A Final Take On ‘You Didn’t Build That’

All week long we’ve passed along reactions to President Obama’s disastrous Friday the 13th speech in Roanoke, Virginia, in which he said the following (you’ve seen and heard the quote before, but let’s review it one more time)…

There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me — because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t — look, 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. 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.

One thing we haven’t seen much of, though many commentators have noted Obama’s “collective credit” rant is fundamentally the same as one Elizabeth Warren laid forth a few months ago, is the relation of that perspective to the president’s actual background.

Bill Whittle certainly did an excellent job of doing so in his newest video commentary, though. Whittle traces Obama’s history and finds a startling lack of consequence to the president’s negative actions.

And this is the crux of Obama’s statements.

It’s not just that Obama is every bit the Hard Left neo-Communist he’s accused of being. He is. That’s been obvious since he came on the political scene in the 1990’s in Chicago with his “there’s no individual salvation without collective salvation” riffs and his embrace of the Alice Walkers and Bill Ayerses of that city.

No, the real news in that statement isn’t just that Obama believes all good things derive from the state, as grotesquely anti-American a philosophy as that is. The real news is that Obama believes what he said on a personal level – because this is what his experience has been.

“It must be because I was just so smart.” Obama has been touting himself as a genius since he entered public life, and his sycophants in the legacy media have done the same. But since he won’t release his college records all we know to suggest his intelligence is that he attended Occidental, Columbia and Harvard Law and was the president of the Law Review at the latter. What he actually produced other than just to show up is hidden from us.

“It must be because I worked harder than everybody else.” There is no evidence that Obama has been a harder worker than anyone. In his own book he admits he spent his high school years in a haze of marijuana and cocaine, we can’t find any evidence of work he’s done in academia – most particularly and peculiarly at Harvard when he apparently failed to produce any writings on the Law Review he was president of. We hear rumblings that Obama’s tenure as a lecturer in constitutional law at the University of Chicago was essentially a dead-head job given to him. There is the story of his book deal with Simon & Schuster, in which he failed to produce a manuscript in the time allotted and ultimately wrote something different than what was asked for – specifically, Dreams From My Father, which there is evidence to suggest was actually ghostwritten by Ayers.

So for Obama, it’s easy to disparage the value of talent and hard work. He’s had those attributed to him in quantities far larger than his actual contributions most of his life, while at the same time he’s been fed a diet of lies about how America is a fundamentally unfair, racist and exploitative country. This is a man who at his core thinks the virtues which produce success in business or other endeavors are overrated, if not fraudulent – because they don’t particularly apply to his personal experience.

Obama has had his way paved all his life while being able to say – by virtue of the color of his skin – that he came from nothing. People who come from nothing usually have to scrape their way through public schools and public colleges, or perhaps forego higher education altogether. This is a man who came through Punahou, Occidental, Columbia, Harvard. He never flipped burgers or waited tables; in fact, he’s never had what most people would consider a “real” job in his life. So not only doesn’t he understand what it means to create wealth, he has no reason to empathize with those who do.

And he doesn’t. Let’s remember that Friday the 13th speech in Roanoke was all about why “the rich” should have to absorb a massive tax increase in January.

And that’s a very, very old story in human history. The nobles – and then the revolutionaries – haranguing the bourgeoisie, the communists liquidating the kulaks, the progressives taxing small business. Those whose livelihoods come from the redistribution of wealth by force have always acted with antipathy toward those who earn their living by the creation of it.

Obama represents a class of people in America who have no connection to wealth creation and further have no experience in individual achievement as it’s understood by the rest of society.

The president won’t release his college records. Why? If his academic work reflected the merit he’s reported himself to have, those records should be a badge of merit he’d proudly display. Why would he not wish to prove the claim of being the smartest, most diligent student in the room?

The most likely answer is those records would indicate Obama to be the product of affirmative action – or something else. Did the president hold himself out to be an international student owing to the years he spent with his mother and stepfather in Indonesia? Politically that would be a problematic – but more than that, Occidental and Columbia in the 1980’s would both have been anxious to take in students with backgrounds as diverse as Obama’s, and even a member of the “Choom Gang” with such a background would find a friendly reception.

And at Harvard Law, it must be remembered that Obama arrived right at the time when the university-wrecking Derrick Bell had been hired on as a demonstration of the school’s commitment to diversity and “racial justice” – and Bell immediately set to work browbeating Harvard for their insufficient commitment to elevating people of color. Is it so difficult to believe that in such an environment Obama would be elevated to the top of the food chain at the law review in response to that pressure? Particularly when there is no evidence Obama ever wrote anything for that law review?

Add to that Warren’s bizarre career as a claimant of Cherokee heritage – she has said she’s 1/32nd Cherokee, though actual Cherokee vigorously deny it.Warren’s merit in academia appears to have derived from that claim as well as adherence to Hard Left orthodoxy and not much more; she rode her “life story” all the way to an appointment as Obama’s consumer protection czar and what now appears to be a doomed campaign for a Senate seat from Massachusetts.

That people such as these would belittle the entrepreneurs and self-made successful whose pocketbooks and freedom they would savage through taxation and regulation is anything but a surprise. What’s important now is whether the American people will embrace the victims of their belittling tirades and show them the electoral door.

If not, we’ll have our own version of the French and Russian revolutions – and our own version of the treatment the bourgeoisie and the kulaks received from their new masters.

UPDATE: This would seem to be relevant.



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