Michelle Obama: Individualist?

Michelle Obama stunned many of her supporters when she recently said, “Charlotte [NC] is a city marked by its southern charm, warm hospitality, and an ‘up by the bootstraps’ mentality that has propelled the city forward as one of the fastest-growing in the South.”

The stunning thing about this is not the hypocrisy. Washington DC, and indeed much of the world, is full of hypocrites who rarely mean what they say, or say what they mean. The stunning thing about this is the implication that the Obamas really believe their own lies. This woman actually sees no inconsistency between the nationalization of private industry, the socialization of medicine, massive government spending and increasing taxes — and individualism. She actually would have us believe that individualism is a good thing, while at the same time proposing government obliterate the rights of the individual in favor of government control over just about everything.

Psychologically, you can only conclude that such a person never had it very hard. Unlike even most career politicians, the Obamas didn’t have to work very hard to get to the top. Bill Clinton was a career politician, but he had to win a lot of elections (and lose a few) before ultimately becoming President. George W. Bush would never have been President had it not been for the name recognition of his father, but even he had to earn a term or two as governor of Texas before he could win the Presidency. The Obamas get by on their “coolness” and their correct views according to the media, entertainment and academic establishment. In their eyes, the Obamas can do no wrong. But they had better watch themselves with comments like this. People who always had it easy think they can afford the arrogance of inconsistency. Michelle Obama is no exception.

A liberal at dailykos.com who describes himself as “Deadicated Marxist” had the following reaction to Michelle Obama’s remarks on “bootstraps”:

“Surely not everyone is offended by such a phrase. But a valid argument can be made that its origins belong to the cold individualism and alienation that naturally surrounds a Capitalistic economy. Of course, not everyone is offended by Capitalism. Admittedly, it has been essential to human development. It sure beats feudalism. Its biggest problem is over-production, but we’re sort of figuring that out. But another big problem with Capitalism is its indifference. People can make it; if they just work hard. But just working hard can be pretty tough sometimes; especially in a Great Recession. So, while I am a fan of Michelle Obama, I think her statement is a little callous. And at the very least, unknowledgeable when it comes to history. You may disagree, and that’s fine. But you won’t hear me telling anyone to ‘pull themselves up by their own bootstraps’ anytime soon. I’ll leave phrases like that to the kind of folks who think it’s mainly your fault for your situation. Michelle Obama probably isn’t that type of person, and her words should reflect that.”

Wow–so many errors to correct, so little time!

Does capitalism beat feudalism? It sure does. Does it beat any other system known to man? Absolutely. That includes socialism. That includes the socialist/liberal welfare state of Western Europe and now, especially since Obama, the United States as well. “Deadicated Marxist” claims that capitalism “overproduces.” What on earth does that mean? How can you over produce? The basic problem of economics is scarcity, not plenty. The failure of an economic system is marked by stagnation, decline, recession or depression — not expansion, profit, wealth or production. It’s lunacy to suggest otherwise.

What’s wrong with claiming, as advocates of capitalism do, that people can make it if they work hard? It’s the truth. If you work hard, and if you’re living in a free society where economic expansion is the norm and not the exception, there are always opportunities. Opportunities are not guarantees. But under capitalism, even hampered capitalism, the poor live better than the rich did a few generations back. A rising tide does lift all boats. Economic equality is both impossible and unnecessary. What’s necessary is continuous expansion, in business, science and technological development. We’ve had a lot of that under hampered capitalism, and with unhampered capitalism we’d have even more. Instead, the Obamas and liberals take us in the opposite direction — while claiming to favor the individualism and capitalism of the “bootstraps” idea!

Yes, working hard is tough sometimes, especially in a recession. What’s the point? That we should have socialism instead? Socialism means that some work so others don’t have to work. Some are extra responsible and productive so others may be less responsible and productive. How fair, equal and moral is that? Socialism demoralizes those forced to work harder — for the sake of others, not for their own benefit; and it demoralizes those who are made dependent on government handouts. What about those who physically cannot work? There are many fewer of those than people who actually get help from the government. And the plight of those individuals does not give government the right to force others to help them. We’re all responsible for finding the help we need, if we need it, and private charity or individual, voluntary acts of chosen kindness will always do better than government bureaucracies. If it was the poor or incapable that liberals really cared about, they would want to get rid of government welfare. Anyone who has interacted with the welfare state first hand knows it’s one of the least compassionate entities out there, even when run by a liberal like Obama.

People who favor capitalism do not “blame” people for their troubles, unless they brought their troubles on themselves. Many do, and some do not. That’s not the point. Government does not exist to solve the troubles of people. Government exists to protect the liberties of people to be free from force. Your need has nothing to do with my liberty, nor does my need impair your liberty. In a free country, you’re free to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps, or not — or to ask another to help you, voluntarily. My message to “Deadicated Marxist” and others like him: If you want to help others, go ahead. You’re free do so. But you’re not free to force anyone else to join your charity drive.