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Regarding Barack Obama's statement - "If you've got a busi

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This is to discuss Barack Obama's terrible recent statements, please read the article below.

http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/build-article-1.1116360?localLinksEnabled=false

This shows his ideology.

Barack Obama believes that the individual who thinks and does the work of initiation and building, simply, didn't build.

This shows very well his collectivist mentality. Please forward this to everyone you can.

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Although the ideology is clear, his statement was in fact taken out of context. And the quote in this article furthers that by misplacing punctuation. When saying "you didn't build that", he did say it right after saying "if you have a business", however he was actually referring to the previously mentioned roads and bridges which business owners rely on for doing business, which in fact, they did not personally build. Based on this major flaw in quotation, I don't think it would be a good idea to spread this article, since it could backlash.+

That being said, the sentiments of Obama were very clear, and it was clear by the audio recording of him speaking, and how the audience was responding, what was being implied.

The concept that economic growth and even personal success come from mutual cooperation is in fact true. And it is also true that you cannot succeed in a business without partners, employees, and customers. So in that sense, a person doesn't grow his business entirely on his own inside of a bubble. it is necessary for multiple people to "play a part". Regardless of that, the work and involvement of the primary person in charge of a business should in no way be belittled like it was in this speech. And it is, in fact, primarily that person who has grown a business.

So ultimately, the business owners should be the focus of such a speech, and their teachers, employees, and customers the footnote. Not the other way around as it was.

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You say that Obama "was actually referring to the previously mentioned roads and bridges." I doubt it. James Taranto points out in WSJ that this misreads the grammar of the sentence in a couple of ways. First, "business" is in the same sentence as "that"; "roads and bridges" is not. The former is the antecedent of "that." Second, "roads and bridges" is two plurals strung together; "that" is a singular. If he'd meant what you say he did, he would have used "them" or "those." It would have been awkward sentence-making, but not a drop-dead refutation of what you, Obama and a few others are trying to claim.

(Taranto didn't say, but I will, that the pro-Obama reading makes the statement a triviality which nobody has ever denied and, unless you are right, nobody has ever found interesting and important enough to deserve stating.)

You claim to have information about Obama's mental states that is more reliable than the evidence of his own words. Where do you get it?

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I know the quote is out of context, BUT it really doesn't matter if he was referring to the roads or the business. The meaning is very clear in the context of the speech. More importantly, out of context or not, the phrase does represent the context of his speech more than any other line. It captures his whole philosophy w.r.t independence. The fact that people see this statement as justified by the rest of the speech is, in my opinion, an absolutely perfect example of what is wrong with the world today.

Obama is not arguing for the obvious proposition that people receive help from others and benefit from the existence of roads, bridges and teachers. Such a statement, as mentioned above, would not even deserve uttering it is so trivial. His argument is a brazen attack on individualism, in a sense much much deeper than politics.

The fact that his speech as a whole is regarded by so many Americans as non-controversial is a very bad sign. Obama has been a parasite so long, it's no wonder he is unable to perceive a man as an individuals even with respect to him being the creator of a business, but that the rest of our culture is also unable... The average American's philosophy has disarmed them. The second-handers claim their minds don't exist (individual thought is a myth), their philosophy has no answer. The looters claim the right to their achievements, their philosophy provides no defense. In fact, it's worse than that, their philosophy demands that they agree. And so they do.

Nothing has ever reminded me so much of the passage from Galt's speech: "

When they yell that it is selfish to be certain that you are right, you hasten to assure them that you’re certain of nothing. When they shout that it’s immoral to stand on your convictions, you assure them that you have no convictions whatever."

In the same pattern, you can observe people (almost every economic commentator) who sense that Obama's statement is wrong, wrong in some very important way, yet the have no moral defense.

We have Peter Keating and James Taggart combined into one president.

Edited by Kelly Bennett
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The answer lies not in the words, but the speech pattern. Obama is a terrible candid speaker, and he stutters a lot and has trouble formulating his thoughts. If you listen to the sound clip, he says "roads and bridges", then briefly pauses, stutters for a second, and continues with the thought of roads and bridges saying, "if you have a business, you didn't build that". "that" referring to said roads and bridges. What makes this even more clear, is that he is starting out the sentence with saying "Somebody invested in roads and bridges..." therefore roads and bridges are in fact the antecedent, because there's nothing prior to roads and bridges in the sentence. Unless you count "somebody invested in", which doesn't mean anything until you add "you didn't build that".

But once again, regardless of this misquote, the sentiment of his speech is clear.

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The concept that economic growth and even personal success come from mutual cooperation is in fact true. And it is also true that you cannot succeed in a business without partners, employees, and customers. So in that sense, a person doesn't grow his business entirely on his own inside of a bubble. it is necessary for multiple people to "play a part". Regardless of that, the work and involvement of the primary person in charge of a business should in no way be belittled like it was in this speech. And it is, in fact, primarily that person who has grown a business.

In a free market, the people who are employed or deal with a business do not "build" the business, they interact with it. They add, and in exchange take (a salary, or a product/service) from the business, in a mutually beneficial way.

An employee "helps" build a business to the extent the employer helps raise his children. No less, no more. I, as a business owner, wouldn't try to take credit for raising his children, would I? (not unless I want everyone to think I'm a narcissist) Not even just a little credit. I would never even go as far as to say that he was the primary caretaker, and I a mere secondary one. I would acknowledge that, while it's true that our interaction had a role to play, the credit goes to him and only him.

The person who raises a child is the parent, and the person who builds a business is the owner. Barring charitable contributions, no one else deserves any credit.

Edited by Nicky
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In a free market, the people who are employed or deal with a business do not "build" the business, they interact with it. They add, and in exchange take (a salary, or a product/service) from the business, in a mutually beneficial way.

An employee "helps" build a business to the extent the employer helps raise his children. No less, no more. I, as a business owner, wouldn't try to take credit for raising his children, would I? (not unless I want everyone to think I'm a narcissist) Not even just a little credit. I would never even go as far as to say that he was the primary caretaker, and I a mere secondary one. I would acknowledge that, while it's true that our interaction had a role to play, the credit goes to him and only him.

The person who raises a child is the parent, and the person who builds a business is the owner. Barring charitable contributions, no one else deserves any credit.

Unless I'm remembering incorrectly, I wasn't saying employees help the owner. However I WAS saying that they help the growth of the business. And what I meant by that, is a sole person can only physically do so many things in a 24 hour day, and so there is a certain amount they can grow a business by there own physical work, and so if their intention is grow the business beyond that, then obviously they require employees. For example, I run my own plumbing business. It's just me and my van. I can literally only do a certain amount of plumbing jobs each day. But if I wanted to do more jobs than that a day, I would have to take on an employee.

This is why I said they "play a part", that part being the growth of a business after reaching a certain point where they are necessary for such growth.

Also, I see I made a mistake. I said "you cannot succeed in a business without partners, employees, and customers". What I meant to say was you can't grow after a certain point without more of those things, specifically employees.

So once again, I'll re-iterate, A business-man who wants to grow his business into say, an empire, can't do that entirely by himself. It's not to say he is somehow indebted to his employees beyond compensating them for their work, but simply that the fact is, he didn't accomplish every bit of man-hours with his own hands. So in that sense, the sentiments that "you didn't get there alone" can technically be explained. But I don't think that's the idea Obama was trying to get across, I think most people would say that what he was implying was much more sinister.

More importantly, even if that was all he was really trying to say (very poorly, if so), why try to say that in the first place? What kind of person feels the need to point out to a business-man that some of his growth was a result of the work of his employees? Obviously the answer is a person like Obama.

P.S. Before I was self-employed I worked for a world-wide company, and I felt very much that I contributed to the growth of the business, and in fact was very proud of my aid to that cause, which I was all for. I never once had the feeling that my work deserved more credit than the regional manager who sat as his desk and filed papers while I was out in the field, because if it wasn't for him, I would have no "field" to go out to. That being said, his children are absolutely not part of the equation, and I had some trouble understanding the connection. The transaction I had with my boss was between he and I. I did the work, he paid me for it. The money he got from oversight is his, and whether he spent it on his children or his fingernails are of no concern to me.

Edited by CptnChan
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Much ink has been spilled arguing over what precisely Obama meant. Pehaps "that" did refer to bridges and roads but, as several have already pointed out, the context clearly indicates that he intended to disparage the contributions of entrepreneurs and other successful people generally.

There are other problems with the speech, and with the ideology behind it, but what is more interesting to me is that Obama is competitive by uttering such things. Clearly there is a sizable, perhaps even a majority, who are quite eager to attack success, to wage an open class war.

If this is so, what is the prudent response? We might hope for Obama's defeat (even if we can't quite bring ourselves to expect much better from Romney), but changing presidents won't change electorates. That gleeful, cheering mob will still be out there.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I think this is the right thread for this note; anyway, somebody looking for the topic will find it like I did...

I am surprised that nobody's mentioned the connection with Elizabeth Warren and George Lakoff, but other than flogging that entertaining blog I wanted to point out that the whole episode is an excellent example of the transmission of ideas - a notion I first encountered in For the New Intellectual (the essay) and which has continued to serve me well (that, and "follow the money" or more classically cui bono).

Anyway: one more step down this track, chasing Lakoff's references (in the video, at Legal Insurrection) to other "progressive" thinkers finally led me here:

Fitch,Robert.

"Bad Faith and the Common Good: The Road to Civic Republicanism."

MRZine, 11 October 2006.

http://mrzine.monthl...itch111006.html

A lovely piece of intellectual detection, right back up to John Rawls. I leave the exercise of finding Ayn Rand's comments on that to the reader.

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