Friday, July 20, 2012

Dancing the Faux Pas de Deux

Political commentator Michael Kinsley once explained the Washingtonian definition of a faux pas: when someone accidentally tells the truth. The President told the truth last week -- at least the truth as he sees it -- and since then all hell has broken loose.
"You didn't build that."
The idea is that someone who has worked hard, sacrificed, taken risks, and built a successful business up from nothing has not really earned his success. That may be true, at least in part, based on some Olympian perspective of cosmic justice for all.

But it is a distinctly alien perspective, more akin to the grim determinism of Marx than the optimistic, free-wheeling American spirit.

But of course the question arises: if businessmen did not earn their success, why should we believe anyone else did? Like, for example, Mr. Obama himself?