23 August 2007

I'll Never Understand Libertarianism

Glenn Reynolds points us to this article at Reason Magazine on how universities should be pro-intellectual property piracy because information wants to be free. This (hopefully faux) naivete about what Universities are is grating, but I'm more puzzled by the idea of a pro-piracy libertarian. I thought that property rights are the foundation of libertarianism. Authors own their products in the most basic way possible -- they created them. I would expect libertarians to want property rights to be absolute but apparently I would be wrong.


erp said...

Academe is relentlessly leftist. They believe in collective ownership, not individual ownership, so it makes perfect sense that they extend that insanity to their intellectual property which I guess isn't worth much on the open market.

Watch them do a 180 if some brainchild becomes valuable.

b said...

I believe the only "absolute" for libertarians is "I should be able to do whatever I want" which of course is in line with libertarians overwhelmingly being young, unattached males...

Susan's Husband said...

Just couldn't resist coming back, could you?

Reason magazine isn't what it used to be (which makes me a conservative, doesn't it — everything that was golden in my youth is dross and decay now).

I think they're quite wrong on this issue. It is very libertarian to argue against intellectual property law as law, but to willfully violate that which exists is wrong, as the laws are not even remotely so onerous as to be illegitimate.

One might argue, in fact, that we should support the enforcement of such laws so as to "bring about the contradiction" leading to their repeal.

Bret said...

"I thought that property rights are the foundation of libertarianism."

Tangible property rights, sure.

My observation is that half of libertarians support IP rights, the other half don't.

Personally, I think that the IP laws and institutions in the United States are extraordinarily counterproductive and need to be changed - but probably never will be changed significantly.

Though, I guess we'll just all buy books, music, films, etc., legally from Antigua soon so the discussion may be moot.