Human Events Blog

Obama dismisses “nonviolence” in 2002 video

Over at Patterico’s Pontifications, another controversial Obama video has been unearthed.  This one covers a 2002 speech Obama delivered at a church on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

As Patterico sums it up, “by and large it is a nice speech by a rising politician,” but “there are a few times when the mask slips, a little.”  Here is the passage that has been raising eyebrows today:

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 fire hoses 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…

(Emphases mine.)  Rich people are all for nonviolence, because they just want to make sure people don’t take their stuff?  Use of accountants and tax loopholes is a subtle form of violence against the noble poor?  The employees of companies understandably feel a violent response to their “violation” by corporate policies?  How dare those sinister fat cats refuse to obey the directives of their political masters, accepting their wage concessions and tax breaks as rewards?  Does that mean the countless American blown out of the workforce by Obama’s policies should feel violated by our collapsing economy, and contemplate violence?

This is all a crude version of the class-war anti-capitalist claptrap that still forms the core of Obama’s belief system.  He’s still very invested in a mythology of heroic Big Government social engineers protecting innocent Little Guys from the ravages of economic liberty.  He remains politically dependent upon a paranoid middle class viewing corporate interests as predators… unless, of course, they receive the official seal of approval from our political class.  Perhaps a former Enron employee could meet up with some of the non-union Delphi retirees who got screwed when Obama gave General Motors to his union buddies, and they could compare notes to see who feels more “violated.”

There are more clips at Patterico’s blog, including one where Obama says “it’s hard to imagine that the powerful in our society would tolerate the burgeoning prison industrial complex if they imagined that the black men and Latino men that are being imprisoned were something like their sons.”  Someone should ask him if he still believes that.

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