We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

“For as long as the culture of business has been an integral part of American life, it has also been frowned upon by important sectors of our society. Among our intellectuals especially, the business world has been the subject of many brutal caricatures, portraying corporations large and small, and the people who run them, as heartless, soulless agents of greed. These caricatures have shaped our implicit understanding of the nature of the business world, so much that they have come to pass for conventional wisdom.”

- Algis Valiunas

An interesting piece, although its caricature of Ayn Rand is a duff note.

1 comment to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Paul Marks

    A very good post.

    Whilst business people are presented (in novels, films and television shows) as nearly always the “bad guys” the culture (from the cultural elite on down) is sick – and hope is cut off.

    Some practivcal steps could be taken – for example an end to the (Kennedy Administration) rule that companies and individuals can not create a television show directly and pay a network to put it on the air (as was normal in the 1950s) – instead (perversely in the name of “creative freedom”) leaving what entertainment shows get on the air to a small cartel of television executives.

    Also taxpayer and VOLUNTARY donations to the universities (and other elite cultural insitutions) could be ended – while the people who control these institutions continue to spit on the people who finance them.

    This is what the late Ayn Rand called the “sanction of the victim”.

    I agree that crude attacks on Ayn Rand are a sign of the very cultural sickness that Algis Valinuas opposes (the bias and the unfairness has crept even in to Valinuas).

    As for the history of it all.

    In the start of the Republic things were not that bad – for example Thomas Jefferson was NOT (contrary to what is often claimed) hostile to traders and manufacturers. He was against SUBSIDIZED traders and manufactuers (a very different thing).

    I would say that it was only after the Civil War that great sickness appeared in the cultural elite.

    Perhaps it was disgust with war time corruption – and with the corruption of President Grant’s “gilded age”

    But in the 1870s and 1880s the hostility of large parts of the cultural elite to business and commerce becomes obvious.

    It is particularly true of the elite in the State of Massachusetts (from which the leftist reputation of this State comes – although, at first, the anti business intellectuals had little power in terms of policy).

    Perhaps the first policy victories of this group (or attitude) came in the 1880s.

    With such things as the ICC (setting railroad prices) from 1887 and (before even this) the Civil Service Act – and (please) note the “Pledge Of Allegiance” (that conservatives so love).

    It does not mention the Constitution of the United States anywhere – why not?

    Because the Bellamy kin (Edward and Francis) who wrote it HATED the limited government position of the Constitution – it went against their ideology of “National Socialism” (oh yes – that is what they called it).

    Then there was the rise of the “Pragmatist” school of philosophy replacing the old “Common Sense” (or “Scots” school (this matters).

    And the rise of “Progressive Economics” Richard Ely and his German trained comrades.

    And on into the now.