As if any more proof were needed that the world of politics is far removed from the one that the rest of us inhabit, I submit the following statement from Vice President Joe Biden:
“Every single great idea that has marked the 21st century, the 20th century and the 19th century has required government vision and government incentive”
Vice President Biden suffers from a severe case of foot-in-mouth disease, as anyone who remembers his asking a wheel-chair bound candidate to stand at a political rally knows. His gaffes and hyperbole are legion, even if deemed less newsworthy than, say George W. Bush’s, but this statement in not just another number to add to his growing catalogue of faux pas. It is, rather, a succinct example of thinking inside the beltway, and especially prevalent in this administration, that nothing happens without the Federal government’s involvement. It is top-down thinking, woefully ignorant of history that believes that all of society’s advances and enrichments come from an omniscient ruling class, rather than from the wellspring of the nation. It is the kind of thinking that says that certain businesses are too big to fail, a thinking that would have subsidized buggy whip manufacturers at the advent of the automobile industry, which was created in the late 19th century by men named Daimler and Ford, Benz and Duryea, without a nickel’s help from the government. It is the kind of thinking that would have crushed Silicon Valley in its infancy, that would have regulated the computer industry in favor of dinosaurs like Sperry-Rand, IBM, and DEC, when men like Jobs and Wozniack and Gates redefined computing in their small garages at the end of the 20th century, without a nickel’s help from the government. It is a thought process that sees an invention, such as Thomas Edison’s incandescent light bulb, a life-changing product created by a great mind in a free market, and seeks to regulate it out of existence, for political gain in a regulated market run by small minds. It is the kind of thinking that says we can’t make our own decisions about health care, or what to teach our children, thinking which seeks even to regulate the spice we put on our food.
It is America’s –and the world’s– great fortune that for most of our history men like Joe Biden have had little to say, and less to do, about the Thomas Edisons and Bill Gates of this world. Devoid of great ideas themselves, all they can do is stand on the sidelines, and like the rooster, try to take credit for the sun rising.