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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.

Oleg Atbashian


July 31, 2012 - 12:53 am
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Find the guilty, and the opportunistic politicians will come. The problem is, they come not to help you but to help themselves. The latest example is the current grievance-mongering U.S. government — a massive self-serving army of patented demagogues who have yet to improve one life or right a single wrong. In the final analysis, collectivism is a dead end. Releasing the floodgates of government corruption is only Act One in the drama of a declining nation.

Now that we have gotten to the bottom of it, let’s review Obama’s quote from this new perspective:

If you have failed, somebody along the line ruined it for you. There was a lousy teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unfair American system that caused you to fail. Somebody benefitted from your demise. If you’re a loser, it’s not your fault. Somebody else made that happen. The Titanic didn’t sink on its own. Corporations and insurance companies made a lot of money off of it, so they must be complicit. The point is, when we fail, we fail not only because of our individual shortcomings, but also because others have teamed up behind your backs. Vote for me — I’ll punish the guilty and give you what’s rightfully yours.

It turns out that “someone else made that happen” is merely a flip-side of “blame someone else.” One can’t exist without the other.

In contrast, the argument for individualism and competitive private enterprise cannot be “flipped,” not without distorting its nature and moral purpose. The statement “It’s my achievement and I have the right to what I earn” manifests only positive, objectively true human values.

Unlike its alternatives, capitalism doesn’t grow out of a dark, indiscernible mass of moral entanglements. And unlike crony capitalism — a corrupt monster created by government intrusion into the economy — free market capitalism is transparent. Just like the greatest invention of our time, the personal computer (brought to us by free enterprise), capitalism has a user-friendly interface: what you see is what you get.

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Oleg Atbashian, a writer and graphic artist from the former USSR, is the author of Shakedown Socialism, of which David Horowitz said, "I hope everyone reads this book."  In 1994 he moved to the U.S. with the hope of living in a country ruled by reason and common sense, appreciative of its freedoms and prosperity. To his dismay, he discovered a nation deeply infected by the leftist disease of "progressivism" that was arresting true societal progress. Oleg is the creator of a satirical website, which Rush Limbaugh described on his show as "a Stalinist version of The Onion."
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