By Tim Dunkin
Much has been made of the recent comments by President Obama concerning small businesses and those who create them, build them up, and turn them into productive participants in our economy. On July 13, Obama told a crowd of supporters in
, Roanoke, Virginia
"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.”
So essentially, despite the recent spin and backtracking by his media handlers, Obama is saying that when an entrepreneur goes out and takes the personal risk of starting a business, invests his or her own sweat and tears into it, puts in years worth of 80+ hour weeks, and finally sees it come to fruition as a successful company, the entrepreneur is not really responsible for this. Instead, “everyone else” had a hand in it as well, since we’re “all connected.” In fact, the government made your success possible.
Now, what would possess somebody to say such a flabbergastingly idiotic thing? The government didn’t give you the idea for your business. All the other smart and hardworking people out there didn’t give you the innate intelligence or the work ethic to grind through the lean years that so often accompany starting a business from the ground up. All the roads and bridges in the country didn’t translate your idea from a blueprint into a tangible product. And let’s not forget that as a taxpayer, the entrepreneur his or herself helped to make those roads and bridges a reality – not the other way around. So how is it that Obama – ostensibly an intelligent man (though I’m not convinced of this, myself) – would make such a foolish and ignorant comment?
The answer, of course, is that Obama – and others like him on the Left – are jealous of small business owners and other productive people. Let’s face it, to be a hard-core leftist, to be a part of the network of politicos and bureaucrats and activists and community organizers and the like, does not require either much intelligence or much work ethic. All it requires is an ability and willingness to remember talking points off of a memo and to show up and wave a sign whenever you’re needed. President Obama himself exemplifies this – he got hooked into the leftist network at an early age, and has had everything since more or less handed to him for free. However, a person like this who knows that they didn’t really earn what they have and probably couldn’t if they were forced to try will naturally be envious of those more capable than themselves. I am reminded of Robert Heinlein’s statement,
“A competent and self-confident person is incapable of jealousy in anything. Jealousy is invariably a symptom of neurotic insecurity.”
Ultimately, those on the Left like Obama envy those who can do the things that they can’t – produce, be successful, benefit others through the enlightened self-interest that makes capitalism the greatest wealth-generating engine known to man. Obama wants to take credit away from those who worked hard and created businesses, and give it to “everyone.” This is a strongly socialist impulse – it is spreading around the “wealth” of credit for individual success. You were only successful because “society” and “the government” made you successful. This sentiment betrays Obama and the Left’s neuroticism and enviousness.
There are several specific reason why they are jealous of producers and creators.
First of all, there is the simple fact that successful business owners (as well as others who are productive and excel in their chosen fields) don’t need anyone else’s help. They don’t need the government to step in and give them a leg up. They don’t need the myriad of welfare programs that leftists love to ensnare people with. Indeed, government that goes beyond its constitutional limits of keeping the peace and protecting us from invasion generally tends to get in the way of productive individuals and companies, rather than helping them.
This is grossly offensive to leftists. Leftists love to use the power of the state to give them ability that they otherwise would not have. They love the sense of power and ego that derives from believing they are “helping” all those people on welfare and food stamps and other forms of public assistance. If you don’t need their “help,” they take that as a personal insult. This is especially true with this President, whose narcissism and sense of personal importance make it very difficult for him to contemplate the idea of merely leaving other people alone to prosper and succeed without his “help.” If they try, well, he’ll make sure they see the error of their ways. He’ll tear them down to the point where they have to rely on him and his cronies. Socialists hate successful individual existence apart from government. Indeed, they believe “individualism” is a dirty word.
Another reason for Obama’s jealousy of business owners and creators is that they are hardworking. A small business owner doesn’t just get to punch his eight hours into the clock and go home to vegetate in front of a television. Instead, successful small business owners often spend years putting in excessive hours and taking no vacations before they finally see the benefit of their hard work and sacrifice. Starting a successful small business is not for the faint of heart. It requires a strong work ethic as well as ingenuity and a willingness to forgo short term pleasures for long-term benefits.
Meanwhile, the only long hours that President Putting Green has been putting in are on the links, working on his mulligans. That, and taking extravagant taxpayer-funded vacations. Obama has treated the Presidency like a set of perks that happens to come with a little bit of work occasionally. This goes back to his history of having everything handed to him by the leftist network. He got to be President of the Harvard Law Review, a sinecure which he spent producing basically no intellectual work to speak of. His university years are a mystery, since his transcripts are sealed and he and his crew absolutely refuse to open them. One suspects that this might be because Obama’s grades in college were pitifully poor, again belying a lack of work ethic. Even Obama’s most prestigious award, the Nobel Peace Prize, was completely unearned. After all, he received it a mere ten days after taking office – hardly time for him to have done anything on the international scene, even if he were the hardest working man on the planet. No, it seems that the only thing that really moves Obama to strenuous activity is fundraising for his re-election campaign.
Yet another source for Obama’s envy of the successful and productive is the very fact of what they do – they produce. They create. They make things that are beneficial for other people while they are profiting from their investment. Entrepreneurs, business owners, productive people – these genuinely make the world a better place by adding to the sum total of the wealth and production in the world. They take low-value raw materials and turn them into high-value goods that people want to buy so as to improve their own standards of living. They take ideas – which in and of themselves do nothing – and translate them into tangible products that advance society, science, the arts, and our very lives.
On the other hand, people like Obama do none of these things. Instead, Obama and his ilk are barbarians. They destroy, pillage, loot, tear down, and wipe out. They use the powers of the state to destroy the livelihood and ability to prosper of other people. They take our property, they hinder our ability to develop and use it, they seek to pull down everybody to the same subsistence level. They are like the barbarians who roared through the
burning the fields, pillaging the cities, taking away the villas and homes and
crops that somebody else had worked hard to produce. They can do no other, for socialism is the
creed of the destroyer. Socialism can
only take from the successful individual – it can never give. To Obama and people like him, those of us who
are productive and working to be successful are the kulaks – people ripe for
being cleared out of the way and dispossessed so that the wealth can be “spread
Lastly, one trait of the successful business owner that invokes Obama’s jealousy is that they are competent. A small business that makes it, that stands the test of the years, that maybe eventually even turns into a big business, is a testimony to the proven track record for success of its owner and creator. Incompetent and unable people do not create businesses that last. Foresight, dedication, skill, intelligence, character – these are all traits of competent people who build companies and become job-producers.
Obama displays none of these. His track record is one of failure, not success. Everything the man touches turns into a colossal catastrophe. His vaunted stimulus plan proved to be less than useless – it was a positive drag on the economy that sucked needed capital away from job producers and ended up pushing us close to double-digit unemployment (by the U3 reckoning, we’re actually way past that by the more realistic U6 calculation). He tried to push government money into “green jobs,” only to see companies like Solyndra collapse under their own inefficiencies. His health care plan is already destroying jobs and driving wealth-producers away from this country. His touch is the anti-Midas – it takes everything golden and turns it into garbage.
In short, Obama is a contemptible little man who hates and fears those more capable than himself, just like most everyone else on the Left does. I supposed that in a sense, the productive people, the successful, the hard-workers, the capitalistic-minded in this country should take this as a complement. Indeed, as Fulton Sheen has said,
“Jealousy is the tribute mediocrity pays to genius.”
Unfortunately, Obama and the Left’s jealousies can result in very real, very detrimental, consequences for our nation and her people. Left to themselves, the Left would destroy every last one of us, reducing us to a state of dependency and bare subsistence. We have to fight to prevent this, no matter what the cost to us may be. The Left must not merely be defeated, it must be destroyed root and branch if we’re to have the liberty to be free to prosper and produce as we can.