Sunday, February 24, 2013

Stephan Kinsella Taking the High Road

When Stephan Kinsella proposed I debate him over IP, he sent the below email, after I initially agreed to debate him and asked him if the views that he presented in Against Intellectual Property were still the views he held or if there were any changes (My highlights)
No, no change except if anything I have become even more pro-openness.

If you want to talk, I propose we do it in a way that is mutually beneficial. So I think this means we arrange a discussion-not one-sided, not an interview; no side dominant. Just a discussion. A dialogue. And a sincere, and mutually respectful one.

And one that permits time to hash this out. I think this requires at least an hour, though that will also be insufficient; but anything less would be a joke.

I think we should both commit ahead of time to be respectful, sincere, and civil, and give each other adequate time. No ad hominem, no personal stuff--just an Austrian and libertarian-oriented focus on truth. I will not try to baffle you with legalistic bullshit just b/c I know the IP statutes better than you, for example. If you can agree to this, let's consider it.
I have since been made aware of this comment Kinsella made on his Facebook page (My highlight)
Wenzel [writes]:

"I have a major philosophical disagreement with Stephan Kinsella over his views on IP, which we will debate in early April. However, I am not an IP attorney and hold no strong opinions on how current IP law is interpreted by various legal and other ruling bodies. I find it fascinating, though, that Kinsella, who is an IP attorney, has stated that he doesn't think that Ron Paul will be rewarded

During an appearance on Adam vs the Man he states flat out, "My guess he [Ron Paul] is going to lose this suit." (12:58 to 13:56). So I guess the Ron Paul suit is going to also provide insight into how good an IP rulings handicapper Kinsella is."

My reply .. not yet approved, and I failed to copy it. but my response was basically that this is weird that the focus is on my "guess" about the future. As if a false prediction of the future by stephan kinsella is the final proof that IP is legitimate. I mean what is the relevance?

What a clown. Antoher prediciton: he will not debate me. He will find a way ot [sic] weasel out of it, like a worm.
BTW: Here is the full post that Kinsella clipped from, along with his comment which was approved (most likely with an hour or two of his making it), along with my response and a further Kinsella comment for thanking me for my "clarification."

As for Kinsella's prediction that I won't debate him, I will walk through hell, if I have to, to debate him and chop up his defect laden anti-IP views.


  1. I call myself a Libertarian, but posts like these just go beyond me. Why are Libertarians arguing about IP? When there is a post just below saying that 71% of people in this PEW poll think the minimum wage should be raised.

    Isn't that the bigger danger? That 71% of the people in this PEW poll are so deluded Shouldn't our focus be on that?

    And NOT this IP issue.

    1. I task you as Libertarian Commissioner of all topics which should or should not be the focus of libertarian debate. We must centrally plan our philosophical movement.

    2. I find IP far more important an issue than minimum wage. Tripling the minimum wage would be far less harmful than keeping the current IP system.

    3. Unfortunately this is how any form of progress is made. By discussing and changing ideas. We can't plan a 'route' for this to happen by focusing on topics. Much of the world OS confused and you not I will probably ever see this change in our lifetime. For now it's beat to discuss openly and honestly and appeal to those who are listening.

    4. Because people are going to prison and having their life savings confiscated over so-called "IP" laws, while minimum wage is just another economic intervention which results in lost opportunity. In terms of violence done directly to individuals by the state, IP laws have piled up more notches than the minimum wage.

    5. I am just saying that in the "grand scheme" of things as they are in the world today the minimum wage trumps IP. I have only self-identified myself as "libertarian" in the past 5 years, since Ron Paul's 2008 presidential bid. And I have only heard of the IP issue through Laissez Faire. And now, EPJ. My point, this is not a topic that anyone knows about or cares about. They should, I agree, it is very important. But they don't.

      But if we here to bring these people around we have to start with something simpler, like the minimum wage. If people do not even understand that basic concept they will never get this issues about IP.

      That was the point I was trying to make.

    6. Here's the thing, Leia - IP affects everyone, and in a huge way. It impoverishes society massively. The minimum wage has a miniscule effect on the economy. Should we get rid of both? Absolutely. Which one matters more? There is NO argument. IP.

  2. Oh man. Somebody call Don King. We got smack talk.

  3. As an IT contracting guy for my day job, I can tell you "Rights in Data" type clauses are the backbone of software procurement. Absolutely no one would sell me anything without that legal protection.

    1. You don't have a right to profits.

    2. "As a guy whose nest is feathered by state granted monopoly, I can tell you the world will fall apart if you affect my ability to be anti-competitive!"

    3. Pete and Anand, read my post again.

      I'm not making any money - I'm the BUYER.

    4. Has anyone who agrees with Bob read Stephan's book?

  4. I believe it is a good choice: with a nom de comments my privacy has the best mix of quickness to setup given the very low privacy possibilities accessing web from Italy (making really jelous Mussolini they record at Telecom Spa in big servers all of my last two years web search ..and is regulated by law so why worrying ..) and readibility of my comments by other people

  5. Oh my God, this is why I am a panarchist. Make your own little crazy country with your abstract-thought-ownership-laws and enforce it with your own creepy little government. No one else in the world has to give a shit about you, and you can give Disney's frozen corpse rights to Mickey Mouse for the next ten million years if you'd like.

    Moralizing the law is why liberals, including libertarians, are all crazy.

    1. Panarchism, taken to its logical conclusion, is just anarchism.

    2. @Pete petepete:

      How is nihilism a morality? I'm not sure I understand you correctly. I thought moral nihilism was the absence of a moral code.


    "Defect-laden anti-IP views."

    That is the funniest s#!t ever.

    Kinsella, if you agree to "debate" each other, is going to mop the floor with you. Every pro-IP argument that has ever been advanced has been demolished under the most basic of property rights and libertarian criticisms.

    I look forward to this tradition continuing.

  7. I am a fan of Kinsella's writing, but this is shockingly inappropriate behavior on his part. I hope he sent an email apology to Wenzel.

    1. What was "inappropriate"? My prediction? What *exactly* was "inappropriate"? Bob has been hinting at writing a book on libertarianism and one on IP for a long time now. This is not credible. And he pushed our "debate" back so yes, I expected, and still expect, Bob to find a way to keep delaying it or just cancel. The reason is he has no argument, and no one in favor of IP does. I think he knows this. I know Bob is popular among some fans of libertarianism and Austrianism but he also sees a rising chorus of disagreement among his fans, when he starts talking about IP. Bob made a mistake in favoring IP, and I think he is sensing this, because when he grasps for some way to justify IP he fails--as I did, when I tried this too.

      I don't know whether it's a mistake to debate Wenzel or not. But I'm willing to, if he is. Whether he will back out or not remains to be seen.

    2. Stephan,

      This is really off the wall stuff. I have never seen anyone who promotes himself as a learned person on a subject and then call someone else with an opposing view a "weasel," "clown" and a "worm". What the hell is that all about?

      As far as the date of the debate, I have no idea where you get the notion that I plan on backing out, that's nuts. I am looking forward to the debate more than ever.

      And what is not credible about my announcing a plan to write a book on liberty and IP? As I have pointed out many times, I only have time to write part time on the subject and, further, my research into IP led me to consider natural rights and so I chose to research rights first as a foundation for my IP book. But rest assured, I have a well enough thought out view on IP, to knock you out of the box.

      And if your anti-IP view is so well developed, why do you think it would be a mistake to debate me? Just knock me out of the box.

      I think I am getting inside your head, Stephan. For some reason this debate is really bothering you. Why don't you just come with your position and I'll come with mine. This name calling, reading into my mind and other tangential comments is just bizarre behavior on your part.

    3. Bob: "This is really off the wall stuff. I have never seen anyone who promotes himself as a learned person on a subject and then call someone else with an opposing view a "weasel," "clown" and a "worm". What the hell is that all about?"

      What exactly is the question, Bob? I think you were trying to weasel out of the debate, because you know you don't have a good argument.

      "As far as the date of the debate, I have no idea where you get the notion that I plan on backing out, that's nuts. I am looking forward to the debate more than ever."

      Time will tell.

      "And what is not credible about my announcing a plan to write a book on liberty and IP?"

      The question is, what's credible about it?

      "And if your anti-IP view is so well developed, why do you think it would be a mistake to debate me? Just knock me out of the box."

      Mistaken as in giving unjustified credibility to half-baked ideas. My aim, by the way, is not to "knock you out of the box," Bob. My aim is justice, prosperity, liberty, and truth. My view is that IP is contrary to these things. When prominent advocates of the free market, like you, speak out in public in favor of fascist IP law, it confuses lots of people. That's the problem, Bob. I am happy to speak about it with you if it can help people to witness firsthand how impossible it is to mount a coherent case for statist monopoly privilege.

    4. Tip to Kinsella, if you want to advance "justice, prosperity, liberty, and truth," you don't call the person you invite to debate a clown, weasel and worm.

      Grow up.

    5. The only issue is whether intellectual property "rights" are compatible with justice. All the evasions and scrambling and attempts at dissembling notwithstanding.

    6. Stephan,

      Your comment is very misleading. You give the impression that Wenzel is doing "All the evasions and scrambling and attempts at dissembling."

      I have gone to your Facebook page, I have read the posts involved and it has been you with "All the evasions and scrambling and attempts at dissembling."

      I hope you don't argue this way during the debate.

  8. It happens, when people disagree on issue, that they sometimes distract on person. That is rather human, and doesn't infer anything about the issue positions of either person. Gentlemen, get on with the debate. We are looking forward to it.

  9. @Wenzel and Kinsella:

    For crying out loud, this turning into WWF. I hope you guys are acting out a scripted battle of words to trump up interest in the debate, because otherwise this is getting childish. I am looking forward to it, though. May be you can alternate 10 minutes debate rounds with 5 minute boxing rounds.

  10. All property rights are intellectual. Kynella is more of a communist then a libertarian because he seems to believe that there is no ethical basis for property rights. Here are my thoughts on the subject:
    And J Neil Schulmans's
    And L Neil Smith's

  11. I have bee trying to understand why so many self-declared libertarians are so certain that "intellectual property" does not exist, and in spite of the investments in time and efforts I have made in reading their arguments --thereby disproving the idea, which I have actually seen advanced, that information has no cost-- I have so far been unable to go beyond Rothbard's determinations of right and wrong in "The Ethics of Liberty".
    I find it hard to refute the statement that all wealth results from the creation of information by the human mind, and that is the origin of natural ownership.
    Maybe this debate will be more enlightening, but I won't hold my breath: in those matters, as in every other endeavor, there is no such thing as a guaranteed profit or a guaranteed loss, which is why I do not find it plausible that Mr Wenzel is trying to avoid the debate.