By PATRICE LEWIS
I’m sure most people remember the snarky condescending remarks President Obama made in 2012: “If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. … If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
The gist of his speech is no business owner can take credit for his or her successful enterprise. Instead, we must give credit to the government, which built the roads and bridges and the Internet and other infrastructure that made any success possible.
Obama’s remarks rightfully caused a furor among small-business owners. So capitalism can’t work without extensive government regulations? Businesses can’t succeed without government funding? On what planet?
Why would the president make such a patently absurd claim? I believe the answer could be found in an Erik Rush column: “If business owners owe their success to others [especially the government], then it ostensibly justifies confiscating their wealth.”
Even David Chavern, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said in response to Obama’s speech, “Success is apparently a collective effort – but where was that ‘collective’ during the periods of risk-taking and failure? The vast majority of businesses fail. … Every day millions of people put their lives, savings, houses and families on the line and work 20 hours a day just to grab their small slice of the American dream. Where is the collective when all of this is going on? And if the collective is really responsible for success, how come everyone isn’t successful?”
Let’s face it, there are certain individuals who have the drive and interest to start their own business. These are the people who worked harder, studied more, took more risks and didn’t look for handouts. No one ever became successful by folding his or her hands and doing nothing, no matter how many roads and bridges there are.
But there are lots and lots of people to whom “success” means confiscating the wealth of the producers and redistributing it to those who don’t produce. After all, it’s unfair for wealthy people to have wealth. And “wealth” these days is defined as “having something the government wants.”
Last week on my WND column, a reader made the following comment: “Some time ago, I came to the realization that, living on a farm, a ‘shortage’ [means] there is no more to be had. A shortage in a city is that you do not have the money to buy more. This artificial view of reality is what makes the progressive possible. Progressives have a view of reality that starts somewhere in the middle, and they do not believe in the existence of the beginning of that chain. Things come from nowhere, take no work to produce, and exist in quantities where there would be enough for everybody if wealth was evenly distributed.”
I found this to be a fascinating analysis. When things are viewed from the middle, and the beginning of the chain isn’t visible, then it’s too easy to reach an entirely wrong conclusion. It’s the old “snapshot” problem: If you see a snapshot of something, it’s easy to assume it represents a fixed and eternal reality. But the viewers never sees what went into the snapshot. They never see the work and sacrifices. They only conclude it’s “unfair” when someone has something they want.
A reader sent a story that goes something like this: A liberal looks at a conservative’s sports car and asks, “How many people could have been fed for the money that car cost?” The conservative replies, “I’m not sure. But it fed a lot of families for the people who built it. It fed the people who made the tires. It fed the people who built the radio. It fed the people who mined the metal and harvested the rubber. It fed the people on the assembly line. It fed the people running the auto dealership. But I have to admit, I don’t know how many people it fed.”
This is the difference between capitalism and socialism. When you buy something, you put money in people’s pockets and give them dignity for their skills. This drives the economy and creates more demand for the product, which secures employment for more people.
But when you give someone something for nothing, you rob them of their dignity and self-worth.
Capitalism is freely giving your money in exchange for something of value. Socialism is taking your money against your will, and shoving something down your throat you never asked for.
Robert Heinlein once wrote: “Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded – here and there, now and then – are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty. This is known as ‘bad luck.'”
There’s an old saying: “The harder I work, the luckier I get.” But luck, as everyone knows, implies someone didn’t do anything to achieve whatever they got. In other words, luck implies the present situation had nothing to do with past sacrifices.
With the exception of winning the lottery, most “lucky” people aren’t lucky. They’re stubborn, they’re determined, they’re (sometimes) desperate, but they’re seldom lucky. They’ve made stupid mistakes and embarrassing decisions, learned from those errors, then applied what they learned to future endeavors, which then succeeded. This is what’s known as the Formula for Success.
Amazingly, their silent partner, the government, isn’t there during the sleepless nights, the failures, the mistakes, the sacrifices, or the long hours. But it’s always there to demand a cut of the profits. After all, you didn’t build that.
Obama, with his disdain for working Americans, will soon be out of office. But his legacy (and the legacy of his predecessors) of America’s massive redistribution scheme remains. We’re not over this recession/depression yet. Our national debt is so high that an economic crash is still very – very – likely. When that happens, you can forget your $15/hour minimum wage jobs. You can forget welfare and EBT cards. You can forget just about anything involving redistribution of wealth.
But now we have a president-elect who is interested in giving people back jobs and dignity, rather than spoon-feeding them baby cereal.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the difference between capitalism and socialism.
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