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‘You Didn’t Build That’ and the Darkness of Collective Punishment

The fallacy of collective achievement led directly to last century's murderous scapegoating.

by
Oleg Atbashian

Bio

July 31, 2012 - 12:53 am
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As Obama’s “you didn’t build that” quote is probed and analyzed, note that the idea of redistributing other people’s achievements is only the tip of an ideological iceberg.

Lest we take Obama’s words out of context and be accused of “swift-quoting,” let’s review the full passage. Speaking at a campaign stop in Roanoke, VA, on July 13, Barack Obama said:

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. The point is, when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.

Per a friend of mine with a Ph.D. in mathematics:

We scientists say that in order to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first build the universe — and that takes about four billion years. But that doesn’t mean we can’t build anything new from existing resources. So telling a businessman “you didn’t build that” is pure sophistry. Such phrases have always been a preamble to looting. Coming from the president, it’s chilling.

Apart from the simple untruth that “government created the Internet,” Obama’s words boil down to the collectivist bromide that the individual is nothing without the society and the state. As one would expect, Obama didn’t come up with it on his own. Standing on the shoulders of his collectivist predecessors, he ineptly restated Mussolini’s motto:

All individuals or groups are relative, only to be conceived in their relation to the State.

Benito’s fellow collectivist Adolf Hitler agrees:

Our nation can achieve permanent health only from within on the basis of the principle: The common interest before self-interest.

If the businessman “didn’t build that,” who did? Apparently, all of us did. And if the credit is equally shared, so must be the reward. Jackpot winners all, no more worries about paying the mortgage or filling the gas tank. This thrilled Obama’s voters during the 2008 election, as his speeches removed moral barriers protecting other people’s property, establishing a new morality of forced redistribution of wealth — previously known as looting.

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