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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/10582/microsoft-wants-galactic-patent/

Microsoft Wants Galactic Patent

September 2, 2009 by

Despite a potentially crippling patent injunction against selling Word that Microsoft is battling on appeal, Microsoft, via a senior lawyer, is nevertheless calling for a global patent system “to make it easier and faster for corporations to enforce their intellectual property rights around the world”. Yep–despite the big hit they just took due to i4i’s patent, Microsoft is concerned about the “unmanageable backlogs and interminable pendency periods” of national patent systems, which have 3.5 million patents pending. You hear that right–Microsoft things more is “needed to be done to allow corporations to protect their intellectual property.” What, do they want i4i to be able to get sextuple, instead of just triple, damages? To jail Microsoft board members?

Microsoft’s lawyer repeats the tired old bunk about patents being necessary to promote innovation, yada yada — “By facing the challenges, realizing a vision, overcoming political barriers, and removing procedural obstacles we can build a global patent system that will promote innovation, enrich public knowledge, encourage competition and drive economic growth and employment.”

Two good things about this: (a) a global system would, possibly, reduce the number of patent lawyers; and (b) I was feeling sorry for Microsoft over the Word injunction, but now don’t need to anymore.

Update: Let me add that I think this has no chance of happening. The patent lawyers in countries around the world would block it. The way the system works now, you file a patent application first in your home country, and within a year or two (depending on whether you use the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) or Paris Convention procedures), you can file corresponding patent applications in other countries or regions claiming a priority date based on your first country’s filing date. But you have to pay filing fees, sometimes translation fees (which can be astronomical), local attorney fees, and local maintenance fees in each country you want the patent to issue in. Let’s say it costs $15-20k for a patent to be filed and ultimately issued in the US. Well you might want to have the patent filed also in, say, the European Union, Japan, China, Brazil, Canada, India. So now we are up to well over $100k-200k. And that is not even global. Under a global system presumably you would file once and it would be enforceable in every country in the world party to the treaty. It might be more expensive than the current $20k for a single country but far less than cost of filing in multiple countries now. So presumably under a global system, you would file a patent infringement suit in the appropriate court, and if you win, you just take the judgment to local courts in whatever countries the defendant is competing with you and have that country’s courts enforce the judgment as a mere formality.

This would make global patents easier and cheaper to get and easier and cheaper to enforce. Presumably people would want to use European or American local patent examining offices for quality purposes, so it would tend to put out of work the patent bar in “Southern” (third world) countries. You can expect a mobilized patent bar in most countries to fight this. Such proposals have been around for decades, and never go anywhere. Thank God for protectionist lawyers!

{ 42 comments }

sina September 3, 2009 at 12:40 am

Hi Stephan,

You hint at the idea of firms being compensated for unfair treatment in one area with excessive generosity in another. Does this not apply more generally?

For example, I’m sure banks and auto companies are robbed more in taxes than they recieve now and again in bail-outs. At the very least, we know this form of intervention is bad for the State in the long run.

So should libertarians have been against bail-outs?

Also more generally, I’m not a minarchist but given finite time and intellectual effort, and the resulting choice between attacking them and attacking the ‘maxarchists’ why favour the former? How can you eliminate the State without making it smaller?

Is this not like arguing over what to watch instead of chasing the guy who stole your TV?

mpolzkill September 3, 2009 at 3:57 am

sina,

“Let me understand this cause, I don’t know maybe it’s me, I’m a little up maybe, but”, I’ve read both your posts 8 times and I have no idea where yours came from. I’ve given myself a headache trying to figure it out. Since no one is stopping me, and since it seems 90% of the boards here go this way with or with out my help, I’m taking it upon myself to answer your questions:

1. Huh?

2. Yes

3. Huh? You mean the latter, right? Why should he ever “attack” minarchists? I’ll get back to that.

4. False dilemma. Anarchists aren’t against the State getting smaller, they’re against stopping there. Also, tell me how the Soviet Union “got smaller”? One way to eliminate the state would be the same way as the best way to quit smoking. We’re doing that (I’m a minarchist), the problem is we have billions of fellow “smokers” who don’t believe in cold turkey.

5. Huh? Terrible. Try this one: you live in a house with a roommate who insists you need home protection. He doesn’t want Brinks or anything like that though, he insists that you both forever acquiesce to the demands of his childhood friend, let’s call him Vinny. Despite the fact that Vinny steals half of everything in your house your roommate insists that he is working on Vinny and he’s going to get a better deal for you both. OK, who do YOU work on?

(Oh yeah, and certain types of people are always telling you to get out of this house; but it’s a big one, you were born there and you like it. Besides, Vinny has promised you he’ll follow you to the ends of the earth to make sure you keep him in the lifestyle he’s become accustomed to)

Kakugo September 3, 2009 at 4:13 am

MS is worried sick someone will come up with a Windows compatible OS people will actually want to buy. I do not mean an alternative to Windows (they are already available in quantity) but a system that can use Windows compatible programs without issues and without paying royalties to MS.
That’s why they want a universal patent system so badly: they do not give a damn about having to fork out a few hundred millions once in a while to other companies after a lengthy legal struggle. They can take the damage but they will go to incredible lengths to keep people “hooked” on Windows.
To their credit it must be said that the present Vista is a thousand times better than the horrific Windows 98 but the latest IE8… oh boy!

Les September 3, 2009 at 6:22 am

I run windows applications on my Linux system via:

http://www.codeweavers.com/

So, I don’t need to pay the MS tax for windows.

Mohammed September 3, 2009 at 6:29 am

Seriously, now Ip issues are very interesting. patent law is only written recently to restrict the flow of ideas. Economics can only accept that free ideas exchange is important. MS should not be able to restrict the fellow of ideas and new digital codes. and OS that can run MS programs is needed and if a minimum can be used to run of a Mac millions can be made easily by a smart innovator. and free speech equals free ideas exchange and code combinations. No form of IP protection should be applied except for trade secrets and skills. MS need to stop paying lawyers and focus on innovation and new creation before it dies.

Shay September 3, 2009 at 6:49 am

Microsoft [thinks] more is “needed to be done to allow corporations to protect their intellectual property.”

They can protect it just like any property: keep it in their buildings, perhaps in safes. Then there’s no way anyone can take or damage it. Whenever they need access to it, they can just open the safe. And conveniently, they can keep copies of it outside ths safe, so they don’t have to open it as often. If one of these copies gets damaged or lost, they can make another very cheaply.

Bala September 3, 2009 at 8:32 am

SK / mpolzkill and other Libertarians,

This blog on IP prompts me to ask for a clarification. I’ll ask it in the form of a situation I face in a business I run out here in India.

I run a test-prep company. We prepare students for a certain test that is an important qualifying step for students seeking admission into any of India’s best B-Schools.

To make such a programme possible, we hire a team of people who are very good at Mathematics, English and Logic and get them to create the following
1. Basic Study Material in which we present the concepts that a student needs to learn and a number of problems the student could practice on
2. Test papers that replicate the pattern and the difficulty level of the test the student wishes to face

Preparation of these materials takes continuous effort since the actual test for which the student wishes to prepare keeps changing and we therefore need to keep adapting constantly. Further, every year, the test papers and even a part of the Basic Study Materials need to be different because otherwise, the student would lose out the value added by the novelty of the questions (especially in the practise tests as he is likely to have the materials we gave in any of the previous years as a hand-me-down from a sibling/family member/friend)

We give these materials to every student who registers for our programme. Now comes the situation.

Student X enrols for the programme, takes our study material and test papers and then goes on to start a training programme of his own using the original materials he got from us. He photocopies all our material and distributes it in turn to his students.

I would like to know the Libertarian judgement on the action of Student X as described in the situation above. Just tell me Right or Wrong; punishable as theft or not punishable as theft. That’s all.

In case this does not come under the definition of IP as you understand it, please pardon my error but do clarify.

augusto December 4, 2010 at 9:57 am

I will attempt to answer this question, even though I’m only a student of libertarian theory.

1) nothing prevents you from setting a clause in your service contract that estipulates “the student shall not make or distribute copies of the material”. In this case,you will have to make all material uniquely identifiable, because you if you find copies of the material circulating in the market, you must be able to prove who bought the material from you and violated the contract.

2) You have not signed a contract with “the general public”, so you cannot sue anyone who you find in possession of the material, other than the person you originally sold it to, as long as the contract stipulated copies were not allowed.

3) You cannot sue the original client on the basis of “lost revenue”, because there is no way to prove that the people who got it for free or paid to the original client for a copy would have bought the material from you instead.

4) There is nothing preventing you from designing a business model that makes your services more difficult to be copies. For example, you could have your staff answering questions online, guiding the students, taking questions, etc.

To sum up: if one of your clients bought your study material with a clear understanding that he should not copy or distribute it, and does so nevertheless, he is not a thief, he has simply broken a contract with you. But it is up to you to prove that the person you are sueing is the person who copied and distributed the material.

augusto December 5, 2010 at 8:49 am

I came back just to point out that it would be really really difficult to prove the claim that someone copied and distributed your material. the claim of originality is very difficult to establish and the person would have to replicate your work ipsis literies. Suppose for example that soomeone added a question, or included a cheat sheet…

in practice, I think it would be impossible, so as another post says, in a non-IP world, you may have to reconsider your business model… :-/

but then again, I’m not the expert here!

mpolzkill September 3, 2009 at 9:19 am

Bala,

I don’t claim do be any kind of expert on “IP” issues, definitely not my field. Mr. Kinsella is a learned libertarian, a lawyer, and is devoted to the study of this subject, I’m sure he’ll give you a great answer…oh wait, maybe he won’t answer at all. Russ said SK should avoid a question like this as it is regarding “THE libertarian judgment”, ha ha.

But, since you asked me too, I’ll give you my newb–to-this-field impressions on your two questions:

Wrong.

No.

I will inexpertly expound if you request.

Dale B. Halling September 3, 2009 at 9:19 am

Microsoft is inconsistent on its position about patents, it files patents and then argues for “Patent Reform” to weaken patent laws. Large companies like Microsoft do not need patents to survive. High technology start-up companies are the ones that need a strong patent system to survive. Lawrence Lessig and the open development community have incorrectly suggested that patents and the enemy of innovation, open development, and start-up companies. Patents are the free market method of encouraging innovation. The two alternative methods of encouraging innovation are: 1) government command and control – large government innovation projects such as NASA, and 2) anarchy, which is what Mr. Kinsella has been suggesting.

Dale B. Halling September 3, 2009 at 9:20 am

Microsoft is inconsistent on its position about patents, it files patents and then argues for “Patent Reform” to weaken patent laws. Large companies like Microsoft do not need patents to survive. High technology start-up companies are the ones that need a strong patent system to survive. Lawrence Lessig and the open development community have incorrectly suggested that patents and the enemy of innovation, open development, and start-up companies. Patents are the free market method of encouraging innovation. The two alternative methods of encouraging innovation are: 1) government command and control – large government innovation projects such as NASA, and 2) anarchy, which is what Mr. Kinsella has been suggesting.

Gil September 3, 2009 at 9:55 am

This reminds of a The Simpsons disclaimer: “by reading this letter out loud you have waived any legal responsibility on our part in perpetuity throughout the universe.”

Stephan Kinsella September 3, 2009 at 10:11 am

Dale B. Halling:

Microsoft is inconsistent on its position about patents, it files patents and then argues for “Patent Reform” to weaken patent laws.

Comma splice. But anyway, sure it’s inconsistent. So what? The question is not whether Microsoft is consistent; it’s whether patent rights are justified.

Large companies like Microsoft do not need patents to survive.

Well I don’t know if they “need” it but they sure want it. The way it works, large firms can afford to acquire large patent portfolios. That makes them relatively immune from suit; and thus lots of them enter into cross-licensing arrangements. The patents are collected to (a) use against smaller companies; and (b) to ward off suits from competitors.

High technology start-up companies are the ones that need a strong patent system to survive.

“Need”? Well, defense contractors “need” taxpayer-funded defense contracts to survive. GM “needs” my tax dollars to survive. So what? This doesn’t justify the theft.

What high-tech companies “need” is freedom. If the state that people like Mr. Halling support–the same one that he wants to magnanimously provide them with “needed” monopoly rights–would stop regulating and taxing them to death, they wouldn’t “need” the artificial monopoly the state throws them as a bone. (Incidentally, even Bill Gates has recognized that if software patents had been prevalent at Microsoft’s inception, it would have been severely harmed and hampered.)

It’s the same with the pharmaceutical companies. They are hampered and regulated to death by the FDA and other regulations, and taxed to death; so it is any surprise they clamor for the monopoly price they can charge when they use state-granted patents to squelch competition? How about abolishing the state’s taxes and regulations, to really free them up? Then if they come begging for monopolies, they can be told to go stuff it.

Lawrence Lessig and the open development community have incorrectly suggested that patents and the enemy of innovation, open development, and start-up companies.

Mr. Halling simply asserts that Lessig is incorrect. Mr. Halling, how do you know? Where is your evidence that patents encourage innovation? And even if patent do stimulate some extra innovation (which is not clear), how do you know the value of this marginal innovation is greater than the costs of the patent system? I.e., how do you know it’s a net gain, that the patent system is “worth it” even in utilitarian terms? If you are so sure, please let us know what the costs are, what the benefits are, and what the net gain is? Of course, you have no idea. Mr. Halling: the studies do not support the pro-IP assertions of the biased patent bar. Why do you pretend that you have some innate knowledge about this matter?

Patents are the free market method of encouraging innovation.

The “free market” is simply the unhampered market–the private transactions people engage in when the state does not interfere. Patents are state monopolies that undeniably interfere with the free market.

Bala September 3, 2009 at 10:17 am

mpolzkill,

I am as much of a non-expert as you are ever likely to be. So please expound.

Thanks in advance.

Bala September 3, 2009 at 11:09 am

SK,

With due thanks to mpolzkill for showing that I have asked the question inappropriately, I would like to know what I should do in the circumstance I have described above, especially if I were a Libertarian – proceed or not proceed against Student X for perceived IP violations? If you were a judge, given that you are a Libertarian, would you hold X guilty?

As you know by now, I am very skeptical that Libertarianism makes sense and your answer to this question would help a lot. I therefore request you to answer.

Thanks in advance.

Stephan Kinsella September 3, 2009 at 11:15 am

Bala, this is not the proper forum for free legal advice.

Michael A. Clem September 3, 2009 at 11:28 am

Large companies like Microsoft do not need patents to survive. High technology start-up companies are the ones that need a strong patent system to survive.
Why does this sound similar to the argument that the way to prevent corporations and special interests from exploiting “the people” is by giving government more power? If you don’t need a government to have a patent system, then great. But if you do, then I fail to see how patents are a free market solution.

mpolzkill September 3, 2009 at 11:53 am

Bala,

I was afraid you’d say that, ha ha. I just know many others could give you much better answers. But now you have me off writing a huge essay, for free (I’m an idiot), and I’m very slow. I see you got one answer from SK. I hope you don’t chalk that up as another strike against libertarianism. I’ll have to give you the bulk of my thoughts later, but right now:

Basically I think you’re asking the wrong questions and maybe you have an unworkable business model.

Lots of things seem wrong to different types of people. I am constitutionally revolted by your “student” who just wants to use you for a cheap buck, as I’m sure most are. He doesn’t try to create his own product or even try to improve on what you’ve come up with. This revulsion brings out the “there oughtta be a law” in most people. The problem is, that everyone has their own revulsions, well-founded or not. For instance there are tens of millions of people in this country that have come up with the idea that there’s such a thing as “Health Care” and it’s revolting to them that they aren’t getting it for free. The State thrives on encouraging and catering to everyone who thinks something in life is imperfect, but it almost always ends up catering primarily to the groups with the most power and money. To wrap up my preamble: The Law can never operate as a tool to make life better if it ever goes beyond the role of judging cases of assault, theft of physical goods or fraud because everything else is just too fuzzy. The sophists and special pleaders with money end up on top every time.

I’m working on more, if ANY of this is properly posted here, sheesh, I don’t know either, Bala. Maybe less snark, more direction from non-”newbs” on where to go when one has a sidebar, I don’t know, eh?

W.C. September 3, 2009 at 2:08 pm

This sort of behavior is why I find myself unable to consistently support Microsoft. They fall victim to extortion at the hand of the EU, some laughably vague and broad patent as in the recent Word case, and what does Microsoft do? They turn right around and try to use the patent hammer on everyone else.

USA Today September 3, 2009 at 2:56 pm

Dale,

Since when was writing code “high” technology ?

Semi-conductors is more like high-technology.

Would you consider “high technology” to write a novel ?

Then writing software is not high technology. It’s actually very low tech.

For startups to survive, they need to offer a better product, better service or better price than their large competitors and keep ahead nonstop.

Patents won’t protect you from incompetence, just like a university diploma is not enough to get you hired.

K Ackermann September 3, 2009 at 3:35 pm

It’s funny how things work sometimes…

In conjunction with eliminating patents, I can think of a way that adding a regulation would actually lead to a stronger free market, and much greater efficiency all around in the drug industry – something that is very much pertinent right now.

If there were a regulation imposed that split the drug industry into R&D, and into manufacturing, and the two are never to mix, then here’s what would happen:

Companies that only did drug R&D would want to design as many drugs as they could. They would not be directly constrained by the potential number of pills sold, and hence, less profitable diseases would likely see more relief.

Bear with me for a moment on this… you may hate it because it involves the government, but read it through…

The R&D companies are free to propose new drugs, and indeed may specialize in certain classes of drugs that they have lots of specialized knowledge about. Additionally, the FDA may commission a new drug, and they might place emphasis on diseases that are costly to society in the form of direct expenses or lost labor. Things like diabetes and not so much restless legs.

Just like the military does with weapons systems, the FDA would essentially ‘own’ the patent, and it would be placed in public escrow.

Manufacturers could then purchase a licence to manufacture the drug, and the normal competitive pressures of the free market would deliver the lowest cost product to the market. Margins would be made on increasing production efficiency, etc. just like every other product.

Other benefits would include less annoying TV commercials for drugs that don’t even have the courtesy to say what they are for, and less words with multiple X’s, Y’s, and Z’s in them. Doctors could proscribe “Heart Pills”, instead of “Zzzzsnake oil ™”.

More drugs fighting more diseases, no branding expenses, and competitive manufacturing would be the theoretical result.

It could also in theory be done off-budget, with licenses funding R&D. Existing drug patents could even be rescinded, with license fees paying down those rescinded patents.

There is nothing restricting the proposals or even the development of new drugs, including ‘by choice’ drugs like Viagra. There is nothing restricting profits other than competition.

I know there will be objections to the government’s roll, but are there any other flaws that I am missing? It seems like a winner, which currently means it can’t happen.

mpolzkill September 3, 2009 at 4:04 pm

Acky,

“Bear with me for a moment on this…you may hate it because it involves the government.”

You got us nailed again, Acky, we are morons who spend our lives working out our fetish: an irrational hatred for the government. That’s all it is.

K ackermann September 3, 2009 at 5:06 pm

mpolzkill – You got us nailed again, Acky, we are morons who spend our lives working out our fetish: an irrational hatred for the government. That’s all it is.

Hmmm. If I was to search your comments, what percentage of them mention the government? I only added my comment because the reduced roll of government is emphasized here. Unfortunately, my idea about lowering the cost of drugs, which I had thought of a while ago, worked on the basis of an organizing authority. I feel a little like I’m suggesting girls are cool in the boys clubhouse.

Maybe a clearinghouse would work, but the Chinese wall between R&D and mfg would still need to be in place.

It wouldn’t need to be mentioned if the drug industry operated in the free market framework. 48% of R&D is paid for by the public, but the drug companies get to own the patent. They then brand the drug at a cost ofthat is more than double R&D. Look at the difference in price between brand name, and generic. In what universe is the free market working its magic on that brand name drug?

K Ackermann September 3, 2009 at 6:32 pm

The strange thing is, Microsoft gets it as far as copyright enforcement. To the best of my knowledge, they have never prosecuted individuals for running bootleg copies of their software. They know it is much smarter to let the software grow feet, because that’s how user bases are made. It’s much better to have people using your software than not.

What Microsoft is not getting is technology. Not any more. Quantity does not replace quality. They used to sell a C++ compiler that came on 4 floppy disks and worked great. Then they came out with an integrated development environment, and it worked great. I think it was originally on 1 CD – a few hundred floppies.

The last Developer Network Universal Subscription I purchased had hundreds of DVD’s, and took hours and hours to load up. When I ran it, it was several times slower, and crashed far more often, but it included gobs of features I could care less about, and would never need.

At every turn, they seem to drive developers down a more difficult path to the goal. They had a beautiful 3D solution with OpenGL, and then chose DirectX to support and develop. DirectX has 11? versions. OpenGL 1 version and some extensions. OpenGL looks like software, DirectX looks and feels like a disjointed collection of bits and parts that requires writing twice as much to do the same thing.

I’m not sure ‘better’ means what they think it means.

Russ September 3, 2009 at 7:10 pm

K Ackermann wrote:

“The last Developer Network Universal Subscription I purchased had hundreds of DVD’s, and took hours and hours to load up.”

Yeah, but doesn’t this include all the development tools, SDK’s, DDK’s, Office apps, BackOffice servers, etc.? And aren’t there options to only install the components you want to?

I understand, and agree with, your greater point of the downside of feature creep and bloatware, and I agree with it, but let’s be fair.

mpolzkill September 3, 2009 at 7:22 pm

Acky,

I speak of the government every time the person I address speaks of the government AND every time they speak of corporatism and call it the free market.

You’ve again exhausted my store of good will for you.
I’ll wait until you say something that amuses me and then I’ll again be ready to play Charlie Brown to your Lucy.

mpolzkill September 3, 2009 at 11:21 pm

Bala,

Still got more ideas, if you’re still around, I understand if you’re not. No biggie.

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -

sina,

Poetic justice, Freudian slip, fatal conceit? I don’t know; where I was saying your post was baffling, I inexplicably added to your confusion by saying I was a minarchist. I’m a panarchist. Brainf.. (does anyone have a better word for that? I hate that word)

K Ackermann September 4, 2009 at 12:18 am

@mpolzkill, then you have a hair trigger. If what I wrote disturbed you, read some of your comments to me in an objective light. Next time I’ll drop the qualifications that I intended to be polite, and just say it straight up. I should have done that in the first place.

I appreciate the links you sent me, but if what you are saying is you will grace me with a reply if I amuse you, well… I’d just like you tell me what was wrong with my scenario. If not, I might just call you bad names.

@Russ, the subscription does include everything you mentioned except the DDK’s. Half of the stuff is extra language versions. Still, wading through it took time, endlessly chaining readme’s, and lots of disk swapping for prerequisites.

Without a doubt, Microsoft has the best all-around documentation, but it really is amazing how much stuff they force you to go through.

I wanted to open up something I wrote to scripting using the scripting engine. The problem was, everything I wanted to expose had to be an automation server. I wrote the automation server for a couple of classes to test the speed, and it was very disruptive to the source code, and the speed was pathetic. I ended up writing my own script language instead, and geared it toward being able to call into C++ classes that simply define a DoScriptable member function.

The scripting language has nearly all the functionality of Python plus extra operators, has the syntax of a streamlined C++ without of the linkage specifiers or type specifiers for builtins, and can make calls into C++ code at runtime, so it is much faster than VB or python. It can interpret strings as code, so you can pass entire blocks of code to functions to be executed locally. That’s how I tested the language. I had it dynamically generate permutations of expressions to execute.

I’m thinking of putting the source up on codeproject for anyone, but it could be a security nightmare. I wrote a command line shell for it, and I have a module that encapsulates about 500 Win32 system calls, so it is essentially interpretive windows. That could be a nightmare. I don’t know what the responsible thing to do is.

Microsoft yaa! Microsoft boo!

Bala September 4, 2009 at 12:51 am

mpolzkill,

” Basically I think you’re asking the wrong questions and maybe you have an unworkable business model. ”

Unworkable…. Ahhhhh!!! A very interesting word indeed, especially given that the workability of something depends on the prevailing legal environment which in turn depends on the prevalent political philosophy which in turn depends on the prevalent framework of morality. I wonder what makes you think Libertarianism makes sense or is workable given its flawed choice of Liberty as an axiom (Correct me if I am wrong, but my understanding says that an unswerving commitment to Liberty is the hallmark of Libertarianism. That, to me, sounds truly axiomatic.).

That apart, I wonder what would be the incentive for anyone at all to come up with good ideas if almost anyone could use a commercially viable idea that they produced (please note that I do not say created). I am somehow worried about the situation where no one at all is interested in investing a lifetime (or any portion of it) developing ideas that will inevitably be hijacked by someone else. I therefore have the sneaky feeling that Libertarianism is a one-way street to the Dark Ages. In simpler terms, I am saying that if you create an environment in which ideas cannot be given the status of property rights, you will have a world in which no one will create ideas or if they do create, share them. Is this not what the Dark Aages were all about? Would you care to prove me wrong?

Ohhh!!! Please don’t tell me I have to SELL it to you. That would be true if this were an Objectivist website where I am blogging and trying to sell Objectivism. Since this is a Libertarian blog, the onus is on you Libertarians, SK included, to SELL Libertarianism to people like me who think it is a dangerous notion masquerading as a legitimate political philosophy.

cromagnon September 4, 2009 at 3:40 am

….ooga-booga! we’re all going back to live in trees.

Angelico Payne September 4, 2009 at 5:44 am

Recent developments of goverment interventions, control of markets, cries for “better and stricter” legislation, along with recently announced Obama “speech” that will be broadcasted to young children (indoctrination)… it is looking more and more like USA is becoming the 4th Reich. Freedom is at all time low, and it is just getting copied over onto the markets. These are sad time for free markets and entrepreneurs.

mpolzkill September 4, 2009 at 8:56 am

I have a hair trigger for talking about the same subject as the person I’m talking to? Ok, Acky. You’re right, I should make a game of it and see if I can completely avoid the subject of the government on political forums.

From your first moment you came blazing with insults that libertarians are “hard right”: stupidlt selfish, heartless, irresponsible, unrealistic ideologues. I responded exactly in kind about your statist ideology, as is my wont. I probably shouldn’t do that, but unlike a lot of kind souls here, I have approximately zero hope that a statist over the age of 20 is ever going to wish to be emancipated. In any case, one that had it in him is not going to be dissuaded by any harsh thing I might say. I wouldn’t insult you by saying I was guiding you; there are other people here who sound like damned missionaries. To them I say: if you think it can be done at all, raising a libertarian can’t possibly be like raising an orchid.

I haven’t just countered your insults and given links, I’ve kindly answered your questions until now, and it took me no small effort (I am self-educated from the age of 13 and writing for me is a slow, painful process. The primary reason I’m here is to get better at it through the tests of fire against better writers). When you clearly suggested that our driving motivation is an IRRATIONAL hatred of the government, I determined I had been wasting my time (effort in, total incomprehension and insults out: I look for greener pastures). No removal of grace, I don’t have infinite time, I’m telling you the main reason I’ve responded to you in the first place is still open: you’re quite funny, usually.

I expect some bizarre reply now that will have almost no relation to the facts or the spirit of what I’ve said. Maybe I’m the world’s worst writer, but I just can’t be THIS bad, it’s got to be you. I want to find somebody where I can get SOME positive feedback.

All of this goes for Bala too: I put in a thoughtful reply in these little boxes trying to convey an intro to a massive subject that I’ve spent my life studying, the statist picks one thing he doesn’t like, ignores the rest and then starts off on his received, tirade against liberty. Irritating. I’ve got some more of my terrible harshness coming up for you, Bala. (Now you both may well say, as Acky basically did earlier: “Get over yourself, I can take whatever you dish out”. I know you can, that comment is directed at the third parties who may read this and disapprove of my rhetoric, perhaps justifiably.)

mpolzkill September 4, 2009 at 10:11 am

Bala,

I said I’m no expert in this field, and I said MAYBE unworkable. I knew I was being set up as a patsy for your coming anti-liberty spiel and I went ahead anyway. On another forum I had asked you some tough questions about the prospects of more than a relative handful of nerds ever adopting your obscure, muddled, eminently unattractive philosophy which you completely ignored, so it’s payback time I reckoned. But as I said, I’m an idiot.

“the workability of something depends on the prevailing legal environment which in turn depends”

You’ve demonstrated to me that you completely ignore what is inconvenient to your bias, so this is for my own amusement here:

Let’s talk about something that is DEFINITELY a workable business model under a democratic state (conspiracy theorist warning: sane people stop here): KBR, former subsidiary of Halliburton. Very rough business model: Completely infiltrate D.C. to the point that your C.E.O. becomes the Vice President under a functional moron. When a terrorist disaster occurs, as is guaranteed to occur when your “Homeland” is engaged in garrisoning half the world and supporting puppet governments all over it, perhaps your former C.E.O may throw your construction wing (among other things) a little love. Perhaps he could go on Tim Russert and lie through his teeth and have Russert eat it up, thereby selling the millions of drones who are so simple as to believe in them both. You know the story: now, just add tax dollar payed troops and bombs and a carefully cultivated boogie man with a country…and voilà! A country to rebuild! And who just might get a few nice government contracts?

So, there’s how your model, the State, works in practice. It is incontrovertible to anyone with eyes, curiosity and a functioning brain. You say:

“Libertarianism is a one-way street to the Dark Ages.”

I don’t give a damn if it is (which it’s not, this is your assertion based on your demonstrated ignorance. Check your premises, Randroid. I’m sorry, that’s not fair to the other Randroids.) because we are already in a Dark Age. At least in the Dark Age that you conjecture for libertarianism, we would all know that the corporations ruled us by brute force, we wouldn’t be absolutely surrounded by their pathetic dupes who carried us along in their moral decrepitude.

“flawed choice of Liberty as an axiom…Correct me if I am wrong…unswerving commitment to Liberty”

You got it, pal: You’re wrong. It “swerves” when someone takes the liberty to commit assault, theft of TANGIBLE property or fraud.

I don’t speak for others, but emancipation is axiomatic for me, and only me. I’m a panarchist and an adult. I ask for no master to take care of me or force through any lame business idea I may have (how would you respond if the teachers you hire turned out to be Marxoids [a stretch, I know], claimed you were exploiting them, and expropriated what they said was their due. Go run to your master, there’s more Marxoids than Randroids, it is the State that breeds them and already allows them to expropriate a large portion of our production. That’s the State, get it? I sure do) all I need in life is for no one to assault, physically rob or defraud me. What you do is none of my business, you may give yourself up to the care of any master. I exhort you to grow up and not do that, because when so many of you do this the State puts quite a crimp on my lifestyle. There is nothing else I can do about you poor lost children. Men aren’t “sold” on liberty, call it axiomatic if you like, doesn’t phase me. I like axioms; I’m not the smartest person in the world, I am not capable of formulating an elaborate system of first principles as you have. I and 99% of everyone else needs simple first principles. I only have a few others: “do unto others”, “those who don’t work, don’t eat”. These axioms work for me, I’m convinced they’d work for everyone else. It’s your choice.

mpolzkill September 4, 2009 at 1:01 pm

* “paid troops”, damn

K Ackermann September 4, 2009 at 1:53 pm

@mpolzkill, I wrote one post that poked fun at someone’s attempt to grade themselves – which is a futile exercise. I explained my first encounter with Libertarianism, and I explained that I did not believe it was representative, and was glad to find this site.

I didn’t accuse all Libertarians of anything. You are using hyperbole. Any criticism I leveled on anything came with a detailed explanation of how I derived my view. It’s called blogging.

I have received zero replies to the most basic question there is to any kind of anti-statist viewpoint. I ask the question not to antagonize, but to discover what the answer is.

It’s a very important question, it’s very specific, and it is primal. You came the closest to offering an answer by saying you are not strong in the theoretical side of the issues, but the question is not theoretical. Any axioms of an anti-statist belief must be considered invalid until the fundamental question is answered. It is this:

Who controls the defense?

If you can’t answer that, then there is a giant rift between all possible realities and your Utopia.

Hopefully the answer is clean and simple. Currently, it eludes me, but I am new to this.

mpolzkill September 4, 2009 at 3:29 pm

Ackerman paraphrase:

“Hey, take it easy, nobody’s insulting you, Utopian.” I’ve spent 25 years studying with the goal of perceiving reality as clearly as it is possible for a human given my particular talents and environs. I can’t think of a bigger insult. Back at ya: Statists are the Utopians, unless the world I see is what you actually wanted. That would of course make you supremely evil; no, you’re just a clueless Utopian. “Impracticably ideal schemes”, that’s Utopia. I have no schemes, no neat answers. You’re the one that craves that. You want an answer that is clean and simple. You’ll get one: clean, simple and wrong, one after the other, until enough of you grow up, forgo your grovelling before gangsters with idiotic promises and literally begin to mind your own productive business. A call for universal adulthood is not Utopia, Utopian.

It’s “blogging” for you but “hair trigger” hyperbole for me. Gotcha. I’m sure you know hyperbole.

“I wrote one post that poked fun at someone’s…”

That was not your first blog or your only insulting blog. I’m right now looking at your incredibly condescending epic opening post about what pigs we are. There is no other way to read it. When you backed down from the insults, I backed down from the insults. When you started back in, I tuned out, I did not read your plan, or question, or whatever the hell it was. Maybe someone else here doesn’t think you’re a waste of time, wait for their answer.

You ARE insulting, and worse, no longer interesting to me, and I must be crazy to be having an argument with you about whether you are or not.

Goodbye.

K Ackermann September 4, 2009 at 3:45 pm

I knew you would not answer the question, or even acknowledge its validity. That you can’t see it nessesarily brings forth a state is too bad.

The alternative is no organized defense, which for this country, just might be viable because it is too large to conquor. The problem is, it also forfeits much.

How you cannot face it head on is beyond me.

Hearing what you want to hear,
Knowing only what you heard.

mpolzkill September 4, 2009 at 5:10 pm

Ok, one more response for one more set of your insults. Ackerman, can you not read or are you calling me a liar? You knew I wasn’t going to answer your latest proposition? Insult. Did you know I was done reading your, propositions BEFORE this last one (or last two, or three, I don’t know I stopped reading them)? That’s the fact, which I stated. Many things are beyond you, big deal. Trust me, if someone here feels like wasting THEIR time, there is nothing a Statist can dream up that can’t be powerfully answered.

Goodbye again, unless you make up more misleading things regarding me.

Bala September 4, 2009 at 8:25 pm

mpolzkill,

” Let’s talk about something that is DEFINITELY a workable business model under a democratic state (conspiracy theorist warning: sane people stop here): ………. And who just might get a few nice government contracts? ”

And what in the world, or rather in what I said gave you the idea that this is the model of Government that I am suggesting? This is the model you are railing against and are obsessed with. All I am saying is that no government is not necessarily the only alterative or even the best alternative to bad or oppressive government.

Please remember that in citing fact after fact of State-perpetrated or State-enabled atrocities, you are violating the most fundamental principle laid out by Hayek himself, which is that statistics does not and cannot lead to any conclusion (If I remember right, that figures in Monetary Theory and the Trade Cycle). It requires a theory working on sound premises and irrefutable logic to explain anything at all. So please do try a theoretical explanation, not a fact-filled one. Please remember that neither an Objectivist Government nor a Libertarian Society have ever existed. Hence, any facts you cite are irrelevant to both.

” On another forum I had asked you some tough questions about the prospects of more than a relative handful of nerds ever adopting your obscure, muddled, eminently unattractive philosophy ”

Oh Please!!!! I really thought that was not germane to the discussion. Incidentally, that only a “handful of nerds would ever ….. unattractive philosophy” is only a claim of yours. I could say the same thing in return and that you belong to a lunatic fringe, but I shall not because I do not even think so.

” I don’t give a damn if it is ….. ”

This is really getting sad. I explain a problem and give “the dark ages” as the summary. You completely ignore the situation and go on and try to sling mud at the final statement and at me in turn???? This is not about ability (the way you claim to be an idiot) but about approach to a discussion.

What makes me even more sad is that SK, the author of the original blog and an avowed Libertarian and a Libertarian Scholar is somehow not addressing questions raised on this forum. I am therefore restating my question with the explicit request that SK answer it.

Here it is…..

****************************
I wonder what would be the incentive for anyone at all to come up with good ideas if almost anyone could use a commercially viable idea that they produced (please note that I do not say created). I am somehow worried about the situation where no one at all is interested in investing a lifetime (or any portion of it) developing ideas that will inevitably be hijacked by someone else. I therefore have the sneaky feeling that Libertarianism is a one-way street to the Dark Ages. In simpler terms, I am saying that if you create an environment in which ideas cannot be given the status of property rights, you will have a world in which no one will create ideas or if they do create, share them. Is this not what the Dark Aages were all about? Would you care to prove me wrong?
************************

I could say more, but I would rather leave that to a time when you bother to respond intelligently to the above question rather than calling me names.

Finally, when I said Liberty is not a good Axiom, please remember that I am not denouncing Liberty. All I am saying is that Liberty is a condition required for the maintenance Life. As such, it is subservient to Life itself. While Human Action (and hence Liberty) is a good axiom for a treatise on Economics (as Mises has written wonderfully and which I am yet to complete), I am not sure it is a good one for politics. As I understand it, all rights are political. Hence, the choice of Liberty as the Axiom for a political philosophy is fundamentally flawed.

An Axiom is a self-evident truth to even try to disprove which you need to refer to it. It can only be pointed at and identified. It is not to be derived from a more fundamental aspect of metaphysics. Liberty is not a self-evident truth. The Right to Liberty flows out of the more fundamental Right to Life. Liberty is an (only) essential condition for a rational animal (read man) to act as per the dictates of his rational mind in the sustenance of his own life. Hence, Liberty (and emancipation as you put it) is not a good axiom for a political philosophy. Care to respond to this?

mpolzkill September 5, 2009 at 9:56 am

No. But it’s not that I don’t care to. I just couldn’t focus on your spiel because I’m in a really heavy section of “Dianetics” right now. I had to read it because one of the Internet Knights of Scientology laid down the gauntlet and I agreed to take it up before I had received your challenge.

Which part of, “this is for my own amusement here” did you not understand? I’m conflicted, I’m terribly conscious of cluttering up this entire site with these idiotic battles I get sucked into (because they start off close to the topic and I THINK I can add something. Not working out). I’m out of here after a word and a quote.

I have no political position, school, nor plans to defend, whatsoever. I have only one point and I’ve already made it: only criminals (as I’ve defined it) should have any contact whatsoever with the State. Non-criminals who do have contact against their will are the State’s victims, and those who request any thing of the State, at the very least, become a party to crime themselves. Maybe an intro to a talent far greater than mine could get my only damned point into your Randian head (is that better? I’m sorry, she just should not be ceded the word “objective”, I’m not ceding it, at any rate)

“…have we not seen that government is essentially immoral? Is it not the offspring of evil, bearing about it all the marks of its parentage? Does it not exist because crime exists? Is it not strong, or as we say, despotic, when crime is great? Is there not more liberty, that is, less government, as crime diminishes? And must not government cease when crime ceases, for very lack of objects on which to perform its function? Not only does magisterial power exist because of evil; but it exists by evil. Violence is employed to maintain it; and all violence involves criminality. Soldiers, policemen, and gaolers; swords, batons, and fetters, are instruments for inflicting pain; and all infliction of pain is in the abstract wrong. The state employs evil weapons to subjugate evil, and is alike contaminated by the objects with which it deals, and the means by which it works. Morality cannot recognize it; for morality, being simply a statement of the perfect law can give no countenance to any thing growing out of, and living by, breaches of that law. Wherefore, legislative authority can never be ethical_must always be conventional merely.

Hence, there is a certain inconsistency in the attempt to determine the right position, structure, and conduct of a government by appeal to the first principles of rectitude. For, as just pointed out, the acts of an institution which is in both nature and origin imperfect, cannot be made to square with the perfect law. All that we can do is to ascertain, firstly, in what attitude a legislature must stand to the community to avoid being by its mere existence an embodied wrong; — secondly, in what manner it must be constituted so as to exhibit the least incongruity with the moral law; — and thirdly, to what sphere its actions must be limited to prevent it from multiplying those breaches of equity it is set up to prevent.

The first condition to be conformed to before a legislature can be established without violating the law of equal freedom, is the acknowledgment of the right now under discussion — the right to ignore the state.

- Herbert Spenser

For my own benefit, I always call on anyone who will listen to me to ignore the State. Once they agree, I like to play and talk music.

mpolzkill September 5, 2009 at 11:19 am

Wait, I don’t have to leave if I resolve to do my utmost to stay on topic. I hereby resolve….NOW!

A special pleader has repeatedly asked a question above:

“I wonder what would be the incentive….Is this not what the Dark Ages were all about?”

My answer, which I only bother with because of the touching pleading for it (I am sincerely sorry all you get is mine instead of that of the far more capable Mr. Kinsella, but do you really imagine he could ever find the time to intelligently answer every question he receives?), will be on a forum with a more general discussion of “IP”.

Here:

http://blog.mises.org/archives/010592.asp

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