“You Didn’t Build That.” Like Hell I Didn’t!

Last Friday, Barack Obama revealed his cluelessness about how businesses works by arrogantly crediting government with the success of any entrepreneur. It was a classic case of open-mouth, insert-foot:

    “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.”

Say what? That statement is presumptuous, misleading, naive, arrogant, inaccurate, patronizing, and wholly insulting–not only to everyone who runs a business, but to the very core ideal of the American Dream. Only someone of deep misunderstanding about entrepreneurship, who never has run a private enterprise, and who understands essentially nothing about what it takes to build and operate a successful business, would say something so inane, and actually mean it. If it weren’t for Obama’s sycophantic marionettes in the mass media, an utterance that asinine and condescending would doom his chances for re-election (as it may anyway).

For every bit that any entrepreneur may benefit from governmental opportunities that he/she chooses to grab, the same person has to overcome massive heaps of burdensome governmental regulation, paperwork and taxes–the latter on a yearly basis through a gelatinous maze of ever-changing forms and accounting rules. Government giveth, and government taketh away! My wife runs a small business, and through that, I know of these things first hand. Obama’s business background? Hmm…crickets chirp while we search in futility for that.

Now let’s look at the larger quote:

    “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.”

Well of course everybody has had some help. That’s an irrelevant straw-man. Who would be foolish enough to turn down any beneficial circumstance that may arise? Certainly not any successful entrepreneur–who by the very nature of the word will take advantage of opportunities to make their own success! And therein lies the embarrassing fallacy in his argument–one that is well illustrated by this image that has been floating about the Internet:

The spider web is a splendid metaphor for business or personal success.

Let me guess. The spider sat on her lazy butt and watched the web build itself? Or did the government build that web for her? No, and hell no!

Whether or not the government helped to provide the tree or post on which to construct the web, or some of the prey she ate with which she manufactured the silk, is completely immaterial. If she doesn’t build the web there, she goes elsewhere and still does it anyway. Maybe it’s harder, or there’s less prey, but she still does it. Either that, or she neglects to seize initiative and take advantage of her opportunities, no matter from where they arose, and she fails. It’s a life-or-death matter for the spider, and for any business.

Statements like Obama’s, and similar ones from Elizabeth Warren and other politicians-nee-academics on the left, represent an ivory-tower mentality of facile genuflection at the altar of the welfare state, born of the long-discredited Marxist notion that the proletariat is a hapless victim of The Man. I don’t know how else to explain how such otherwise book-smart people can be so clueless about reality!

Given my own personal circumstances, such presumptuous bullcrap is insulting and demeaning. It’s well known among friends and associates that I grew up in the inner city, in a household now often referred to as “working poor”–that is, when there was work to be had for my dad. [My mom was a visually impaired homemaker.] Yes, she arranged for us to have food stamps and unemployment benefits on a few occasions–over the sometimes extremely angry and profane objections of my dad, who was intensely ashamed of it and did everything he could to get off the public dole as fast as possible. Being ashamed of welfare is the right attitude to have. It is supposed to be a temporary safety net, not a lifestyle!

My childhood household had no car, no air conditioning (yes, in Dallas’ urban heat-island summers). Drugs, gangs, welfare dependencies, and other chances for failure swirled all around. Rare was the July or August night that I didn’t hear sirens or popping noises over the fan propped in an open bedside window. Those circumstances posed far more opportunities for failure than for success! Yet I decided not to follow those paths; nobody else made the choice for me.

Yes, I’ve had great teachers, benefactors and mentors, public and private, who offered sound advice and beneficial knowledge, and in the case of college, partial financial assistance. For them I’m forever grateful, and I’ve told them so. Nonetheless (…and here’s a key concept…) I firmly believe I would have found a way otherwise, somehow, through determination and work ethic. I think each of the folks who have contributed to me would agree.

The truth is that I had the choice whether to make something of that advice and those chances, through diligence and effort, or to sit around and waste it. I chose the former. And it is a choice…for each of us, no matter our backgrounds.

Yes, God gave me the talent, ability…and the free will to choose success or failure! We all have capabilities and talents. We all have a chance to succeed, no matter from where we arise. Of course it’s harder when climbing up from the bottom–but that makes the success more rewarding and better appreciated. And I personally resent those who would disparage my success by claiming I had nothing to do with it.

And I’m nothing special in this regard…if I can rise from poverty and take advantage of all opportunities, no matter the source, anyone can! Therefore, I don’t suffer fools, entertain excuses, or subscribe to the insidious left-wing cultivation of victimhood, dependency and public entitlement.

Success and failure are parts of life. Circumstances out of your control can and do occur. What you do with them is your choice and yours alone. If you want it to happen, by God, make it happen! You honor yourself and your creator by striving for excellence and accomplishment in whatever aspirations you have. No matter the hurdles…do it!

As for Obama’s misguided bloviation: nevermind anything else he has or hasn’t done. By that statement alone, he is proven unfit for executive office. Nobody that naive should be President. Please vote accordingly. And if you are a business owner who votes for Obama, knowing now how irrelevant he sees you in your own success, you are shooting yourself in the foot.



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