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« Soul brother | Main | Unhappy Valley »

Jul 23, 2012

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polifrog

Because you could not quote Obama and chose instead to rely on an incorrect mischaracterization what he said I will quote him for you:


“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 Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.


If prosperity came from government it would have no need to tax the private sector...

polifrog

Screwed that up:

Because you could not quote Obama and chose instead to rely on an incorrect mischaracterization what he said I will quote him for you:

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 Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

If prosperity came from government it would have no need to tax the private sector...

justcorbly

When I come across a piece like that one in WSJ purporting to correct myths and set the record straight, more often than not it just trots out another load of myths.

The notion that something called the Internet was invented -- implying it didn't exist on one day and sprang into life on the next -- is silly. It's a bit like, say, pondering the invention of French cuisine. (it's also the kind of thing someone might know is silly but leverage to support a point.)

Arguing that the internet languished for 30 years until the private sector showed up is also silly. No personal computers existed in the 1960's, precious few in the 1970's, and not that many more in the 1980's. Imagining the private sector, or any other sector, would have managed to make the internet boom by using Commodore 64's, Apple II's, and IBM PC's, and Ma Bell's rickety wiring is also silly. Instead of the internet, the private sector gave us closed proprietary over-grown bulletin board businesses like Genie, CompuServe and AOL.

Bill Yaner

Not only does Ed's characterization of Obama's words seem completely correct, but those words themselves seem to only state what is abundantly obvious. I think Ayn Rand herself could only say, "Damn right!"

David Hoggard

This is all so typical - and both sides play the same game.

The phrase that is being condemned is and 'gotcha'd'... "If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen" And if that was the entire context, outrage would be understandable.

But, when the context is added regarding infrastructure...
"...Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen..."

Of course that 'somebody else' is the regular taxpayer.

I've built a business. Did it all by myself. But it sure is helpful to be able to turn on the lights, flush the toilet, drive on the highway and engage in commerce through the interwebs.

polifrog

Bill, I don't think so.

Government (given voice by Obama) effectively turns to its creator, the individual, and claims itself to be creator.

But I do not believe that Americans are ready accept that government is the source of prosperity when government feeds on the prosperity of the private sector via taxing authority.

That is not to say that government's ever increasing masses of dependents do not see government as the source of their prosperity.

But it is to say that until taxes fall to zero and government funds all our needs and wants, government is not the source of prosperity. Of course, we have seen the failure of governmental systems that have attempted to be the source of prosperity.

In short, our government did not create the internet; it evolved from the minds of many individuals over time. Our government did not create bridges; individuals working in concert did. And government did not create the business that take advantage of what American individuals provide for all to use; those business owners created those business using the tools at their disposal.

So, when I hear Obama say "If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen", I hear a brave man blazing a path to socialism as contrasted to the American liberal who chooses the cowards path to socialism via oblique descriptions of government such as, "Collaboration", "iteration" and "standing on the shoulders of giants are the way a lot of things get done."

The source of prosperity is the individual and for Obama to overlook the individual contribution to the rise of the internet by referring to it as a creation of government is nothing short of the theft of individual excellence for bureaucratic grandeur in the mold of Authoritarian, Marxist, and Totalitarian regimes the world over.

There is no defense for Obama's sentiments and definitely not in the tool of individual collaboration that the internet fermented.

Ed Cone

Collaboration, iteration, and standing on the shoulders of giants are not descriptions of government, but of the development process for many ideas, products, processes, and services.

Some of that work is funded and organized by governments, including much of the key work on the internet. Of course individuals do the work, in government projects or private enterprise. And they tend to do it collaboratively, iteratively, and standing on the shoulders of giants.

Thus Crovitz is correct to say that TBL was the father of the web, and of course the web was a critical factor in the commercial success of the internet. Oddly, though, Crovitz forgot to mention that TBL was working for a giant government-funded consortium at the time. Worse, a European one.

justcorbly

And the web is *not* the net. The net was around before TBL and before Mosaic and some of are old enough to have used it.

Ed Cone

Right. Not even Crovitz pretends that it is (he just elides the circumstances of its creation at the socialist monstrosity that is CERN).

But, yes, TBL was standing on many shoulders when he, an individual, did his vital work.

Again, I commend unto you all the VF article.

justcorbly

So, Frog, was the state of New York in the hands of an "Authoritarian, Marxist, and Totalitarian" when it spent public money to fund the Erie Canal?

Surely Abraham Lincoln must have been in a secret conspiracy with the socialists in Europe when he signed legislation to fund construction of the transcontinental railroad by giving public land to private corporations so they could sell it off to fund their efforts?

And, OMG!!, George Washington and Alexander Hamilton must have been duped by Karl Marx decades before his birth because they sure wanted a strong government role in "internal improvements", i.e., infrastructure.

Gotta go polish up my black helicopter, now.

polifrog

Ed:

Collaboration, iteration, and standing on the shoulders of giants are not descriptions of government, but of the development process for many ideas, products, processes, and services.

That they are. But within the context of attempting to redefine Obama's revealing peek into his Marxist soul your use of the terms "Collaboration, iteration, and standing on the shoulders of giants" are indeed references to the same government that Obama claimed was the source of our prosperity via bridges, roads, and the internet around which you currently attempt to frame your recharacterization of Obama's single moment of truth.

Ed Cone

So that's what I meant. Thanks!

Sean

‎"You Olympians, however, know you didn't get here solely on your own power, For most of you, loving parents, sisters or brothers, encouraged your hopes, coaches guided, communities built venues in order to organize competitions. All Olympians stand on the shoulders of those who lifted them."

- Mitt "You Didn't Build That" Romney

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S8Yp9SVSWJU&t=01m40s

guess romney has a marxist soul as well.

James

With a willingness to misunderstand the English language, he stood on the shoulders of mental midgets and couldn't see past his purposeful ignorance.

polifrog

justcorbly:

Surely Abraham Lincoln must have been in a secret conspiracy with the socialists in Europe when he signed legislation to fund construction of the transcontinental railroad by giving public land to private corporations so they could sell it off to fund their efforts?


Let's compare the transcontinental railroad to its modern equivalent, the internet.

In each case individuals were responsible for both, but in only one, the internet, are those individuals ignored by their president, a president that lays credit for the internet's creation in the benevolent hands of the same government that is unable to tax its own supposed creation.

Of the transcontinental railroad:
Wiki:

President Abraham Lincoln reportedly told Oakes Ames that if he could get the transcontinental railroad built then he would be "the most remembered man of the century."

Would an Obama government erect a monument to an individual or even a group of individuals for their contributions to the internet?

The Ames brothers got one for their contributions to the transcontinental railroad.

Instead, with a total disregard for the individual contribution to the internet we get "Government did that." from our current president.

Bureaucratic aggrandizement in the best tradition of Fec's authoritarians.


Ed Cone

Government cleared the land of its original inhabitants, which made the railroad possible.

I learned the phrase "standing on the shoulders of giants" from a middle-school science textbook, which was quoting Newton's famous remark, which itself was cribbed from earlier sources. Of course, Newton was the head of a government patronage ring known as the Royal Society, so, you know, Marx.

polifrog

Ed Cone:

Government cleared the land of its original inhabitants, which made the railroad possible.


Yawn...

It is the nature of man to lose what they gain. We too will one day lose the ground on which we currently stand to another.

What is not the nature of things is to bring forth, amid a backdrop of brutish misery, civilization such that individual liberty is retained while holding at bay the alternate brutishness of the various tyrannies available to government.

Liberty is a rare and fleeting thing.

Bill Yaner

Wouldn't you also say, Frog that government holds no monopoly on "various tyrannies" but in fact can be the instrument by which individual liberties are protected FOR its citizens.

Today, for example, a weakened central government is said to be the inspiration for a coordinated attack by Al Quaeda which blew the liberties (and lives) of over 100 citizens to smithereens. Pretty tyrannical, and pretty brutish if you ask me - as well as a darned good reason for Iraqis to call for a bigger, more powerful government.

Ed Cone

But we're not talking about the abstractions of history, we're talking about a specific ethnic cleansing program conducted for the purposes of territorial and economic expansion.

Of course, that all pales next to the brutality of government-funded research labs and the tragedy of bridge building. Except those things never happened. Or something.

James

I recently read Steve Jobs' book, which is quite wonderful by the way. Especially the part where he carefully explains that he didn't do anything by himself, with the possible exception of the ethnic cleansing he achieved at Microsoft.

I, on the other hand, built my own company single-handedly. At our peak, we had 450 employees, all living in homes built exclusively by me, all using an electrical system that I personally invented and constructed, all getting health care from a hospital system that I created and funded, and all working for money that I printed in my own private bureau of engraving. I did it all by myself for more than 20 years, standing on the shoulders of no one.

The wife adds:

Hmmm. Wasn't that a public university in Chapel Hill where you rode the GI Bill for 45 months to get into the PhD program and learn everything you needed to start that business?

The husband responds:

No dear. I built that university all by my freakin' self.

James

Related from Romney's "I did it my way" tour ...

https://twitter.com/gingergibson/status/227455460075241472

Bill Yaner

I still think the Tea Party reached its height of confusion on this issue with that woman in the crowd statement, "Don't let the government touch my Medicare!" From then on it was "Send in the Clowns" time right on up to that greatest expression of confusion and incoherence of all time - the Republican primaries debates.

Years from now historians and political analysts will read transcripts from those debates and say, "What??"

Fred Gregory

Odd, The WSJ link in this post doesn't have a link to comments, which are always enlightening like this one. The original article on ther nets has such a link and gives us this

52 minutes ago..TODD KUENY Wrote:

" Now some clowns at Ars Technica have simply rewritten history for Obama...

Full thoughts here

"In a burst of Administration-inspired foolhardiness Ars Technica has decided to pick apart a small WSJ article on the "history of the internet" to show that it was, of course, all done by the government.

Xerox PARC did develop the internet - but both articles leave out the facts and details and gloss over the actual truth of the matter."

...............

I have founded a dozen companies over the last several decades - I have employed hundreds of people - all through this inspiration.

But I myself did all the work and, when things didn't go well, no one from the government came to save me.

Which is the most telling I think.

While you can say "the government did all this" or "none of this could have been done without the government" the fact is that the government never cared what I did as long as I paid taxes and did not break the law.

It never helped in any way.

And in the mid-1970's you could only read about things like the ARPANET in private publications like IEEE journals.

To try and steal this computer science legacy from probably millions of people over three decades is truly a crime and a FAIL by Ars Technica."

RTWT

Ed Cone

The AT article seemed accurate.

Interesting idea that a seriously flawed article in the leading biz paper deserves no correction from a site specializing in the area under discussion.

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