Obama’s ‘you didn’t build that’ snarl mirrors socialist beliefs

“In a campaign stump speech in Roanoke, Virginia last Friday, President Obama clearly revealed that he believes individual success in this country is largely driven by luck and other people, rather than hard work, ingenuity, or productivity. (The speech is similar to a 2011 speech by Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, condemning individualism.),” Reason‘s Emily Elkins writes.

“Obama’s claim is in stark contrast with what most of the public thinks. Since polls first began asking about this, upwards of 60 percent of Americans believe hard work matters more than lucky breaks, inheritance, or connections in determining success and wealth.”

But Obama’s attack on individualism goes even further.

“It is notable that Obama’s dismissal of the idea of hard work leading to success goes beyond Warren’s commentary, which made the less controversial point that successful business people make use of publicly funded infrastructure. The president on the other hand stated, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” Presuming this was not a verbal flub (and Obama spokeswoman Lis Smith indicates it was not), Obama’s belief is a radical departure from popular notions about the relationship between individual initiative and success,” Elkins writes.
Obama’s view of individual success differs from the American view, but is perfectly in line with that of socialist countries.

“63 percent of Americans believe that hard work usually brings a better life compared to 37 percent of the French, 45 percent of the Dutch, and 46 percent of Norwegians. Only 14 percent of Americans primarily believe that success is more a matter of luck and connections, compared to a third of the French, Dutch, and Norwegians,” Elkins writes.

Blogged at the LNCC.

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