Daily Archives: October 27, 2010

Government and Great Ideas

Joe Biden stated today that “Every single great idea that has marked the 21st century, the 20th century and the 19th century has required government vision and government incentive.”

And I think that this sums up the liberal view of existence, that nothing can exist, can be created, can be done without an all-controlling overreaching government.

There is just one problem with this idea. It is wrong. Let me give you a few examples:

James Watt had no government incentive to create the steam engine.
Which in turn had no government incentive to create the train.

Edison had no government incentive to invent the light bulb or direct current.
Tesla had no government incentive to invent alternating current or what would become the basis for radio and TV (and God alone knows what else he invented).

The first semiconductor was patented by a German scientist in 1949, and yes, the moon race helped turn those semiconductors into an early modern microchip, it was Steve Jobs who first truly created the idea of a personal computer that non-geeks could use (no government assistance). And Bill Gates didn’t have government incentive to create Windows as a PC answer to Mac, he had profit motive.

Honore Blanc who first tried using interchangeable parts (before Whitney tried the same thing) in 1778 had no government incentive I know of.

Ford didn’t come up with the assembly line for the government he did it for his pocket book.
Nothing in the history of the internal combustion engine suggests government incentive did much to create it.

I don’t think the Wright Brothers were motivated by government incentive.

Hollywood, for all of its greatness and flaws, does not exist because of government incentive, it exists because of a profit motive, people’s desire to entertain, the artist’s desire to create.

Rock’n’roll is not the creation of government.

I could go on but the basis for the great ideas that have advanced humanity is a beautiful mixture of the human desire to create and strive and the profit motive. Government is, if anything opposed to those ideas. But don’t expect a liberal to understand that it is the free market, not the government that allows humans to create and push themselves to be better. They can’t understand a world without their all powerful government. But with any luck Tuesday will begin the start of a world with that government, whether they understand it or not.

In fact, the only two aspects I can think of that the government has had any influence on the creation of new ideas is military advancements and the space race. Obama is openly hostile to the military and remind me again what happened to NASA’s budget?

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Filed under Evils of Liberalism, Free Will