Watch the video here:
It’s effective, I think, because it shows how the underlying truth of Obama’s more basic claim — that we don’t create things all by ourselves and we all rely on various relationships and social institutions — isn’t enough to save Obama’s remarks from themselves.
Surely, everything these parents say to their daughter is true. Without the trees, the popsicle-stick manufacturer, and her local school, this girl wouldn’t have had the opportunity to build what she build. This is, after all, a basic market/cooperation argument if you take out all of the manipulative government activity sleeping in Obama’s assumptions. The problem is: What this girl accomplished was worth celebrating, and it was neither the time nor place to start slandering and belittling her success—that is, unless these parents truly believed that what she did wasn’t really all that profound.
In closing, the Dad says: “It’s important to destroy their sense of individualism while they’re still young.” And this gets at the deeper root of why Obama said what he did: he has a bigger faith in top-down, collective action than bottom-up individual empowerment (I’ve discussed this previously). The individualism of all human persons needs to be tamed, to be sure, but it also needs to be harnessed and leveraged if we hope to build a better world for the next child, the next student, and the next entrepreneur.
We all know we need roads and bridges. We all know we need education. We all believe in a government that simply governs (will we ever see the day?). And any successful entrepreneur knows precisely what social, cultural, and economic networks have led to his triumph. He’ll be the first to thank his investors, suppliers, and customers. And heck, he might even thank government, if it actually did what it’s supposed to do.
Successful entrepreneurs know a little something about sacrifice and hard work, and they know it without the President of the United States rubbing a bloated government agenda down their throats under the guise of “giving something back.”