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How “Intellectual Property” Impedes Competition

Any consideration of “intellectual property rights” must start from the understanding that such “rights” undermine genuine property rights and hence are illegitimate in terms of libertarian principle. Real, tangible property rights result from natural scarcity and follow as a matter of course from the attempt to maintain occupancy of physical property that cannot be possessed by more than one person at a time.

“Intellectual property,” on the other hand, creates artificial scarcity where it does not naturally exist and can only be enforced by invading real, tangible property and preventing the owner from using it in ways that violate the supposed intellectual property rights of others. As Stephan Kinsella points out, had a particularly gifted Cro-Magnon man been able to patent the building of log cabins, his heirs today would be entitled to prevent us from building cabins on our own land, with our own logs, until we paid whatever tribute they demanded. …

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Aaron Swartz's Work, Computer Crime Law, and "The Internet's Own Boy"

It’s been more than a year since Aaron Swartz’s tragic death, and now Aaron’s life is the subject of a new documentary, The Internet’s Own Boy, directed by Brian Knappenberger. The documentary has received much acclaim and deservedly so. It tells the story of a political activist and innovator who put theory into practice, always experimenting and building new tools and methodologies to animate histheory of change.

Aaron Swartz fought for an Internet grounded in community, creativity, and human rights. By co-creating platforms like RSS, reddit, Creative Commons, and the technology that becameSecureDrop, he helped make information accessible. Perhaps more than anything, Aaron Swartz helped hundreds of thousands of people participate in the political processes that determine the laws we have to live under everyday.

There are so many things that Aaron accomplished by the age of 26 that we thought it may help to make a companion for the film, a guide for those who want to watch with a deeper understanding of the issues behind Aaron’s projects.

We begin with the projects discussed in the film and then examine the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the law that was used to indict him on 11 criminal charges before his tragic death. …

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The Fun of Empire: Fighting on All Sides of a War in Syria - The Intercept

It was not even a year ago when we were bombarded with messaging that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is a Supreme Evil and Grave Threat, and that military action against his regime was both a moral and strategic imperative. The standard cast of “liberal interventionists” –  Tony BlairAnne-Marie SlaughterNicholas Kristof and Samantha Power - issued stirring sermons on the duties of war against Assad. Secretary of State John Kerry actually compared Assad to (guess who?) Hitler, instructing the nation that “this is our Munich moment.” Striking Assad, he argued, “is a matter of national security. It’s a matter of the credibility of the United States of America. It’s a matter of upholding the interests of our allies and friends in the region.”

U.S. military action against the Assad regime was thwarted only by overwhelming American public opinion which opposed it and by a resounding rejection by the UK Parliament of Prime Minister David Cameron’s desire to assume the usual subservient British role in support of American wars. …

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"It’s technologically feasible for workers and consumers to bootstrap almost an entire economy on the Owenite model, with very little in the way of land and capital assets."

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"The act of subordinating another’s goals by force and replacing them with your own is an affront to the individuality of both people and a violation of rights. The act of aggression is immoral in itself, yes. But a system of hierarchy maintained by aggression makes certain individuals subject to the authority of others; where one is merely a serf, obedient to the higher levels of the hierarchy, there is no individuality – something we are obviously against."

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"The American state would rather ISIS not win. But as with the farmers in Orwell’s Animal Farm, the men have one interest in common with the pigs that trumps all others: they don’t want the “animals” — ordinary people — to rule themselves."

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“Along running debate among anarchists, especially between the individualist and collectivist schools, centers around the justice of wealth disparities. Certainly the existence of the State serves to enrich particular interests at the expense of others, but in anarchy would the rich dominate society–just as they do with the State? Even if we could immediately switch off the institutions that forcibly manipulate society, there is danger that the legacy of privilege and accumulated wealth could persist for some time, distorting markets and continuing to frustrate the balance of power between individuals … .

“The purpose of this essay is to demonstrate how large scale aggregations of wealth require an outside stabilizing force and defensive agency to maintain, and how in a free, dynamic market there are entropies that move imbalances back to equilibrium… .”

“Let the Free Market Eat the Rich!” was written in May 2007 at the 6th Density blog. This revised version (2011) appeared as # 33 in Charles Johnson and Gary Chartier’s Markets Not Capitalism: individualist anarchism against bosses, inequality, corporate power and structural poverty (pp. 301–308), and online at socialmemorycomplex.net

Jeremy Weiland is a software developer, writer and left-libertarian activist. He maintains the website Social Mem­ory Complex: a political economy of the soul, and lives with his wife in Richmond, Virginia.

Support C4SS with Jeremy Weiland’s “Let the Free Market Eat the Rich”

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Slavery Contracts and Inalienable Rights: A Formulation

… Supply-Side Virtue Ethics

Moral theorists are fond of dividing ethical theories into two varieties: consequentialisttheories, according to which the rightness of an action is a matter of its having beneficialconsequences, and deontological (“duty-centered”) theories, according to which the rightness of an action is a matter of its falling under the appropriate rule. But in recent years, many moral philosophers have begun to revive a different approach to ethical questions, one with roots in Greek antiquity. For the Greek moralists, the central question of ethics was not “What rules should I follow?” or “What consequences should I promote?” but rather “What kind of person should I be?” For the Platonists, Aristoteleans, Stoics, and their modern admirers, the rightness of an action is a matter of its expressing the virtues — that is, those attitudes and dispositions of character that best exemplify what it means to be truly human. This ethical approach is known as Virtue Ethics — and I might as well confess immediately that it represents my own ethical convictions as well.

One distinctive feature of Virtue Ethics is that, to borrow a distinction from Douglas Den Uyl, it represents a supply-side rather than a demand-side approach to ethics. According to a demand-side ethics, the way that A should treat B is determined primarily by facts about B, the patient of moral activity; but for a supply-side approach like Virtue Ethics, the way that A should treat B is determined primarily by facts about A, the agent of moral activity.

Let’s apply this distinction to the special case of justice, that virtue which determines the proper sphere for the use of violence among human beings. My having a right consists, at least primarily, in other people having an obligation to act toward me in certain ways; those others act justly insofar as they respect my rights. The rights-bearer is thus defined as the patient of just activity. A demand-side conception of justice, then, would focus on the rights-bearer; its primary concern would be to determine the features of human beings in virtue of which they possess rights.

It seems to me — though not all Virtue Ethicists agree — that a Virtue Ethics approach should reverse this direction of scrutiny. In questions of justice, the focus should be, not on the person qua moral patient, the bearer of rights, but on the person qua moral agent, the respecter of rights. In other words, from the supply-side perspective of Virtue Ethics, the moral agent’s main question in matters of justice should be, not “What it is about other people that requires me to respect their rights?” but rather “What is it about me that requires me to respect the rights of others?”

Virtue Ethicists, particularly those in the Aristotelean tradition, see the aim of the moral life as one that best expresses what it means to be truly human, as opposed to erring on the side of either the subhuman or the superhuman; for example, Aristotle counsels us to live the life of a human being, not the life of a beast or a god. The cowardly, the stingy, the sensualistically self-indulgent, pay too much respect to their animal side, their vulnerable embodiedness, and neglect the divine spark within them; the rash, the spendthrift, the ascetically self-restrained, pay too little respect to their animal side in their quest to divinize themselves. Only the courageous, the generous, the temperate find the distinctively human path, the Golden Mean between less-than-we-can-be and more-than-we-can-be. …

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Electricity and clean water -things that we easily have access to are unfortunately luxuries for those in underdeveloped countries.

In fact, not only is there a lack of resources in third-world countries, but also the whole world is facing energy crisis and water pollution. My objective is to find an eco-friendly and economical approach to solve both issues.

My device H2PRO relies on photocatalytic reactions to purify and sterilize wastewater and to generate electricity using hydrogen produced. This sustainable process only requires titania and light. What’s more is that organic pollutant doesn’t only get decomposed but will also enhance the reaction rate. …

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Chicago police commander charged with aggravated battery, misconduct

A Chicago police commander frequently praised by Supt. Garry McCarthy for his no-nonsense approach to fighting crime in some of the city’s toughest neighborhoods was charged Wednesday with placing the barrel of his gun into a suspect’s mouth.

Cmdr. Glenn Evans, who headed the West Side’s Harrison patrol district until he was relieved of his police powers, faces one count of aggravated battery and one count of official misconduct, according to Sally Daly, a spokeswoman for State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez. …