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

If you want to introduce someone to libertarian thinking, encourage them to try this experiment. Spend a few days reading nothing but technology news. Then spend a few days reading nothing but political news. For the first few days they’ll see an exciting world of innovation and creativity where everything is getting better all the time. In the second period they’ll see a miserable world of cynicism and treachery where everything is falling apart. Then ask them to explain the difference.

– Andrew Zalotocky, commenting on this, here, about #HackedOff, many weeks ago.

I had this all ready to be an SQotD right after it first got said, but then another SQotD happened, and I forgot about it. Today, I chanced upon it again.

18 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • John Blake

    This jibes with a recent speech by German author/journalist Michael Miersch titled “Courage for the Future”: ” … Nothing sparks more outrage than optimism … (the contemporary) Zeitgeist is an anti-humanistic ideology … to its roots.” (Transcribed by P. Gosselin in his “No Tricks Zone” blog, typically addressing AGW Catastrophism in the Eurozone.)

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Very astute observation

  • That’s a fairly silly test.

    Controlling things is ALWAYS much easier than controlling people.
    Why do you think mosts managers get paid more than most tech types?

    Objects don’t scream when you cut pieces off of them, don’t whine when you ignore them, don’t try to scamper out from under the microscope because they want their privacy, etc.

    So, sure tech-types can be more optimistic.
    When they get up in the morning, they can be fairly sure that the objects they are studying won’t stage a revolution, jail them and cut their heads off.

  • James Ulvog

    Let me revise that a bit: “If you want to introduce someone to thinking, encourage them …” I think the results would be wonderful, no matter where that leads.

  • SmoledMan

    Actually in the world of coding, it’s not so black & white either. There is plenty of politics that go on in software organizations that take away from the beauty of engaging in good software engineering practices. Essentially the only way to guarantee a blissful coding experience is to engage in your own hobby project.

  • ~FR

    Then ask them to explain the difference. -Andrew Z

    Which they will promptly do as follows:
    1) The technology sector is filled with wonderful smart people like ourselves.
    2) The political sector has lots of bad mean nasty people like yourselves.

    Ergo- the problems with politics can be solved by putting wonderful smart tech-people in positions of (near) absolute power. If you don’t want to go along with this, well- you’re the problem.

  • Ben White

    1) The technology sector is filled with wonderful smart people like ourselves.
    2) The political sector has lots of bad mean nasty people like yourselves.

    Tell them this answer is bigotry in it’s purest form. Replace “people like ourselves” with “white people”. Replace “people like yourselves” with “black people”. Substitute any race or faith or gender as you like. The bigotry is still clear.

    What would someone who isn’t a bigot say?

  • Micha Elyi

    Technology: Facts backed up by reality.
    Politics: Opinions backed up by emotion.

    Any questions?

  • mysterious stranger

    The difference is the one between makers and takers.

  • AsIF

    I’ve found the best way to deal with the reality-challenged is to offer to bet them money. After the Boston bombings, a room full of folks
    patronizingly suggested we not leap to conclusions as to who the perpetrators might be. I said: “I’m betting on the Religion of Peace”, anyone care
    to make a wager and take some of that easy money? Unexpectedly, noone wanted to enrich themselves at my expense – shocking, I know.

  • Greg

    Micha says “politics: Opinions backed up by emotion.” Lots of truth there, but it sounds like the politics of the left in America (and a bit too much on the right as well). How about we say what these things ought to be? The reality underpinning technology is science and sound engineering. The reality underpinning politics is human nature. Politics is difficult because human nature is more difficult to understand than science. This is why politics has not progressed as fast as technology and probably never will. Although maybe that depends on one’s measure of progress? Sen. Daniel Moynihan, an American politician in the 1960s to 1980s, once said (roughly) “you are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts”. So, Micha, how about this, “Politics: opinions, too often, backed up only by emotion”

  • Steve Kellmyer notes:

    So, sure tech-types can be more optimistic.
    When they get up in the morning, they can be fairly sure that the objects they are studying won’t stage a revolution, jail them and cut their heads off.

    Utter tosh. I’m a tech-type, and at least two experiments I’ve worked on have made sincere attempts to kill me.

  • [...] Here’s a nice assignment (via Instapundit): [...]

  • Paul Marks

    It is a nice example.

  • Vinegar Joe

    It you believe that, read Steve Jobs & the Next Big Thing…..it’ll turn your stomach.

    http://www.amazon.com/Steve-Jobs-Next-Big-Thing/dp/0689121350

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