Absolutely excellent rebuttal against libertarian verbal and "intellectual" diarrhea! You touched on on one issue I would like you to elaborate on. For example when you rebutted this statement: "The men behind the private space programs have built up personal fortunes in the tens of billions of dollars while establishing track records of creating and running companies worth hundreds of billions of dollars"; [you responded:] "Can I have some of whatever you're smoking, Clint?" Care to elaborate why you find his claim preposterous? That's my only gripe. Otherwise a fantastic piece that I will add to my intellectual arsenal against the sheer, utter, unapologetic and unabashed lunacy of libertarian- anarchists- conservatives.America crows about being a free rather than a planned economy -- but of course we do plan the economy, ineptly, under the name of "Defense."
The dependency of especially tech companies on tax-payer subsidized research via public universities via government grants via public infrastructure via defense department programs is ubiquitous at every level of development, and is especially indispensable at the outset of the R&D path. This is setting aside the larger issue of the necessity for profitable enterprise of a stable context of educated citizens, sufficiently disseminated prosperity, actually functioning law, meritocratic norms, trust (that regulations will be enforced, that public institutions will be adequately funded and competently administered), infrastructural affordances (utilities, highways, the internet itself) -- all of which are seriously under threat because of the tireless work of plutocratic libertopian ideologues but remain sufficiently in force even now to keep the old heap on the road in spite of the suicidal insanity of the greatest beneficiaries of this stability forever struggling to disable it for the shortest-term gains imaginable.
The self-congratulatory fantasy of so many of the biggest beneficiaries of our system that their success is a function of their kick-ass superhuman superiority rather than of their luck to live in a society that values their efforts and abilities (and the successful usually are lucky in more ways than that) is of course a commonplace irrationality of the privileged throughout history and across cultures, but I must say it also constitutes in tech enthusiasts a kind of total amnesia and systematic disavowal of the ongoing reality of public investment and support that is little short of psychotic.
In the so-called technological sector this schizophrenic anti-governmentality coupled to abject government dependence, the eagerness of "elite" greedhead minorities to monetize free collective geek creativity for personal gain, the superficiality and misdirection of advertorial pop-tech journalism, an endless susceptibility to irrational exuberance mobilized by press release hyperbole and celebrity-CEO PR in a general atmosphere of get-rich-quick credulity, a ubiquity of vaporware scams and everyday fraud as culturally accepted norm are worse than in pretty much any other area of the economy or professional endeavor I can think of.
As a more general matter, perhaps the only thing more comical than the cocksure declarations of our mediocre government-dependent and labor-dependent elites that they are supersovereign superheroic supermen is the related but more disseminated cocksure declarations of our conformist crap-consumerist anti-intellectual masses that they are rebels and independents.
That, at any rate, is the beginning of my answer to your question. A warning: Skip lunch if you mean to dig into the specifics of the computer, software, aeronautics, arms, or pharmaceutical industries -- because, believe me, you won't look long without needing to ralph.