“Despite the reality that the overwhelming bulk of technological innovation comes today from the organized laboratories of commercial firms, the mystique of the lonely, misunderstood, and ignored inventor, toiling away in his garage (yes, in the myth it is always a “he”), ranks with social security, the family farm, and home ownership among potent American political icons. It does not matter who you are, if you are fighting for the small inventor, you are likely to get serious hearing.”
That is from Jaffe and Lerner’s Innovation and Its Discontents , and the context is the political inability to reform the patent system. Many areas of policy policy reform seem to be negatively influenced by myths. In addition to family farms and home ownership I would add the virtue of small businesses and “mom and pop” stores. Others?