If You Build It

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

Leave it to an academic to find intellectual underpinnings in the president’s dismissal of businessmen everywhere—those who start small businesses as well as those who preside over large ones.

“If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help,” President Obama said at the Roanoke fire station in Virginia on July 13, 2012. “There was a great teacher somewhere in your life.”

“Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business—you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.”

“Even earlier, John Dewey explained—for what should have been for all time—the connectedness that Obama was trying to illustrate and that Romney was attempting to ignore,” Aaron Barlow wrote on the academe blog of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). Barlow has taught at the New York City College of Technology (CUNY).

While we’re making connections, perhaps Dr. Barlow can explain:

  • Which came first, the industry or the service?
  • What happened in those communities where services were created in the hopes that industry would flock there, i. e., The Field of Dreams economy—“If you build it, they will come”?
  • What was going on in Detroit, Pittsburgh, Bethlehem and Hershey before auto, steel and chocolate manufacturers set up shop there?
  • What has been happening since they left? Billy Joel wrote a song about one of them. It goes like this: “Well we’re living here in Allentown and they’re closing all the factories down. Out in Bethlehem they’re killing time, filling out forms, standing in line.”
  • Which came first, the university or the industry that gave it seed money?
  • With Dr. Dewey’s gifts for seeing connections, why was he unable to connect his gracious hosts in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics with the widespread reports of forced famines in the Ukraine there in the 1930s?

Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.

If you would like to comment on this article, e-mail mal.kline@academia.org.



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