Her remarks and the celebration of them capture the Left’s romance with collective action over individual initiative. Most people don’t look at a successful manufacturer and say, “Yeah, but he’d be nothing without a surface-transportation network.” Although all of us (not just the rich) travel roads and bridges, few of us open factories.Lowry's wrong. Warren's remarks celebrate collective action and individual initiative working hand-in-hand. (And it's a necessary counterpoint to the ascendant Ayn Randian ideology that celebrates the individual without acknowledgement of the collective action that made it possible for the individual to succeed—indeed, disdains that collective completely.) Here's part of what Warren said:
“Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea? God bless. Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”Lowry scoffs:
Focusing on infrastructure as the crucial support of entrepreneurial activity is like crediting the guy who built young Bill Gates’s garage with the start of Microsoft. Yes, Gates needed a roof over his head, and garages are useful. But it was Gates who had the ambition to do more in his garage than store his car and lawn-care products. Incalculably more important than his physical surroundings were his imagination and business sense.
Could Gates have done it in Mogadishu or Peshawar? Certainly not. But the goods cited by Warren as the foundation of a workable business environment are extremely minimal.I guess I don't get this. Lowry has to admit that the infrastructure and public safety made possible by government are essential to entrepreneurial activity—thus the Mogadishu comparison—but at the same time he dismisses it as "minimal."
I think that's extremely easy to say if you're not in Mogadishu. Gates can't get his work done without that garage, but it doesn't matter? Very weird. I assume Rich Lowry likes to build houses without foundations.