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PFF's Sydnor brilliantly exposes Lessig's "quasi-socialist Utopianism" advancing net neutrality
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Wed, 2008-04-30 12:40
Tom Sydnor of the Progress and Freedom Foundation has done a brilliant analysis of Professor Larry Lessig's book "Free Culture" in the important context of Professor Lessig's other works.
- This analysis is outstanding foundational-thinking and a must read for anyone who cares about preserving a free market Internet.
Let me highlight some gems:
First, his conclusion:
- "The preceding analysis shows that FREE CULTURE does demonize copyright owners and does urge the government to eliminate copyrights and impose "quasi-socialist utopianism." Nor does this pattern stop with copyrights. Indeed, the preceding analysis shows Lessig has already claimed that to Save the Net, the government must nationalize or heavily regulate:
• The providers of Internet-access services that own the physical network infrastructure, (e.g., net neutrality);
• The providers of commercial internet applications and services, like eBay, Amazon, and Google (e.g., CODE); and
• The producers of digital content (e.g., FREE CULTURE).
- In short, Lessig wants the entire Internet heavily regulated or nationalized.
Second, his deconstruction of Professor Lessig's Orwellian doublespeak on the word "free:" (see my posts on Professor Lessig's Orwellian doublespeak at his FCC testimony here and here.)
"After distinguishing the old debate about "the market versus the state" from the new debate about "controlled versus free," Lessig then re-defined "free" to mean costly and state-controlled: "By a commons, I mean a resource that is free. Not necessarily zero cost, but, if there is a cost, it is a neutrally or equally imposed cost."39 A "Free Culture Movement" thus became indistinguishable from a "Fee Culture Movement."
- Then Lessig redefined "free" to mean state-controlled. He noted that resource is not "free" if an individual person has "a right to exclude, or to decide whether to grant access based upon his or her own subjective reasons."40 But "free" resources are controlled—just differently: "The point is not that no control is present, but rather that the kind of control is different from the control we grant to property."41 Now, we are back where we started—confronting "the question of which system of control is best.""
Bottomline: Professor Lessig temploys Orwellian doublespeak to try and convince unsuspecting listeners that he advances their understanding of "freedom." His world view clearly does not advance "freedom" in any American-historical or free-market context.
- True freedom-loving people need to challenge Professor Lessig's "free culture" chicanery at every opportunity.