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Kinsella on This Week in Law (TWiL) Podcast

by Stephan Kinsella on January 31, 2011 @ 11:49 pm · 2 comments

in Podcasts,Technology

This Friday (Feb. 4) I’ll be a guest on This Week in Law, part of Leo Laporte’s impressive and growing private TWiT (This Week in Tech) netcast network. I would not be surprised if we discuss IP policy or other libertarian-related issues. It’s streamed live 1pm-2pm CST, and will be podcast later.

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In my various publications and speeches about intellectual property (IP), I’ve approached it from a variety of angles. In this article, I consider the role of information and learning, and the role of property rights, in human action. I use a praxeological analysis to show that human action employs scarce resources or means, but that action is guided by non-scarce ideas and knowledge. Property rights are recognized in means because they are scarce; but ideas are not scarce things: they are infinitely reproducible.  The growing body of knowledge is a boon to mankind. Property rights are needed for scarce means so that they can be peacefully and productively used in action; property rights in ideas restrict, impair, and imped learning and the use of information to guide one’s actions. Copying information and ideas is not stealing.  Learning is not stealing.  Using information is not trespass. In this article, I urge young libertarians to stay on the vanguard of intellectual freedom, and to fight the shackles of patent and copyright.

Mises Academy: Stephan Kinsella teaches Libertarian Legal TheoryThis article is based on my speech of Nov. 6, 2010, at the 2010 Students for Liberty Texas Regional Conference, University of Texas, Austin (audio and video versions may be found here). A previous version was published today under the same title in Economic Notes No. 113 (Libertarian Alliance, 2011).

(Incidentally, my 6-week Mises Academy course “Libertarian Legal Theory: Property, Conflict, and Society” starts at the end of this month (Jan. 31-Mar. 11, 2011). I describe it in my article “Introduction to Libertarian Legal Theory,” Mises Daily (Jan. 3, 2011).)

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Afterwards, discuss it below.

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Objectivists on Positive Parental Obligations and Abortion

by Stephan Kinsella on January 14, 2011 @ 7:55 am · 0 comments

in Libertarian Theory

In my How We Come To Own Ourselves, Mises Daily (Sep. 7, 2006), I argue:

the libertarian could argue that the parent has various positive obligations to his or her children, such as the obligation to feed, shelter, educate, etc. The idea here is that libertarianism does not oppose “positive rights”; it simply insists that they be voluntarily incurred. One way to do this is by contract; another is by trespassing against someone’s property. Now, if you pass by a drowning man in a lake you have no enforceable (legal) obligation to try to rescue him; but if you push someone in a lake you have a positive obligation to try to rescue him. If you don’t you could be liable for homicide. Likewise, if your voluntary actions bring into being an infant with natural needs for shelter, food, care, it is akin to throwing someone into a lake. In both cases you create a situation where another human is in dire need of help and without which he will die. By creating this situation of need you incur an obligation to provide for those needs. And surely this set of positive obligations would encompass the obligation to manumit the child at a certain point. This last argument is, to my mind, the most attractive, but it is also probably the least likely to be accepted by most libertarians, who generally seem opposed to positive obligations, even if they are incurred as the result of one’s actions. Rothbard, for example, puts forward several objections to such an approach.

Now, I did not explicitly apply this to the case of abortion, but it should be clear that this approach could imply that parental obligations exist that obligate the parent not to abort the fetus, at least after a certain point, at least in normal, non-life-threatening, cases. (I lean toward this view: abortion is increasingly immoral, at least in the typical case, starting from the point of conception; and at some point in the second or third trimester, when the fetus has developed enough to be said to “be a person” (to have a developed brain and other organs), abortion would be infanticide, or tantamount thereto. I would still oppose state law against abortion even in the last trimester, however, partly because I oppose the state, and partly because enforcement of such a law would be inherently dangerous and invasive.)

So I found the following interesting. In a recent Noodlecast podcast, Objectivist Diana Hsieh notes some of her fellow Objectivists disagree with her on abortion. She notes, in particular, that her fellow co-blogger, the pro-IP Greg Perkins, has written Abortion Rights and Parental Obligations. In this piece, Perkins argues, similar to me, that you can assume positive, parental obligations, even “implicitly” by your actions; and that at a certain point of “viability” the fetus has personhood and rights, and may not be aborted (at least in the normal case). I disagree with some aspects and nuances of his argument, but … interesting nonetheless.

See also my post Objectivist Hate Fest, discussing the pro-abortion comments of some Objectivists who were opposed to women with Down Syndrome fetuses carrying them to term–they believe there is a moral obligation to abort–to “squelch”–an “unhealthy fetus”–and that support of these mothers is the “worship of retardation.”

See also Doris Gordon’s site, Libertarians for Life, an anti-abortion libertarian group.

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Nock and Leonard Read on “One Improved Unit” and the Power of Attraction

by Stephan Kinsella January 8, 2011

I’ve always liked the idea–which I’ve heard from Albert Jay Nock and Leonard Read–that your primary task is to improve yourself–to strive for excellence in yourself. Then you become a bright light that attracts people; they see you are good, and successful, and worth emlating or listening to–so you win people over by the power […]

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Introduction to Libertarian Legal Theory

by Stephan Kinsella January 3, 2011

From today’s Mises Blog: Introduction to Libertarian Legal Theory January 3, 2011 by Mises Daily [edit] Libertarianism is both old and new. It is rooted in ancient ideas of natural justice, fairness, peace, and cooperation. You could even say that any civilized society is already somewhat libertarian. After all, civilization requires peace and cooperation. FULL […]

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Nominations for Best Libertarian Papers Article for 2010

by Stephan Kinsella December 30, 2010

Please feel free to send me nominations for the best Libertarian Papers article from 2010 for purposes of selecting the Alford Prize winner. Information about the Prize and the 2009 winner is below. The 45 articles published in 2010 may be found here, and are also listed below. Please send nominations directly to me, at […]

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I Chose Liberty: Autobiographies of Contemporary Libertarians

by Stephan Kinsella December 30, 2010

The Mises Institute has just published I Chose Liberty: Autobiographies of Contemporary Libertarians (compiled by Walter Block; Mises Institute 2010). It contains my own entry, How I Became A Libertarian (December 18, 2002, LewRockwell.com).

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Kinsella in Italian

by Stephan Kinsella December 23, 2010

An Italian translation of my Against Intellectual Property was recently published: Contro La Proprietà Intellettuale (edited, translated, and with a preface by Roberta Modugno; Soveria Mannelli: Rubbettino Editore, Nov. 2010). Also, the Italian translation of my “What Libertarianism Is” will be included in “Parte Terza: Diritto Naturale e Teoria Politica,” of the forthcoming L’Anarcocapitalismo: Epistemologia, […]

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Wikileaks on C4SS and LewRockwell.com

by Stephan Kinsella December 16, 2010

Center for a Stateless Society (C4SS), for which I serve on the Advisory Panel, and LewRockwell.com, for which I blog, have both launched WikiLeaks mirrors. See: RELEASE: Anarchists Launch Wikileaks Mirror, Assistance Program and WiliLeaks-LRC.

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Hoppe: “Principles of Sovereignty and Modern Democracy”

by Stephan Kinsella December 14, 2010

Fantastic lecture series by Hans-Hermann Hoppe: Dr. Hoppe delivered the Keynote Address (lectio magistralis) entitled “Principles of Sovereignty and Modern Democracy,” at the conference “The decline of contemporary Europe: National Sovereignty, Localization and Globalization,” University of Padova–Faculty of Law (Dec. 9, 2010). Audio and pictures. Local files: Principles of Sovereignty and Modern Democracy; European integration […]

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Purchase an Online Mises Academy Course as a Holiday Gift

by Stephan Kinsella December 13, 2010

As the lecturer for an upcoming Mises Academy course (Study Libertarian Legal Theory Online with Stephan Kinsella), I have to say, I like the idea of Grayson Lilburnd in this Mises Blog post Just in time for the holidays, now you can purchase a Mises Academy course as a gift, and actually have a physical […]

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Robert James Bidinotto and “The Contradiction in Anarchism”

by Stephan Kinsella December 11, 2010

Here’s an interesting piece on Objectivist Robert James Bidinotto’s criticisms of anarcho-libertarianism: Nicholas Dykes, Robert James Bidinotto and “The Contradiction in Anarchism”, Libertarian Alliance, Philosophical Notes No. 77, 2006 (pdf). See also my post Objectivism, Bidinotto, and Anarchy; See also Roderick Long’s Bidinotto-Long debate on anarchism and Roderick Long’s blog discussion about this.

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Followup on Thoughts on iPad from a Slightly Disappointed Fanboi

by Stephan Kinsella December 10, 2010

Earlier in the year, I posted Thoughts on iPad from a Slightly Disappointed Fanboi. Having had most of the year to use it, I’ve got some updated thoughts. I still like the iPad. But my use of my iPad has declined, for reasons given below. I think it is beautifully designed. As for hardware, I […]

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Study Libertarian Legal Theory Online with Stephan Kinsella

by Stephan Kinsella December 6, 2010

From the Mises Blog: Study Libertarian Legal Theory Online with Stephan Kinsella December 6, 2010 by J. Grayson Lilburne Murray Rothbard wrote in the preface of his The Ethics of Liberty: “While the book establishes the general outlines of a system of libertarian law, however, it is only an outline, a prolegomenon to what I […]

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Randy Barnett’s Federalism Amendment

by Stephan Kinsella December 3, 2010

Last year I discussed Randy Barnett’s proposed constitutional amendment in Randy Barnett’s Proposed “Federalism Amendment” and Randy Barnett’s “Federalism Amendment”–A Counterproposal. The amendment would give a two thirds majority of the states the power to repeal any federal law or regulation. As noted in recent blogposts (Does Amending the Constitution Dishonor the Founding Fathers? by […]

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Re: Should We Boycott Amazon.com?

by Stephan Kinsella December 2, 2010

[I just posted this on LewRockwell.com] Lew, I agree completely with you (and Rozeff). As detailed in posts by S.M. Oliva and Glenn Greenwald, it seems clear Amazon is just a victim of the state, and as a libertarian I make it a policy never to blame the victim. And who can blame them for […]

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TLS Podcast Picks: Tucker on Improving Society; Riggenbach on Nozick

by Stephan Kinsella November 24, 2010

Recommended podcasts: How to Improve Society, a recent talk by Jeff Tucker–he explains why supporting McDonald’s is so much better than campaigning for politicians; Robert Nozick (1938–2002)–excellent piece on Nozick by Jeff Riggenbach.

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Justice and Property Rights: Rothbard on Scarcity, Property, Contracts…

by Stephan Kinsella November 19, 2010

Rothbard has so many amazing works. Some of my favorite of his articles include “The Mantle of Science,” “Law, Property Rights, and Air Pollution” (pdf), “Beyond Is and Ought,” “Toward a Reconstruction of Utility and Welfare Economics,” “Left and Right: Prospects for Liberty,” and various chapters in The Ethics of Liberty such as “‘Human Rights’ […]

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Good Guys and Bad Guys in the Media Biz

by Stephan Kinsella November 17, 2010

I and some friends are trying to compile a list of various notable musicians, artists, and the like who are more or less good on copyright, and those who are particularly bad. For “good” we mean they explicitly oppose copyright or at least fight for their fans and against some of the excesses of draconian […]

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Jesus and Soldiers

by Stephan Kinsella November 12, 2010

Last night, I attended “Heal Our Heroes: Ministering to the Military in Our Midst,” an event here in Houston featuring keynote speaker Colonel Oliver North. (I was invited by a friend who had a table.) It was a fundraising dinner for Military Ministry, which provides various spiritual counseling and resources to soldiers. There were parents […]

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Laugh at the State, Mock the Regime

by Stephan Kinsella November 11, 2010

Kathryn Muratore, James Ostrowski and I were recently discussing over email one proposal some people are bandying about as a response to the TSA naked scanner abomination (see Kathryn’s blog Stop TSA Scanners). The proposal is to serve the TSA by filing some kind of “Show Cause Order” in federal court, to demand the TSA […]

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TLS Podcast Picks: Huerta de Soto at LSE; Evans on Austrianism in Europe; Reed on Economic Education; FreeTalkLive on IP

by Stephan Kinsella November 8, 2010

Recommended podcasts: FEE President Lawrence Reed on the Value of Economic Education, originally from a Cato Daily Podcast with the excellent and euphonic host Caleb Brown. Cobden Centre Radio: Dr. Anthony J. Evans on Austrianism’s return home to Europe – fascinating talk about the guest’s experience and views on Austrian economics education as well as […]

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Don’t Bet on China: Redux

by Stephan Kinsella November 4, 2010

A Chinese libertarian, Nicolas Dong, who recently did a Mandarin translation of one of my IP articles, recently told me this in an email regarding my earlier post, Don’t Bet on China: I agree most part of your point of view about China. I believe that after the bust of the current housing bubble and […]

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Don’t Vote

by Stephan Kinsella November 2, 2010

A relative in Singapore called and said “Happy Election Day.” Somewhat in jest. I have relatives and friends begging me to vote this time–Republican of course–”to kick those Marxists out of office.” Yes, to replace them with the Republicans, who a few years ago started two wars, added Medicare Prescription socialism, and began the Bankster […]

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The Vatican Speaks out on Intellectual Property

by Stephan Kinsella October 26, 2010

By Michael Geist: Monday October 25, 2010 The Vatican has spoken out against unduly aggressive intellectual property protection. In a statement at the World Intellectual Property Organization, it noted “on the part of rich countries there is excessive zeal for protecting knowledge through an unduly rigid assertion of the right to intellectual property, especially in the […]

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“The Social Network,” Entrepreneurship, and Intellectual Property

by Stephan Kinsella October 26, 2010

There are some good commentaries up on the superb Facebook movie, The Social Network: The Daily Caller’s ‘The Social Network’ and the case against intellectual property rights and Jeff Tucker’s A Movie That Gets It Right, as  well as Robert Wenzel’s The Social Network: The Movie that Could Save Us All. In my view, the movie fails in […]

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Rethinking Intellectual Property: History, Theory, and Economics

by Stephan Kinsella October 22, 2010

My article, Rethinking Intellectual Property: History, Theory, and Economics, was published today (Oct, 22, 2010) on Mises Daily. It details the content and purpose of my upcoming Mises Academy course, “Rethinking Intellectual Property: History, Theory, and Economics,” Mises Academy (Nov.-Dec. 2011) (discussed on the Mises Blog in Study with Kinsella Online). Sign up!

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Guns and Weed–The Road to Freedom

by Stephan Kinsella October 20, 2010

I’ve commended the work of libertarian rapper Neema V before (see Fantastic Libertarian Rapper: Neema V; More Peace Music: White Flag Warrior). He’s now working on an independent film, “Guns and Weed: The Road to Freedom”–the trailer is below.

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A Thought Experiment about Patents and Taxes

by Stephan Kinsella October 18, 2010

In Reducing the Cost of IP Law, I argued that one improvement to the patent system (short of abolition) would be to eliminate injunctions and provie for a compulsory licensing system. As I noted there, the compulsory licensing approach is not new. Some countries impose compulsory licensing on patentees who do not adequately “work” the patent. […]

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Announcing the C4SIF

by Stephan Kinsella October 13, 2010

I have just founded the Center for the Study of Innovative Freedom (C4SIF). The inaugural message announcing it is reproduced below: Welcome to the website for the Center for the Study of Innovative Freedom (C4SIF), a new center formed to build public awareness of the manner in which laws and policies impede innovation, creativity, communication, […]

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Liberty To Not Kill Trees

by Stephan Kinsella October 11, 2010

The great Liberty magazine, edited by R.W. Bradford from 1987 to 2005 and since then by Stephen Cox, has decided to abandon paper and become a completely online journal. This is a harbinger of things to come, as the publishing world adapts to the advent of the Internet and digital information. My own journal, Libertarian […]

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How Intellectual Property Hampers Capitalism

by Stephan Kinsella October 7, 2010

As noted on my media page, I’ll be delivering a speech entitled “How Intellectual Property Hampers Capitalism” at the Mises Institute Supporters’ Summit 2010, Oct. 8-9 2010, Auburn Alabama. The conference’s theme is “The Economic Recovery: Washington’s Big Lie.” There’s a dynamite list of speakers. The heroic Jim Rogers will be awarded the Gary G. […]

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Study IP with Kinsella Online

by Stephan Kinsella October 7, 2010

As mentioned on the Mises Blog in Study with Kinsella Online, starting November 1 at the Mises Academy, I’ll be presenting the 6-week course Rethinking Intellectual Property: History, Theory, and Economics, with Monday evening lecture/question-and-answer sessions. An excerpt from the course description: Rethinking Intellectual Property: History, Theory, and Economics Political Philosophy PP350 — with Stephan […]

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“Human Action” Review of Huebert’s Libertarianism Today

by Stephan Kinsella October 1, 2010

The site “Human Action” has a nice review by “freeman” of Huebert’s Libertarianism Today, pasted below (mine was here: The Best Introduction to Libertarianism Ever). Libertarianism Today by Jacob H. Huebert (2010 Praeger) 255 page paperback; $25.00 Buy this book It is not easy to strike a balance between being informative and entertaining, covering all the relevant […]

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Inept IP Propaganda

by Stephan Kinsella September 30, 2010

This is one of the stupidest propaganda pieces I’ve ever seen. Pathetic. But it does a good job of mimicking the typical glassy-eyed brainwashed arguments given for intellectual property.

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