Obama’s campaign stop in Roanoke may well herald the end of his presidential campaign. Saying that entrepreneurs aren’t responsible for their own success, success that should be attributed to government instead of business owners, isn’t just offensive to the huge chunk of the population that is building success on their own, it is utterly alien to American values. Those remarks out Obama as a true-believing Marxist, someone utterly out of touch with American enterprise, and completely unqualified to lead this nation.
Here’s the stunning idiocy, courtesy of a transcript provided by the White House. Emphasis is mine.
There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me — because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t — look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. (Applause.)
If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.
These ideas of course didn’t just pop up in Obama’s head, they’ve been bouncing around in liberal minds for quite a while. Just a few months ago Massachusetts Senate Candidate Elizabeth Warren — of fauxchahontas fame – was spouting similar rhetoric at her campaign events.
There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. NOBODY! You built a factory out there – good for you! But I wanna be clear, you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers – the rest of us paid to educate – you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did, now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea, god bless, keep a big hunk of it, but part of the underling social contract – you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.
When fauxcahontas made her somewhat reasoned remarks, liberals all over gobbled it up as if this was some sort of bold, new progressive idea. The idea that you owe a debt to society if you’re successful upset a lot of free market conservatives, but because this was pretty carefully framed as a ’social contract’ (interestingly enough, a ’social contract’ is involuntarily imposed, but that’s another story) where an entrepreneur could still “keep a big hunk” of what they’d earned, it didn’t inflame them all too badly. This was an argument about the degree of involuntary wealth confiscation, not a discussion of absolute wealth confiscation after all. It was another bout of class warfare progressive socialism, and not all that novel at that since the same silly ideas that entrepreneurs somehow owe the rest of us something for their success has been floating around in liberal minds since at least the early 1900s.
Obama took this progressive socialism and just ripped off the progressive veneer, demonstrating a decidedly more Marxist philosophy motivates him. No “big hunk” for entrepreneurs at all with Obama — just a complete rejection than a successful entrepreneur owned any of his success at all. This philosophy digs way past the social progressivism of the early 1900s all the way back to the foundational core of hard-left liberal thought, conceived in the mid 1800’s by a guy named Karl Marx:
The distinguishing feature of Communism is not the abolition of property generally, but the abolition of bourgeois property. But modern bourgeois private property is the final and most complete expression of the system of producing and appropriating products, that is based on class antagonisms, on the exploitation of the many by the few.
In this sense, the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.
If you as an entrepreneur didn’t build your business, if government is really the entity responsible for the success of your business, it’s not quite that much of a stretch to argue that government should have the power to take that business from you now, is it? It’s not even yours after all, it was just misappropriated from the proletariat. You’re just a member of the borgeoise that’s supposed to be “swept away” by the Communist Revolution, anyways.
Contrast that sort of though with something that should be a little more familiar to us:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…
Someday we ought to have presidents talk about the principles underlying that document. It would be a rather refreshing change of pace. Still, it’s useful to see Obama finally draw back the curtains on exactly what his core beliefs happen to be, especially since he’s been in office nearly four years and up until now he hasn’t done anything to explain his philosophy to the electorate.
UPDATE: The American Enterprise Institute makes the same connection between Obama and Fauxcahontas, but hasn’t quite picked up on the Marxist influence evident in this line of thought. An interesting take, though.
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