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

“The early aircraft business resembled that of the shade-tree mechanics who, in building hot rods, gave rise, then as now, to true advances in automobile design. See also the chopper shops of California and their influence on the world of motorcycling. A list of these shade-tree mechanics includes the Wrights, Cyris McCormick, Henry Ford, Tesla, Tom Edison, Meg Whitman, Bill Gates, Burt Rutan, and Steve Jobs. How would they and American industry have fared had government gotten its hands upon them at the outset – if it had taxed away the capital necessary to provide a market for their wares; if it had taxed away the wealth, which, existing as gambling money, had taken a chance on these various visionaries? One need not wonder, but merely look around at the various businesses that government has aided. And now it has taken over health care.”

David Mamet, The Secret Knowledge, page 79.

10 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • 'Nuke' Gray

    And here I thought sgady businesses were bad! I must have been listening to too much government!

  • Gareth

    Let us not forget those who tried and failed as well. Failure, and the ability for those who follow to avoid repeating those failures, aids the successes.

    With state backing the errors and mistakes tend to persist rather than wither, and will steal resources from ideas with better potential.

  • 'Nuke' Gray

    I meant ‘shady’, not ‘sgady’!
    Still, I’m glad my new invention (the self-hooking button) can be licenced by an existing company. It seems that govmints regard start-ups as nuisances to be smothered in red tape. (I suppose they need the tape for something, or it would just accumulate in govmint departments.)
    If I become rich enough from it, I may start my own island country founded on libertarian principles. I would call the chief ‘city’ Locketown, in honour of John Locke, the one who first articulated the principles of private property. I would need a minimum law book. Any ideas?

  • Laird

    Nuke, may I suggest “Lockeville” instead? “Locketown” sounds too much like “lockdown“, as in a prison.

  • llamas

    With respect, Burt Rutan does not belong in a group of “shade-tree mechanics”. He’s an excellent aircraft designer because he has a degree in aeronautical engineering from Caltech and 40 years of professional experience in the field. He’s not an amateur tinkerer and never was.



  • For an in-depth discussion of the ultimate progression of the state getting involved in invention, I may suggest reading “The First Circle,” if you haven’t already.

  • bobby b

    Rutan uses his design knowledge – both academic and empirical – as a starting point, but very quickly jumps out of that umbrella into seat-of-the-pants exploration of new concepts and new combinations of concepts. Sure, he’s a pro – but I think he also fits into the shade-tree mechanic mold simply by dint of his poking around the unknown and creating.

  • J.M. Heinrichs

    Sir Henry Ricardo
    Dr Richard Whitcomb
    Glen Curtiss
    Dr W.R. Turnbull
    Sir Frank Whittle


  • Eddie Willers

    Gubbmint intervention has probably killed a good deal more than we are aware of or has been recorded by history.

    Two examples spring to mind, corrupted by vested interests and govco regulation.

    Edwin Armstrong invented FM radio singlehandedly in the 1930’s but government changed his frequency allocation after the fledgling industry had been established – every FM radio that had been built up that point became useless overnight as the frequency band shifted from 38-50MHz to 88-108Mhz.

    Allan B DuMont, founder of the first true TV network in the US, was undercut by the regulatory requirement to establish UHF-TV stations at a time when the market was not ready for the technology and the existing VHF systems were perfectly adequate for the growing network coverage..