Wednesday, May 28, 2008

"Our Collectivist Candidates"

The West creates easy access to food, wealthy and comfortable societies that were once unimaginable, and technology straight out of Star Trek. Meanwhile, communism and collectivist centralized societies failed extravagantly in a way that should regulate the ideology to the dustbin of history. Unfortunately, they seemed to have gone in the recycling bin instead, as evidenced by recent speeches by Barack Obama and John McCain cited in a recent opinion piece by the Cato Institute's David Boaz in today's Wall Street Journal:

Sen. Obama told the students that "our individual salvation depends on collective salvation." He disparaged students who want to "take your diploma, walk off this stage, and chase only after the big house and the nice suits and all the other things that our money culture says you should buy."

The people Mr. Obama is sneering at are the ones who built America – the traders and entrepreneurs and manufacturers who gave us railroads and airplanes, housing and appliances, steam engines, electricity, telephones, computers and Starbucks. Ignored here is the work most Americans do, the work that gives us food, clothing, shelter and increasing comfort. It's an attitude you would expect from a Democrat.

Or this year's Republican nominee. John McCain also denounces "self-indulgence" and insists that Americans serve "a national purpose that is greater than our individual interests." During a Republican debate at the Reagan Library on May 3, 2007, Sen. McCain derided Mitt Romney's leadership ability, saying, "I led . . . out of patriotism, not for profit." Challenged on his statement, Mr. McCain elaborated that Mr. Romney "managed companies, and he bought, and he sold, and sometimes people lost their jobs. That's the nature of that business." He could have been channeling Barack Obama.

The way to have a functioning prosperous society is to encourage individual achievement. You owe yourself something, you owe your parents and family something, and you owe your society something but you sure as hell don't owe your government something. It's not just chasing "after the big house and the nice suits," as Barack Obama says, to work in Silicon Valley in order to bring new technology from science fiction into reality, and it's not "self-indulgence" when Bill Gates uses his wealth to provide the Seattle Public Schools with computers the district never would have used its money to buy otherwise. It's what keeps this country going, and it will become evident to those not clouded by denial once Obama or McCain try to run the government by punishing the people who run the country.

Unfortunately, the above illustration of the wealthy philanthropist doesn't seem to jive with the perception among our politicians of the titans of our economy, which I would guess is more like this:

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