E Pluribus Meum
by Kevin_Foley
 Politics Progressive
July 17, 2012 03:29 PM | 2383 views | 8 8 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
The primary difference between conservatives and progressives is that conservatives believe in "me" while progressives believe in "we."


Evidence can be found in the presidential campaign where Mitt Romney insists the individual alone can achieve anything if left alone while President Obama says individuals are only as successful as the people around them, a point the president made the other day in a speech (which of course was distorted by the far right media into "criticism" of small business owners).


Having built and owned a successful business for over a quarter century, I agree with Obama. Nobody in business or any other worthy pursuit ever accomplished anything important without help, guidance and encouragement, including Romney.


Many of the people who worked for Romney at Bain Capital  were educated in public schools and universities paid for by the rest of us. Romney's business was defended by the military we paid for. To the extent Romney's companies produced any products, they were moved to markets over roads, bridges and interstate highways the rest of us paid for with our taxes. Without the rest of us, there would have never been a Bain Capital.


The notion that Romney and Romney alone achieved his success is an Ayn Rand fantasy (the mother of "Objectivism," by the way, never started and built a business).


A friend challenged me on this, insisting the Founding Fathers would agree with Romney. I reminded him the Constitution begins with the words, "We the People..."


After signing the Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Franklin famously told his co-signers, "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately."

Indeed, our nation's motto is E Pluribus Unim. Out of many, one.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
July 21, 2012
That no man is an island is not in dispute by anyone. So let's dispense with the me v. we stuff and get to the heart of the matter which is Obama's statement, "If you've got a business, that, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."

Presidential historian Michael Beschloss announced shortly after Obama's election that Obama is "probably the smartest guy ever to become president" and "his IQ is off the charts." Therefore, I'm sure Obama didn't misspeak when he made the above statement.

So Mr. Foley, whose capital was at risk when you started your business? It wasn't your own, correct? If, God forbid, your business had failed, who would have suffered the consequences? Somebody else, right?

Who determined your corporate structure, on your behalf?

Who made the hiring decisions for you?

You didn't worry about making payroll, right? Someone else carried that burden for you.

I could go on ad nauseum, but you get my drift.

Obama's statement was an affront to any risk-taking entrepreneur, such as yourself, and it was a bright line in his speech leading to a window into his soul.

Frank Ward
July 20, 2012

Your blog stated the obvious too obviously for some people to grasp. You cannot keep using common sense like that. Nobody operates their life or business in vacuum as we are all dependent in some way on others. Keep up the good work.
Lib in Cobb
July 20, 2012
The "wingers" of Cobb and elsewwhere are out in full force regarding President Obama's comments. Yes, there are people who have been very successful in business. Those businesses were not maintained and sustained by one person. It takes sometimes many people to ensure the success of any enterprise. If anyone attempts to convince you otherwise they are a fool or a Republican, perhaps both.

Mr. Halle, thank you.
Oliver G. Halle
July 19, 2012
There is nothing remarkable about what Kevin Foley wrote. He didn't attack capitalism, free enterprise, or our American way of life in his editorial comment. What he did was point out the obvious, that none of us who have achieved a measure of success did it alone. Sir Isaac Newton said that if he has seen further it is becasue he has stood on the shoulders of giants. Our predecessors paved the way for the future. Romney didn't earn his intelligence or good looks---he won the genetic lottery. But even so, I have to believe that he would never have succeeded in North Korea, Somalia, or a host of other countries that didn't have the foundational structures and governments that allow people like him and Steve Jobs to succeed.

How anyone can conclude that Foley, Obama, et al are the enemies of free enterprise, individualism, initiative, is beyond reason unless it's mere partisanship. This isn't an argument about taxes, Republicans or Demorcrats, but a fair statement about how there are a lot of moving parts to our great country that allow the great thinkers, inventors, and leaders to maximize their potential. And there is nothing wrong with that, and in fact, there is everything right with it.
Kevin Foley
July 19, 2012
@Cobb CoGuy - But you just made my point for me..."so did the folks employed by that business." No taxes = no road = no employees = no business. Likewise public schools to educate employees or the police and firemen to protect it. Nobody is an island.

And of course I pay taxes but I don't whine about it. I live in the greatest country ever conceived. Paying my taxes seems like a very small price for that privilege.

BTW, I appreciate your thoughtful, polite comments. I always try to reply to people who take the time to offer rebuttal.
July 19, 2012
Mr. Foley

You make it sound as if those who worked hard, made good decisions, and became successful, were, somehow, during their journey, totally exempt from taxation.

Sure, successful people used the roads to build their business, but so did the folks employed by that business.

You built a business. I applaud that. Did your business pay taxes or was your business completely tax exempt allowing you to ride to success on the backs of the lessor people who were required to pay taxes?
Devlin Adams
July 18, 2012
Foley, you surprise me. I thought Bill Press held the record for being wrong the most consecutive times, but, in all fairness, he does find an acorn every now and then and write something with a modicum of truth and cxommon sense therein.

You, sir, have yet to achieve that.

But you hang in there, Sunshine, and keep trying.

Your claptrap does serve to keep reminding the thinking people of Cobb County, what a delusional lib does with his spare time.

Have a nice day.
Lib in Cobb
July 18, 2012
Kevin, Thank you.
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