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Villa: Pushing back against licensing and the permission culture

Villa: Pushing back against licensing and the permission culture

Posted Jan 30, 2013 21:22 UTC (Wed) by jubal (subscriber, #67202)
In reply to: Villa: Pushing back against licensing and the permission culture by tjc
Parent article: Villa: Pushing back against licensing and the permission culture

Do elaborate. You do realise that not everyone subscribes to the idea of natural law, and that Locke's is not the only one interpretation, right?


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Villa: Pushing back against licensing and the permission culture

Posted Jan 30, 2013 21:39 UTC (Wed) by nybble41 (subscriber, #55106) [Link]

It doesn't really matter whether anyone "subscribes" to the idea of natural law or not. That's kind of the point of calling it a natural law, in fact. If you can justify harming someone else, someone who didn't harm you first, then they can equally well justify harming you in the same way and to the same extent. If you can't justify the harm you've done, but still argue that you shouldn't be punished for it, then your victim can harm you in turn and make the same argument against reprisals. Put simply, what you choose to do to others, they can justify doing to you.

This is also why copyright and the like have nothing to do with any natural law: the punishment sought for copyright infringement is not proportional to the supposed offense. Copyright is fundamentally different from natural-law property rights founded on the requirements of scarcity. Fines and imprisonment are grossly disproportionate responses. The most one could claim under natural law is that there is no obligation to recognize the copyright claims of a copyright infringer, which few copyright infringers would object to.

Villa: Pushing back against licensing and the permission culture

Posted Jan 30, 2013 23:18 UTC (Wed) by tjc (guest, #137) [Link]

> Put simply, what you choose to do to others, they can justify doing to you.

You're assuming that humans have a shared sense of right and wrong.

Villa: Pushing back against licensing and the permission culture

Posted Jan 31, 2013 0:31 UTC (Thu) by nybble41 (subscriber, #55106) [Link]

>> Put simply, what you choose to do to others, they can justify doing to you.
> You're assuming that humans have a shared sense of right and wrong.

Actually, no, subjective ideas about "right" and "wrong" don't factor into it. Again, that's part of why it's a natural law. Basically, the one /being/ punished gets to choose the rules, but must apply them universally: they can't judge their own aggression by one set of rules, and the response by another.

Villa: Pushing back against licensing and the permission culture

Posted Jan 31, 2013 3:59 UTC (Thu) by tjc (guest, #137) [Link]

Whether Natural Law defines right and wrong depends on who's conception you subscribe to. Locke's conception is based on Protestant theology, which is reflected in the U.S. Declaration of Independence -- "...and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them,..."

Villa: Pushing back against licensing and the permission culture

Posted Jan 31, 2013 5:09 UTC (Thu) by jthill (subscriber, #56558) [Link]

I think of natural laws as those which either cannot be violated at all or come with built-in intolerable consequences for doing so. Many hugely successful cultures have been built without copyright.

Villa: Pushing back against licensing and the permission culture

Posted Jan 30, 2013 23:15 UTC (Wed) by tjc (guest, #137) [Link]

You do realise that not everyone subscribes to the idea of natural law, and that Locke's is not the only one interpretation, right?

There isn't anything that everyone subscribes to, except maybe trivial observations such as "the sky is blue." (And it's not, of course, but that discussion would probably be a pointless digression.)

Any philosophical argument is based on assumption. This is one of the reasons I miss Hitch — he did a superb job (well, some of the time, anyway) of arguing positions that I thought were based on assumptions that were utter rubbish.

So the question that anyone with more objectivity than hubris should ask themselves is, "what if my assumptions are wrong?"


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