Why do I get the feeling that I am singing the same old tune all of the time…?
- Last week, a prediction of mine came closer to being true, where the federal government extends itself beyond the 4th Amendment into the realm of civil law, by seeking a law whereby a person infringing copyright can be charged with a felony. Our prison population is not enough yet, I suppose… What this means is that you can go to the store, steal a few hundred dollars of CDs and DVDs, and get a slap on the wrist. But if you are sharing online, you can be jailed for over a year. Goodbye Constitution…
- Let me give you my view on the problem inherent in this. U.S. Intellectual Property is valued at $5.5 trillion, equal to 47% of our GDP and greater than the GDP of any other nation but China. That is a large chunk of our economy. Even so, having the government enforce failed business models at the expense of the taxpayer seems ominous to me, and because of the ease, stealth and speed of technology, will bankrupt us in trying to prevent infringers… Theft is the taking of property from one person and giving it to another. Piracy is not taking anything, it is replicating something and giving it to someone. For example, pretend you found out tomorrow that you have become a superhero. Your power is the ability to replicate property. If you could do so instantly, and replicate cars or food, for example, would it be wrong for you to do so even though there are car companies out there? I don’t think so, and in the case of food, you might have the moral responsibility to do so to feed the poor, even though it would put some farmers out of business. (I suppose an argument would be “yes, but it would put people out of jobs.” Sure, it would. But so would an engine that runs on water, or a cold fusion energy engine. The benefit to all of society and rapid decrease in prices for everyone would far outweigh lost jobs…) Economics’ main concern is scarcity, and when scarcity is not a problem, it should not be created by law. To me, IP is one of those areas that is immoral because it is illegal, not illegal because it is immoral. The government is granting people a monopoly on something that in this digital age can be replicated (not stolen) infinitely with no problems except to the authors of the work. Look at the business models of Nine Inch Nails, Radiohead, and other bands that have made later works donation-based. Look at how nonprofits work. Look at the fact that there are 20 middle men between a band and the money you spend on their records. It is incorrect to say that the artist is seeing much profit from record sales. It is executives and middle-men that take the big payouts. The best way to give an artist money is to go to a concert. Additionally, who said that artists should be kept rich by government-granted monopoly, any more than the Railroads or Steel industries back in the day? …This legal fiction we have created has hindered the world at the benefit of a very few portion of people who own the copyright. Look at the Wright Brothers’ airplane patent. They had such a monopoly over the first flying machines that the US had to send off to France for a very expensive solution of adopting first functioning planes here. Another great example today is the fashion industry. There is no such thing as a fashion patent or copyright, and the fashion industry keeps getting better and better at adapting to human tastes. People still have the ability to start a clothing line, and the existing clothing lines sure are not doing poorly… Protection of scarce goods and natural property is exactly the function of the state, and it is essentially why the courts system exists. But to grant one person the ability to profit from something that is infinitely reproducible is wrong. If not, why not do the same for fire, recipes, or skills? …that’s my two cents…
- When you hear the usual political talking point of “taxing the rich at higher rates so we can afford more programs,” don’t buy it. Tax revenues in the last few years have wavered around 15% as a percent of GDP, which is low but related more to the state of the economy than tax rates. Historically, even when the tax rates are over 60% for the rich, revenues still do not push higher than 20% of GDP. This suggests that there is some structural maximum that cannot be breached no matter the rates. Politicians need to stop with the lies and stop with the spending. Taxing the rich cannot save us, and here are the numbers.
- Christianity is irreconcilable with supporting the invasion of other countries. Period. And still, how many “conservative Christians” we hear lauding the actions of Obama in the past week and Bush in the last term. Shame.
- The drug war in the United States rests on highly dubious foundations, and has a horribly disparate impact on blacks in the United States. By the numbers…
- A black child who was born during slavery was more likely to be raised by both parents than a black child born during the twenty-first century.
- Even though whites are much more likely to use or have tried drugs, and despite the fact that blacks are around 12% of the population, between 1979 and 1990 blacks went from making up 39% of our drug-related prison population to 53% of it.
- You’d receive the same unparolable five-year sentence for selling either 5 grams of crack cocaine as you would selling one-hundred times that much – 500 grams – of powder cocaine.
- We have 5% of the world’s population, but full over a quarter of the world’s prisoners.
- “Although only about 12% of the American population is black, about half of the two-million Americans locked up in prison are black. And although although only 14% of all illicit drug users are black, blacks make up over half of those in prison for drug offenses. A black man is eight-times as likely as a white man to be locked up at some point in his life. At any one time in America, almost a third of black American males in their twenties are under some form of “correctional supervision” – if not actually incarcerated, then either on probation or on parole, meaning they’ve recently passed through the American penal system.“
- Nearly half of all drug arrests in America are for simple marijuana offenses, and during the ’90s arrests for simple marijuana possession accounted for almost 80% of the increase in drug arrests.
- Still not convinced? Read the article… Or another in Time about the same issue being deconstructed by a TV show (that I have been meaning to watch but never have the time).
- Speaking of blacks, they are disappearing from the districts where Democrats initiate environmentalist and “charity” projects aimed at helping blacks. Meanwhile, something like 96% of blacks that vote vote Democrat. Intent is enough to satisfy some people, I suppose… Redevelopment of poor areas is the same, Sowell notes.
- This article is somewhat correct, in my opinion, in stating that it is no longer “Left versus Right,” it is now “Individuals versus Corporations.” The problem, however, is not the corporations. It is the government giving the corporations unprecedented levels of power. I don’t see anyone in government looking to stem this problem, save very very few…
- What you and I are seeing in our lives is the dramatic and speedy construction of the surveillance wing of the police state (The ACLU is a GREAT ally in this one…). Not only that, but AT&T appears to be buddy-buddy in the whole spying game. In the meantime, transparency of government action is still as clear as mud…
- Your First Amendment right is becoming more worthless by the day. Dissent in this country, and deviation from the mean as far as political discussion, is always crushed by labeling and name-calling. Think about how Glenn Beck has been treated (I don’t even like the guy, but hey, even a broken clock is wrong two times a day…) A quote (from a quote) in this article stated the principle that headlines this blog very well:
- Those who support countless insane policies and/or who support politicians in their own party who do – from the Iraq War to the Drug War, from warrantless eavesdropping and denial of habeas corpus to presidential assassinations and endless war in the Muslim world – love to spit the “crazy” label at anyone who falls outside of the two-party establishment.
This behavior is partially driven by the adolescent/high-school version of authoritarianism (anyone who deviates from the popular cliques – standard Democrats and Republicans – is a fringe loser who must be castigated by all those who wish to be perceived as normal), and is partially driven by the desire to preserve the power of the two political parties to monopolize all political debates and define the exclusive venues for Sanity and Mainstream Acceptability. But regardless of what drives this behavior, it’s irrational and nonsensical in the extreme.
I’ve been writing for several years about this destructive dynamic: whereby people who embrace clearly crazy ideas and crazy politicians anoint themselves the Arbiters of Sanity simply because they’re good mainstream Democrats and Republicans and because the objects of their scorn are not. For me, the issue has nothing to do with Ron Paul and everything to do with how the “crazy” smear is defined and applied as a weapon in our political culture. Perhaps the clearest and most harmful example was the way in which the anti-war view was marginalized, even suppressed, in the run-up to the attack on Iraq because the leadership of both parties supported the war, and the anti-war position was thus inherently the province of the Crazies. That’s what happens to any views not endorsed by either of the two parties.
- From some of my usual sites, a few pieces struck me as presently relevant:
- Mises.org: What is wrong with government debt in the first place?
- Mises.org: Why is unemployment so high (higher, even than the government’s official numbers)?
- LewRockwell: How the Federal Reserve has destroyed the dollar: a speech given by Joseph Salerno to the Committee on Financial Services last week.
- AmericanThinker: A hit piece on Paul Krugman, the teflon (idiot… I mean…) economist.
- AmericanThinker: Bush’s fault still? Or perhaps it is Obama and his Democratic congress trying to usher in a new age of enlightened policies…
- Being free to act means also being free not to act, which is something libertarians often forget…:
As a post-post note, (i.e. videos I wanted to keep around so I will just attach them here,) I found the following videos by Rand Paul promising as to his integrity and the future of his political career…