This is a fascinating piece by Stuart Green, who concludes:
So what are the lessons in all this? For starters, we should stop trying to shoehorn the 21st-century problem of illegal downloading into a moral and legal regime that was developed with a pre- or mid-20th-century economy in mind. Second, we should recognize that the criminal law is least effective — and least legitimate — when it is at odds with widely held moral intuitions.
Illegal downloading is, of course, a real problem. People who work hard to produce creative works are entitled to enjoy legal protection to reap the benefits of their labors. And if others want to enjoy those creative works, it’s reasonable to make them pay for the privilege. But framing illegal downloading as a form of stealing doesn’t, and probably never will, work. We would do better to consider a range of legal concepts that fit the problem more appropriately: concepts like unauthorized use, trespass, conversion and misappropriation.
This is not merely a question of nomenclature. The label we apply to criminal acts matters crucially in terms of how we conceive of and stigmatize them. What we choose to call a given type of crime ultimately determines how it’s formulated and classified and, perhaps most important, how it will be punished. Treating different forms of property deprivation as different crimes may seem untidy, but that is the nature of criminal law.
For related work:
And concerning our civil liberties, gone:
The U.S. intelligence community will now be able to store information about Americans with no ties to terrorism for up to five years under new Obama administration guidelines.
I appreciate Joe’s courage here, but is this just another way of opposing a war Democrat president? Would he have expressed similar courage under a Republican president? Scarborough affirms that the job description in Afghanistan has changed. But it always changes. It changed in Iraq, and it will continually change because ultimately this present foreign policy topples bad guys, but the bad guys are only a means to an end.
Patrick Buchanan’s preface to A Republic, Not an Empire is filled with prophetic utterances. Buchanan writes that John Quincy Adams’s Independence Day Speech of 1821 declared that it was neither America’s duty nor its destiny to “go abroad in search of monsters to destroy.” Further, Buchanan writes that a non-interventionist foreign policy should ultimately be accepted for a fundamental reason:
“Present U.S. foreign policy, which commits America to go to war for scores of nations in regions where we have never fought before is, unsustainable. As we pile commitment upon commitment in Easter Europe, the Balkans, the Middle East, and the Persian Gulf, American power continues to contract–a sure formula for a foreign policy disaster (xiii).”
Almost 15 years later, the military industrial complex continues–at the counsel of hungry neo-conservatives–to strategize and pursue taking over various, if not identical regions to those in the 90’s with the Middle East taking a center stage in this modern warfare age. Buchanan’s prophetic words need to be heeded more than ever.