Posted Oct 10, 2012 5:28 UTC (Wed) by man_ls
In reply to: Patently stupid
Parent article: The Patent, Used as a Sword (New York Times)
Yes, you are exactly right: it was a confused analogy, but at the moment (and with a rampaging viral infection) I could not come up with anything better. Instead of fireman I should have said "asking an arsonist about fires" -- firemen have a clear duty to control wildfires, while arsonists profit from fire.
But there is a better fire-related analogy in History: Crassus (of the first triumvirate with Cesar and Pompey). Whenever there was a fire in Rome he went with his firemen and offered to buy the burning property for a small amount; then they quickly put out the fire. As the fire progressed he lowered the price and he even let the fire consume the building if there was no agreement. That (and the condemnation of at least one innocent man) was the source of his vast fortune.
Asking Crassus about firefighting laws would not have been a very good idea.
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