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A Moving Speech - Made in 1940, Still Relevant 71 Years Later

"Hi.  My name is Charlie Chaplin.  I don't speak often, but when I do, I say the greatest speech ever."

Someone shared this video with me and I had to pass it on.  This is a speech from "The Great Dictator," a movie written by and starring Charlie Chaplin.  It was made in 1940, and was the first movie to openly blast the Nazi regime.

Mr. Chaplin wrote this speech 71 years ago, and the message still rings true.  Share this post if you agree.

God bless America.  God bless capitalism, free enterprise, and the ability to innovate.  But I don't think our founding fathers expected 1% of the US population to control the wealth of this nation.  I am not asking for a communist "something for everyone" solution.  Entrepreneurs should be allowed to make what they earn.  But when a CEO's salary is 10000% higher than an average employee, there is a lopsidedness that needs to be addressed.

One sign I recently saw said "How about a maximum wage?"  Cute idea.  There's a minimum, what about a maximum?  Or a threshold keeping executives from making no more than x% more than the median salary of all non-executives?

I plan on going into business some day.  I have some great ideas.  If I become ultra-successful, I plan on sharing the wealth.  If I'm running a business and making $500k a year into my own pocket, you better damn-well believe my employees are going to be paid more than $7.75 an hour...

Wealth and greed are not the same thing.  The protesters are not attacking the wealthy.  They are attacking the greedy, the corrupt, the immoral.  I am the 53%.  I am the 99%.  (and yes, you can be both)  I am a US Citizen and I refuse to profit at the cost of another's plight.

Bravo, Charlie.  Bravo.

For those asking for a transcript of the speech:

I'm sorry but I don't want to be an Emperor, that's not my business. I don't want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible, Jew, gentile, black man, white. We all want to help one another, human beings are like that. We all want to live by each other's happiness, not by each other's misery. We don't want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone and the earth is rich and can provide for everyone.

The way of life can be free and beautiful. But we have lost the way.

Greed has poisoned men's souls, has barricaded the world with hate;
has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed.

We have developed speed but we have shut ourselves in:
machinery that gives abundance has left us in want.

Our knowledge has made us cynical,
our cleverness hard and unkind.

We think too much and feel too little:

More than machinery we need humanity;

More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness.

Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.

The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men, cries out for universal brotherhood for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me I say "Do not despair".

The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress: the hate of men will pass and dictators die and the power they took from the people, will return to the people and so long as men die [now] liberty will never perish. . .

Soldiers: don't give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you and enslave you, who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel, who drill you, diet you, treat you as cattle, as cannon fodder.

Don't give yourselves to these unnatural men, machine men, with machine minds and machine hearts. You are not machines. You are not cattle. You are men. You have the love of humanity in your hearts. You don't hate, only the unloved hate. Only the unloved and the unnatural. Soldiers: don't fight for slavery, fight for liberty.

In the seventeenth chapter of Saint Luke it is written:
"The kingdom of God is within man"
Not one man, nor a group of men, but in all men; in you, the people.

You the people have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness. You the people have the power to make life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy let's use that power, let us all unite.

Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give you the future and old age and security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power, but they lie. They do not fulfil their promise, they never will. Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people. Now let us fight to fulfil that promise.

Let us fight to free the world, to do away with national barriers, do away with greed, with hate and intolerance.

Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men's happiness.

Soldiers! In the name of democracy, let us all unite!
Please Share it! :)

7 witty retorts:

Pickleope said...

Chaplin actually wrote that, not someone for him? I have a new respect for that little tramp. And you're absolutely right.

Singedwingangel said...

sharing this all over the interwebs LOVE IT

Zombie said...

I had no idea Charlie Chaplin wrote his own movies. Awesome. :D

Andie (aka Yandie, Goddess of pickles, but not signed in) said...

Is that a transcript of the speech? I can't watch vids at work :-(

Matthew MacNish said...

I've seen this before, but it never gets any less relevant.

MRanthrope said...

I start getting choked up at the end of that every time I heard it.

D4 said...

That was beautiful...


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