Open Mic Continuing Conversations… September 2, 2009

Open Mic 1Another Open Mic Night with a ton of conversation. About 500 comments in the open mic thread as I write this. I read through many of them and found that many discussions were still going on. So I have decided to start a new thread spot over here. Instead of scrolling through 500 comments over and over as you debate, you can copy the comment you want to reply to, paste it as a comment over here, and then reply and begin the conversation over here. It should make it easier to continue the discussions today and give you all kind of a clean pallet to begin with as the new days comes upon us. As I offered this last week as well, I assume that everyone is aware of how to use this thread. So continue the conversations, but don’t forget about the article that was actually posted for today! I think the discussion on that article should be good as well, because we all care about the education system, even if we don’t have children in it.


  1. Richmond Spitfire says:

    Hi all,

    Van Jones, the Obama administration’s “green jobs” adviser, apologized Wednesday for calling Republicans “assholes,” saying the comments were made before he joined the administration and “were clearly inappropriate.”

    Oh….right…so his entire 50 (+/-) years of living, learning, indoctrination don’t matter now because those experiences who make him who is his “happened before he joined the administration”.

    Lovely person is he!

    Best Regards,

    • Right, because no Republican in a position of authority ever called a Democrat an asshole.. There are partisans on both sides who deride the other. I’m sure when the press wasn’t around Cheney and Rove said only nice things about Democrats. Still, I suspect there are also a great deal of people on both sides who do not think this way.

      • Can’t go there Mathius. It then begs the question “What did he say when there were no cameras about?” which can’t be negated by “I bet the Republicans said worse.” because unlike this instance you have no proof.

        As for me, I’m all for efficient technology and have always had 1 vehicle purchased solely because of gas mileage such as my VW Jetta TDI that does get 44MPG(US) actual and can actually pull high 30’s under full load through the mountains of BC(as my daughter is currently enjoying). Unlike my sister in-law’s Prius of course which screams “get out and push” with 4 adults traveling up a 17% grade. One of my best friends has been a pioneer in geothermal heating/cooling and windmill tech since well before it was popular and I’d have gone windmill too if not for being surrounded by poplars. Solar has never been cost effective and the others indeed are if you train yourself to maintain these systems by your self. We in Canada have been all about insulation with triple E windows, R5 dual door systems front and back, R12 basements and R36 attics for as long as those products have existed and beyond. My stepfather had pictures of them using bails on the north and westerly sides of the house every winter on the farm. We’ve always planted shelter belts to negate the biting winds of winter and snow drifting when the yard site is permitting such. Wood burning stoves and furnaces have always been in use by those who can do such here. Cooped grocery runs, to other cities for hardware and furniture etc… are still very much a way of life here. If someone’s going in they tell the rest of us if we want anything picked up rather than having to waste the fuel going in yourself. Just look at the likes of Mike Holmes who is our idea of a contracting guru. We’ve been way ahead of you guys in saving energy for a long time and in building codes.

        If president Obama really wants to make a difference, he’ll have to start by not appointing friends and put in place those who already have proven themselves not merely up to the task but beyond it.

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      Bummer – because I do think the Republicans that claimed to be bi-partisan and then backed out were actually assholes. I just hate when we’re forced to be PC don’t you?

      • Why specifically did they back out?

        • Ray Hawkins says:

          Look up Chuck Grassley and Healthcare debate

          • There’s the rub “Lawmakers and health care activists have grown increasingly pessimistic in recent weeks that the “Gang of Six” can agree on a workable bipartisan bill that would win approval in the Democratic-controlled Congress.” so do you put your next run to office on the line for what’s being already seen as a waste of time completely bereft of president Obama’s public voice in support? The man needs to get off his ass and actually do something. For his being so involved, how is it that “David Axelrod added to the negative spirit Tuesday when he suggested that Grassley and Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., have not acted in good faith because they sharply criticized Democratic plans during the August recess.” is what’s coming out of the White House?

            This is why I dislike Barack Obama. Everything is up to others, done by others, pitched or slammed by others and he then shows up on the idiot box to put out a Seinfeld(speech about nothing)? Say what you want about Hillary but I believe she’d not be repainting the canvas of America with a fire hose held by others, she’d be the one calling the shots and things would not be making the centrists wish for a do-over.

      • Richmond Spitfire says:

        Hi Ray,

        There have been many a time that I’ve “murmured” @sshole under my breath when reading your postings 😉 I’m sure you’ve probably murmured or yelled (insert a derogatory whatever here) plenty of times when reading my posts.

        Saying “inappropriate” expletives before a political audience is just wrong though. Politicians need to take the high road and not resort to name calling…it just really puts them in a bad place.

        For example, one of our Govenors here in VA said something that was incorrect…it pretty much ruined his political career – George Allen. He called a reporter “Macaca”(sp?) which was derogatory in another language. It caused a huge outrage. Wasn’t there a huge outrage of Jesse Jackson’s comments about BO that were overheard because his microphone wasn’t turned off. Didn’t the conservative Radio Host, Don Imus make inappropriate comments that caused an uproar (even conservatives couldn’t stomach that).

        Now, this Van Jones, who is now in a position of power in setting policy for “green” jobs has totally alienated a large group of citizens because he thinks they are @ssholes. Do you really think Ray that he now believes that Republicans are non=@ssholes? That is a serious question Ray…As a conservative, I take offense to him thinking that I’m an @sshole (you know he was talking about conservatives in general).

        Best Regards,

        • Ray Hawkins says:

          Van Jones – what little I know of him – seems to be not much more than an opportunistic talking head who may give some voice to some good ideas some of the time. Let him use the term – go for it – because he will alienate some who are true in the hearts to want to find common ground. I took him to mean the few/many who (John Boehner I am talking about you) never had any intention of playing ball. If he meant all conservatives/republicans then he has merely dug the first three feet of his own grave.

          And yes – once in a while I’d like our politicians to drop the decorum bs and show some fire and emotion. I’ll never be a politician because my DNA would at some point preclude me from kissing someone’s ass that just crapped in my bowl of Cheerios. I’m not looking for fisticuffs – but I’d have been ok even if a Sarah Palin would have gone back to David Letterjerk’s show, given him a sharp look and told him what an asshole he was.

          • Richmond Spitfire says:


            I would never be a politician either! I’m too plain-outspoken and can’t always find the right words…I talk sometimes before I think…trying to change this though (but it sure is hard).

            It seems to me though…that a person who is at that level of representation would have the facilities to make his or her point in such a way that they do not resort to derogatory measures.

            Now, my Mother (bless her heart) is the epitome of the quiet point-maker. My 1st ex-husband (Jon) still to this day laughs with me about it. He tells me that my mother would put him in his place and he wouldn’t realize for two weeks.

            Fire and Emotion is a GOOD THING…But it needs to be used in a positive way, not mud-slinging way. It can be done!

            On the contrary, I feel as though John McCain mostly tried TOO hard to take the high road during the election…while I admire him for this, I think it did somewhat hurt his campaign.

            Best Regards Ray,

          • Drop Van Jones and put Mike Holmes in his place. Sure he’s Canadian but America will be saving energy and money faster than any of you thought possible just through new building codes alone. He’ll do it with what already exists today not wishful thinking and it will be done right or offenders will be prosecuted. No one has been more outspoken here about jail time for cheating contractors than Mike.

          • Ray – a little more on Van Jones. I posted this in response to your statement from the Defining Socialism piece on 9/1.

            Ray said:
            I’ve heard a lot of conjecture and innuendo regarding political stances of the some of the advisers – but don’t see any evidence therein – if such-and-such and so-and-so really avowed Communists then let me see it – and I’ll be happy to step onto the wagon – that’s all I am asking.


      • Ray, have you forgotten the history so soon?

        If one wishes true bipartisan efforts, or just plain honest negotiations, they don’t start the discussion with we can do what we want without you, now what are your concerns.

        Sorry man, you better go back and study the sequence of events here. The elephants were stepping all over themselves to look reasonable right after the election. You can thank Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Reid for the reversal. Of course Mr. Obama’s comments at the big “bipartisan” hug fest at the white house didn’t help. “WE WON” is another good way to kill any chance of productive negotiations.

        That’s the technical side.

        Now as for me, on the principled side, I don’t want the R’s to negotiate a damn thing that looks like expanded Federal Govt interferance in medical care. But you see, in the end, they will.

        • Ray Hawkins says:

          JAC – I have to doubt your last point – which – may place you and I closer than you think but for different reasons. I increasingly think neither had any intention of negotiating squat. It was all pure posturing resulting in more gridlock. In regards to Healthcare I find myself leaning more to single payer system – anything else is imho a complete waste – whatever crap they puke up now should never see the light of day as law. Bunch of liars.

  2. Mike M. Houston Texas says:

    Thanks for your responses to my question yesterday. Somehow I knew what the responses would be but you truly dont know until you see it. Judy and Richmond your answers are clear. We are on the same side of this discussion. D13 I hope you are in Houston we could work something out on that adult beverage.

    JAC my initial thoughts on Ray’s response were on your reply. To put that Texas spin on it. If you keep hanging out in a barbershop, eventually you will get a haircut.

    Ray, I have read many of your posts as well and I dont always agree with you but you also have some ideas which I think are worthy of further discussion.

    I got one offer to TP my house and no checks. The real intent of that post had the effect that I thought it would. At the 200,000 foot level sending money to help the helpless sounds good on the surface. Some folks like to argue at that level. Moving down to the 50,000 foot level brings some focus. In order to send this money you have to pay something. Some like to argue at this level. Moving down to the trenches it becomes based in reality. You Mike will have to pay an additional $100 bucks a month and we will give it to whoever WE feel like even if you dont like it. Even if you dont know the guy. I am a nuts and bolts guy.

    So Ray if you want to go a few rounds I would welcome it but lets do it at the trench level. What does it mean for YOU and ME.

    The 200,000 foot level is where poloticians operate. Here is a broad stroke and we will tell you the details later. The devil is always in the details.

    Thanks to USW for this site and to all of you for your interaction (whether I like your ideas or not the interaction is great)

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      Just tell me what you want to chew the fat on Mike and I’ll pull my rocking chair up next to yours.

  3. JB Said:

    As far as evolution goes, let me say this. Micro-evolution has been proven. A being will evolve to overcome some difficulty. Say the sun gets hotter, then our skin will build a resistance over time. Macro-evolution has not been proven. Say the sun gets hotter, there is no direct evidence to say we will evolve into fish so we can cool off in the water. That being said, it is a popular THEORY with its merits and faults. I have no problem with it being taught in school, but I do have a problem if a teacher says evolution is fact and the Bible is fiction. Separation of church and state means they cannot say exactly that. Also, I don’t believe the Bible should be taught in public schools.

    The best why of thinking about micro/macro evolution which I have come across (and I forget the original source, forgive me) is this. Image that you are looking at a large oak tree. If you sit and study it for a few months, you will see the growth in the twigs and leaves, but nothing in the branches. You might be tempted to say that the tree was always as it is, but that nothing ever changes with it’s overarching structure (the big branches / trunk / roots). But of course, that is because you’re time horizon is far too small.

    As for the bible being taught as an alternative, I submit that there is no evidence to support the bible other than the bible itself. I will be ok with the teaching of creationism / intelligent design, if you are ok with CFSM-ism.

    I encourage everyone here to learn more about the CFSM (Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster). Simply use The Google.

    • I too have heard the oak tree analogy, but I don’t buy it. Here’s why. Looking at the evolution of a sapling and extrapolating the growth of branches, trunk, roots, etc is a logical and reasonable prediction based on the evidence. Here’s the rub, the tree has not changed species!

      There is a great deal of evidence for intelligent design. There is also a good deal of evidence for creationism. There is actually a museum devoted to just that in Kentucky, near Lexington. That being said, I am a physicist, so I tend to believe in science, but I also know that appearances can be deceiving, so I leave myself open to all ideas. Evolution would do no damage to the Bible other than making the people who shot it down feel like idiots (kinda like those who derided Copernicus). Maybe it’s true, maybe it is not, all I want is just the facts to be presented, period.

      I also specifically stated that I DO NOT think the Bible should be taught in public schools. So your reference to CFSM-ism, though humorous, is irrelevant and truthfully rather insulting. I will assume that you meant no harm, though, and let it slide.

      As an aside, God made man from the “dust of the Earth.” Perhaps this was dirt, or perhaps it was single-celled organisms… Does it matter? Not in the least.

  4. Richmond Spitfire says:

    Hi all,

    Unbelievable…Man’s Finger Bitten Off in Scuffle at Health Care Rally,0,1820189.story

    Getting ugly!

    Best Regards,

  5. So much of yesterday’s conversation of Copyright was based on my opponents misunderstanding of what Copyright is, and how it came to be…but did well to highlight a core understanding of my own.

    Copyright was invented after the advent of the printing press and subsequent widening of public literacy.

    *[From the beginning, it was created to control free men who were prospering financially and by knowledge of the greatest explosion of shared knowledge in history]*

    As a legal concept, its origins in Britain were from a reaction to printers’ monopolies at the beginning of the eighteenth century.

    *[Do not mis-read this. Copyright was not created to break the monopoly – it was created to enforce the monopoly]*

    In Britain the King of England and Scotland was concerned by the unregulated copying of books and used the royal prerogative to pass the Licensing Act of 1662 which established a register of licensed books and required a copy to be deposited with the Stationers Company, essentially continuing the licensing of material for the benefit of printers that had long been in effect.

    *[Copyright created the ability of government to license books – that is, control the gates of knowledge so that the common people would only read licensed (that is, government-ok’d) material. It was a direct benefit to printers, as it created a monopoly on printing – you had to appy for a license from the crown to print books – thus, such licenses were granted to those in favor of the crown and denied to those that, obviously, disagreed with the crown. Copyrights were…“a sovereign’s right to censor and to regulate the printing industry. ]*


    Copyright does not protect the author – it protects the government (by restricting the free press) and the publishing houses (protecting their monopoly).

    Books, music, and any other creative works is no different an economic good or commodity as any other economic good or commodity and is equally subject to the Laws of Economics as any other goods or services!

    Monopolies cannot exist without the coercion of government and the defects of such monopolies and the defects of coercion in a free market system do not disappear just because it happens to be an artistic goods or service – it remains destructive, bizarre, perverse and evil – like all monopolies.

    When such a perversion becomes part of the paradigm, even those with the strongest minds and moral backgrounds become confused about its perversion – the defense of JAC, USWep, and Peter come to mind – and as expected, this perversion leaks into other areas of society, where suddenly abstractions like life, knowledge and thought become ‘copyrighted’ or ‘patented’ or ‘owned’.

    This sets up the strangest scenarios – where real men offer massive defense for the illusionary ownership of abstractions but shrug at the defense of physical ownership of real property!

    But this conversation highlighted an even deeper significance.

    Chris is absolutely correct – I do, axiomatically, claim government action in any form is evil. It requires no proof for me to know that if government acts, it is violent, it is evil and it is wrong.

    I do not do this without reason, however!

    Where I am different from everyone (except Kent) – even different from JAC, USWep, or Peter (though he is ‘getting it’) – it is on the demand of onus.

    I demand that Government must prove, beyond any doubt, its reasons to why it must act against free men

    Most others demand Free men must prove, beyond any doubt, why government should not act upon them

    In my many years of demanding such proof of government – I have yet to find one example where it has proven itself – thus, I am confident in my axiomatic belief about government, until proven otherwise.

    Characters like G A Rowe are dear to my heart. He is a bulldozer, and admits that philosophy does not resonant as a subject with him. His demand to return to the Constitution is his instinct – and not based on any particular reasoning he has. But what is that desire to go to the Constitution?

    Jefferson, who authored the Declaration of Independence and Articles of Confederation, attempted to organized government in a way that Government must prove its reasons for action to free men before it can act.

    We can see this attempt in his division of rights – where the People hold all of the rights and power, except those that are specifically designated. Such designation had to be debated and voted (proved) to and by the citizens. Jefferson tried to build a construct that did this. Madison destroyed it. Even if Madison didn’t destroy it, I doubt Jefferson would have been successful anyway.

    Jefferson’s founding principle – Government must prove its actions is what I believe is what G A Rowe, unarticulated, demands. The closer he can grab to this concept, the better and the Constitution –as flawed as it is written- is closer than the ‘nothing’ he sees now. The VDLG of JAC and USWep attempts to provide the same underlying core – whether they know it or not – however, my opinion of their attempt is the same as I hold of Jefferson’s attempts – I have never seen government prove itself – and thus, has no right to act – period.

    But, the task.

    The roots of society of free men have failed to recognize that the forces of evil have reversed the onus of proof on them.

    Until the roots of free men have righted the onus – and demand proof of government action – society will continue to be enslaved by evil.

    • I have a question for you.

      If I write a book, then sell you the right to use it contingent on non-disclosure and non-reproduction, you have, I assume no problem with this. That said, when I sell you the book with the implied understanding that you can’t do this, you would say you are allowed to copy it unless it is overtly stated as part of the deal. So, if stated, perhaps as part of the sale agreement, you would be just fine this this free-market analog of copyright law, correct?

      • Essentially, you are correct.

        One must be careful of implied agreements or such – they exist, but do not always exist, depending on circumstances.

        But not to ‘weasel’ out of your intent and meaning here, I agree.

      • The same, then, I assume would be true of any other “intellectual property.”

        However, if I sell you this work contingent on non release and you allow it to get out, can I hold you responsible for any lost sales? Also, is the person you allow copy it within his moral rights to copy it further?

        • Mathius,

          Any voluntarily agreement about anything between free men perfectly fine by me.

          Obviously, a lot depends on “allowed it” (how -accidentally or purposeful- preventable or intentional, etc.) on “responsible” and whether or not you lost sales or not (real loss vs. illusionary loss)

          However (I am trying to not do what Chris accuse me of…) – in the spirit of the intention of your question….

          …yes, if I broke my word – I am a scoundrel.

          The last question, I read is this:

          Is the guy who you allowed to copy it allowed to copy it?

          My answer is: self-evidently, yes.

      • OK, imagine I am a programmer. I have, in my locked house a white board where I am making notes on a new revolutionary program. It’s code is simple, so simple that a glace is sufficient to obtain the secret.

        A man comes to visit my neighbor, but has mistaken the house number. He was told to look under a rock in the yard to get a key and let himself in. By an unfortunate coincidence I, too, hide a spare key under a rock in the yard and this man lets himself into my house. While looking for the bathroom, he makes a wrong turn and sees the board in my study.

        Though he should not have been in my house, it would not be unethical for him to be there, since it was an honest mistake (or am I putting words in your mouth? – it is your mouth and I have no right to put words in it, that is your freedom and I shall not infringe). But I took sufficient care to protect my idea in the privacy of my locked home. He is, by your logic, perfect moral in using this idea? (I assume your answer is yes)

        I know I’m asking a lot of questions, but I’m just trying to flesh out your theory for my better understanding.

        • Black Flag says:

          No, he is a scoundrel.

          If, by accident, I enter your home, but see a bunch of apples on your table and take one – knowing you won’t miss it – is it still theft?

          Now, of course, I’m interchanging real property with an idea – however, that material is irrelevant – it is the act.

          I am without permission on your property.

          It is a breach and any action I make that harms, betrays a confidence, exposes a secert, etc. is also a breach.

          When I am in wrong – regardless of how that may have happened – it is my duty to mitigate harm in every way possible – not exploit it.

          • Black Flag says:

            Case in point:

            In my career, I have been privy to many things about many famous people – their finances and dealings, etc. while consulting for certain banks and companies.

            I have been working on computer systems which very private data and information that has been exposed to me – because I need the access to do the work.

            I had the keys and codes to the computer department of an offshore branch of one of largest banks in the world.

            I have a lot of information. No one has such information – not even my wife – as a result of me in breach of the confidentiality placed with me. Ever.

            Thus, I get keys and codes, sit in private meetings and have the ultimate confidence of my customers who pay me a lot of money because they trust me and no one else

            • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

              “I have a lot of information. No one else has such information…”

              Does that not indicate ownership of said information? How can one own information?

              • Black Flag says:

                No. They do not claim ownership of my mind – nor would I accept it.

                I accept responsibility of the knowledge, respecting that this information could be used ‘badly’.

                If I use it ‘badly’, – they will not kill me (I hope)- but they will never hire me again.

                Most probably, I will never be hired again by anyone who requires trust.

                That would devastate my income earning and my lifestyle, since I earn a lot money because I am trustful.

      • Alright, so I see that we are not so far apart in actuality. Here is the difference, as I see it.

        If I wish to make and sell programs, I must, at the point of sale, require you to agree not to reproduce, etc, before completing the sale. At such time, it should be made clear that if this is violated, I get penalties comparable to the lost income (as determined by in impartial judge). This is, I believe you scenario. If I wish to sell artwork, and I wish to post images online, I must have a front page where viewers must agree to my terms for non-disclosure/non-reproduction, then they can see whatever. And so on.

        But if, by whatever means, “my” images find their way out into the world, they may be freely reproduced. I may seek damages from the responsible party (if he can be found and identified), but others are free to do what they like with them.

        Do I understand this to be your position?

        My view is that this contract is implied and transferable. If I have rights only to view (as I have agreed by implication), and if you take them from me, you, too, are bound by this implied contract. I cannot give you what I do not have.

        • Black Flag says:


          If I wish to make and sell programs, I must, at the point of sale, require you to agree not to reproduce, etc, before completing the sale. At such time, it should be made clear that if this is violated, I get penalties comparable to the lost income (as determined by in impartial judge). This is, I believe you scenario.

          Not quite….the penalties “clause” …. How are you enforcing this?
          If you think its ok that a bunch of thugs come and beat it out of me (whether they wear black suits or blue uniforms does not matter) – then, no, that is not my scenario.

          This “agreement” already exists, of course, as Alan pointed = called an EULA.

          If I wish to sell artwork, and I wish to post images online, I must have a front page where viewers must agree to my terms for non-disclosure/non-reproduction, then they can see whatever. And so on.


          But if, by whatever means, “my” images find their way out into the world, they may be freely reproduced. I may seek damages from the responsible party (if he can be found and identified), but others are free to do what they like with them.

          Proceeds of immoral acts cannot be moral, right?
          Benefiting from theft of money (taxes) is not theft, but is immoral (I’ve said this, right?). It remains true here, too.

          BUT you may seek damages – how?

          Again, if you believe you have a right to thuggery – oopsss… we are in different parts of the cave again.

          My view is that this contract is implied and transferable.

          Careful with implied and transferable. Rarely are they implied and often cannot be transferred.

        • There is no “thuggery” here.

          If I permit you the use of my credit card to buy groceries and you loan my card to your friend who in turn buys himself a plasma TV, then I hold you responsible for his purchase. You may feel free to try to recoup from him, but you violated our contract and you, alone, are responsible. I fail to see why I should not be able to obtain from you the money you have cost me – whether by men in black suits or blue uniforms or ninjas, this money is rightfully mine and you owe it – is the question one of how to collect? If you have agreed to be held accountable, and you do not pay willingly, what is the moral approach to hold you accountable?

          How to ascertain an appropriate penalty is a perfectly legitimate question in the case of “lost sales,” but at this point, I’m only saying that there should be penalties to compensate me.

          But I digress.

          Laying aside the question of how to establish how much penalty and how to collect (though I would still be interested in an answer to the latter), do you agree with my previous post in generalities?

          • Black Flag says:

            I fail to see why I should not be able to obtain from you the money you have cost me – whether by men in black suits or blue uniforms or ninjas, this money is rightfully mine and you owe it – is the question one of how to collect?

            Because in a Free Society you cannot use violence on a non-violent person.

            I did not – by violence – take your card; you gave it to me voluntarily.

            If you made an error in judgment about my character – the error is yours – but your error does not grant you a right to use violence on me.

            You can only use violence in defense FROM violence against you

            How to ascertain an appropriate penalty is a perfectly legitimate question in the case of “lost sales,” but at this point, I’m only saying that there should be penalties to compensate me.

            “Penalties” – no. That infers ‘revenge’

            Compensation – absolutely. But by social enforcement not violent enforcement.

            • So “binding” contracts between individuals are enforceable only through “social enforcement” which I interpret to mean the threat of being shunned/looked down upon etc. Is this correct?

              The “penalties” or fair compensation for damages would be severe and you would not likely to pay voluntarily – the risk of social ostracism would have to be equally severe. This seems unlikely..

              • Black Flag says:

                It is not.

                For most of human society, shunning and ostracizing was just shy of certain death.

                The ability of any man to provide from his own distributed effort all his needs – is called “Severe survival mode” – and rarely seen outside of being lost in the wilderness – and most people fail.

                Man, in a specialization of labor society, trade is necessary.

                If no one trades – you are in deep dodo.

              • Bonsoir, Mathius!

                An science fiction author, James Hogan, imagined a society in which the desire for mutual respect prevented most obnoxious behavior. I believe the title was Voyage from Yesteryear. Of course, Hogan began with a couple of flawed assumptions . . . but it is an interesting work.

                Je m’excuse for being unable to underline or italicize the title.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      “Books, music, and any other creative works is no different an economic good or commodity as any other economic good or commodity and is equally subject to the Laws of Economics as any other goods or services!”

      Alright, I am going to admit confusion here. It takes a big man to admit they are wrong, it takes a bigger man to admit that they are confused. Yes, you can quote me on that.

      The physical book is property (obvious from the sentence I quoted above). However, the ideas in the book are NOT property, even though they may be unique (I understand this, though I am not completely sure I agree with it).

      According to how I have interpreted what you are saying, stealing the book is obviously stealing, since the physical book is property. Copying the book is not stealing, because you have not taken someone else’s property, simply made a distinct and new copy of it, which then becomes YOUR property.

      Ok, hopefully I got that right so far.

      The way I interpret this is that an author has a right to sell his/her book for a profit, but anyone has a right to copy the book without the consent of the author even though the author derives no profit when the book is merely copied.

      Is that still correct?

      • Correct.

        I know it is hard because for 400 years an illusion has been pounded into our heads about this.

        Simply think of knowledge vs a good.

        Apply the rules. The answer is… the answer, even if it confounds 400 years of illusion.

        And do not worry about the authors.

        Mozart and Beethoven, who published without such ‘government protection’ but did very well by being the first to market. This is the source of profits for the author.

        I, personally, know an author who self-publishes his books. He would love if someone printed and marketed his books – because it wouldn’t cost the author a cent to get his message out!

        He earns $10,000 to $50,000 a day on speaking tours about his book’s content – the subject matter of which he is an expert – he spends an average of 100 days a year traveling the world in best hotels in the best locations – all expenses paid – and earns about $3 million a year. Nice life.

        • PS: Tax-free….. 🙂 (and no it is not me… you read my writing – Chris is right on that point, too)

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:


          I have one further question. Is it permissable for me to change the author’s name to my own name in my copy of the book, make thousands of copies of the book, and sell these thousands of copies of the book for a profit?

          • Black Flag says:

            That would be lying and deceitful – an act of a scoundrel.

          • PeterB in Indianapolis says:


            Ok, so what you are saying is that if I substitute my own name for the real author’s name, make a bunch of copies of the book and sell it for a profit, people are going to find out that I am mis-representing the author’s ideas as my own and they are not going to buy any more books from me in the future?

            • Black Flag says:

              “Read my Madoff post below” is my answer.

            • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

              BF, it seems to me that people would say I was lying and deceitful because I had stolen the author’s ideas or words and attempted to pass them off as my own…

              But… I cannot steal his ideas or words, ideas and words are not property.

              So, if ideas and words are not property, what is the actual source of the people’s knowledge that I have lied or been deceitful? This is the source of my admitted confusion.

              • Wow, nicely done, Pete

              • Black Flag says:

                You are pretending to be someone you are not.

                These are all different (that is, not the same thing):

                1) You thinking of something new

                2) Me thinking of something new

                3) Me using what you thought up

                4) Me using what I thought up

                4) Me saying that what you thought up was me thinking it up

                The last one is immoral as it is a lie.

              • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

                But BF, you cannot have ownership of a thought, so even though I am claiming a thought which you had as a thought which I had, how is this harming you or imposing upon you?

                It is not YOUR thought. You cannot possess it, it is not property.

              • Black Flag says:


                But you cannot say you “originally” thought it or you would be lying.

              • He is not claiming to have originated the thought, only to have it currently.

                If the cover reads “As originated by PeterB” then it is a lie.

                Simply putting his name on it says that this is an idea he has. And he does have it – this is true.

            • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

              I guess that in copying a book, substituting my name for the name of the author, and selling many copies of the book for a profit, the vice I have engaged in falls into the category of “taking credit for things you didn’t do, failing to give credit where it is due.”

              However, if ideas and words are not property, why does the original author deserve any credit for putting them down on pages in some particular order that enough people find enjoyable or informative to read that they are willing to pay money for it.

              If ideas and words are not property, you CANNOT say, “those are his ideas” or “those are her words”. His and hers are POSSESSIVE PRONOUNS which indicate ownership of something. I cannot say, “this is my idea”. My is a possessive pronoun.

              So, I guess my contention would be, if no one can claim ownership of words or ideas, then I don’t see how I can legitimately give anyone credit for a set of words or ideas.

              So, the only real answer I can come up with, is I must give the real author credit for the work involved in putting the words and ideas down in a readable format.

              I still have a problem with the concept that the author has done work, but the material product of his work in a proprietary sense can be said to be, “nothing”.

              So, my question is, does the author desrve “credit” for putting ideas and words down on pages in a readable format, or does he deserve credit because the ideas and words are uniquely HIS. If the ideas and words are uniquely his, then he can be said to have ownership of that unique set of words and ideas, which means that they are actually his property.

              If he merely gets credit for the work involved in putting words and ideas onto a page in a readable format, then I guess people are mad at me for putting my name on the book and selling many copies of it for a profit because I failed to give the author credit for his work. But wait… I just used the possessive again. HIS work. Can work be said to be property?

              I have heard it said that “your name is your most valuable asset” I happen to agree with that, but can I be said to own my name? My name is just words. If I do not own my name, it cannot be said to be an asset, because it is not property.

              • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

                If ideas are not property, then I would suggest the following change to the english language:

                You can no longer use terms such as, “I have an idea” or “My thoughts are” or “what are your thoughts on the matter?”

                There is no such thing as “my thoughts” the word “my” indicates ownership. I cannot own something unless it is property. Thoughts are not property.

              • Black Flag says:

                You can those things, no problem.

                I say “my wife” – I don’t ‘own’ her – I am identifying her.

              • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

                I am sorry, but my dictionary says that “my” is the possessive form of the pronoun I. You may not have intended to indicate ownership, but by definition you did.

              • Black Flag says:

                No, Peter.

                It is used to distinguish between two different women – your wife and my wife, so that we can hold a meaningful conversation. I do not think “ah, Peter OWNS her” nor do I think “ah, Peter know I OWN her!”

              • Black Flag says:

                If you did think that, I’m sure your wife will make you sleep on the couch

    • Hey BF!

      Very well written and many might muse, indeed a lovely treatise. Your points are well-taken. Jefferson was the type of bloak who believed strongly that there must be ‘performance’ worthy of the governed for and on behalf of the governance.

      However, in your statement: “Jefferson, who authored the Declaration of Independence and Articles of Confederation…” should actually read ‘co-authored’ insofar as there were others present in Committee. (I know it’s picky!)

      The Original Constitution can be viewed in the Thomas Jefferson Bldg a.k.a. the Library of Congress — and yes it does read differently. Cheers!


    • You have erred twice in one statement.

      “Where I am different from everyone (except Kent) – even different from JAC, USWep, or Peter (though he is ‘getting it’) – it is on the demand of onus.

      I demand that Government must prove, beyond any doubt, its reasons to why it must act against free men

      Most others demand Free men must prove, beyond any doubt, why government should not act upon them”

      You and I are not different with regard to this fundamental difference (error 1).

      Govt must not prove its reasons. A reason stands alone, logical or otherwise. Govt must prove, beyond any doubt that it is moral to take a specific action against free men (error 2).

      In my humble opinion, of course.

      I have only one comment right now on the intellectual property discussion. I am bothered by the implication that in a free market of free men we must have to explicitly restrict or prohibit the reproduction of our work when selling or giving copies to others. This attacks the very foundation of Trust among men. It places the contract or agreement in the place of govt. I would prefer a well understood concept of property consistent with common law that would protect one from such scoundrels.

      Perhaps it should be understood that no copy is allowed unless expressly approved in writing. That would seem more consistent with a free and thus moral society to me than the opposite.

      • Black Flag says:

        Your corrections are noted and agreed.

      • Black Flag says:

        Perhaps it should be understood that no copy is allowed unless expressly approved in writing. That would seem more consistent with a free and thus moral society to me than the opposite.

        Indeed – HOWEVER….

        The important point is; however the society determines the method, means, material, and understanding of such morals is perfectly fine under the umbrella of social enforcement.

        There remains no right of violent enforcement upon non-violent people.

    • Black Flag says:

      Mathius and Peter

      To help put this back into context…

      I am answering specific inquiries regarding scenarios – but you must keep this very much in mind.

      How I act is based on my personal moral belief – so when Matt asks about ‘seeing secrets on a chalk board’ – it is my moral standard that would not exploit such a thing.

      Do not confuse my moral choice with a structure of a free society

      What I am trying to explain here is that a free society organizes itself – it sets its own moral standards on things that it chooses.

      JAC was very correct yesterday – his would ‘judge’ my action as immoral and would shun – and my response was very correct – they could do that, too, just because I were a black hat – whatever a free society so chooses as its moral norms are its choice – free from coercion and violence.

      JAC’s group believes intellectual abstraction to be “property” – and will structure norms and rules regarding this – Mathius’s group believes words on a book should not be copied, so group will structure norms and rules regarding this – and both (and many) can do this concurrently in the same free society.

      Each group will apply social (not violent) enforcement of their own rules, and if you want to play with them, you’ll follow those rules – and if you don’t, they won’t beat you – but they won’t play with you either.

      I want to be clear – my free choices on how to handle any particular situation is Black Flag’s morality – maybe GG would do something else – but Free society would determine its own social standards and social enforcement free of violence.

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:


        That post I clearly understand.

        However, as far as the ideas not being property thing:

        It is logical -to me anyway- to say that the reason I do not copy your book (or program, or music), put my own name on it, and then sell it as if it were my own is because that would be stealing from you, and by my definition, you cannot steal something that is not property. That simply makes sense to me and does not violate the “KISS!” principal (Keep It Simple, Stupid!).

        So, at least for now, I guess we are going to have to disagree on whether ideas can be said to be property or not.

        • Black Flag says:

          Peter, then you better define “property” a lot better than you have.

          My definition is based on ‘real’ – ‘physical’ and ‘economic’.

          To be ‘property’ it must be scarce and is diminishable when shared.

          “Air”, which is physical, is not property because it is not diminishable nor is it scarce.

          “Scuba tank air”, IS property, it is physical BUT is diminishable and it is scarce!

          An “idea’, which is not physical (ie: abstract) is not diminishable nor is it scarce.

          • PeterB in Indianapolis says:


            An idea may not be diminishable but it certainly is scarce, it didn’t exist until you came up with it.

            Someone else COULD have come up with it, but they did not.

            So, before you came up with your specific idea, it was so scarce that it did not even exist.

            Also, demonstrably, it is economic. Without the idea to write a book, I would write no book.

            The book itself (physical) is the economic product of the idea. The two are inextricably linked.

      • Black Flag says:


        Peter, there is more than one concept or definition of ‘your’ then what you are trying to infer .

        (2) : of or relating to one or oneself

        It is distinguishing between objects – not necessarily defining ownership!
        (1) of..
        (2) polite forms of address – “My lord”

        “Mine” pron
        1. something or someone belonging to or associated with me

        I have heard it said that “your name is your most valuable asset” I happen to agree with that, but can I be said to own my name? My name is just words. If I do not own my name, it cannot be said to be an asset, because it is not property.

        If everyone in the world was named “Peter”, would the name Peter wear out?
        Be destroyed?
        Exhausted out of supply?
        Then the name “Peter” is not your property – it is an abstraction – a ‘label’ that merely identifies you.

        You are not a name ‘Peter’ – you are a human being with a label of “Peter”
        (Recall painting of a smoking pipe, with the caption – “This is not a pipe”)

        The “your name is your most valuable asset” actually refers to your character which you do own.

        There is, exactly one, Peter “that is you with your character”. It is diminishable and it is scarce. It is property, and you own it. Be careful what you do with it, because – there is only one.

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:


          How can character be said to be property – it is not physical, it is an abstract concept. You can define my character by my words, actions, and ideas, but my character is a physical manifestation which could be said to be any more “real” or “physical” than an idea.

          • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

            Peter was trying to type at the speed of thought again 🙂

            What I was trying to say is that character does not meet your definition of physical and economic, just as “idea” does not meet your definition of phsical and economic, so how is it possible to own “character”?

          • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

            Also, you defined property as scarce and diminishable when shared.

            My character may be scarce (unique) but my sharing of my character does not automatically diminish it, therefore it does not meet your definition of property that way either.

            I am not even sure that I can “diminish” my own character. I can change it from “good” to “bad”, but does that mean my “character” diminishes? Or does that mean it has simply changed?

  6. The other interesting thread was Madoff.

    The difference here comes down to a wonderful distinction that was made by Lysander Spooner in the 19th century.

    He was careful to explain the difference between a vice and a crime.

    A crime involves aggressive force or threat of aggressive force against another person or privately owned property.

    A vice, however, is a much larger category of behaviors that don’t involve invasion of person or property.

    Vices can involve lying, being nasty to others, eating like a pig in public, abusing oneself with drugs or liquor, failing to shower and thereby stinking to high heaven, swearing in public, betraying benefactors, rumor mongering, displaying ingratitude, not keeping commitments, being a shopaholic, being a greedy miser, failing to do what you say you are going to do, making up stories about other people, taking credit for things you didn’t do, failing to give credit where it is due, and other things along these lines.

    In a free society, vice is controlled through decentralized social enforcement of social, ethical, and religious norms.

    The great problem of statism is that it turns vices into crimes, and then when the law is repealed, people forget that there are, after all, certain social norms that nonetheless need to be upheld and will be upheld once society is managing itself rather than being managed by the state.

    And in the absence of the state’s violence, we – as free people- will become ever more vigilant in managing our vices. You still have to be a nice person who acts with a sense of fairness, equanimity, and justice, as conventionally understood. If you don’t, the state will not crack your skull, but you will lose something profoundly important – the voluntary exchange of the fruits of labor of free man in action for your benefit.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      If you have the reputation of being dishonest, people are going to spread it around and no one is going to want to have business dealings with you, yes?

      Unless you work for a government-sponsored (and now partially government-owned) mega-bank. In that case your dishonesty and shading dealings will be heartily rewarded, because the intervention of the government has thrown normal societal control mechanisms completely out of whack.

    • v. Holland says:

      “conventionally understood” I wonder if that even exist anymore?

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      “In a free society, vice is controlled through decentralized social enforcement of social, ethical, and religious norms.”


      Just so Mathius, GG, Ray, Chris, and others don’t jump to any wild conclusions here, please differentiate the above statement from a “social contract”.

      • No need. I’m in the cave now, remember. I see that, of course, there exists no such thing as a social contract unless I explicitly consent to one. There is a town somewhere that I read about* which found an interesting way to combat prostitution. What they are doing is taking their names and mugshots and putting them on a website in order to shame the women (and the Johns as well), rather than simply punishing them with fines/jail time. As a result, the prostitution rates in this town plummeted.

        Now, I guess the question is: would such an approach work in all cases of vice? What of people who simply do not care if they are “shamed”?

        But, because I am deep, deep in the cave, I will ask this question: Who are you to tell me what a vice is? Who are you to judge me? By what moral authority do you claim this right?

        *As always, if you need me to, I will attempt to dig up the article, but I’m too lazy to do it unless someone actually asks for it.

        • *Don’t trust him! He’s lying in wait for you in your own cave!*

          • Richmond Spitfire says:

            Mat’the’us is becoming a wise Ninja!

            Hi Rara!


            Best Regards,

          • Black Flag says:

            My musket is always locked and loaded, trusted sword at my side.

            But he is certainly acting friendly lately, …. maybe a doppelganger? 😉

            • Hey BF

              Was wondering, what happened to you article yesterday? Was looking forward to reading it.

              • Black Flag says:

                Coming…. got sidetracked on the Copyright thing – it was a good hot topic that raised a 400 year illusion on a ‘good’ monopoly and stirred ideas.

                But the article is coming

              • Glad to hear that BF.

          • Rara Avis,

            A rare bird, indeed, this English and Latin speaking avian.

            Do not meddle in the affairs of Mathius, for they he is subtle and quick to anger.

            BF, there is no need for your musket or sword, you can trust me. I come in peace 🙂

            • Black Flag says:

              Let it be Peace then! And we will share a pint or two with cheer…

              …I’ll still have the musket and the sword beside me, – and a watchful eye upon thee!

              • Oh ye of little faith..

                Can’t you see that I’ve truly seen the light and joined you in your cave?


              • Black Flag says:

                Oh, I have great faith, hope and charity (which is why the beer is flowing)…

                …but just to let you know…

                I carry my musket and sword when I drink with JAC, Peter, USWep and the gang too….

                (well, except for Judy – I leave the weapons at home …)

              • OMG, Looks like I walked into a movie here. You guys sure you haven’t already had those beers?

              • Or, should I say CHEERS.

              • I’m still at work and rounding the corner on hour number 12.. I could sorely use a beer right about now..

              • Black Flag says:

                It’s gotta be 5PM somewhere in the world – so don’t be shy – the pitcher is always full!

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          If you were deep enough in the cave, you would have no need to ask the question, “Who are you to tell me what a vice is? Who are you to judge me? By what moral authority do you claim this right?”

          We all make judgements about other people all of the time. We all have the right to do so. We all have the moral authority to do so. HOWEVER, I do not have the moral authority to use coercion or violence against you simply because you are participating in an activity which I judge to be a vice. Here is how that applies to your specific example:

          By shaming the prostitutes (and the Johns) there is no violence being performed against them, yet the “business” is plummeting.

          Back when they were using coercion and violence in an attempt to stop prostitution, business DID NOT PLUMMET.

          Which method worked better?

          Now, the other question we must ask, is does prostitution really constitute a vice? That is a different debate entirely, and one which you can answer for yourself.

          • Oh, but are not those publishing the photos actually using coersive force against their targets?

            Do not those who organize boycotts and threaten companies with the same, also use coersive force against their targets?

            Coersion and violence or is it coersion or violence?

            • Black Flag says:

              The intimidation of a victim to compel the individual to do some act against his or her will by the use of physical force or threats.

              The use of ‘and’ is fine by me.

            • PeterB in Indianapolis says:


              If publishing the photos has the intent of shaming the prostitutes and John’s but does not threaten them with physical harm, does that constitute coercion?

              If a company is doing something which is an imposition on you and others, and you decide not to patronize that company, and further you decide to tell others not to patronize that company, does that constitute coercion?

              • Yes, it is “coersion” in my book.

                The boycott issue has a variation in my mind.

                I can decided not to do business. I can tell my friends and others of my experience.

                But when it moves to an “organized” and orchestrated effort and the use of that effort to “threaten” is an escalation I think we need to address.

                What has brought this to the forfront is the current attempt to destroy Glenn Beck’s TV show, by threatening advertisers.
                Because he expressed his opinion that Mr. Obama is a racist outside groups, clearly aligned with Mr. Obama, went after the advertisers. The big boys are dropping like flies.

                That in turn reminded me of all the “shakedowns” Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow Coalition have pulled over the years.

                I differ from BF in the “violence” definition in that I consider “coersion” not just “physical violence” as the threshold of harm.

                Perhaps the answer to this dilemna is someone growing a spine. Its about time companies started telling some of these groups to go to hell. It is possible that the influence of govt behind the scenes has increased the power of these threats beyond what it normally would be.

                Anyway, I think we need to explore this concept a little more. Is there any need to set up protection mechanisms against abuse of the “boycott” action?

                Then if so, can we do that without using govt to enforce it?

              • A business operating in its best interests is not coercion.

                If the news media is beholden to government dollars (as they are) then the government calls the tune – I cannot see this as coercion (except it has government in it – so it must be 🙂 – however, the example here is not necessarily GOVERNMENT coercion – you can replace government with me, and the same result would occur)

              • It’s a ‘no’ in my book.

                The John can ignore the web page and continue to act in the manner he has in the past – there are no consequences physically upon him to do otherwise (nor should there be)

  7. *Don’t trust him! He’s lying in wait for you in your own cave!*

  8. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    Just thought that people would find this article interesting 🙂

  9. Black Flag says:

    Microsoft pushes for single global patent system

    Mercantilism strikes again.

    • As I said yesterday. Those things now being considered a patentable property are getting outside the realm of reason, in my view.

      An obvious attempt to capture revenue from all technology remotely related to its “patent”.

      Even if govt were not involved we would see this move to establish some “global authority” would we not?

      Of course without govt to enforce who the hell cares?

      Thus was my comment about need for reform. The question is whether reform is possible or whether, as you propose, it should be scrapped altogether.

      If patents had to rest with individual real people I wonder if we would see a return to independant research and invention instead of corporate sponsored R&D? Then the individuals could sell/license their invention to whomever they chose.


      • I cannot say with certainty, of course.

        However, I know this (axiomatically).

        Government uses force to enforce patents – a monopoly. Any action of government is evil.

        I could spend time to show that ‘things’ that are patentable – requiring violence of government – cause consequences that are evil …. but I know you know I would show that.

        We either believe free men make the best collective decisions or we do not.

  10. What BF said

    Oh, I have great faith, hope and charity (which is why the beer is flowing)…

    …but just to let you know…

    I carry my musket and sword when I drink with JAC, Peter, USWep and the gang too….

    (well, except for Judy – I leave the weapons at home

    I don’t understand what you mean by that BF. Could/would you please explain.

    Thank you

    • It is in fact the ultimate compliment Judy. He does not fear that you will take up arms against him. He completely trusts in your big heart and kind nature.

      Perhaps I shouldn’t put words in his mouth but he is not the only one here who can see these things.

      The best to you this evening.

      • Thank you JAC. I was just wondering what he meant. I appreciate all the kinds words from people here, it really means a lot to me.

        You have a good night too JAC

        Take Care


        • I would never, ever take up arms against BF, for I would trust him with my life. I would never, ever take up arms against any friend, and I feel that you all here are my friends. Just wanted to say that to let all know how I feel.


      • JAC, of course, the very wise soul – and understands Perfectly my intent and meaning.

        Kindest regards!

  11. Alert in Michigan says:

    Has anyone seen this video? It is an interview with Russian professor suggesting the US is going to dissolve into 6 parts next year… Interesting, per the discussions here on the role of government.

  12. PeterB in Indianapolis

    BF, An idea may not be diminishable but it certainly is scarce, it didn’t exist until you came up with it.

    Because an idea did not exist does not make it economically ‘scarce’ – it makes it nonexistent.

    Fire breathing dragaons are not economically scarce because they do not exist.

    Your idea is not scarce – everyone can have it. Your idea does not diminish when everyone has it – you still have the idea.

    Being first to marketis valuable – it means you can be first to market with the manifestation of your idea – but note: the manifestation of your idea – that is merely an idea is economically worthless unless acted upon.

    Economics is the science of human action – not human idea.

    Thought always precede action – true; but it is the action that makes economics. You can think all day and do nothing, and you will end with ….


    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      BF, you love to say, “Think for a day and do nothing and you will have nothing.”

      PeterB loves to day “Take action for a day without thinking and you will obtain the same result.”

      • Black Flag says:


        Thoughts always precede action – so I’m not sure how you will have nothing at the end – you may what you don’t want – but that is still something.

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:


          I suppose that would highly depend on what action you took for the day without thinking 🙂

  13. Peter

    BF, How can character be said to be property – it is not physical, it is an abstract concept.

    It is physical – it is called “you”!

    There is only one you – and your character is a real part what people see when they look at you and make judgments about you

    You can define my character by my words, actions, and ideas, but my character is a physical manifestation which could be said to be any more “real” or “physical” than an idea

    Do the tests, Peter.

    Can your character be diminished – sure can – you can ‘lose’ your character and watch what happens to your life – it will diminish as well!

    Is your character scarce – sure is – exactly one character called “Peter”

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      Ah, so you are defining character as my physical being.

      Are you arguing that my character (my morals, values, thoughts) are inseperable from my physical being? If so, do I not own those as well?

      If I am known to lie, cheat, and steal, I can be said to be a “bad character”, but this does not directly diminish my physical self, it would merely diminish people’s opinion of my “character” and their willingness to interact with me.

      If I became unsuccessful in lying, cheating, and stealing then it might have a detrimental effect on my phsical self, but I may be a highly successful crook and live quite well.

      So, if you are defining character as something PHYSICAL, you can not claim that my physical, I would submit that my actions are determined by my thoughts, my morals, and my values, and hence, I own these things.

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        Rats… typing to fast again…

        “So, if you are defining character as something PHYSICAL, I would submit that my actions are determined by my thoughts, my morals, and my values, and hence, I own these things.”

        is how that was supposed to read.

        My thoughts, my morals, and my values might align with yours, but that does not mean that they are yours, nor are they the same as yours (although the might be NEARLY identical). My thoughts, morals and values are UNIQUE TO ME, and I would argue that they are therefore inseperable from my physical being.

  14. And, PS:

    Peter, I have no problem with you believing character is not property – this is a societal enforcement opportunity.

    You can ignore character or accept it – and society will make judgments and make non-violent determinations on you based on that judgment.

  15. PeterB in Indianapolis says:


    Just as a side note, I want to thank you for the on-going conversation we are having on “intellectual property”. This is a very difficult issue for me (as it is for a lot of people probably).

    You are being very patient, probably because you understand that I am perceiving what appear to be contradictions in some of the things you have said, and by continuing the conversation and making points and asking questions I am trying to find out if I am seeing contradictions where there really are none, or if there really are some contradictions that we both need to examine.

    As you know, I am not trying to play “gotcha” with you 🙂

    I want to understand “intellectual property” (or intellectual “non-property” much better than I currently do. It is possible that I am seeing contradictions because I have put them there through improper definitions or assumptions, but it may be possible that you might also need to refine your position a bit to eliminate any contradiction you uncover through this process.

    Since you have gone through the process of eliminating contradictions a lot more thoroughly than I have, it is likely me who is inserting the contradictions (although not definitely :)), so I really appreciate you continuing on with the conversation even though it might be a bit frustrating.

  16. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    An interesting way to think about the “my wife” discussion.

    BF, you have stated that when you say “my wife” you are not indicating posession, merely affixing and identifying label.

    However, when you say “my wife”, what you are concurrently implying is that she is “not anyone else’s wife”.

    I know that at least in our society, you aren’t supposed to buy, sell, or trade wives- or husbands for that matter, (irrespective of the propensity of so-called “swingers” to engage in temporary trades :)), but in many earlier societies, marriages were arranged in order to make friends with an old enemy, or cement a trade relationship, or other socio-economic reasons.

    So, I submit that when you say “my wife” or when your wife says “my husband” their is an indication of ownership involved. When my wife tells another woman, “that is my husband” part of what she is saying is that I am “off of the market”.

    Just more stuff to think about 🙂

    • Try applying this to “my mom” or “my dad” and your argument breaks down…

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:


        Very good point! That helps a lot. Sometimes it just takes a simple example to help clarify something which I am over-complicating 🙂

  17. PeterB in Indianapolis says:


    In closing for the day, I am going to lay out the precise place where I find contradiction:

    You claim that someone should be given credit for an idea which they originated, yet you claim that idea is not property. I see this as contradictory. If the idea is not the property of the one who originated it, then logically, there can be no credit due.

    In order for you to even be aware of my idea, yes, I must take action. I must force air past my vocal chords in such a way that it makes sound waves which represent my idea, or I must take a writing instrument and write words on a page which represent my idea, or I must use my fingers to type words which represent my idea, or I must paint a picture that represents my idea, etc.

    The sound waves, the writing on a page (or on a blog), the painting, are all physical manifestations. This I agree with as well. However, without my idea, these physical manifestations would not exist. So, my premise is, that yes, you must take actions to produce physical things, and yes thought preceeds these things, but without the thought, it is impossible for action to produce anything of value, so there must be inherent value in the thought, because it was a necessary precursor to the action which produced something physical.

    So, I submit to you, if a thought is mine, an action is mine, and the result is a product, be that product sound waves or a written page, and the end product can be said to be “property”, then the necessary steps that went into the production of that end product (thought and action) cannot be logically separated from “property”.

    That is precisely where I see the contradiction.

    Enjoy the weekend 🙂

  18. Peter

    Reviewing the arguments, I like to highlight an issue about the way you are making your arguments.

    We have three particulars A (idea) B(character) C(book)

    “A” is abstract and “C” is physical whereas “B” appear to be transitional – has arguable components of “A” and of “C”.

    You are arguing such that A and C are dependent on the decision we make about B (is it or not “property”).

    If A and C are dependent,
    If “B” is property, you claim “A” must be property.

    If “B” is not property, then “C” is not property.

    A, B, and C are all independent

    “A” is abstract and “C” is real. Whether or not “B” is abstract or real will not change “A” or “C”

    So if we come to the point that “B” is property, “A” is is still abstract and not property.

    If we come to the point that “B” is not property, “C” is still real and property.

    With this in mind, do you want to rephrase your position?

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:


      I am still thinking about this one. I find it a very interesting issue which I will probably carry over to open mic this week. So far I am still stuck at the fact that without the thought or the action, you never get the end product, so I am not sure if they can be said to be independent. I am going to do some reading on the subject and hopefully find articles from several differing points of view for myself to evaluate.

      Here is an interesting question for you though, and I would like to see why you answer it in the way that you answer it:

      A man comes up with an idea for a new toy. He hires designers to come up with a finished design concept for the toy. He pays other people to have a factory built where the toys will be made. He then pays workers to produce the toys.

      The man never actually produces a single toy directly through his own labor (although he did of course pay someone else to design the toy, he paid to have the factory built, and he paid the workers to produce the toys). For simplicity, we will assume that he had the financial means to do all of this on his own.

      Once the finished toys are produced, who owns them, and why?

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      Also, here is the way I personally think of the equation:

      Thought x Action = Product or A x B = C

      If you put in a zero for A (no thought) or a zero for B (no action) you get a value for C of zero (no product).

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