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The hare wins in the end (and gives a far superior speech).
(Page 3 of 4)
In moving from the critical moment in Jobs’s speech to that in Gates’s, we move (it must be said) from the sublime to the ridiculous. After all the jokiness of his opening, Gates lurches into a seriousness that is hard to take seriously in this passage:
But taking a serious look back…I do have one big regret.
I left Harvard with no real awareness of the awful inequities in the world—the appalling disparities of health, and wealth, and opportunity that condemn millions of people to lives of despair.
But humanity’s greatest advances are not in its discoveries—but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity. Whether through democracy, strong public education, quality health care, or broad economic opportunity—reducing inequity is the highest human achievement.
I left campus knowing little about the millions of people cheated out of educational opportunities here in this country. And I knew nothing about the millions of people living in unspeakable poverty and disease in developing countries.
It took me decades to find out.
Shame on Harvard for not making Global Inequities 101 part of the core curriculum! The nerdy kid from Seattle had to become a billionaire many times over—had, indeed, to become the world’s richest man—before he donned the armor of a knight of philanthropy and went out to do battle against those Awful Inequities.
There is much more drivel along the same lines. Gates speaks in the same language—the language of victimization—that is now heard from the Occupy Wall Street crowd. Only he is slightly to the left of them. He is not just a Ninety-Nine Percenter; he is up there at 99.5 percent:
When an airplane crashes, officials immediately call a press conference. They promise to investigate, determine the cause, and prevent similar crashes in the future.
But if the officials were brutally honest, they would say: “Of all the people in the world who died today from preventable causes, one half of one percent of them of them were on this plane. We’re determined to do everything possible to solve the problem that took the lives of the one half of one percent.
Even for someone who is partly responsible for destroying more than half of his company’s market capitalization over the past decade, Gates shows a shocking lack of understanding of free-market capitalism.
“If we can find approaches that meet the needs of the poor in ways that generate profits for business and votes for politicians,” Gates pontificates, “we will have found a sustainable way to reduce inequity in the world.”
But that is exactly and precisely wrong. Contra Gates, there is no good way to mix generating votes for politicians and generating profits for legitimate businesses. In backward countries ruled by unscrupulous (or monstrous) tyrants, anything that helps to prop up existing government will almost certainly be something that undermines the disciplines and rewards of free enterprise. It will perpetuate bribes and kickbacks and help to ensure that corrupt but politically-favored businesses win out over those that work hard to serve their customers and earn an honest profit.
According to Gates—and this is where we come to the theme of the speech—“The barrier to change is not too little caring; it is too much complexity.”
So, at the end of the day, it is “too much complexity” that is causing all the problems—not corruption…or man’s inhumanity to man…or the desire of dictators to do everything they can to increase their power while restricting the freedom of all those they wish to keep in a state of servitude.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online