Monday, September 17, 2012

You Didn't Build That

President Obama has found himself the object of much merriment for his claim that businessmen who built their business didn't really build them. What he meant, no doubt, was that no one accomplishes anything in isolation from the community in which he or she lives, but this is such an obvious observation as to hardly need saying. Indeed, as the following video illustrates, telling people this diminishes their achievement and is, whether intended or not, pretty insulting. Mr. Obama, in lecturing businessmen that their success depends upon the contributions of others, comes across very much like these parents:
The election in November will be about two competing visions of how a polity should be ordered. One vision is of a society that seeks to foster and promote individual initiative, ambition, hard work and reward it generously. In this view government should do what it can to make the success of such efforts possible. It should not get in the way of those efforts but rather should facilitate the aspirations and accomplishments of its citizens.

The other vision is of citizens and the businesses they create existing in large measure to serve the state. This view holds that the role of the state is to control and regulate its citizens so that no one has more than what they need and no one has less. In order to achieve this egalitarian vision those who have more should have the excess taken from them because, after all, they didn't achieve it on their own or in isolation from the community so they have no right to it. At the same time, it's not the fault of those who have less that they're poor so they should be given the wealth that those who have worked have earned but don't need.

Conservatives hold the former set of opinions, liberals hold the latter. When we enter the voting booth on November 6th we'll be endorsing one or the other of these visions.

Is the U.S. Becoming a Police State?

Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit is so outraged by the use of police in the middle of the night to take in for questioning the man, Nakoula Bassely Nakoula, who made the movie that has allegedly triggered the violence in the Middle East that he believes President Obama should resign.

This is not just an empty rant. If we now live in a country where the government uses police to intimidate and threaten those who are simply exercising their First Amendment rights then we're dangerously close to becoming a police state.

The president takes an oath when he's inaugurated to uphold the Constitution. Where is his Attorney General who should be protecting this man's liberty? Where are the civil libertarians who profess to care about the freedoms enshrined in the Bill of Rights? Some of them are actually calling for Nakoula's arrest!

Radical Muslims demand that we punish the filmmaker, and American liberals agree. Our police truckle to the Islamists' demands under the pretense that they want to question Nakoula about possible parole violations. Right. They want to question him about possible parole violations at 1:00 in the morning. This is intimidation, pure and simple. It's an attempt to appease those who seek to repress through violence and the threat of violence the freedom of speech many Americans have fought and died to preserve.

Meanwhile the administration and its surrogates are apologizing for something done by a private citizen and letting it be known that in the view of the government he's a despicable person whom they really would arrest if they could. This administration would do better to show more sympathy for the Bill of Rights and more backbone with the Islamists than it heretofore has or we're likely to see many more embassies on fire and many more diplomats returning to Dover Air Force base in coffins.

The proper response of the President of the United States and his representatives would have been to make it known that though there are very few things of which one can be certain in this life, one thing that any foreign thug can be pretty sure of is that if he harms an American citizen he won't die of old age.