There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me — because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t — look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. (Applause.)That's just how it really happened for him: it's not that he was smarter than everyone else, or harder working, but he rose from success to success -- from Columbia to Harvard, from Harvard to the University of Chicago, two published autobiographies, two Grammy awards for the audio recordings of those same autobiographies, the Senate, even the Presidency and the Nobel Prize.
If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. 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.
He didn't publish at Harvard, didn't do much at U. Chicago, was a failure as a community organizer, didn't succeed in his first push to get elected to public office... but there was always somebody there to dust him off, and push him up to the next rung.
Somebody else made all that happen -- a whole system of somebodies else. Naturally he feels loyal to the system that raised him so high. That system includes unions, especially teacher's unions; the academic system, especially affirmative action; and the Democratic Party, especially the Chicago machine and, more recently, the DNC. At the international level, the community of saints at the UN and the Nobel committee are likewise contributors to his success. All these people had to work very hard to pull him through to the pinnacle of human achievement.
It's less likely to be true of the small businessman, for whom there may be 'that special teacher,' or a friend or family member who helped them build an initial stake. On the other hand, there really may not be. A great deal more comes from individual effort in these cases.
Still, even for those who lack access to the networks and alliances that make it easy for the well-connected to move upwards and onwards with little effort, it surely would be nice to have such access. And you can get some, if you want, by purchasing dinner with Barack tonight at one of his spectacular fundraising efforts.
Why wouldn't he believe this? You can't argue with success, and by many measures he is the most successful man in the world.