A person-oriented society - MLK's "Beyond Vietnam" Speech
In light of the movements that have occurred in the past 12 months, I wanted to take a moment to highlight some paragraphs from Martin Luther King Jr's speech titled "Beyond Vietnam - A Time to Break Silence" delivered on April 4, 1967. (That is exactly one year before he was assassinated.) This is only an excerpt. The full text is available to read online at
This speech is less often quoted and noted, but I think today is perhaps more relevant than when first delivered. He speaks about civil rights, non-violence, peace instead of war and equality instead of greed. The lines in bold were added by me.
Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken, the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investments. I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin...we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.
A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say, "This is not just." It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of South America and say, "This is not just." The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just.
More on that at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poor_People's_Campaign