings are liable.
    This is the America Obama aims to deliver.

  • John (it true me am)

    This video is far more powerful than Obama’s panderig. This speaks to his beliefs, his personal world view. It fits squarely in Wright’s Black Liberation Theology and the drum beat of class warfare we find ourselves faced with.

  • ClintonsTart

    True colors!