"[Rudyard Kipling] sees clearly that men can only be highly civilized while other men, inevitably less civilized, are there to guard and feed them."I want to compare that to Obama's notorious "you didn't build that quote" and Elizabeth Warren's "you didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory."
I know Obama's quote is (hilariously) defective in its failure to give any significance to the work a business owner has put into his own business, but the reason Obama's quote is important that it's not merely an obviously incorrect overstatement, but that it reveals his frame of mind in putting the efforts of the collective people over the work of the individual.
But Obama opponents, in their eagerness to exploit that quote, are forgetting about the ways in which conservatives like to call attention to the dependency of the individual upon the collective.
Another old quote I thought of is "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants" (which was originally written by Sir Isaac Newton).
There is a core idea here that is shared by conservatives and liberals (and anybody else who isn't delusional).
Only a comically arrogant person, speaking about himself, has no one else to acknowledge. I heard from someone who had a job of reading a ton of never-to-be-published manuscripts that it was very common for amateurish authors to write on the dedication page: To Myself. (Or perhaps even: To Myself, I couldn't have done it without me.) I remember when The Ramones got inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Dee Dee Ramone said: "I'd like to congratulate myself, and thank myself, and give myself a big pat on the back."
Dee Dee was being funny. In most sincere speeches, a person getting recognition for accomplishments is likely to say something like: I couldn't have done this on my own. I owe my success to my parents, my wife, to this community, to my church, and to the grace of God.
But that would be the business owner himself speaking, being modest and gracious and reaching out to make connections to those he acknowledges. He's built his business, and now he's building something else: community and his own reputation. He's choosing to elevate the collective over the individual out of his own free will as an individual. And he acknowledges the parts of the collective that he believes — in his free mind — have truly helped him.
Of course, it's quite another matter for the President of the United States to be speaking about the businessman, purporting to lecture him about his dependency on the work of others, especially when that lecture is directed at an audience of people who are (presumably) not so successful, whose political support the President is cultivating with intimations of wealth redistribution.