27.7.12

THE EVOLUTION OF COOPERATION.

Keith Hennessey reacts to Our President's "You Didn't Build That" theme.  He highlights a line from the speech that provides the context Our President claims his critics are overlooking. "The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together." In his column, the phrase is a dog-whistle expression.
“You didn’t build that,” and “You didn’t get there on your own,” and “blessed” and “fortunate” have one thing in common.  They deemphasize the idea that success is earned.  This makes it easier for President Obama to justify taking more from those who have succeeded.
Perhaps, but the Opposition could as easily take on the President on the proper institutional arrangements to secure cooperation among individuals. There's a famous Adam Smith quote from which the last two sentences often get used out of context.
But man has almost constant occasion for the help of his brethren, and it is in vain for him to expect it from their benevolence only. He will be more likely to prevail if he can interest their self-love in his favour, and show them that it is for their own advantage to do for him what he requires of them. Whoever offers to another a bargain of any kind, proposes to do this. Give me that which I want, and you shall have this which you want, is the meaning of every such offer; and it is in this manner that we obtain from one another the far greater part of those good offices which we stand in need of. It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages.
Advantage can imply, but need not equate, to using the police power of the state to take from some to provide to others.

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