Are western politicians and diplomats warranted in their outrage at Julian Assange for his revelations on Wikileaks?

administrator's picture
Submitted by administrator on Sun, 2010-12-12 23:06
Yes, he is a terrorist and should be assassinated.
4% (1 vote)
Yes, he should be arrested for treason.
13% (3 votes)
No, don't shoot the messenger.
58% (14 votes)
No, he's a hero.
17% (4 votes)
Other, please specify
8% (2 votes)
Total votes: 24

The art of non-contradictory identification

Richard Goode's picture

And if you download a copy of my ebook without paying for it, Richard, you have stolen it.

No. If I download a copy of your ebook without paying for it, Mark, I have done you an injustice, but I haven't stolen your book.

It's funny how Objectivists, on the one hand, exalt reason as the only absolute of man qua heroic being, yet, on the other hand, damn it as some "manner of wankery".

Consider the following propositions.

(1) Copying is theft.

(2) If you steal property belonging to another person you deprive the owner of its possession.

(3) If you copy property belonging to another person you do not deprive the owner of its possession.

These three propositions are mutually contradictory. Now, as Rand herself remarked, "to arrive at a contradiction is to confess an error in one's thinking; to maintain a contradiction is to abdicate one's mind and to evict oneself from the realm of reality." So, Mark, which one of these three propositions do you deny? Or should we take you at your word that you "just know" that copying is theft?

And if you download a copy of

Mark Hubbard's picture

And if you download a copy of my ebook without paying for it, Richard, you have stolen it.

No matter what manner of wankery is employed in the arguments to the otherwise, those arguments in every single case sanction theft.

So is that what you are: an anarchist?

Copying isn't theft

Richard Goode's picture

Copying is not theft
Stealing a thing leaves one less left
Copying it makes one thing more
That's what copying's for.

Copying is not theft
If I copy yours you have it too
One for me and one for you
That's what copies can do

If I steal your bicycle
You have to take the bus
But if I just copy it
There's one for each of us!

 

Theft is the act of stealing.

(A) If you steal property belonging to another person you deprive the owner of its possession.

(B) If I copy your property (e.g., your ebook) I do not deprive you of its possession.

Therefore, (C) Copying isn't theft.

You think your argument is so

Mark Hubbard's picture

You think your argument is so powerful that it's not necessary to talk about it, pMark?

I just know that if you take a 'copy' of my ebook and upload it so that the public can download it without payment to me, then that is theft. Other than that I've had this argument so many times on mises.org that I'm bored with it.

Mark

Richard Goode's picture

Copying is not theft.

it is just a copy you have taken and I still have a copy thus no theft has occurred.

This isn't "twisted anarchistic logic". It's a simple, sound, straightforward refutation of the notion that copying is theft.

Why not just claim that copying is immoral? The only way to defend the claim that copying is theft is to redefine the word 'theft', but if you do that you run the risk that in a few decades' time some poor unfortunate is going to have to coin a new term to mean what you meant by 'theft' in order to extricate those who believe that copying is immoral from the semantic mess you got them into.

I need say nothing more.

You think your argument is so powerful that it's not necessary to talk about it, pMark?

If part of the term of

Mark Hubbard's picture

If part of the term of downloading it is that I not disseminate copies, then that's the same as a non-disclosure agreement. That's a contract, and I have no problem with that. There is nothing 'immoral' about non-disclosure agreements

Well, that's further than I got any shyster on mises.org to, so I'll give you that.

But without IP in an Internet age, you can forget a free market.

"And confirm for me please:

ChuhuaZhu's picture

"And confirm for me please: if you buy one copy from my site, that I so immorally have asked you to pay for, do you feel it would be immoral for you to upload to your site and let one million other people - it's a very good ebook after all - download if for nothing?
What if my own website states, immorally, that I do not authorise that?"
If part of the term of downloading it is that I not disseminate copies, then that's the same as a non-disclosure agreement. That's a contract, and I have no problem with that. There is nothing 'immoral' about non-disclosure agreements, what is immoral is preventing third parties who never agreed to anything with you from doing whatever in Sam Hell they please with their own property.

And my other questions, for

Mark Hubbard's picture

And my other questions, for the record:

And confirm for me please: if you buy one copy from my site, that I so immorally have asked you to pay for, do you feel it would be immoral for you to upload to your site and let one million other people - it's a very good ebook after all - download if for nothing?

What if my own website states, immorally, that I do not authorise that?

"But why can I ask for

ChuhuaZhu's picture

"But why can I ask for payment?"
Because I have to use your website to download it. You own the bandwidth and access to it. You have a right to control access to physical features of the world which you have justly acquired to working on it or trading with others. You do not have a right to a particular string of letters in the abstract.

Downloading it from your

Mark Hubbard's picture

Downloading it from your website contrary to terms I have agreed to is immoral because you have right to the website.

But why can I ask for payment? You're just taking a copy of what I wrote, I still have an electronic copy ... surely if I stipulate you must pay for this I am committing a fraud?

And confirm for me please: if you buy one copy from my site, that I so immorally have asked you to pay for, do you feel it would be immoral for you to upload to your site and let one million other people - it's a very good ebook after all - download if for nothing?

What if my own website states, immorally, that I do not authorise that?

You're just spouting nonsense

ChuhuaZhu's picture

You're just spouting nonsense and ignoring everything I said.
Downloading it from your website contrary to terms I have agreed to is immoral because you have right to the website. However, if it is somewhere else - someone else's website - who does not make the same stipulation I owe nothing to you because it is not your website. It's the same thing with books. I can buy a copy of a book you wrote or print my own without any of that money going to you. However, I obviously can't jack a copy that you (or your publisher) printed. Because you own the physical property.

You need say nothing more? You haven't said anything. You've quoted Rand, made a bunch of unbacked assertions and in no way replied to anything I said or any of the links I gave, much less the huge resources on market anarchist that exist - most of it free, online. Again, this is why I don't have anything to do with the ARI. Randroid.

Here's an ebook, right here,

Mark Hubbard's picture

Here's an ebook, right here, I wrote it. You feel no moral compunction to download it without paying because by a twisted anarchistic logic you feel it is just a copy you have taken and I still have a copy thus no theft has occurred. That's what your entire argument boils down to - the wet dream of every teenager sitting in his room surfing newsgroups for free booty. It's theft.

In this age of the Internet, an economy based on same is not possible under anarchism. Nor is my freedom, therefore.

I need say nothing more.

Actually, I had that view

ChuhuaZhu's picture

Actually, I had that view long before I knew S. Kinsella existed. Property is a right to physical objects, not abstract concepts. We'd all be paying royalties to the inventor of the wheel and being sued by Shakespeare's heirs otherwise. No one has any right to tell another man what he can do with his own property, what symbols he can paint on a page. Just because you thought of it first gives you no right to something, what gives you a right to something is actually putting your effort into it and acquiring it.

That stupid utilitarian argument for IP is not only wrong, it's irrelevant. Shakespeare had no IP protection, and he wrote for money. The idea that writers have a right to make ridiculous amounts of money through a government protected monopoly is idiotic and arbitrary.

And, I'll just quote LRH himself, FYI:

"Dianetics is not in any way covered by legislation anywhere, for no law can prevent one man sitting down and telling another man his troubles, and if anyone wants a monopoly on dianetics, be assured that he wants it for reasons which have to do not with dianetics but with profit." — L. Ron Hubbard, Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health (1950)

A monopoly on organizations of letters is no more just than a monopoly on the organization of dance moves or a monopoly on forms of business organization.

"why would you pay me for my book off my site, as of anywhere else?"
Because you either own or have legal control over the server space. The same reason I wouldn't hack into someone's web page or computer.

I don't believe in

Mark Hubbard's picture

I don't believe in 'intellectual property' if that's what you're getting at.

Yes, that theft justifying lawyer bastard Kinsella has got your mind well and truly. As you don't believe in paying for the products on another's mind, there's nothing gained by we two discussing markets, is there: in your anarchy-land there would be no markets, just a bunch of thieves looking for a gun. And if I wanted to bash my head further against the pointlessness of anarchy, I'd be on mises.org - I'm not. L Ron would be turning in his grave to hear your words - where would he have got if no one felt compelled to pay him for his books (although in another sense not buying them could be considered good taste.)

Disclaimer: I'm not a relation of Allan, or L Ron Smiling

PS: talking of contradiction, as you have accused me of: why would you pay me for my book off my site, as off anywhere else? It's not theft, right - in your philosophy of life. You'd be under no compunction to pay me no matter where my book was online. Try to be consistent. You're a thief, or not - just as you can't be 'a little bit pregnant'.

And note the alternative to a belief in intellectual property, is IP socialism: the belief that the products of my mind only exist for the utilitarian benefit of everybody else, and I cannot benefit from my own mind - now, still think an Objectivist can be an anarchist?

It's your website, so sure.

ChuhuaZhu's picture

It's your website, so sure. But if somebody else distributes it about the internet I have no obligation to pay you. I don't believe in 'intellectual property' if that's what you're getting at.

So, I put my ebook up online,

Mark Hubbard's picture

So, I put my ebook up online, and my only demand before you download it is pay me the price I ask - do you feel morally bound to pay me? (Just trying to figure out how bad your infection is).

That old song and dance is getting boring

ChuhuaZhu's picture

I've read Rand on anarchy before, and she's wrong and self-contradictory. For one, Galt's Gulch was obviously anarchistic. Every 'argument' I've heard from other Objectivists on anarchy was either just repeating her fallacious assertions or confused nonsense, which is one reason I will have nothing to do with the ARI anymore. The literature and moral arguments on market anarchism have grown so extensive that this minarchist/constitutionalist nonsense is no longer excusable, it indicates either deliberate ignorance (in which case you have no business taking any position on the subject) or cognitive dissonance and evasion.

Some replies to her muddled arguments against Anarchism, from Objectivists or philosophers dealing with Objectivist frameworks. There are many more I could go into (Rothbard, Long, Spooner) but I'll stick with the very Rand/Objectivism influenced ones for the sake of philosophical synch:

David Osterfeld: http://mises.org/journals/jls/...
Roy Childs: http://www.thornwalker.com/dit...
George H. Smith: http://folk.uio.no/thomas/po/r...
Nicholas Dykes: Part 1 http://www.libertarian.co.uk/l... Part 2 http://www.libertarian.co.uk/l... and Part 3 http://libertarianpapers.org/a...
Wollstein: http://mises.org/daily/4094
Walter Block: http://mises.org/journals/jls/...

And for a somewhat dated but Objectivist frame analysis of market anarchism
Linda and Morris Tannehill: http://libertyactivism.info/up...

No, an Objectivist is not an

Mark Hubbard's picture

No, an Objectivist is not an anarchist, or a Scientologist for that matter. Although yes, an anarchist is a follower of Rothbard.

And as we're talking about the goblin, as in 'chrissakes', a Scientologist telling me to check my premises is just stupid. Go read some Rand - especially what she thought on anarchism - then go check your own premises. You've been badly infected by the anarchists on mises.org, who disgrace the name of Mises in every anti-IP post they make: hopefully you're still young enough to recover from it.

Here, Rand on anarchism:

Anarchy, as a political concept, is a naive floating abstraction: . . . a society without an organized government would be at the mercy of the first criminal who came along and who would precipitate it into the chaos of gang warfare. But the possibility of human immorality is not the only objection to anarchy: even a society whose every member were fully rational and faultlessly moral, could not function in a state of anarchy; it is the need of objective laws and of an arbiter for honest disagreements among men that necessitates the establishment of a government.

And a further sampler here: http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexi...

... welcome to SOLO (well, sort of).

Liberty is the mother, not the daughter, of order

ChuhuaZhu's picture

"Quite apart from the inconvenient fact that Assange surrendered himself regarding a sex crime investigation,"
Which is contrived Feminazi BS pushed forward for political reasons.

"in the case of WikiLeaks he is an anarchist and thus dangerous"
Assange isn't an anarchist, but I wish he were. If you mean 'dangerous' in the sense of 'dangerous to the criminal nonsense which is the State' I agree, but it is the State which is the greatest enemy of civil order and individual liberty.

" he wants to pull the system of government down - and I have some sympathy with that on many levels - but he has nothing to replace the vacuum that would be created"
I suggest you read Linda and Morris Tannehill's 'The Market for Liberty'. The market is better at providing order, law and security than any gang of robbers with funny costumes and officious titles ever could. The government is nothing but a protection racket with a bunch of collectivist, mystical nonsense to cloak itself with. Except it's worse than a protection racket, because at least the mafia provides legitimate goods like prositution, gambling, drugs and guns.

Limited government is a fantasy. The Republic sucked. The Constitution is a worthless scrap of paper, and was designed to centralized power and immorally subvert individuals to the arbitrary monopoly of a gang of robbers.

There are two kinds of Objectivists: Anarchists and delusional. You're living in a fantasy world and basically blatantly ignoring everything we know about economics, history, sociology, social psychology and law. Good government is a contradiction in terms. You say that it is necessary to have a monopoly of coercive thugs to keep law in the hands of some centralized, unaccountable power. This is clearly evil and contrary to ethics. Check your premises, for chissake's.

Assange is an anarchist and is evil.

Mark Hubbard's picture

Guess it's about time I confessed to tinkering with my own blog ... every libertarian I suspect gravitates to his own space, plus I sometimes want to post on topics that don't necessarily relate directly to Objectivism. At this stage just a play-thing to see how Blogger works, and of course SOLO is my home.

Here's my post on Assange:

http://tribelesshispursuitofha...

Copying and pasting:

Reading the comments fields on blogs or news services wherever WikiLeaks comes up, there seems to be an idea held falsely by many that Assange is being persecuted for exercising his freedom of speech. This is certainly the case for those celebrities whom are voicing their support for him - which is further evidence why you wouldn't listen to a celebrity on anything, be it WikiLeaks or mining.

Quite apart from the inconvenient fact that Assange surrendered himself regarding a sex crime investigation, in the case of WikiLeaks he is an anarchist and thus dangerous: he wants to pull the system of government down - and I have some sympathy with that on many levels - but he has nothing to replace the vacuum that would be created, which means he wants to bring down the rule of law also: that's as quick a road to the end of liberty as the Nanny State nightmares we live in.

He also has no regard whatsoever for the physical safety of the men and women who are fighting the war on terror (no matter what you think of that war), which makes him both dangerous and evil.

In light of the latter, and going straight for the Goodwin, this is no more a freedom of speech issue than it would have been ringing the Nazis on 1 June, 1944, and telling them there's this little landing thing happening at the Normandy beaches on the 6th. Would you call that exercising freedom of speech?

Update 1: Unsurprisingly, one of the best known enemies of capitalism, and hence of an individual's freedom, is also one of Assange's biggest fans: Michael Moore offers to bail out Assange -

http://newsfeed.time.com/2010/...

Quoting Moore:

I support Julian, whom I see as a pioneer of free speech.

Of course his opinions are as badly researched as his (mock)umnentaries.

Libertarianism is not anarchism: far from it.

Julian Assange Released On Bail

Marcus's picture

"The 39-year-old appeared at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court for a fresh bail appeal, backed by a host of celebrity supporters and hundreds of protesters.

He was granted conditional bail for £240,000, thanks in large part to an address being put forward where the Australian national could reside.

Vaughn Smith, a former Army captain who founded and runs the journalist Frontline Club, offered his 600-acre country estate as a bail address as well as a financial surety.

During a previous bail application a week ago it is thought the judge was unimpressed with a PO Box address in Australia which was put forward.

Other high-profile supporters in court included film director Ken Loach, heiress Jemima Khan, activist Bianca Jagger and journalist and campaigner John Pilger, who had all offered a surety during the first bail hearing a week ago.

Crowds of protesters, some dressed in Assange masks and carrying placards, gave a cheer when news filtered out, via Twitter, that Assange had been granted bail."

Julian Assange Released On Bail

Whilst many people berate, scorn & revile the Obama Administ

Sandi's picture

(the US government), they are quick to defend disclosure of its corruption!

I vote "don't shoot the messenger"

However,

I do agree with Marcus on one key aspect which is the up shot of this entire event.
There is so much corruption in politics that I don't think anyone knows exactly what's going on at the moment.

I think Assange is great

ChuhuaZhu's picture

While Assange's personal and political philosophy seems a bit confused, I am all for Wikileaks. I loathe all governments, and especially the American Imperium. Though there is nothing surprising to me in the leaked documents (American bureaucrats are backstabbing gossipers and most governments are staffed by incompetents and gangsters) they do confirm many of the things that the anarchistic and anti-war wing have been saying for years.

I'm with H.L. Mencken on this, "the only good bureaucrat is one with a pistol at his head." It ain't a pistol, but a thumb drive is a start.

Yup, Assange is just a punk,

Sam Pierson's picture

Yup, Assange is just a punk, but he's a useful punk. There's little personal risk embarrassing western governments, so he ain't no hero. The rape charges against him are a joke though; just sour sexual grapes from feministas out for legal vengeance for their fragile egos. This should make Swedish law a laughing stock, and only raise Assange's cred. The stuff coming out shows the world's as dangerous as reasonable types have been saying it is.

I am really not clear on the facts of the case...

Marcus's picture

...but I have opted for "don't shoot the messaenger".

I actually believed Wikileaks had something to do with Wikipedia that was founded by an objectivist, but apparently not.

"...overwhelmed by a 20-something kid with a frickin' thumbdrive."

Wasn't the whistleblower an army intelligence worker who is already in prison and actually managed to sneak the information to Wikileaks from his cell?

If that's the case, it makes the US government look even more pathetic.

Glenn Beck thinks this is all a conspiracy by SOROS to bring down the US. Glenn Beck is nuts, though.

However, I don't think anyone knows exactly what's going on at the moment.

He did us a service.

Frediano's picture

When it comes to Top Secret, it is the proper function of journalists to break that which can be broken.

Because, if he could get his hands on this 'must be maintained as secret information,' then anyone could.

The government should be embarrassed by this. They maintain the world's most expensive security apparatus...sloppily. We still pay for it anyway. Not sure why.

If they need to maintain information as secret, then they need to maintain it. This is a failure of government.

Our government maintians an entirely duplicious SPRINet and NIPR networks at great public cost, and 'security' was apparently overwhelmed by a 20-something kid with a frickin' thumbdrive.

Shoddy beyond belief. If they're not going to at least hang the primary thief to discourage the next one, then pull the plug on all that nonsense and stop sending us a bill for this Cronyfest on the Potomac Gold plated cluster fuck.

Anarchist

Doug Bandler's picture

Assange is an anarchist. My guess is an anarcho-Leftist as opposed to the Rothbardian "anrcho-capitalist" variety. He did the West a favor in one way as by leaking the documents he showed what all of us here already know: that America and all Western nations are being governed by Left-liberal ideology. We have become a suicidally weak culture and we won't last long.

But, we all know this. Objectivists and the better Conservatives have known for quite some time that our foreign policy is nothing but the appeasement of savages. The more savage, the more we appease them. Assange actually has alerted the world of the suicidal nature of Left-liberalism. Its as clear as day for anyone who can see.

The really fucked up thing is that America couldn't even capture this guy on her own. It took two groupie feminist chicks to bring him down. And they did it because they were JEALOUS over the fact that he was fucking both of them!!

Women, thy name is biologically-influenced fickleness...

I've voted ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... "Other" for now. He's scum, but is he criminal scum? I'm not sure at the moment. Will have to pay it more attention.

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