I’ve never understood anyone besides the most radical of Leftists standing in opposition to Intellectual Property (IP) protection.
Unfortunately, large swaths of non-radical Leftists do.
Never mind that IP protection may be singularly responsible for humanity’s escape from systemic, unending poverty.
For most of human history, life for us humans was as Thomas Hobbes described in his Leviathan – in 1651:
“(C)ontinual fear and danger of violent death, and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”
Hobbes knew the cause of this perpetual problem:
“Whatsoever therefore is consequent to a time or war where every man is enemy to every man, the same is consequent to the time wherein men live without other security than what their own strength and their own invention shall furnish them withal.”
In other words:
If people have only brute force upon which to rely to protect their IP – each and every one of us will be constantly, perpetually at war with each and everyone else on the planet. A condition utterly un-conduscive to man advancing man.
This anti-IP, perpetual, internecine warfare – locks us into the permanent poverty cycle:
“In such condition there is no place for industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain, and consequently no culture of the earth, no navigation nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea, no commodious building, no instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force, no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time, no arts, no letters, no society, and, which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death, and the life of man solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”
In other words:
If you can’t get paid for your work – you won’t do the work. Because human nature.
If you have good ideas – and society permits the theft of your ideas – you won’t share your ideas. Which is man – working in direct opposition to man advancing man:
“A society that steals the creations from creators – is a place of darkness, resentment and anger.
“Creators who have their creations taken from them – will do everything they can to keep them secret. And even worse – stop creating them.
“Which means we all are deprived of them.
“Our lives are then harder, and worse, and poorer.
“We are left dirty, angry and crouched. Huddled around open fires in caves – fighting each other for whatever scraps we can find.”
The anti-IP contingent bizarrely argues that humans will continue to create – even if humans are allowed to steal their creations.
I have been alive for quite a while. And an observer of humanity for just slightly less longer than that. And this may very well be the stupidest assertion I have ever seen made.
It is the nature of far too many humans – to labor in direct defiance of human nature.
I posit 99.9% of humanity’s problems – are the result of us either ignoring or trying to change human nature.
Pretending we can steal the labor of others – and the others will continue to labor – is empirically antithetical to human nature.
And therefore really, really stupid.
Most of us understand human nature and property protection when it comes to money.
Even the most radical of Leftists admit monetary theft affects behavior – in certain circumstances.
To wit: They look to hammer with “sin” taxes things like cigarettes and alcohol – to get people to buy less things like cigarettes and alcohol.
Most of us understand human nature and property protection when it comes to physical property.
None but the most radical of Leftists think it’s a good idea to allow people to steal cars and computers.
Because the legal owners expended time, effort and money to obtain their physical property. And that expense of time, effort and money – must be respected.
But we have a much huger human nature blind spot when it comes to Intellectual Property.
Which is the awfullest of all places to be blind. Because it is the area of human achievement most important to human advancement.
Before you can produce cars and computers – you must invent cars and computers. Inventing cars and computers – takes WAY more time, effort and money than producing them.
We have way too many people protecting production – while allowing the theft of creation.
But if you acknowledge the results of IP deserve protection – how can you not acknowledge the IP itself deserves protection?
How can you acknowledge human nature demands the protection of physical property – but not the IP that makes the physical property possible?
Especially when human history clearly demonstrates the protection of IP – is what broke the eons-long, vicious, perpetual cycle of human poverty?
To paraphrase Edmund Burke:
“Those who don’t know history – are doomed to look really, really stupid.”
This first appeared in Red State.