Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Another great quote today from Ran Prieur's blog:

"November 17. Thoughtful essay on intellectual property, If you believe in IP, how do you teach others? My position is that property is theft, and intellectual property is theft on stilts. Now Harvard and the University of Texas are actually prohibiting students from sharing what they learn in class. If you take this to its logical conclusion, you can pay for an education, go on to use what you've learned in a job, and if you didn't get the professor's explicit permission to use it, you can go to prison.

The article doesn't stop there, but goes on to explore Ayn Rand's obsession with intellectual property. It never occurred to me that Rand had two distinct ideologies which totally contradict each other. One is basically Nietzsche, or Harrison Bergeron: the exceptional individual, wild and free, weighted down by the mediocrity of the average. The other is Ebenezer Scrooge. Rand's genius was to use the former as a front for the latter: because we are strong and independent and creative, we should never have to give anything to the lazy idiots. She was personally so miserly that she sent Nathaniel Branden to prevent her followers "from using the word Objectivist, to prevent them from using quotes from John Galt, to prevent them even from advertising lectures on the topic by students of her ideas." And "she ended up feeling robbed and looted by everyone who was influenced by her."

When you think about it, the most exceptional people should be the most generous. If you're truly confident in your ability to create things of value, you don't mind losing everything, because you can just make more."

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