L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 266, April 11, 2004
Taxation is the Root of All Evil
Re: Law vs. Reality, by William Stone, III
Among the many issues that reveal the irrelevance of the pure anarcho- libertarian position in the modern world, Intellectual Property is arguably the most persuasive. Simply put, IP represent a market failure and that failure is one more argument for the necessity of the state. At least for those of us who want to live above a subsistence level.
Markets are wonderful mechanisms for allocating scarce resources. Absent a monopoly, the tendency in the market is to maximize availability of a product and drive prices down. Normally this is good thing. For example if I had a Magical Gadget that could sweep over a junkyard and convert the raw materials there into rows of SUV's needing only a paint job to be salable, only environmental extremists would find this objectionable. If several competitors have the similar Magical Gadgets, the resulting competition would drive the cost of SUV's down to only slightly above the cost of raw materials, distribution, and a good paint job.
In the case of IP, the market has combined with modern digital technology to do exactly what markets do best. Shania Twain's songs (to continue Mr. Stones' example) are indeed widely available at a very low price. However, songs are not SUV's. A song or a book or an invention are unique creations of a human mind, not the interchangeable products of some generic Magical Gadget. Without an adequate mechanism for compensation there will still be some music and a few books created by starving artists. Who knows, Shania Twain may even continue to record her music for the pittance a market without IP protection is willing to pay but would Peter Jackson's investors have risked 200 million dollars to make Lord of the Rings without some assurance they could keep control of it long enough to make a profit? I doubt it.
Mr. Stone is absolutely correct when he argues that copying IP does not initiate force and that protecting it requires a state. IP is a creation of the state and, for all practical purposes, did not even exist before the state defined it. Further, protecting IP requires the state interfere with the natural market tendency to maximize availability and drive prices down. This interference is, by definition, socialism but so what? If a little bit of socialism is necessary to protect the IP of the inventor and the artist long enough for the creator to make a reasonable profit then a sane society will demand a little bit of socialism. I see in the letters section that even some libertarians recognize this and vigorously defend the concept of IP and and the limited state interference with the marketplace necessary to protect it.
Ohio has recently passed a CCW law. One of the places that concealed weapons are prohibited is in a church. NOT MINE! If I have to register/incorporate my church, I will do so, but weapons are always welcome here. Somehow, I think that God, whoever or whatever you concieve him/her/it to be, kinda likes people that are willing to take responsibility for themselves, and not come sniveling to him/her/it 24/7/365!!!!
* OFCC NEEDS YOUR IMMEDIATE HELP! *
Ohioans for Concealed Carry has learned that Toby Hoover and her anti-gun group the Ohio Coalition "Against Gun Violence" has filed a Writ of Mandamus to bar Franklin County Sheriff Jim Karnes from issuing any concealed handgun license. If successful, Toby's lawsuit could have standing in all counties across the state.
In typical fashion, rabid anti-gunners are trying to win in the courts what they lost in the legislature. Much like the failed attempts to bankrupt gun manufactures through frivolous lawsuits this is another action to subvert legislative authority and deny Ohioans the right to self-defense.
Unlike the lawsuit filed by Jim Irvine in Cuyahoga County, which is designed to force the Cuyahoga Sheriff's office to OBEY the law, Toby is attempting to block the implementation of a constitutional law passed in the legislature and signed by Governor Bob Taft.
Ohioans for Concealed Carry sees this unfounded legal action as the last desperate attempt of an organization that cannot accept they lost in the legislature and that the majority of Ohioans do not support their beliefs.
We are working with several powerful Second Amendment organizations to arrange financial and legal resources - but it will not be enough.
Only a large grassroots movement can save our concealed carry rights.
If you are not a member of Ohioans for Concealed Carry, now is the time to join if you are a member we need your financial support to fight this dangerous lawsuit. Missouri's law has stagnated in the courts indefinitely and only through a decisive win can we avoid a similar fate.
Ohioans for Concealed Carry plans to defend vigorously your right to self defense and legal carry concealed carry rights and needs your support to do so.
Please forward this alert by any means to fellow concealed carry advocates across the state.
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