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

“Historically, remember, Andrew Carnegie was a Scottish immigrant; John Roebling, a German one; Nikola Tesla, a Serb who emigrated from Croatia; Albert Einstein was a German immigrant who became a U.S. citizen in 1940; the great economist, Ludwig von Mises, was an Austrian immigrant; and Ayn Rand, author of Atlas Shrugged, a Russian one. The list could be indefinitely extended. In our day, Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, emigrated to the U.S. from the Soviet Union. Jerry Yang, co-founder of Yahoo, emigrated to America from Taiwan. Vinod Khosla, one of the founders of Sun Microsystems, is an Indian immigrant; Andreas Bechtolsheim, another of Sun’s founders, a German one. This list, too, could be greatly extended.”

Andrew Bernstein.

24 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • George

    errrr… isn’t pretty much everyone who isn’t Native American in North America an immigrant?

  • Snorri Godhi

    Sorry, but I simply cannot believe that all the statists, socialists, and American “liberals” in favor of open borders and multiculturalism, don’t know what is good for their cause.

    Besides, there is at least one important logical flaw in Bernstein’s article.
    He claims that the welfare state as we know it should be abolished, and I agree. However, that it should be does not mean that it will be, and the more immigrants there are, the more difficult it will be to oppose the welfare state without being called a racist.
    (Which is presumably why statists favor open orders nowadays.)

  • Have there been any homegrown American scientists?

  • Johnathan Pearce

    James, depends what you mean by “homegrown”.

  • Sam Duncan

    Assuming you’re using the term in its modern sense of “Indian”, George, then no. If you’re going to stretch the definition of “immigrant” to people whose parents, grandparents, or great-great-great-great… grandparents were immigrants, then so is everyone in Europe. And, for that matter, the Indians.

    So where do you draw the line? Who isn’t an immigrant? Naturally and obviously, it’s anyone who didn’t himself immigrate from anywhere else: ie., pretty much everyone in North America.

  • George

    don’t see the point of the quote Sam, that lots of non anglo saxons were intelligent, so what?

  • PersonFromPorlock

    On the other hand, the Goths who destroyed Roman Europe were also immigrants….

  • Mose Jefferson

    It should be a mark of pride to be a nation where the best and brightest flee to, rather than from.

  • veryretired

    The social authorities of government, religion, and cultural influence, regardless of how they were arranged in any particular instance, have served to stifle innovation and creativity for much of human history, not encourage them.

    In a few places, creativity was allowed, not punished.

    In a few centuries, humans went from horseback to the planets, driven by the innovations exploding from those open cultures.

    The greatest question now before us is very clear—will we shackle the human mind with the all-encompassing authority of the leviathan state, or shall we shackle the state, and let the creativity of the human mind run freely, within certain broad limitations?

    The best minds will always challenge the current orthodoxy.

    An open society fertilizes such flowers, a closed one applies herbicide.


  • Trofim

    Any famous Pakistanis or Afghans on the list? And aren’t native americans immigrants from Siberia via the land bridge some time ago?

  • nemesis

    “An open society fertilizes such flowers, a closed one applies herbicide”
    I like that. Your next quote of the day perhaps?

  • BrendaK

    Were all of the listed, illegal immigrants? Precious few people have a problem with legal immigration.

    The problem is illegal immigration. What is the upside of being a legal citizen when all of the benefits available are extended to every-damn-body, but the responsibilities and obligations are only imposed on the legals?

  • chip

    I like the free movement of people too, but the problem arises when people move not for work or opportunity but because healthcare will be free, or benefits generous.

    The most comprehensive cost-benefit analysis on immigration in Canada found that the cost is $23 billion a year.

    Dismantle the welfare state, and then open the borders.

  • Rich Rostrom

    Historically, remember, mass murderer Juan Corona was a Mexican immigrant; kidnaper and child murderer
    Bruno Hauptmann
    was a German immigrant; pervert and child rapist Roman Polanski was a Polish immigrant; gangsters Lucky Luciano, Albert Anastasia, and Vito Genovese were Italian immigrants; and terrorist Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman was an Egyptian immigrant.

    This list, too, could be greatly extended.

  • The problem is illegal immigration. What is the upside of being a legal citizen when all of the benefits available are extended to every-damn-body, but the responsibilities and obligations are only imposed on the legals?

    The problem is not immigrants but rather the existence of the confiscatory ‘welfare’ state.

  • Alan Peakall

    James, Jonathan: ISTR that the traditional answer to the question “Can you name a homegrown American scientist?” is Josiah Willard Gibbs.

  • RRS

    The biggest problem with migrants, whichever way they are going and whatever they do, and for whatever reasons or motives – they are all just people.

  • Mendicant

    RRS Wins the award for most Twee and politically correct comment.

    Younger immigrants, yes. Older ones, emphatically no; they tend to bring their home culture with them and try to impose on everyone else, as old people always do.

    I’d happily bring in young immigrants and throw out the feckless, parasitic Baby Boomer generation.

  • Mendicant, gratuitously rude comments directed at commenters will get you banned, so knock it off.

  • bobby b

    Clearly, the list proves that international travel makes you brilliant.

    Or maybe, that all the really brilliant people want to come here, to the USA.

    Or maybe even, brilliant people tend to be so amazingly grating and annoying that their relatives and neighbors frequently drive them out of their own countries.

    Or even possibly, you have to be brilliant to figure out how to get around the USA’s immigration laws.

  • 'Nuke' Gray

    Sam Duncan, where did all the south americans come from, as your list only talks about north America?
    As for home-grown, isn’t Bill Gates home-grown? And steven jobs?

  • The Wobbly Guy

    So, lots more immigrants, illegal or legal, from Mexico, Africa, and islamic states like Pakistan? I’m sure they’ll provide you with plenty of high value contributors!

    Also, Bernstein is being hammered in the comments section. I’ll do some more hammering below.


    Even without factoring in a welfare state, competition from lower cost labour filtering into the system will often displace native/indigenous labour located on the wrong side of the Bell Curve.

    Especially when foreign labour is cheaper and can opt to withdraw at any time to their native lands to take advantage of purchasing power parities. This is even more so in an “Open Borders’ policy on a single nation but not reciprocated by others.

    If natives could easily purchase land in a foreign country, and move there on retirement to take advantage of disparities in purchasing power, I’m sure they could compete a bit more evenly with cheap foreign labour. But that’s not how the world generally works.

    So what’s left for those on the wrong side of the Bell Curve? Whereas before they could be relatively well-paid drivers, cleaners, and construction workers, they are now begging for handouts, because there is simply NOTHING they can do that cannot be done by cheaper foreign workers.

    Depending on how generous the state is with welfare, they could be seething quietly with discontent or happily wallowing off the taxpayers’ tit.

    Either way, it does not bode well. Heck, if the borders are open enough, even the middle class might be displaced due to purchasing power disparities.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    “Also, Bernstein is being hammered in the comments section.”

    Most of the comments are of the order of: “Immigrants are lazy, grasping, leftwing, stupid and in some cases, dangerous”.

    I doubt they are “hammering” Bernstein if you think that is the same as making effective or convincing arguments. The comments are variations on the old, discredited “lump of labour” fallacy that belongs with the labour theory of value as being on the ash-heap of ideas.

    And this is priceless for its sheer wrongness:

    “Even without factoring in a welfare state, competition from lower cost labour filtering into the system will often displace native/indigenous labour located on the wrong side of the Bell Curve.”

    Crap. That is ignoring the fact that if more people enter a region and those entering it are hard-working and motivated, and increase the production of wealth, how exactly are those “on the wrong side of the Bell Curve” (whatever that is supposed to mean), going to be hurt? You might as well ban people living in Florida from moving to California, or from Yorkshire to Essex, on the same, fixed-labour fallacy basis.

    It is wonderfully ironic, of course, how the anti-immigrant views on display would, had they been the basis for policy over a century ago, mean that someone like Andrew Bernstein and his attackers would not have ever lived in the US, but been condemned to wherever their ancestors had come from.

    A book that nicely debunks the fearmongering is Exceptional People, by Geoffrey Cameron.(Link)