A Revolutionary Act

***Amendment: This excerpt is from ‘The Great Dictator’ (1940)- Charlie Chaplin***

I caught a video on tumblr. It seemed particularly old. A general giving a motivational speech to his soldiers. It really touched me and I couldn’t stop thinking about a few quotes that I think can apply today. If anyone knows where the following excerpt came from please let me know in the comments.

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 shall like to help everyone if possible. Jew, Gentile, Black man, White. We all want to help one another; human beings are like that. We 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’s room for everyone and the good 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 goosestepped 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 airplane 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 disparaging men, women and children.

Victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. For those who can hear me I say, “Do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is 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, liberty will never perish.”

Soldiers don’t give yourself to brutes, men who despise you, enslave you, who regulate your lives. Tell you what to do, what to think, what to feel. Who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, use you 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; the unloved and 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 all men. In you, you the people have the power. The power to create machines, the power to create happiness. You the people have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy let us 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 a future and old age security. By the promise of these things brutes have risen to power but they lie, they do not fulfill that promise; they never will. Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people. Now let us fight to fulfill that promise. Let us fight to free the world. To do away with national barriers. To 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.

Truth is the new hate speech.

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” George Orwell


4 thoughts on “A Revolutionary Act

  1. Wu Young, Agent of M.E.

    The Great Dictator is a dope film. I took a class dealing with WWII and movies and this was one of the films we had to watch. Hitler was a giant Chaplin fan until see saw this movie which was a blatant middle finger aimed he and Benito Mossulini’s direction. At the end of the movie Chaplin broke character and the fourth wall and sent out a what seemed to be a plea to the free world to not give in to what was about to happen.

    Good post!


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