Moving on for those of us who support freedom

Scott Wilson's picture
Submitted by Scott Wilson on Tue, 2011-11-29 15:49

My thoughts below.

http://libertyscott.blogspot.c...

It's time to talk, it's time to be forthright, but also to listen and to be honest and open about what works and what does not, bearing in mind that two approaches to selling less government in New Zealand have so far failed.

ACT tried blending a more free market approach to economics with being neutral on personal issues, and chasing populist causes, and eventually populist politicians. It had funding, but also had internal differences that saw the inevitable contradictions come out in a campaign that bizarrely saw Don Brash - a consistent small government free market liberal, campaigning for John Banks - an inconsistent ex. Muldoonist, social conservative, fiscal incontinent. Sometimes ACT was about "perk busting", sometimes it was about law and order, sometimes it was about tax, but it faced a hostile media, keen to paint it as a party of wealthy businessmen out to get a tax cut, seen as seeking self interest through using the state. It help feed the leftwing media caricature of what it wanted ACT to appear like.

Libertarianz maintained a pure honest approach of supporting policies to get the state down to its core as quickly as possible, but was seen by many who encountered it as a fringe extreme group that would have no hope in hell of getting anywhere, if it was seen at all, as for much of its recent life it has had modest budgets, and party vote figures around double its membership. Some may respect it, but it was seen as a wasted vote, and with results (barring 1999) of less than 0.1% of the vote, who can blame people for thinking that?

So I'm agreeing with Linz that there needs to be a new start, I don't know what the end outcome should be, but it needs first of all to be clear as to its objectives and principles, and to determine what success looks like, what has worked well, and what failure looks like, and what does not work. The time has come to apply the principles we largely agree on, and to let the policy detail be almost an afterthought, as long as the messages are clear - a party of less government, more freedom and real practical options to do things differently (less state spending, intervention and control).

The ACT brand is tainted, I think permanently. Whatever new name is used, will need to be strong, consistent and be able to respond to the inevitable "ACT Mk 2" or "rich party" or "businessmens' party" labels the media will throw at it. It cannot be afraid to talk about drugs, but also cannot be afraid to embrace Christians or anyone who embraces its principles and values. It mustn't be distracted by policy minutiae, but should at least be seen as consistent. Then it might engage the core vote, the National voters who are disappointed, young voters looking for a political "home" and those who willing to take on the hard left on principle as well as policy.


Michael

Richard Goode's picture

Yes, Goode, you do significant differ from those definitions. Even basic dictionary definitions differ from your own novel definition of copyright in that you excluded exactly what is prohibited from being copied.

My definition does not exclude original literary, musical, artistic, etc. works. My definition merely omits to mention what things and kinds of thing are subject to copyright. So, what things and kinds of thing are subject to copyright? It's a good question. My definition of copyright is a work in progress. Here it is so far.

A copyright is the (exclusive) right to copy ... [yet to be specified things]

Let's compare my definition with a couple of yours. Here's your definition of property.

Property is the product of one's effort over which one exercises exclusive possession, use, and disposition.

And here's your corollary definition of property rights. (Please make sure to correct me if you think I misrepresent your views.)

A property right is an exclusive right to exercise possession, use, or disposition over the product of one's effort.

So, what things and kinds of thing are subject to copyright? As a first attempt to answer that question, I'll bring my definition of copyright into line with your definition of property rights, like so.

A copyright is an exclusive right to copy the product of one's effort.

Now, you ask, does my definition include any product of one's effort. Yes, it does.

Spot the Difference

Michael Moeller's picture

Yes, Goode, you do significant differ from those definitions. Even basic dictionary definitions differ from your own novel definition of copyright in that you excluded exactly what is prohibited from being copied. See, eg.:

Dictionary.com: Copyright is "the exclusive right to produce copies and to control an original literary, musical, or artistic work...
Merriam-Webster: Copyright is "the exclusive legal right to reproduce, publish, sell, or distribute the matter and form of something (as a literary, musical, or artistic work)"
etc.

Your definition excluded literary, musical, artistic, etc works. And that is what my questions were aimed at when I asked what is protected under copyright.

(1) Does your definition include anything that can be copied, such as what one had for lunch? If not, what separates those things that fall under your definition of copyright vs. those that cannot be copied and do not fall under your definition of copyright?

Ok, I get that you were using my definition in an argument against me. I also now get that you apparently do not fully accept the scarcity definition. However, this still brings us full circle to my original question and the one in which I most want answered.

(2) For those things that fall under your definition of copyright and you state deserve legal protection, on what basis do assert their legal protection if not under property (i.e. what in the nature of those things make them deserving of legal protection)? Again, I am trying to figure out why you do not go the whole with anarchists and declare them unworthy of legal protection vis-a-vis property rights.

Michael

No Difference

Michael Moeller's picture

I changed the wording to make it clearer, as you were warping what I was saying. In both instances, the object (i.e. "the product of one's effort") is the same, and the actions confining the terms over which the object is property (i.e. "exclusive possession, use, and disposition") is the same.

Michael

Ahem

Ross Elliot's picture

The Judge is not questioning the *validity* of the constitution, he's questioning the *ursurpation* of it.

Michael

Richard Goode's picture

What I find interesting is that Goode uses a Lockean justification for the marijuana being his property, to wit: "I grew it. It's the fruit of my labour. It's the exemplification of hard-won, self-acquired, self-earned property!". I agree, and it fits my definition to the extent he maintains possession/use.

I used the example of the marijuana ("Let's take an example. Suppose I grow some marijuana. ...") as a counterexample to your definition of property as you originally worded it. ("Property is the exclusive possession, use, and disposition of the product of one's effort.") A counterexample is an exception to a proposed general rule.

I chose the particular example of the marijuana because no one, not even Marx, denies that it is my property. I used a Lockean justification for the marijuana being my property, not because I favour such a justification, but because you do.

But it is interesting that Goode uses this justification, because he is contradicting himself as he earlier rejected this justification:

In fact, you've already hinted that you subscribe to the Lockean theory of property whereby property rights are natural rights which arise as a result of "mixing it up" with nature. It goes without saying that I'm in favour of the alternative view that "only when items are relatively scarce with respect to people's desires do they become property."

But here, Goode rejected the Lockean notion in favor of the anarchist scarcity notion.

I misspoke.

I do not subscribe to the view that "only when items are relatively scarce with respect to people's desires do they become property." What I meant to say was that I favour it over the Lockean view, not that I'm in favour of it.

Alternate wordings

Richard Goode's picture

... Goode ... has ... provided us with an excellent example of mental disintegration. Consider his definition of copyright:

"A copyright is the (exclusive) right to copy."

Besides probably being the only person on earth using this definition ...

Dictionary.com: Copyright is "the exclusive right to make copies ..."
Merriam-Webster: Copyright is "the exclusive legal right to reproduce ..."
TheFreeDictionary: Copyright is "the legal right granted to an author, composer, playwright, publisher, or distributor to exclusive publication ..."
Wikipedia: Copyright ... "Generally, it is “the right to copy” ..."

Difference the spot

Richard Goode's picture

Property is the exclusive possession, use, and disposition which one exercises over the product of one's effort. [Michael's original definition.]

Property is the product of one's effort over which one exercises exclusive possession, use, and disposition. [Michael's "alternate wording".]

Definitions and Mental Disintegration

Michael Moeller's picture

I am glad Goode provided Rand's writings on definitions, as he has also provided us with an excellent example of mental disintegration. Consider his definition of copyright:

"A copyright is the (exclusive) right to copy."

Besides probably being the only person on earth using this definition, it begs the question of what one has the right to copy. Goode gives no answer, even though he was asked. He simply hangs it out there as a floating abstraction.

Plenty of things can be copied, from writings to what one had for lunch to the color of paint on your house. Goode offers no differentia for which existents fall under the concept.

Does that mean Goode thinks all of these things are subject to the right to copy? I really would like to hear Goode's answer on this, as he is the only one I've ever heard of define copyright in this way.

And this gets a question I have asked at least a half dozen times and Goode wistfully evades. If not property, on what is this right based? Goode has glommed onto the anarchist definition of property, which anarchists use to reject the notion of copyright.

So, Goode, why do you not go the whole way with the anarchists? If not property, what is your justification for the legal protection of copyrights? I've asked quite a few times, and I am extremely interested in your answer -- perhaps more than any of the other questions you've evaded thus far.

Michael

Try Again, Goode

Michael Moeller's picture

If only we could get Goode to answer questions with the same fervor that he distorts, he might actually get somewhere. Yes, Goode, the definition must include the nature of items, and what distinguishes (i.e. the differentia) property from non-property is the actions one takes in regards to the items. What makes the marijuana itself property is not that it exists (and some property does not exist until creation), but that it is the product of one's effort AND one has exercised possession/use until the point of disposition. As Rand stated, the right to property is the right to an action, not an object. The object only assumes the status of property in the context of certain actions. If Goode his going to use Rand, he should have gone to straight to her discussion of property, but I guess that doesn't suit his distortions.

If Goode would have answered my questions -- which he seems congentially incapable of -- re the wild growing marijuana and his subsequent possession and sale of it, he would see that the marijuana is only property to that extent. If he abandoned the land growing his marijuana, for instance, the marijuana would no longer be his property, even though he initially assumed rights because it was the "product of his effort".

To exclusively possess, use, and dispose is to exclusively, possess, use, and dispose of something, and that something is the product of one's effort. Goode is simply slicing out the last part, and claiming that I am saying that marijuana is not property. It is, but only when when one exercises dominion and control over the object. Another alternate wording would be: Property is the product of one's effort over which one exercises exclusive possession, use, and disposition.

What I find interesting is that Goode uses a Lockean justification for the marijuana being his property, to wit: "I grew it. It's the fruit of my labour. It's the exemplification of hard-won, self-acquired, self-earned property!". I agree, and it fits my definition to the extent he maintains possession/use.

But it is interesting that Goode uses this justification, because he is contradicting himself as he earlier rejected this justification:

In fact, you've already hinted that you subscribe to the Lockean theory of property whereby property rights are natural rights which arise as a result of "mixing it up" with nature. It goes without saying that I'm in favour of the alternative view that "only when items are relatively scarce with respect to people's desires do they become property."

But here, Goode rejected the Lockean notion in favor of the anarchist scarcity notion. If marijuana was wildly abundant, despite Goode's effort in growing the marijuana, it would not qualify as property under this definition. Notice the problem with the definition: it focuses the object, not the actions with respect to the object. It says nothing about the initial creation or the actions one can take with respect to the item. Goode and the anarchists would say the goods are here -- somehow -- now let's find the best way to "allocate" them.

That is, Goode will accept this definition when arguing against intellectual property, then turn around and adopt the Lockean notion when it suits his argument, as it did for his marijuana growing. No wonder Goode does not want to argue over the definition of property -- it would expose his contradictions and/or lack of knowledge.

In using the scarcity definition, anarchists usually focus soley on exclusivity, which has some extremely immoral implications, including outright expropriation. I'll have more to say on this later when I dissect their concept of property.

Michael

Definitions

Richard Goode's picture

A definition is a statement that identifies the nature of the units subsumed under a concept. An objective definition, valid for all men, is one that designates the essential distinguishing characteristic(s) and genus of the existents subsumed under a given concept. The purpose of a definition is to distinguish a concept from all other concepts and thus to keep its units differentiated from all other existents. (A unit is an existent regarded as a separate member of a group of two or more similar members.) A definition must identify the nature of the units, i.e., the essential characteristics without which the units would not be the kind of existents they are. For instance, in the definition of table (“An item of furniture, consisting of a flat, level surface and supports, intended to support other, smaller objects”), the specified shape is the differentia, which distinguishes tables from the other entities belonging to the same genus: furniture.

The purpose of a definition of property is to distinguish property from non-property. A definition of property must identify the nature of items of property, i.e., the essential characteristics without which the items would not be property. Consider the following definition.

Property is the exclusive possession, use, and disposition of the product of one's effort.

The aforementioned marijuana is, ex hypothesi, my property. I grew it. It's the fruit of my labour. It's the exemplification of hard-won, self-acquired, self-earned property!

The marijuana is the product of my effort. But is it my property? I have exclusive possession, use, and disposition of the marijuana. According to Moeller's definition, the exclusive possession, use, and disposition is property. But what of the marijuana? Is it the exclusive possession, use, and disposition of itself? No, according to Moeller's definition, the marijuana is not my property.

Definitions are the guardians of rationality, the first line of defense against the chaos of mental disintegration, such as we see manifest in Moeller's emissions.

Whether or not Atlas Shrugged (qua idea of original authorship) is Rand's property is hotly contended. Obviously, in the context of the ongoing discussion between statists and anarchists intellectual property is a borderline case. Statist definitions of property will identify it as property, anarchist definitions will identify it as non-property. I indicated earlier that I wished to avoid arguing over which definition of property is correct. But Moeller's definition does not merely come into conflict with competing definitions at the margins. It fails to identify paradigmatic examples of property as property!

Try Again, Goode

Michael Moeller's picture

Say that you come upon some wild growing marijuana. Is the marijuana your property yet, Goode? What would you have to do make it your property?

Next, you take possession, then you decide to sell the marijuana. Is the marijuana still your property?

What gave the marijuana the status of 'property' -- the fact that marijuana itself exists, or your actions towards the marijuana?

No, Goode, my definition does NOT state that the marijuana is not your property, you wrongly inferred that. What my definition states is that the marijuana is property only when you take certain actions towards it. You see, Goode, it is not just the object itself, but your actions with respect to the object that give it the status of "property", which is why they are included in the definition.

Given that, can you see why the anarchist definition of property you glommed onto immediately falls apart upon first possession?

Michael

And ...

Richard Goode's picture

... for a moment there, words failed me.

Property is the exclusive possession, use, and disposition of the product of one's effort.

Let's take an example. Suppose I grow some marijuana. Whose marijuana is it? It's mine, because I grew it. It's the product of my effort. It's my property, isn't it? Not according to your definition! According to your definition, the marijuana itself - the product of my effort - is not my property. No, my property is the exclusive possession, use, and disposition of the marijuana, according to you.

Third time lucky?

Yes

Michael Moeller's picture

And...???

Say what you mean, and mean what you say

Richard Goode's picture

Yes, I meant: "Property is the exclusive possession, use, and disposition of the product of one's effort".

Would you agree, then, with this definition of the right to property?

The right to property is the right to exclusive possession, use, and disposition of the product of one's effort.

Goode

Michael Moeller's picture

Yes, I meant: "Property is the exclusive possession, use, and disposition of the product of one's effort".

Michael

Richard Goode's picture

The link to your definition of copyright is not working.

That being the case, it's better not to reply to my comment so that it remains editable by me, allowing me to fix the broken link. Anyway, I meant to link here.

Thank you for providing a definition of property.

The right to property is the exclusive possession, use, and disposition of the product of one's effort.

Don't you mean this?

Property is the exclusive possession, use, and disposition of the product of one's effort.

Or, perhaps, this?

The right to property is the right to exclusive possession, use, and disposition of the product of one's effort.

Goode

Michael Moeller's picture

The link to your definition of copyright is not working. Is it simply the link to the definition in the Copyright Statute I provided before ? If so, then I am happy to proceed with that definition. Notice, then, that copyright is an original work of authorship (i.e. an expression of ideas) in a fixed tangible medium, so let's proceed on that basis.

"I think it's time you gave a definition of property. You said you'd be happy to."

Sure. The right to property is the exclusive possession, use, and disposition of the product of one's effort. Rand's intellectual effort gives rise to her ability to possess, use, and dispose of Atlas. I'll explain more later on the difference with your definition, but first let's examine your definition:

"It goes without saying that I'm in favour of the alternative view that 'only when items are relatively scarce with respect to people's desires do they become property.'"

Please explain why copyright is not property under this definition.

Secondly, since you are using a definition common to anarchists, why do you not go the whole way with them and declare copyright invalid? On what grounds do you give copyright legal protection if not property rights, and at the same differentiating yourself from the anarchists by saying it should be a legally protected?

Michael

Michael

Richard Goode's picture

You haven't been paying attention.

you have not provided the slightest attempt at defining copyright. I do not think you have any idea of what copyright is ... Maybe if you defined your terms instead of relying on pictures, you would get somewhere.

Goode, we cannot debate copyright if you do not have a definition. Please, give me a definition, and then explain why this is not property. Or go with the legal definition I gave, and explain why that does not qualify as property.

Again, please define copyright, which I think will clear things right up.

I provided a slight attempt at defining copyright here.

A copyright is the (exclusive) right to copy.

I think it's time you gave a definition of property. You said you'd be happy to.

I'll be happy to define property for you and explain why copyrights are property, but that is completely irrelevant to the discussion right now. My definition of property is irrelevant right now because you are saying that copyright is not property, i.e. property is not at issue.

On the contrary, the discussion turns on your definition of property, and mine. People use the word 'property' to mean different things, and people have different intuitions about the meaning of the word 'property'. We needn't endlessly debate which definition is 'correct'.

In fact, you've already hinted that you subscribe to the Lockean theory of property whereby property rights are natural rights which arise as a result of "mixing it up" with nature. It goes without saying that I'm in favour of the alternative view that "only when items are relatively scarce with respect to people's desires do they become property."

We can agree, I think, that Atlas Shrugged is the fruit of Rand's intellectual labour, and that your possession of a copy of Atlas Shrugged does not exclude me from also having possession of a copy of Atlas Shrugged.

Atlas Shrugged

Richard Goode's picture

Rand is the creator of Atlas. Does it not bother you that somebody could copy and distribute her work ... ?

It bothers me a great deal that people copy and distribute her work.

Oh Jesus, Richard

Michael Moeller's picture

Can't you tell the difference between the physical copy of a book and the expression of the ideas contained therein?!?! Now I see that you are plainly confusing the two. The guy in the picture owns the physical copy of the book, which is personal property and freely alienable. He can sell the book, loan it, give it away as a gift, etc. Rand is the copyright holder, the guy in the picture is the owner of the physical copy of the book, duh!

What he cannot do, under copyright, is copy and distribute the expression of the ideas contained in the book because those are owned by Rand. She was the creator and property attaches upon her creation just as it does with the creation of personal property, or the securing of real property. Thus, she controls the exclusive right to how the expression of ideas are used and disposed of, which, in this case, she licensed to the publisher for the distribution of her ideas.

Obviously, if somebody copies the expression of her ideas and distributes them, the infringer is impeding the right of Rand to reap the rewards of her labor. Why on earth, Goode, would Rand publish her writings if somebody could just come along and copy and distribute them without her consent? What do you think would happen to the market for books if this were possible?

You want to avoid using the word property, and stick to the term copyright. Ok, but you have not provided the slightest attempt at defining copyright. I do not think you have any idea of what copyright is, when one considers your last picture of a guy holding a physical copy of Atlas, and then your statement that I consider him a "copyright holder". Maybe if you defined your terms instead of relying on pictures, you would get somewhere.

Goode, we cannot debate copyright if you do not have a definition. Please, give me a definition, and then explain why this is not property. Or go with the legal definition I gave, and explain why that does not qualify as property.

Again, please define copyright, which I think will clear things right up.

"Copying is not possible. You cannot obtain the products of a mind except on the owner's terms, by trade and by volitional consent."

What in Galt's name are you talking about?!? Of course one can copy by using a copying machine, scanning and printing, re-typing, through digital media, etc. Consider the guy carrying the book above. Rand has granted the publication rights of her story to the publisher via license, which permits the publisher to sell copies of her story. The guy carrying the book can buy a physical copy of the book through trade. His property is the physical copy of the book. Rand has not consented to him copying and distributing the book, she has not given up her rights of publication. The license to the publisher would be meaningless if that were true, and no publisher would buy a license from Rand if that were true.

If somebody could just copy and distribute on their own without Rand's consent, she would obviously lose the exclusive rights of publication. How is that in any way on the "owner's terms" and "by volitional consent"? Who would publish under such circumstances, except those who don't mind having their work ripped off?

Goode, Rand is the creator of Atlas. Does it not bother you that somebody could copy and distribute her work, thus destroying her ability to profit from her own creation? Well, you did say copyright is valid, but copyright is not property. If you want to defend such a notion, then you have to define copyright and tell us on what grounds it should be legally protected, if not property.

Michael

Copying is not possible

Richard Goode's picture

You cannot obtain the products of a mind except on the owner's terms, by trade and by volitional consent.

If a tree falls in the forest, and no one hears it ...

Richard Goode's picture

... does it make a sound?

Eliezer Yudkowsky and Luke Muehlhauser discuss this question at Less Wrong.

If a tree falls in the forest, and no one hears it, does it make a sound? If by 'sound' you mean 'acoustic vibrations in the air', the answer is 'Yes.' But if by 'sound' you mean an auditory experience in the brain, the answer is 'No.'

We might call this straightforward solution pluralistic sound reductionism. If people use the word 'sound' to mean different things, and people have different intuitions about the meaning of the word 'sound', then we needn't endlessly debate which definition is 'correct'. We can be pluralists about the meanings of 'sound'.

To facilitate communication, we can taboo and reduce: we can replace the symbol with the substance and talk about facts and anticipations, not definitions. We can avoid using the word 'sound' and instead talk about 'acoustic vibrations' or 'auditory brain experiences.'

Likewise, I suggest we avoid using the word 'property' from now on. We can debate the notion of copyright well enough without it.

Michael

Richard Goode's picture

Copyright is the expression of an idea of original authorship afixed in a tangible medium

Pictured above is someone holding an "expression of an idea of original authorship afixed in a tangible medium.", viz., a copy of Atlas Shrugged.

I see a man holding a copy of Atlas Shrugged. You see a copyright holder. Check your premises.

Goode

Michael Moeller's picture

Yes, we are not on the same page. Copyright covers more than just books/writings. It also covers such things as movies, songs, etc. Therefore, I provided you with a broad statutory definition that encompasses books. Included herein is Sect. 102 of the Copyright Statute:

Copyright protection subsists, in accordance with this title [17 USCS Sects. 101 et seq.], in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.

In summary, your assertion that copyright is not property is invalid. Copyright is a species of property, and the Framers and natural rights theorists acknowledged it as such based on the Lockean labor theory of value where the labor is intellectual in nature. The courts of 19th century America acknowledged it as property, hence the adoption of real property concepts, like "title", and applied those concepts to intellectual property.

The main difference from real property -- and the one you are resting your case of IP as non-property on -- is that IP can have multiple possessors (i.e. copies can be made). However, as I just explained to you, possession is one aspect of property. You are ignoring other aspects of the right to property, including the right to use/enjoy property and the right to dispose of property. When one copies and distributes the writings of another, one is infringing those exclusive rights of the property owner, which is a form of theft. In short, by copying and distributing the author's work, you are infringing the author's ability to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

First, Goode, if you want to make a case, you first need to explain why property rights are not assumed during the author's act of creation (eg. Ayn Rand writing Atlas Shrugged), just as property rights are assumed in the act of creating real property (eg. I put unclaimed land to productive use) via the Lockean labor theory of value.

Secondly, unlike anarchists, you stipulated that copying should be prohibited by law. The traditional basis for rejecting copying is because the original work of authorship is property, and copying violates those aspects of property I just named above. You reject the notion of copyrights as property. Therefore, you need to find some basis from legally prohibiting copying. You have not. You have just asserted it without any sort of justification. You are in desperate need of an argument.

Michael

Michael

Richard Goode's picture

Copyright is the expression of an idea of original authorship afixed in a tangible medium

Pictured above is a particular "expression of an idea of original authorship afixed in a tangible medium."

I see a book. You see a copyright. Are we even on the same page?

Goode

Michael Moeller's picture

Piracy, in that context, is referring to original pirates. Difficult to grasp, I realize. I know you are trying to be clever, but your response is really dumb. Piracy, in terms of copyright, is simply synonymous with theft.

Piracy, like trespass, are property crimes, which is why the courts used that terminology. You disagree, but have yet to state on what basis you would prohibit copying of original works of authorship. Are you ever going to at least try and justify your stance? Or are you, as you accused others of doing, just going to continue to assert your position without any sort of justification?

Is your little diagram meant to be your justification? Well, to save us all from you repeatedly posting it, let me just debunk that little sketch of yours.

Have you have heard the saying that "possession is 9/10ths of the law"? That refers to real property, and I would not characterize it as 9/10ths -- even for real property. In any event, the point remains the same, there is more to property than just possession. Your diagram focuses exclusively on possession, and that is where you run into big problems with IP.

Real property is physically exclusive. You cannot have multiple people physically possessing the same watch, for instance. There is only one watch. In contrast, multiple people can possess the expression of an idea. That is, the same idea can be copied (eg. multiple copies of the same expression idea in a book.)

Since it can be copied, is it therefore not property? No. Your problem is that you are only thinking of property in terms of possession. Unfortunately for you, Goode, there are other aspects of property, including the right of use and enjoyment, as well as the right of disposal.

For instance, if somebody dumps sewage on your lawn, they are not in physically possession, but they are infringing your right to property because they are interfering with your exclusive right to use and enjoy your property. If somebody sells your watch, they are no longer in possession, but they have converted and disposed of your property without your consent. Thus, they have violated your right to disposal in the sale of the watch (not just the initial taking). Converting property by infringing the right to use/enjoy or to dispose of is a form of theft, as those are exclusive rights of the owner to which he has not consented.

Yes, IP can have multiple possessors (per your diagram) because it is intangible, which distinguishes it from real property. However, possession is not the sum total of property rights, it also includes the right to use/enjoy, and the right to dispose thereof. When somebody copies and distributes the expression of an idea, they are infringing the author's exclusive right to use and dispose of that property.

In short, your little diagram does not take account of all the aspects of the right to property as named above, thus your failure to recognize copyright as property and theft of intellectual property rights via copying and distributing (i.e. the exclusive right to use and dispose of).

Michael

Michael

Richard Goode's picture

Piracy IS theft. The common definition of piracy is robbery and criminal violence committed on the high seas.

You are right.

Copying is not theft. It's not piracy, either.

BTW

Michael Moeller's picture

Piracy IS theft. The common definition of piracy is robbery and criminal violence committed on the high seas. Indeed, in the 19th century American courts, they referred to patent infringement as trespass and piracy, thus invoking property crimes.

The language in 19th century American courts -- not to mention theorists from the 18th century -- is replete with real property language applied to intellectual property. Just as one perfects a title to real property, the courts referred to a patent as "perfecting title" in the discovery. Theorists like Blackstone justified it as "a species of property" on the Lockean labor theory of value -- where the labor, in this instance, is intellectual labor, and that one should be entitled to the fruits of that labor just as one is with real property. (For a good analysis of patents/copyrights as property under American jurisprudence, see this article by Adam Mossoff.)

My point being that when you refer to copyright as not being a property right, you are not in alignment with Framers of the Constitutional provision who DID primarily see it as a property right, and which justification continued in the courts through the 19th century.

Michael

Goode

Michael Moeller's picture

"Can you give me a specific example of that?"

Copying and distributing Atlas Shrugged is theft. Copyright is the expression of an idea of original authorship afixed in a tangible medium -- from which the author is granted the exclusive rights of publication and sale. In contrast with real property (eg. land), the expression of an idea can easily be copied and redistributed, thus undermining the author's exclusive right. In other words, the copying is theft of that particular expression of an idea.

But you claim copyright is not property, which is the whole basis for protection under the law. If copyright is not property, then under what theory do you deem it legally impermissible to copy an author's works? For instance, facts are public domain and not subject to copyright because nobody owns facts of nature -- facts simply are. Thus, if somebody reports a fact in a newpaper article, you are free to copy that fact without legal liability.

And this brings me back to my question. Copying of all sorts is legally permissible, but not when it comes to original works of authorship. If copying is not based on the fundamental right to property, on what grounds do you prohibit copying of original works of authorship?

Michael

Mark

Richard Goode's picture

Correct me if I'm wrong, but your argument is this.

(P1) Copying is theft.
(P2) Theft is bad.
Therefore, (C) Copying is bad.

This is a valid argument. In other words, if the premises are true, then the conclusion must also be true. The conclusion follows from the premises.

Anarchists think copying is fun. They reject your conclusion. But, since your argument is valid, they must reject one of your premises. So they deny that copying is theft.

The anarchists are right. Copying is not theft. So you need a better argument. Let's be having one.

Michael

Richard Goode's picture

You can steal one's copyright

Can you give me a specific example of that?

Uh, Goode

Michael Moeller's picture

You can steal one's copyright -- that's the whole point of not being able to reproduce the story of Atlas Shrugged without Rand's consent. Again, why would you need Rand's consent to copy Atlas if she does not own the property? There would be no rights violation, thus it would be unworthy of legal protection. You are simply asserting that copyright is a right without justifying why it is a right deemed worthy of legal protection. Without justification, your statement is mere intrincisim.

The law does not prohibit copying things that one does not own. You can copy names and addresses out of a phonebook and not be liable for copyright. You can copy facts out of a newspaper and not be liable for copyright because facts are not copyrightable. You can copy the way somebody dresses, what they had for lunch, and a zillion other things and not be legally liable because there is no property interest in those things and/or their is no violation of a right.

So why would you grant a special exemption for inventions, writings, and trademarks? Merely stating that those things fall under the province of copyright is a non-answer -- a non-justification. As I just stated, you are permitted to copy a multitude of things and are not legally liable. So, what justifies copying being impermissible for writings, inventions, and trademarks, if not property?

Michael

Richard

Brant Gaede's picture

Only with interest.

--Brant

Mark

Richard Goode's picture

If I stole your thunder, would you call the police?

Brant

Richard Goode's picture

If I took your advice, would you want it back?

?

Brant Gaede's picture

So there is no theft if I rob someone and spend his money because the police can't recover it?

--Brant
legally murder is not theft, only morally

Brant

Richard Goode's picture

Murder is theft of life.

Murder is not theft. Police cannot recover the stolen goods. You can’t own a second life that fell of the back of a truck. Kidnap is more akin to theft than is murder. Murder is more akin to willful damage than it is to theft.

Copying is not theft.

Murder

Brant Gaede's picture

Murder is theft of life.

--Brant
human life, just in case a dolt is reading this

Russell

Richard Goode's picture

So wouldn't that make piracy the theft of the exclusive right to copy? that is: theft?

No.

Piracy is the violation of the exclusive right to copy. That is: violation.

Copyright is not an unalienable right. Nonetheless, you can't steal someone's copyright.

(Nice to see you on SOLO.)

Theft

Wattie's picture

So wouldn't that make piracy the theft of the exclusive right to copy? that is: theft?

Michael

Richard Goode's picture

if, as you state, copyrights are not property rights, then what kind of right? If not the right to property, then what is copyright the right to, exactly?

A copyright is the (exclusive) right to copy.

Piracy

Mark

Richard Goode's picture

I've fought the copyright battle so many times against the anarchists, especially Kinsella, on Mises.org ... Obviously copyright is a property right, and all the poppycock they concoct to the reverse are just justifications of theft.

The anarchists do not seek to justify theft. They seek to justify copying without the creator's permission. I seek to justify neither. I'm just pointing out that copying isn't theft. Copying isn't theft, but that doesn't mean that copying is okay.

Theft is a particular species of wrongdoing. There are others. Murder, for example, is wrong, but murder isn't theft. It's murder. Likewise, copying isn't theft. It's copying. Arguably, copying is wrong. But you won't convince me of that by insisting that copying is wrong in virtue of the fact that copying is theft, because it isn't.

Obviously copyright is a property right

It's not obvious at all.

(Aside)

Mark Hubbard's picture

Great to see a lawyer's mind on this Michael. I've fought the copyright battle so many times against the anarchists, especially Kinsella, on Mises.org, I'm sick of going around in circles over it. Obviously copyright is a property right, and all the poppycock they concoct to the reverse are just justifications of theft. Carry on ...

Goode

Michael Moeller's picture

"I have no idea what you think property is. How do you define property?"

You are doing exactly what you accuse Mark and others of doing -- asserting without any argument. I'll be happy to define property for you and explain why copyrights are property, but that is completely irrelevant to the discussion right now. My definition of property is irrelevant right now because you are saying that copyright is not property, i.e. property is not at issue. (Besides my philosophical studies and my legal education in real property and IP, I am also an IP lawyer and engage in business transactions involving real property. I think it is fair to say I have some credence on the subject of intellectual and real property.)

YOU stated that copyrights are not property, but made no attempt to define copyright is, or what kind of right it is. So before we get derailed on debating theories of property, if, as you state, copyrights are not property rights, then what kind of right? If not the right to property, then what is copyright the right to, exactly?

Here is the Constitutional provision (Art. I, Sect. 8 ) :

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

When the Framers say that authors and inventors have "exclusive Right" to their writings and discoveries, what type of right do you think they are talking about, if not a property right?

Michael

Michael

Richard Goode's picture

I have no idea what you think copyright is. How do you define copyright and why is it not property?

I have no idea what you think property is. How do you define property?

No, Goode

Michael Moeller's picture

Copyright is a form of intellectual property. It has the same legal status and protection as real property, such as exclusive use.

I have no idea what you think copyright is. How do you define copyright and why is it not property?

Michael

Michael

Richard Goode's picture

Rand has no property right in her own artistic creation?!? Interesting.

Rand has copyright in her own artistic creation.

Copyright is not a property right, Michael, it's a copyright.

If not based on property rights, on what basis would you prohibit somebody else from copying and distributing Atlas?

On the basis of copyright.

Goode

Michael Moeller's picture

Goode: "Atlas Shrugged is not Rand's property. That isn't to say that Rand's ideas expressed in the form of an artistic creation—the story of Atlas Shrugged—can be copied and distributed without her consent."

Rand has no property right in her own artistic creation?!? Interesting.

In that case, why would somebody need her consent in order to copy and distribute her work? If not based on property rights, on what basis would you prohibit somebody else from copying and distributing Atlas?

Michael

Michael

Richard Goode's picture

"That isn't"...what? I do not understand your answer. Can you be more explicit?

Atlas Shrugged is not Rand's property. That isn't to say that Rand's ideas expressed in the form of an artistic creation—the story of Atlas Shrugged—can be copied and distributed without her consent.

Goode

Michael Moeller's picture

"That isn't"...what? I do not understand your answer. Can you be more explicit? In other words, is the artistic expression that is Atlas Shrugged Rand's property?

Michael

Michael

Richard Goode's picture

Do you believe, Goode, that Atlas Shrugged is not Rand's property? ... That is, Rand's ideas expressed in the form of an artistic creation -- the story of Atlas Shrugged -- can be copied and distributed without her consent?

That isn't.

copyright

Brant Gaede's picture

Copyright denotes a property right. A patent does also. The proper role of government respecting these is another matter and a philosophical issue in something of the same category of corporations in that as constituted I cannot match up corporations' essential fascistic nature with Objectivist, human-rights' philosophy. Considering the state of the world I waste little time thinking about copyrights and patents and only a little more about corporations. The first two I can mentally accept and live with, but the last represents too much crony capitalism.

--Brant

Oh Brother

Michael Moeller's picture

Goode: "Copyright is not a property right, Mark, it's a copyright."

Do you believe, Goode, that Atlas Shrugged is not Rand's property? No, I am not talking about a hardcopy of the book, but the story itself. That is, Rand's ideas expressed in the form of an artistic creation -- the story of Atlas Shrugged -- can be copied and distributed without her consent? If so, do tell why one can do so and why the story of Atlas Shrugged is not Rand's property.

Michael

Huh?

Ross Elliot's picture

"Copyright is not a property right, Mark, it's a copyright."

So the copy is not property?

Herding rats

Richard Goode's picture

Copyright is a valid property right, Richard

Copyright is not a property right, Mark, it's a copyright.

but I'm not debating that topic on this thread

You're not debating your views, just stating them. Eye

What do you honestly think of Tammett's alliance idea?

I think it's a great article and a great idea, but ...

This new alliance is focused on achieving a limited and tangible objective: confronting the biggest ‘emergency’ of our current era by drastically reducing government expenditure.

... He that is without non-Alliance policies among you, let him first make a spending cut. (Too cryptic? Click here.)

Exactly

Ross Elliot's picture

"Reed, could you see yourself in an 'alliance' that was solely pushing cutting government expenditure."

You want a party that promotes smaller government, period? Fine, but if you want a party that is more than an amalgam of disaffected ACT/National voters with a pragmatic Libz thrown in for good measure, then you won't get one.

The salient feature of leftist coalitions is that they have always kept their eyes on the ball. For decades, their modus operandi has been one step back, two steps forward. Witness their triumph.

Sick Boy No Goode

gregster's picture

I suspect some photo trickery was involved there. I certainly have not heard that rights for the unborn had been extended to iPods. This foetus doesn't appear to know how to use the device - thinking it to be a nipple. That would denote instinctive behaviour and thereby exposes your fraud.

Richard and Scott

Mark Hubbard's picture

Copyright is a valid property right, Richard, but I'm not debating that topic on this thread Smiling

What do you honestly think of Tammett's alliance idea?

Scott: I see on another blog, can't remember which, you are mooting that conservatives probably wouldn't be part of such an alliance: I agree in principle, though in an alliance that was only about limiting State spend it would be possible for a while, though not NZ Conservatives until they drop their no assets sale policy. ... Anyway, when you said that were you referring to Conservatism, or to Craig's Conservatives?

Pass the popcorn

Richard Goode's picture

Someone who thinks that abortion is murder arguing with someone who thinks that copying is theft.

Mark - you will never be part of a liberty movement proper. Evil

Reed - perhaps you could be part of some sort of alliance? Innocent

To get the seniors on your side...

Marcus's picture

...is a cinch.

You just have to get Linz to write a speech about how the youth of today are all brain-dead and have a horrendous taste in music, poor grammar and can't enunciate their vowels for toffee.

"Bring back the cane," could be the slogan of NZIP Eye

Agree LS

James Jenkins's picture

If the principles are in place early, are clear,consistent and unequivocal then interested people will "self screen" themselves either in...or out....nothing else required.

Let's leave abortion alone

Scott Wilson's picture

I don't believe it is a touchstone issue, except that those who are at both extremes of the spectrum of this don't deserve to be in a party of freedom.

Those who think abortion is murder, always, and should be prohibited (let alone those who think killing abortionists is "self defence of the "baby"", are absurd. The collection of multiplying cells arising from a fertilised egg cannot and should not have legally protected status. Even when it gets late into the pregnancy and it is between the woman and the embryo/foetus, an abortion to save her life wins everytime.

Those who think abortion at any time, funded by taxpayers, is a right, are also absurd. The taxpayer funded argument I don't need to enter into here, but my view is that the priority view of any freedom oriented movement on abortion should be to remove taxpayer funding of it. People who find it abortion morally repugnant have every right to not have their money spent on it, regardless of your view of their reasoning. Secondly, it becomes clear that once one enters the last trimester, the foetus has a brain, has perception, and most critically can be viable outside the womb (although it isn't preferable). In that case, a whim to abort a few weeks out from giving birth is, when birth could be induced of the baby, and it could survive, is murder. I don't take the radical feminist view that a foetus which you have created yourself, which you have allowed to proceed through term, is a parasite until it pops out the body, as it is not alien to the host, it is a product of the host.

Now where you draw the line is where reasonable people can disagree, and furthermore, I think there is no political traction in pursuing this issue.

Euthanasia I think is easier, but then we can add others. Drug use is the most obvious one. Attitudes to free speech, anti-discrimination laws applied to the private sector, the list of individual, as opposed to economic, freedom issues is quite long.

A party may not have a view on some of them (abortion for starters, euthanasia perhaps, although I'd strongly argue that it should push this), but I don't think you can screen out people based on any one or two of them. Yet I do think if someone seeks to join a freedom/liberal/whatever party, and is pushing for banning abortion, taxpayer funded abortion on demand, stepping up the war on drugs, stepping up censorship laws or supporting tougher laws against offending people etc, that such a person might be gently advised that none of that will be supported.

I am strongly of the view that while people may want to throw about a few policies issues, that principles and strategy need agreement first. Once you have the principles and direction right (and it shouldn't be that hard), then strategy needs to be focused on.

Oh snap

James Jenkins's picture

.....thanks for making my point for me. Eye

Mr Leighton Smith - You May Very Much Appreciate This

Sandi's picture

Marcus. I Love NZIP!! New Zealand Independent Party.

As Judge Napolitano questions the validity of the US constitution, isn't it about time New Zealanders were given the opportunity to adopt their own? That is of course, with the permission of its creator, Mr Lindsay Perigo.

 

You may think so Reed, but I don't

Sandi's picture

I'll make up my own mind thank you very much and you have no right to coerce or regulate me otherwise. If you have the desire to force regulation upon your metaphysical belief, then you must align yourself with a political party that will.

Snap. Reed shows why

Mark Hubbard's picture

Snap. Reed shows why Christians/Conservatives will never be part of a liberty movement proper, or the free society once won, but perhaps part of some sort of alliance as per my link to Mark Tammett below.

Reed, could you see yourself in an 'alliance' that was solely pushing cutting government expenditure.

James Abortion is murder.

reed's picture

James
Abortion is murder. What is freedom without justice?

The testing point for 'new

James Jenkins's picture

The testing point for 'new recruits" to the cause will,I think, be tolerance for others having the rights to have an abortion....and voluntary euthanasia.

These two points,out of everything will sort the conservative/authoritarian chaff from the libertarian/liberal wheat.

Check out the threads on Kiwiblog that develop when these two topics are discussed...

I think, for me, this is something I could live with.

Mark Hubbard's picture

An interesting article on NotPC from Christchurch's Mark Tammett: an alliance of parties dedicated to reducing government expenditure, without having to surrender principles within each party (probably also workable for those parties like ACT with no principles anymore):

http://pc.blogspot.com/2011/12...

Well worth a read. As stated, my thinking at the moment is this is a concrete proposal that I reckon I could live with.

Scott

Mark Hubbard's picture

I'm confused on a couple of points. Do you think this new party could encompass conservatism? And separate question: do you think this new liberty party could encompass Colin Craig's (nonsense) Conservative Party? (Because the latter has so many contradictions, vis a vis conservatism, I see no place for them).

I guess I'm also asking what did kill ACT? (Yes, it certainly took it's eye off the classical liberal ball by playing politics, but John Banks conservatism finally killed it, so how can you have that in a new liberty party? The thing about - to repeat my debate with Damien on another thread - God Botherers, is that they just can't help bothering you with God - and God doesn't fit into a liberty party that centres on rights of the individual, unmediated.) ... I admit I don't quite know myself where I'm taking myself with this argument.

Obviously...

Ross Elliot's picture

...a name ain't important at this point.

What's needed is a forum, an online forum where principles can be agreed upon.

You need hard submissions, and a voting mechanism. After certain principles are subscribed to by vote, you need people to subscribe to those principles and then to go forward from there.

If voting for principles sounds too much like democracy then people need to get real: if a community of interested parties can't organise themselves by a voting mechanism, then you might as well just form a party and petition for supporters.

I'm loathe to say this, but it needs to be organic. If beginnings are most important, then things need to be agreed. Sure, you can state broad ideas, but subscribers must agree and then throw in.

How about...

Marcus's picture

the NZ Independence Party?

NZIP.

What you've got to do is convince seniors that you are on their side.

As NZF has shown that is always worth six or seven seats in Parliament Smiling

Personally I'm liking

James Jenkins's picture

Personally I'm liking "Liberty New Zealand" as a name.....but as you say there's a lot more important stuff to do first. I am inspired by the sense of coming together and reconciliatory spirit I'm seeing from freedom lovers all across the board since ACT's death on Saturday via the Banks error. The shared acceptance that something new and vibrant for freedom in NZ is so vital and exciting....lets make it happen.

I coudn't care less about a name

Scott Wilson's picture

for now.

Whether it be freedom or liberal or whatever, that's something that can debated once principles and values are agreed. That means avoiding getting into the minutiae of policy details at this point, and focusing on the direction and the strategy.

It has to be clear on principles, clear on direction, find half a dozen or so (some say 3, some say 5, some say 10 - I couldn't care less at this stage) key policies and messages, which is how Winston and the Greens got traction. Make the party about principles and vision, make the campaign when it gets closer to the election JUST about those issues. Any other issues can be directed to a website with policies on it, but focus on the big issues. There are quite a few candidates for these, but until we get the principles and values agreed, they wont be well developed.

It does mean real debates need to be had about how to - Gramsci like - promote the principles and ideas that we hold dear.

It also means recognising that there is room for a thinktank/lobby group that can be all encompassing and more radical, whilst the party becomes the political expression of those principles with policies that can be sold with a three year horizon, to the general public.

It also means talking about what works and what does not work, and for people to work with good will to go forward. What doesn't work, shouldn't be repeated, and we shouldn't be afraid of looking at what others have done, to see how one can succeed.

The touchstone for it all must be to get momentum in the direction of more freedom and less government.

If you want a name...

Ross Elliot's picture

...the Liberal Party** is the best. I like it because it hijacks the hijack that progressives have been doing for the past 50 years.

I agree that any new party needs to focus on a few key principles and hammer them to death. Say it loud and say it often: liberal economically and liberal socially. It's a one-two hit that a lot of people already subscribe to. But this idea of a grand coalition of "center-right" ideologies is flawed: try that and the clusterfuck that is/was ACT will seem like a dainty Anglican picnic by comparison.

National didn't win this election because of any electoral desire for more freedom, it won because of John Key's everyman persona, Phil Goff's fecklessness and a desire for stability in the face of prevailing conditions. In short, it was a vote for conservatism.

Politics is necessarily reactionary, and change only comes about when conditions force a reaction. It should be noted that as our civilisation has declined, the swings have become greater and more frequent. Unless National defies our predictions and does a Roger Douglas in the next three years, we will have a massive swing back to the left, in the same way that America went all-in for Obama (albeit sans the charisma), and with the same results.

The only reference point NZ has for a true reactionary party is The New Zealand Party in 1984 when Bob Jones destroyed the National vote and put Labour into power. But that was an FPP election, and that made all the difference: once the vote was split, Labour was a shoe-in. Sure, you could argue that if MMP had been around then that we would have had a NZP-National coalition, but it's hard to see that that would have redeemed NZ to a greater degree than Roger Douglas did, in fact we would have had a middling solution and been much the poorer for it.

The point here is that in 1984 there was such a strong reaction to the direction of National that a reactionary party was able to influence the future of the country. If that same situation obtains in 2014, as it likely will, then a modern-day NZP won't result in a better direction, but a swing to the left courtesy of MMP, resulting in a pitiful denouement.

2017-2020 with a more liberal-influenced National? Perhaps. And perhaps it'll take that long for a truly liberal party to gain traction.

**note that NZ appears to already have a Liberal Party, but it also appears that it's defunct.

Mark...

Marcus's picture

"Some seem to think freedom = fascism: why? I have no idea."

That's because somehow the idea was introduced and accepted post second world war that the NAZI's (and all fascist parties) were:

Right-wing

Pro-capitalism

Scientific and rational

Racist

All these five categories have been linked together. For some reason that view has been pushed by the left-wing groups, including some jews, that should have known better.

Therefore if you are seen as being scientific, rational and pro-capitalism - you will automatically be associated with racist, far-right and NAZI.

Of course we know that the NAZIs were socialists of the left who were just as much against liberty, freedom and captitalism as the politically correct who rule over us today.

Deborah,

AGW = anthropogenic global warming.

ETS = emissions trading scheme

Damascus

Damien Grant's picture

I agree if he was on route to Damascus he should have seen the light by now. Maybe he got there and decided he liked the contemporary model.

Liquidators are like Vampires. Yes we drain the blood from the living but we can only enter your premises if invited, so I think you are safe.

Damien ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I should say there's as much chance of Banks working out well as there is of my becoming a heavy metal fan.

Welcome to SOLO btw. I hope you're not here to liquidate us. Eye

We take five minutes, enjoy

Mark Hubbard's picture

We take five minutes, enjoy Christmas, and see how John Banks works out.

For me, because of John Banks 27 year record in parliament, I know exactly how he works out, already: a bigoted conservative who believes in the might of the State on the fundamental issues that determine freedom of the individual, or slave of the State.

I will enjoy Christmas, though, regardless.

How about

Damien Grant's picture

We take five minutes, enjoy Christmas, and see how John Banks works out.

To quote The Right Honourable James Hacker MP

"I am their leader. I must follow them."

You never know. Phil Goff swapped from being a disciple of Roger Douglas and negotiating a free-trade deal with China into a fine No-Asset-Sale socialist.

Anyway, I cannot quit the party as I am not a member.

I would say 'The Freedom

Mark Hubbard's picture

I would say 'The Freedom Party' would describe its underlying principles as well as anything. Problem is the word 'freedom' truly scares about 50% of the population, and another 49% have no clue what it means. Some seem to think freedom = fascism: why? I have no idea (although the guy on The Standard who believes capitalism works by force because his body forces him to eat, ergo buy food from capitalists, starts to give me a small inkling).

Perhaps Deborah's 'Prosperity and Joy', though I don't think that sums up limited government, laissez faire, etc, as well as Freedom does, albeit they are the end result. Actually, perhaps I do like that ...

Tantalising ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... to contemplate what might have been achieved with a KASS campaign for the party vote minus the distraction of Epsom and the feral conservative. Winston showed what can be done.

There are four problems with ACT:

1) The conservatives, feral or otherwise. They're in the wrong party. But since they've captured it, we may as well surrender it to them and leave them to merge it with the Conservative Party.

2) The blandifiers. The apostles of anaemia. The public relations oleaginites who are terrified of controversy and causing offence. The milksops who asked Don to excise the term "little Hitlers" from his RMA speech. Not possible to wage a KASS campaign when in thrall to them. At the beginning Don was not in thrall to them, but was then captured by them. It was not difficult for them to capture him since he's by nature a very cautious man. (Incidentally, dumping the NCEA was in my original draft of Don's education speech—it got excised.)

3) The Rodents. Rodney's lot. Team Toxic whose oxygen is intrigue. Those to whom Deborah refers when she says, "there are too many now in the rump of Act whose raison d'etre is to carry on those divisions and fights. They actually thrive on the toxicity, and that is the reason why I despair." The people I've described as "congenital connivers first, libertarians a distant and occasional second." These entities should drop out or stay with Banks. They should summon up the grace to stay away from any new liberal/libertarian party.

4) Embarrassment about their principles. When I came on board the principles were nowhere to be found. No one had a hard copy, and they'd been removed from the website. I was told by whom at the time and thought nothing of who it was. Now I think the identity of the vandal is hugely significant. Anyway, I got them restored, and milked the self-ownership one for all it was worth after that—to the excruciating discomfort of blandifiers and Rodents alike. See their determined, sullen indifference here:

Any new party, as Scott observes, must state its core principles loudly, clearly and proudly. And it should KASSly promote a manageable number of key policies derived from those principles.

Marcus

Deborah Coddington's picture

Sorry, what's AGW?

A party should always campaign on its own policies, not give oxygen to any other party's campaign, I think. Witness Winston's rise on the back of the Anti-MMP campaign, and the cuppagate non-scandal which gave him media time to his huge advantage.

So Act should just ignore the "two old parties", again, be like the Greens who say "we're not mates with anyone, we're independent", and push its own agenda.

That's why Act is now forever tarred as being "to the right of National" when in truth, it should not be there. Why, for instance, is saying that the govt has no right to rule against gay marriage or gay adoption, "to the right of National"? (I know you know the answer to that, but it's a rhetorical question.)

ACT seemed to do a good job...

Marcus's picture

...last election campaigning against AGW policies.

Once it came down to negotiating with National they seemed to lose all their conviction. And National needed them.

They should have told National straight, no to ETS, or we don't support you anymore.

When they caved in on that issue they seem to have lost the plot.

ACT

Deborah Coddington's picture

I think one of the mistakes Act made was to throw all its resources at the electorate vote, ie Epsom. For a small party, with limited resources, it's very difficult to cover both areas, party vote throughout entire country, and candidate vote in one electorate. Because once you have taken that electorate, then you have to keep it every three years. Remember how strong Act was at campaigning for the party vote throughout the country before they concentrated on Epsom? Remember how simple and clear their messages were? Dump NCEA! was one. We never heard that message this election and yet it would have resonated. Well, maybe not given what Lindsay has revealed - might have scared the horses!

I don't think it's so much that Act's membership was spread out amongst the conservatives and the liberals. The caucus was spread enough to satisfy the membership, and the caucus was never whipped to vote, so voting could satisfy the members.

Yes, alas, after that terrible "Primary" to elect a new leader after Richard stepped down, the rifts probably didn't heal properly, then they were really ripped open at the Rodney/Heather time. Whichever way you look at it, Rodney seems to be at the centre of any Act plummet. Just saying. Well, maybe the dirt-digging went back earlier than that, who can tell. There certainly were bunkers. I don't really care anymore about trying to find out. My point is, Lindsay is right, there are too many now in the rump of Act whose raison d'etre is to carry on those divisions and fights. They actually thrive on the toxicity, and that is the reason why I despair. You only have to go on to some of the blogsites to see the comments.

So I don't think it's the 'broad church' so much which is the problem. Or the media attacks. Look at the Greens - they still get snide remarks from press, but they just charge on regardless. They ran a good campaign with three simple clear messages. They certainly have a mixed bag of membership from those who detest the caucus having anything to do with National, to those who would willingly hold their noses to having their leaders be cabinet ministers in a National Govt. Act (or ersatz Act) could be like that. And Act used to sometimes vote with the Greens on some issues.

So for my tuppence worth, I think it's not worth getting bogged down on names, policies, leaders etc. As I said on Morning Report on Monday, stop fretting about finding a leader, build up a party and a leader will find you. And (I didn't say this on MR), but I find all this endless debate about the definition and/or boundaries of 'liberal' - I would just jettison the word and go for prosperity. That's what we need. Joy and prosperity.

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