NO ONE is entirely self-made. That is a truism. But we must recognise merit, hard work, innovation, risk, and most importantly, actual value add.
That's the key difference between socialists and capitalists.
Capitalists recognise individual effort and RISK and expect rewards to be directly related to the value of output (not effort!) – where value is assessed by us, the market, not by a central planner. Socialists, on the other hand, undermine individual effort and risk (since as John Rawls said, our talents belong to the society – we are owned by others) and expect reward to be based on need.
Big difference in these two perspectives. One is based on liberty and equal opportunity; the other on EQUALITY.
Here's what Obama said recently (at a Campaign Event in Roanoke, Virginia).
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. 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.
[Sanjeev: This is an absurd argument. The teacher is already PAID at the marginal product - for the service provided. This service was not free; there is no residue owed to anyone. In any event, the teacher taught 100s of students, but not all students put in the effort or took risks to succeed. The contribution of our teachers is definitely positive but nothing compared to the effort put in - and risks taken - by individuals.]
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.
The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.
[Sanjeev: Through such undermining of individual creativity, risk taking, and genius, Obama presumably wants to say that businesses are mere mechanical cogs in the wheel, their success was in any event a largely INEVITABLE consequence of inputs put in by others; HENCE BUSINESSES OWE EVERYONE THEIR EARNINGS. Pretty strong socialist argument. ]
To me the give away is the expression on Obama's face: a supercilious disdain for the entrepreneur.
America, looks like your time as a super power is ending fast, for your leaders have started belittling INDIVIDUAL EFFORT, INNOVATION, RISK, AND ENERGY.
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