This video, which recently surfaced, supposedly shows Barack Obama speaking at the University of Chicago on Martin Luther King Day in 2002. He explains why “rich people” support non-violence but actually perpetrate a form of violence by taking advantage of tax loopholes and tricky accounting, which serve to “keep people down.”
Here’s the transcript as I made it out:
“The philosophy of non-violence only makes sense if the powerful can be made to recognize themselves in the powerless; only makes sense if the powerless can be made to recognize themselves in the powerful. The principle of empathy gives broader meaning, by the way, to Dr. King’s philosophy of non-violence. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but rich people are all for non-violence. Why wouldn’t they be? They’ve got what they want. They want to make sure nobody’s going to 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 tell you what, the employees of Enron feel violated. When a company town sees some distant executives made some decisions despite wage concessions, despite tax breaks, and they see their entire economy collapses, they feel violence.”
UPDATE: The clip originally surfaced at Patterico, which also posts a link to the (almost) full speech on YouTube.