This week, Mother Jones launched what might best be termed a September surprise: a secret tape of an off-the-record Mitt Romney fundraiser from May in which he stated, “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what.”
Parts of this are artfully worded and true; parts are inartfully worded and true. Romney is exactly correct that almost half of the American population believes that they are victims – let’s call them Group A. He is also correct that 47% of Americans do not pay any federal income tax – let’s call them Group B. He is wrong to suggest that everyone in Group B is in Group A. And he’s wrong to suggest that everyone in Group A is in Group B. There are plenty of people who pay federal income tax who believe in the victimology that lies at the root of American leftism.
In truth, Barack Obama doesn’t believe that just 47% of the American population is victimized. He believes, as does his shock force in the Occupy movement, that 99% of Americans are victimized by some shadowy 1%. Overlooked in his infamous “you didn’t build that” speech is a far more troubling notion: the notion that success in America comes from luck. As he put it, “I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something – there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help.”
Surely Obama is correct in individual cases; there are certainly some smart, hardworking people who have failed miserably on the financial front. But most Americans were not successful because they found a back door to success. They are successful because they made smart decisions and worked hard. Obama, however, believes that there is some sort of perverse cronyism at work in American success stories, and that without a similarly cronyistic government to be your best friend, your father figure, your banker, you will fail.
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