Watch this:

And this:

What’s the difference between the two?

It seems clear that one is promoting collectivism while the other is promoting freedom, but they both seem to use the same underlying argument. Why do similar basic facts lead to opposite conclusions? Is it because:

  1. The first argument seems to imply that a debt is still owed for past services, when payment has, in fact, already been rendered?
  2. The second argument emphasizes voluntary cooperation and competition, while the first emphasizes coercive services?
  3. The first argument seems to deemphasize the importance of smart decisions and hard work?
  4. The first argument seems to assume that success is impossible without a central planner, while the second recognizes the impossibility of central planning?

I think it is interesting that the substance of the two arguments is largely the same, but the implication is vastly different.

Bonus video: I honestly don’t think that President Obama meant that the business owner didn’t build his business. I think he meant that the business owner didn’t build the roads and bridges. That doesn’t change the deep collectivist tone that comes from viewing the entire excerpt, in context, though. This video is a light-hearted response on behalf of individualism, even if it is slightly off-target.

Steve Palmer

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