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Friday, July 20, 2012

When Can You Take Credit for Your Accomplishments?

Here's what Obama said in context that created such a stir: 
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....The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.
Well, duh! If you didn't know how to read, you might have trouble building a skyscraper. Nevertheless to say "If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen" is absolutely ridiculous! I know some small business owners who had the guts to step out on their own, confident of their own abilities, to do something. They risked their money, invested countless hours, and sank tremendous amounts of energy and perseverance to reach for a dream. MOST PEOPLE DON'T DO THAT! They get a job and work for others. The comparison to fighting fires is comparing apples to oranges. A man who thinks up something radically new, patents it, and brings it into production should get the credit for his work. Somebody who has a skill and has the guts to start a business to sell it, should get the credit. Sure, teachers taught him to read and introduced him to the science, but he still did the thing himself perhaps with the support of family and friends. Obama's statement that "somebody else made that happen" (government perhaps?) is typical of the liberal mentality where we are all seen as cogs in a socialist machine rather than as individuals. Entrepreneurs who succeed (and make money at it) are evil victimizers of the poor who must be controlled by the government. The episode reminds me of the spoof about the Little Red Hen

Funny, though, how liberals, who denigrate and reduce the work of others to a collective accomplishment are so quick to claim the actions of others as their own. We all know that Al Gore invented the Internet and that Obama killed Bin Laden. Right? Yeah...right.


Anonymous said...

The Church invented universities so they should get top credit.

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

They did a great job, but don't you think the Greeks should get a little credit for their gymnasiums? Thomas Aquinas was a fan of Aristotle and I'm a little partial to Socrates myself.

Anonymous said...

What the President meant was that we all got some help along the way, but he did not say it in the right manner. It sounded as if a business person did not do any of the work himself, and we know that people who run small businesses usually work 10/7 until they get their business established, and restaurant owners always work 10/7.Some do take one day off later, but most often they work the seven days for awhile.

Old Bob said...

Sir Isaac Newton said:
"If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."
He admitted his debt to those who went before him, but goodness! what a debt we owe him!

Judith said...

The Church has been a force for educational advance over the centuries - Church schools in UK are still the best available - give praise where it is due!

Anonymous said...

Oh wait...God made everybody, so He's the One who should collect the tips.

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

Judith, I wasn't trying to discredit the Catholic university system. My own confirmation patron, St. Dominic, sent his friars to the universities of the day to train them as theologians and preachers. Sadly, today a student is more likely to lose his/her faith at a Catholic college than a secular one. We need a modern St. Dominic to address the errors of our time. More on the saint at

Ray Schneider said...

The government produces pretty much nothing. They are tasked primarily with protection of the citizens from enemies both within and without.

Today they imagine that they are chartered to tell everyone what to do.

The president's remarks were to make a category mistake (not uncommon for the president) confusing the government with the citizenry. We need the support of our fellow citizens and their work. We are much less in need of all the "help" the government now seeks to burden us with.

I have very little use for all the government bureaucrats that are now popping up to tell us what we can feed our children, whether we should have explosive devices in our car to blow up canvas bags if we have an accident on the lame claim that they help a lot, controlling this and mandating that ... when what we really need is simply more transparency from those who provide goods and services. As human being we are endowed by our creators with minds our our own. Just because the government wants to lobotomize us and dictate to us doesn't mean we should roll over and play victim.

I'm only thankful that I don't get as much government as I pay for, but now we have people who don't pay taxes but who think they can get more from government by putting rapacious bureaucrats in charge. We're almost at the tipping point and it is a fast down hill fall from here.

Anonymous said...

Concerning my post July 20 at 11;33p.m., even business people SHOULD take off at least one day per week to honor the Lord whenever possible. He then will honor them to, mostly likely with a successful business if it is according to His will. We all need a day of rest too, or we can have break downs. Thait is another reason the Lord gave the Sabbath Law, Sunday for Catholics.

Anonymous said...

It seems that we will have to stop issuing copyrights and patents, even though these are constitutionally mandated, since the President has informed us that
no one is individually to be given credit for his/her creativity and initiative.

We probably should close all prisons, too, since the President has affirmed that there can be no individual responsibility. If a person commits a crime, he cannot
do it without the infrastructure provided by society, so he cannot be given credit for being responsible for that crime. At least that is the way Obama seems to see things.

There has to be more sane leadership available somewhere in America.
Fr. Tom Collins