In those remarks, Obama was criticizing Randian Conservatives - who are sadly not confined to the US - with their silly idea that today's rich are heroic self-made men. But there is another strand of conservatism which is wholly consistent with the idea that we owe our fortune to the past. Edmund Burke famously said that society is "a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born.
Which raises a paradox. Whilst economic research now supports Burke's view, much of the right no longer does so, preferring ahistorical inidividualist tosh. But as Will says:Stumbling and MumblingA Conservative without a sense of history is just a whining, pleading bully.
History & Wealth: Burke Vs Rand
Chris Dillow | Investors Chronicle