Friday, January 25, 2013

On "acting alone"

A libertarian looks at a passage from Barack Obama's second inaugural address:

For the American people can no more meet the demands of today's world by acting alone than American soldiers could have met the forces of fascism or communism with muskets and militias. No single person can train all the math and science teachers we'll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores. Now, more than ever, we must do these things together.
In addition to the linked observations, we would add this: Who believes in acting alone? Not the entrepreneur, who marshals capital from investors, ideas from leaders and inventors, productive work from employees, [more often than we would prefer] the consent of regulators, and the engagement of customers to build an enterprise. Not the philanthropist, who inspires a mission in others, recruits volunteers, raises money from contributors, hires leaders, spreads the word, and identifies and helps beneficiaries. And not any conservative I know.

In law school we called that a straw man.


  1. I really am tired of Barack Obama's recycled 1960s crap. As a journalist I heard all this nonsense from Black Panthers and white community organizers when Obama was eight years old. Back then, many of the activists were nothing more than hustlers, exploiting white guilt to put cash in their pockets.

    Afterward, some of those hustlers gave up public speaking, became more libertarian, started their own businesses (legal and/or illegal), and bought expensive BMWs.

    By the way, Michelle Obama is dressing a lot nicer these days. I like her new look.

    Further reading:

    Tom Wolfe's 1970 book "Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers"

  2. P.S. You can read "Radical Chic" free at the Web site of New York magazine:

    It was one of the pieces that made Tom Wolfe famous.

    From the article:

    "Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. These are nice. Little Roquefort cheese morsels rolled in crushed nuts. Very tasty. Very subtle. It’s the way the dry sackiness of the nuts tiptoes up against the dour savor of the cheese that is so nice, so subtle. Wonder what the Black Panthers eat here on the hors d’oeuvre trail? Do the Panthers like little Roquefort cheese morsels wrapped in crushed nuts this way, and asparagus tips in mayonnaise dabs, and meatballs petites au Coq Hardi, all of which are at this very moment being offered to them on gadrooned silver platters by maids in black uniforms with hand-ironed white aprons . . ."

  3. Tom Wolfe is indeed hilarious at his best. And he actually does wear the white suit -- I was at a small group dinner once with a famous German-American former secretary of state and national security advisor, and Wolfe plopped down next to me, white suit and all.

    One of the interesting things about that passage is how dated the hors d'oeuvres are...


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