Elizabeth Warren’s anti-entrepreneur “You didn’t build that on your own” Speech

As with academic papers written by scholars and examined by students, it is assumed that the subject matter is accurate and generally follows the nomenclature of purpose, hypotheses and findings. I will use this template to critique a discourse of diatribe by Elizabeth Warren that is known as the “You didn’t build that on your own” speech.

(Editor’s note: You may be thinking that this is a quote from President Obama, and he did indeed say this, and meant it. But Elizabeth Warren’s quote was much earlier.)

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The quote of analysis is as follows:

“There is nobody in this country who got rich on their own. Nobody. You built a factory out there – good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory… Now look. You built a factory and it turned into something terrific or a great idea – God bless! Keep a hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”

I am proposing that the speech is one of malicious contempt for the American entrepreneur and will support this with my own vitriolic response in a line by line manner.

“There is nobody in this country who got rich on their own. Nobody.”

To set the scene for this first phrase, one must examine the context in which it is written. Warren is performing the function here of the “useful idiot,” by which she is extending the rhetoric of the progressive left. In particular, her speech follows a thematic narrative put forth by activist and Berkeley liberal George Lakoff. The Marxian thesis developed by Lakoff and so proudly espoused by Warren shows the contempt for the bourgeois, (American businessmen) and their call to arms by the proletariat, whose backs, they say, you the small businessman, built his success off of.

The totalitarian theory implied in this line wants one to believe that it is the government’s role that enables individual success, hence the need for more and bigger government. The second use of the word “nobody” is an effort to make the masses one, so that income equality can allegedly be gained by all through the strength of the state. One might put an exclamation mark after the second use of “nobody” as Warren re-emphasizes your individual uselessness and your need for the collective to achieve success.

You built a factory out there – good for you.

This smug, patronizing comment is at the heart of how the progressive liberal despises your success and longs to free it from you. The use of the term “factory” is a turn of the 19th century phrase that implies the malevolence of capitalism and the need for unionization to organize the masses in protest. Every revolution must have dissent and protest. This line sickens me as much as any in this narrative.

But I want to be clear.

This attempts to be an authoritarian statement providing the basis for the class warfare that is needed to accomplish the end game. In the lines that follow, we will see more of the propaganda that would make Joseph Goebbels proud to be an American today.

Part II to follow…

Editor’s note: This is how far the socialist movement has come. People believe Warren is an intelligent college professor who speaks well and makes sense. She is really an incompetent, with no concept of how the real world works.

As an entrepreneur and small business owner, when Obama expressed this sentiment, I became sick to my stomach that this asshole who had never run a business, never made a payroll was telling me that I didn’t build my own company. To know that yet another useless, clueless politician believes this and is running for President, makes me want to cry. Have we learned nothing?

In my opinion, this is exceedingly offensive to small business owners who worked their asses off to build a business. We pay taxes, so we have as much right to the infrastructure as anyone else. We create wealth above and beyond what others do, wealth that would not exist but for us.

Did ‘everybody’ help us? Hell no. In fact, there is no one lonelier than a struggling small business owner trying to make payroll…


About John Thomas

John Patrick Thomas is a four-time cancer survivor who lives with his family in South Florida. John attended Gettysburg College and The American University before embarking on an entrepreneurial career on Wall Street. He turned to the teaching profession after his life-threatening bout with bone cancer. John has recently written a #1 Amazon Cancer Bestselling book entitled, “A Call to Faith, the Journey of a Cancer Survivor.” He has appeared in publications such as The New York Times, The Wall St. Journal, The Washington Post, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center publications, and was featured in new DayStar network series, “Impact with Pastor Dave.” He has traveled as a missionary and may be one of the few people that tell you cancer was the best thing to ever happen to him. You’ll have to ask him why.


  1. Didn’t some other DUMBASS say that same thing a few years ago? Isn’t that illegal to steal someone elses stupid speeches.

  2. Edouard D'Orange

    Most entertaining. Exactly, what I thought of Warren and her Marxist diatribe. She is so wrong on so many levels. I couldn’t explain why as well as you have in this piece.

  3. Roads are built by companies owned by and staffed by individuals, not government. Students are taught by teachers, not schools or departments of education. Fires are fought by firemen, not fire departments. In fact, volunteer fire brigades often have better response times than full-time, unionized ‘professional’ fire departments.

    Amen to the loneliness of entrepreneurs struggling to make payroll, especially after employees have made a mess of things. Been there, done that. Put my home in hock to keep things going (at age 65).

  4. I do not think much of your analysis. I had a successful 18 year experience as an entrepreneur and can assure you that a substantial part of the credit for the success of the enterprise belongs to society’s contributions. Without the resources provides by society (reliable energy supply, trained workforce, legal structures, communications, transports, etc) all the dedication and the resourcefulness of the entrepreneur including his/her efforts, creativity, determination and risk taking would have accomplished little. The entrepreneur can be looked at as a catalyst and surely should share in the recognition and rewards granted by society when it values the contribution made by the enterprise.

    • Really? A ‘catalyst’? Your business was ‘granted’ by society? Either you are faking being an entrepreneur, or you inherited a lot of money.

      • No, my business was NOT ‘granted’ by society, but surely society greatly helped make its success possible for all the reasons previously given. I neither faked being an entrepreneur nor did I inherit any money. In fact, I came legally in this country 50 years ago with $1000 in my pocket, a wife and a 4 year old son. Got a job and completed my education at the local local junior college and then university all the while working to put food on the table and a roof over our head. After gaining professional experience for 20 years, I founded T-COM, a firm that over the next 18 years provided about 500 man-years of rewarding employment to competent and hardworking people.

  5. Alain Gronner (12 June) and Elizabeth Warren are right. Entrepreneurship requires lots of ego strength; but blind ego that doesn’t recognize the contribution of society to the individual’s success is tragic. Unfortunately, the comments above show lots of strong, but blind, egos.

    • When Warren talks about the contributions of “society” she’s really talking about government. She wants to increase the role of government. Government isn’t society and society isn’t government.

      Most of what Gronner mentioned is, as I said above, private efforts funded by private money taken by force in taxes. Only the legal structure is really contributed by government and current government can’t take credit for the basic legal structure set up in the Constitution of either the US or the states. In fact, much of what current government has created are impediments to entrepreneurs. Not all, but too much.

      Businesses controlled by (or in bed with) government is fascism. Mussolini was going to make the trains run on time, among other things.

      • I beg to differ. Society is NOT equivalent to the government. In my view, society represents the collectivity (all of us in a given state or country) along with the institutions the collectivity has created.

        Roads, bridges and their maintenance are paid for via the government by the collectivity; so are the fire and police departments (equipment, buildings, personnel); electricity, gas, water (power plants and distribution networks) are paid directly by the collectivity; likewise for the communications which are also controlled by the government (more or less) in accordance with the wishes of the collectivity; etc.

        As for the government taking taxes ‘by force’, it is simply acting as an intermediary between the collectivity and those entities (businesses and institutions) who provide the services demanded by the collectivity/society. One may look at taxes as simply the cost many of us pay for all the services we demand to enjoy a safe and relatively pleasant life. (Some members of society who cannot pay taxes still usually contribute some labor which benefit the collectivity.)

        Those tribes living free in some remote parts of the world don’t typically pay much taxes, but would you enjoy the precarity of their living conditions? If so why not give it a try?