Omnibus Syntheses and Contentions

This addresses lolwut‘s Fifth Response:

In a way, permitting a society the freedom to form a government however it pleases rather than imposing the minarchist (or otherwise liberal) system of government on it against its will is the freest course of action: for instance, if a society of devout Muslims elects to establish an illiberal, theocratic government and voluntarily surrender many of their individual liberties, then this is their right, and in truth I cannot find any moral justification to prevent them from doing so. I myself certainly wish to live under a libertarian government, but I also believe that the true libertarian attitude demands that I give others even the freedom to be unfree, rather than seeking to impose my preferred model of government on them, even if, in the end, this model provides more freedom for its citizens. (Of course, in the real world many national governments were not formed in such a manner, and routinely violate the individual rights of their citizens against their consent and prohibit them from freely leaving the country; in those cases their moral legitimacy is entirely absent.)

One reason why I discountenance politics as a necessary evil is because my values (many of which are shared by Libertarians) are so seldom espoused by “Western” governments, and then incidentally. That said, shared opposition to empire, suzerainty, and the influence of corrupt multinationals is far more important than adherence to or promotion of any ideology. Much (most?) of what the Taliban believes may be anathema to me, but I’m still glad for them — they’ve shaken off the globalist/Zionist grasp, and are now purging its progressivism from their institutions. That they do so brutally, even murderously (to be fair, these are Pashtuns) doesn’t change the reality that they are ultimately repairing their nation.

Your condemnation of progressivism is deservedly harsh. I was very apolitical until mid-2012, which is when I first learned of the existence of SJWs (whose beliefs constitute an extreme form of progressivism) while browsing 4chan’s /b/, and I found their views and general attitude so repugnant that, for a good year or so afterwards, my political ideology was nothing more than simple anti-SJWism. Later on I became a libertarian, but my contempt for SJWs has never ceased, and over the years I have also grown to greatly dislike progressives in general because of their disregard for my individual freedom; I can readily imagine that a government of progressive zealots—that is, of SJWs—would be as much of an authoritarian nightmare as any fascist government. The progressive ideology in its present form is a virus that originated in and currently afflicts the West, and it must never be permitted to spread outside its current boundaries and infect other countries.

Progressivism as we know it gestated in universities during the ’60s and ’70s, and was conceived therein during the ’80s. Whilst attending a certain private school in the ’90s, I observed firsthand just how creepily collectivist, hypersocialized and mindlessly conformist these people are over a score before terms such as “SJW,” “baizuo,” etc. were coined.

You won’t be surprised to know that I haven’t much sympathy for Ayn Rand, but one of several great quotes is attributable to her: “Christianity is the best kindergarten of communism possible.” Similarly, should you scratch the surface of progressivism, you’ll find precisely the same senseless, censorial, fanatical pathology common to Christian (and more broadly, Abrahamic) fundamentalists. “Original sin” is now “privilege,” “blasphemy” is now “hate speech,” “sins” are now “(micro-)aggressions,” …but wouldn’t you know it, sanctimony, unhinged altruism, and obnoxious and dubious exhibitions of putative rectitude are still virtues, and Israel is still the irreproachable holy land! Moreover, the people haven’t changed: they’re still the same (mostly white, pampered) simpletons driven by ignorance, intolerance and greed.

From Turkey to Japan, Asian societies are all but immune to progressivism for numerous reasons: common subjection to actual hardship, certain religious and social institutions, and (esp. in east Asia) high collective intelligence. The problem starts with the people, and considering the average baizuo’s birthrates and propensity for risk, they’ll be all but extinct in 15-20 years.

I’m not sure how you’d address this subject, but do you believe that everyone deserves a right to a salutary residential environment?

I don’t believe that this is a valid individual right: it strikes me as being simply one component of the more general notion of the right to health, whose status as an individual right I also deny. Any anti-pollution laws enacted on such a basis, therefore, I would find to be illegitimate, but this does not mean that pollution would go unchecked and unpunished: for example, a chemical company could not dump its waste on your land, for then it would violate your property rights; and a serious polluter whose actions damaged the physical health of one or more persons could be held criminally liable under the same sort of reasoning that an individual who slips poison into another’s food is held.

Yet not everyone owns real property, and no few slumlords are indifferent to the welfare of their tenants. Moreover, how would this approach apply to a company’s or individual’s pollution of public air or water? As somebody who’s suffered illness from ingestion of both smog and pesticides, I can’t support an ideology unprepared to curb pernicious abuses that should’ve been addressed after the advent of the industrial revolution.

As regards the subject of lobbies, I am very hesitant to ban them entirely, though I wouldn’t object to narrow restrictions on them which specifically prohibit any lobbying that could potentially erode individual rights.

As you’re opposed to bellicism, oppression and large government, why?! How can you countenance a system whereby organizations purchase governmental favor? Lobbying has transformed America’s government into a whorehouse, its military into a mercenary agency and wholesaler for the highest bidders (bureaucrats, Israel, Saudi Arabia), and its legislatures into proxies for the same (central/corporate banks, Big Pharma, Big Oil, entertainment industry), while the individual has nearly no power save to vote for candidates from either wing of a uniparty dominated by this coordinated collective of moneyed interests. Mind you, we were just discussing the MPAA and RIAA. Legal bribery of politicians is one of the worst phenomena in political history.

Your remarks concerning freedom of association are very wise indeed, and I wish that more people would hold such an attitude. Freedom of association necessarily entails the freedom to exclude, even for the most arbitrary and trivial reasons; while such exclusion on the basis of an individual’s race feels unpleasant, it’s absurd that such feelings somehow managed to transform themselves into legislation which infringes such a fundamental right. Such laws do nothing to alter prevailing attitudes regarding race (which is the far more important thing), and may even result in more tension as individuals are forced to interact with those they would otherwise simply ignore.

That tension’s been a fait accompli since the ’60s. For one example, desegregational busing did more to damage race relations than segregation ever did.

Robert, thank you for these very warm and flattering words; you should be lauded for your appreciation of Chinese civilization. Reading them, I am filled once again with great pride for my ethnicity and heritage, which is a wonderful feeling that should not be denied to anybody. I will return the favor here, and state that you, as a Westerner—and maybe also as someone of white and/or European descent, if you so identify—have much to be proud about yourself when the West’s innumerable artistic, scientific, technological, intellectual, cultural, etc. achievements are considered. You should not hesitate to take pride in being a (white?) Westerner; I find it pure madness how, in recent decades, such an individual living on the very land of his ancestors will face heavy social disapproval if he should dare to proclaim his pride for his Western heritage, and especially for his white/European ancestry—and, again, I say all this as a person who has not a single drop of white or European blood in him.

Thank you. I’m pretty mixed (Romanichal/Catalan/Pawnee/Irish/German), but I can generally pass for white; “off-white” is the term that some of my friends and I use, but this is distinction is obsolescent in many regions. I agree wholeheartedly that everybody should be proud of his/her ethnicity and their respective accomplishments, but to be honest, I haven’t been able to identify with white Americans since the early ’90s. Their ethos and character changed, and mine didn’t.

What I’d term post-leftist indoctrination isn’t the only factor that inspires baizuo to hate Western Civilization. To a man, they’re afflicted with a self-loathing that, in conjunction with inscience and simple stupidity effectuated by dysgenics and either negligent or nonexistent parenting, is easily subverted into ethnomasochism. There is no dialectical or rhetorical solution for this condition; clamant, moronic exhibitionists like Steven Crowder are at best lining their pockets when they publicly scream at this wall. Either the baizuo changes after suffering, or he perishes. Our world is no poorer for either outcome.

I find your views on intellectual property, patents, and trademarks quite interesting: you affirm the first as a natural right, yet question the second and reject the legal validity of the third, despite the latter two being major categories of the first. Very honestly, I was expecting you to defend the legitimacy of both patent and trademark law as staunchly as you had defended copyright law, and so your actual positions on these two topics were somewhat surprising to me. Are you doubtful that patents may properly be considered intellectual property, and fully convinced that trademarks are not? What categories of intellectual property do you believe are valid?

Patents are an enormous subject, so I’ll opine on just a couple variants.

Inventions result from intellectual property. I do believe that inventors deserve recognition and remuneration for their achievements, but much like media in a computerized era, there’s never been any way to stop others from reverse-engineering and mass-manufacturing anything. When an invention benefits the public good, this is always a positive development. Frankly, I believe that either collective or individual inventors should receive royalties from evey firm that manufactures their inventions, and I wouldn’t be opposed to an alternative to patents for the continued realization of this goal, but I haven’t the time or knowledge to formulate how…

I believe that pharmaceutical patents should be entirely abolished. With all due respect for the brilliant and assiduous chemists who develop drugs, discovery or manipulaton of chemical compounds is not creation, and the application of chemical patents is grossly immoral in medical practice.

Plenty of programmers and computer scientists have exhaustively expounded on how and why software patents are a terrible idea, and I fully assent.

Trademarks are simply preposterous, and a waste of time and money. To restrict the use of words (including neologisms) and phrases in specific commercial applications runs counter to freedom of expression. A product or service should be distinguished by its quality or creator — not an impersonal denomination. If opportunists attempt to ride on the coattails of others by arrogating a marque or name, they can be denounced.

You write that a registrar would retain both a copy of a work as well as data concerning the work (e.g., author’s name, date of creation, registration number/date, description) in an online database, and furnish these upon request either to a court or to the author. Perhaps some (or all) of the registrars could also allow the public to freely search their databases for the records describing each work (but not the works themselves, for obvious reasons), either for free or for a small fee: this way, disputes and other uncertainties regarding authorship may be resolved far more quickly and efficiently.

When I mentioned that the registrars would all partake in a globally accessible network, I implied (but probably should’ve stated) that these records could be searched as readily online as any other public database. Most civil cases involving plagiarism don’t make it to court because lawyers for both the aggrieved and offending parties engage in full disclosure, then settle out of court to the former’s satisfaction. This would expedite that process.

The registrars could also provide an option, during the initial submission of a work, for an author to deliberately exclude this information from being publicly searchable, if he is so inclined to preserve his privacy.

I didn’t consider this, but that’s a very fine (and probably essential) addition to this concept.

When you describe the compact amongst registrars in an association to refuse service to anyone conclusively guilty of plagiarism or other relevant misconduct or malversation, I assume that this also includes unauthorized sales, so that commercial pirates would have yet another reason to cease their actions. Of course, refusal of service for this reason certainly cannot come close to eliminating commercial piracy, and the law will serve as a far stronger deterrent, but I think that it must count for something, and is at least a small step towards further decreasing our reliance on copyright law.

Here’s where the limitations of my solution are most readily evident. People who pirate content aren’t likely to generate it. So be it.
I fully concede that some piracy is inevitable. In fact, I don’t object to it when it provides what distributors can’t or won’t. In the mid-’90s through the early aughts, I bought scores of bootlegged videocassettes via eBay of independent, Japanese, German, Korean, Spanish, Hong Kong, and other movies that I simply couldn’t obtain elsewhere. Here, attribution certainly wasn’t a problem; big names like Tsukamoto, Herzog, Miike, Chen, Imamura, Wong, (Akira or Kiyoshi) Kurosawa, Almodovar, Teshigahara, et al. were blazoned in both the online listings and the tapes’ photocopied cards and sleeves. VHS editions were either out of print or were never distributed in North America. DVD and Blu-ray editions of these flicks were years away (though many are still limited to domestic distribution), as were torrents. Neither was money much of a concern, as most of these filmmakers weren’t collecting royalties on their works. This was an example of what I consider justifiable piracy. Yes, most of the sellers were Chinese!

Otherwise, however, the system you have thus described is already an excellent move towards reducing the scope of copyright law, and is a fine example of cleverly using private industry/methods in combination with other valid functions of government (e.g. enforcing contracts) to accomplish a desirable end, rather than simply passing more legislation. I would be very delighted if your scheme were to be realized, and while it’s true that the government is still not out of the matter entirely, its role has nevertheless been greatly reduced—perhaps it is too much, after all, to expect a complete private replacement for the current framework of copyright law to be outlined in a single blog post.

Thanks. As in so many instances, I believe that the solution lies in technology, not politics. I’d exploit the latter as little as possible, and only because judicial involvement is occasionally necessary.

Author: rbuchanan

I'm an author, lexicographer, cacophonist, ailurophile, bibliophile, cinephile, logophile, inveterate aggregator, dedicated middlebrow, incontestable babe, borderline narcissist, weirdly semi-Mediterranean Native American, and alliterative anastrophe addict. My personality type is superlative INTJ.

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