It is true. No man is an island. No one does anything completely by himself. We can’t even exist of ourselves. We are brought into existence. We build off of the hard work of others. If we are stranded on an island and build a hut and survive, we didn’t put the raw materials there did we? So we must credit nature with supplying those. If I build a shed or remodel my bedroom, Lowe’s provides the wood and nails (afterall, their motto is, Let’s Build Something Together). If I learn the 2nd Mephisto Waltz by Liszt, my piano teachers are there to teach me the necessary technique to get it right, or taught me in the past so I can learn it now.
But all this gets from me is: “Uh, yeah…” What’s the point. It is so obvious it is boringly uninteresting. Was he really making that boring of a point on a campaign stop? It’s like expecting cheers after announcing that we do addition and subtraction in math class. No kidding. I think he was saying more than that, because I think he’s smarter than that.
The President is a Big Government Liberal, and no one doubts or disputes that. He does think the government is very important and that we can’t do anything important without it. What I don’t think he meant was that Bill Gates doesn’t get credit for starting Microsoft, or Steve Jobs for Apple, or Papa John for Papa John’s (yeah… funny, but I’m tired of that already, Mitt). Obama does believe that without the government those guys couldn’t have made it, because he believes in the primacy of the state. So while they are to be credited with a lot of ingenuity and hard work, they also need to give Uncle Sam his due.
So it seems to me that both sides have once again gotten it wrong. The President wasn’t saying that individuals don’t deserve any credit. But he also wasn’t making the innocuously infantile statement that no man is an island. Where he should be attacked is his statist tendency. But that takes thought, and political attacks are so much easier.