Why Equate Government with Social Cooperation?

I don’t mean to harp, but the more I think about Obama’s now-famous speech (“You didn’t build that”), the more annoyed I become. If you listen to what he said, he can’t conceive of cooperative human relations apart from ridiculous government projects. He imagines that market activity is isolating, autonomous, and selfish, and only sanctified when blessed by the inclusion of gigantic government projects like the Hoover Dam, the Golden Gate Bridge, etc.

What about the business firm? Here we have a beautiful example of cooperative action. And no business can get anywhere in a market economy without the cooperation of consumers. As for entrepreneurs themselves, there is no class of people with a broader gaze on the public interest. They are hungry for information about what people want. They are the ultimate servants of the people, extracting all the information they can get and acting on it in service of their fellow human beings.

The whole free market, especially when globally defined, is the most socially aware and inclusive institution on the planet. True, we can do very little alone. But working together through the market, we can make miracles happen. The evidence is all around us. Look no further than the device you are reading this article on right now. Not only did it not exist ten years years ago, but no one could have even imagined that something so spectacular could exist, much less be so widely available.

It is freedom that grants us these things. But apparently, the “leader of the free world” doesn’t comprehend even the first thing about freedom and how it works. He thinks that society is made up of government programs and boondoggles, and so our political obligation is to bow down and worship the state. He is afflicted with what we might call caste blindness. He identifies with the state and its clients, not the people. So the existence of a thriving world outside the public sector is simply inconceivable to him.

Maybe it’s his experience or maybe it’s his education. But, my goodness, we have here the ultimate example of tone deafness when it comes to the motive force behind the building of a free society.

As for these magic government programs, see Doug French on the Hoover Dam.