Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Michael Rozeff: Right, Right and Wrong

Somehow, I have managed to get into a middle of a discussion of a post by Michael Rozeff about emails and private property. I generally  agree with the body of the post, but initially the Rozeff headline for the post read Contents of Private E-Mails Are Not Intellectual Property. 

Rozeff changed it to: Contents of Private E-Mails Are Private Property which is more in line with the body of his post---which I generally agree with.

But after changing the headline, Rozeff also added this to the post:
NOTE: A comment by Nick Badalamenti with a second from Robert Wenzel has induced me to alter this post although not in the direction they suggested. All remaining errors are solely mine.
Here is the extent of my email conversation about  Rozeff's post:

First Nick sent me this:
from: Nick B <>
to: Robert Wenzel <>
date: Wed, Aug 7, 2013 at 12:17 PM 
subject: See Rozeff's post on e-mails and IP?
It's over @ LRC's blog column....check it out

I replied to Nick
to: Nick B <>
from:Robert Wenzel <>
1:23 PM
Thanks, it seems his title is wrong.
Robert Wenzel
Editor & Publisher

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That's the end of my discussion of the topic.  Nick sent my email to Rozeff. BUT as far as Rozeff's alteration, it is in line with what the body of Rozeff's post says and the direction in which I would expect a correction.

Thus, the way I see things:

Rozeff headline, now, is RIGHT.

The body of Rozeff's post is RIGHT.

His view on the direction I expected the title to go in is WRONG.


  1. Your "analities" make me laugh. :)

  2. In fairness to everyone, I decide to post the only e-mail I sent to Rozeff:

    Nick B
    5:19 PM (2 hours ago)

    to msroz


    It seems to me and Robert Wenzel that your blog post in regard to e-mail & intellectual property should be titled:

    "Contents of e-mails ARE Intellectual Property"

    based on what we read....would you agree?


    NB: My apologies to you Robert for including your name and opinion(if it bothered you in any way), I was just looking for a 2nd opinion on how I read his post to make sure I was reading it right and you confirmed what I was thinking.

  3. Rozeff writes: The “good” that is an e-mail and a letter is not purely physical. The subjective utility of it depends on its personal, private and psychological content as a communication. The thief who accesses it has, in general, undermined this utility. He has harmed the sender.

    Wow. So now I can commit non-physical, "subjective to the owner" theft??? IP is getting more and more ridiculous. I will leave it to other readers to think of examples of subjective damage to the owner than no one should consider a crime of any sort. Heres mine. "You're crazy if you think people can't tell that you are wearing a toupee". Without physical confiscation IP crimes are a fantasy.

  4. Anyone else find Rozeff a little... annoying? I mean, ever since that weird "panarchist" nonsense he was babbling about a while back, I started skipping over his posts at LRC.

  5. What's wrong with the concept of panarchism?

  6. I think it's not only bizarre and a bit pretentious, but also useless. First, there's the important "ought" question to consider in political philosophy. I think it's important to maintain the idea that anarcho-capitalism is the way things "ought" to be. It's a mistake from a moral standpoint to use a term like "panarchism" which implies that all forms of government are acceptable and this is absolutely not the case. No government is morally acceptable. I agree with the idea of voluntarism and the absolute sovereignty of the individual, but why come up with this weird word to say something that's already been said (and better) by the likes of Mises and Rothbard? Why not come out as an anarchist of the Rothbardian, anarcho-capitalist variety? People would be free to set up any kind of society they want under anarcho-capitalism as long as they respect the sovereignty of other persons - not committing aggression against other persons property. I think what bothers me most about it is that Rozeff sounds like he's stumbled upon this brilliant solution to the problems of political philosophy, when all "panarchism" has done is twist around the voluntarist philosophy of those who've gone before us into a clumsy and bizarre and morally bankrupt idea.

    1. -One reason to prefer the terminology "panarchism" over "Anarcho- Capitalism" is that Anarcho- Capitalist is like saying "baby killing mass rapist- property destroyer" in the mind of everyone but those in the know of extreme libertarianism.
      -Mises never said or endorsed "Anarcho- Capitalism". You should know that by now.
      He is wrong on the I.P. issue. The safe is property. The paper with the recipe on it is property. The ink is property. The recipe is NOT. unless you believe in a kind of monopoly government but that would exclude you from the Anarcho- capitalist or Panarchist camp.
      You call it Bizarre, someone calls you on it and your explanation is that " is bizarre"?? good one.

    2. First, I should clarify regarding Mises. While it's true he was not an anarchist, he was as hardcore of a classical liberal as one can get and was, of course, a major influence on Rothbard and remains an important influence for anarcho-capitalists today. He was no anarchist, but he was a pioneer for the anarcho-capitalist school of thought without a doubt. Besides, I never called Mises an anarchist in the first place. I said he believed in the absolute sovereignty of the individual and that political associations should be voluntary - the right of secession was sacrosanct for Mises, even to the level of the individual.

      And I wouldn't exactly say that someone asking me to elaborate on my opinion on panarchism is "calling me on it". Calling me on what? An opinion? It's not as if I made a factual error in saying that I find panarchism strange and useless. I stand by my opinion that it's bizarre - one doesn't have to fancy every idea thrown out there by every liberty-oriented writer and I don't care for panarchism from an aesthetic, moral, logical, or practical point of view. As a political philosophy, insofar as you can call it that, it opens itself up to relativism and I find that very strange and potentially dangerous.

      If one is indeed an anarcho-capitalist at heart, then why not come out and say so? I don't buy into your over the top characterization of people's reaction to the term. If it's good enough for Walter Block to say he's an anarchist, then it's good enough for me. If you are worried about people's perception, then why not call yourself a voluntarist or, even better, a Rothbardian (as Tom Woods tends to do)? Maybe the issue is merely about semantics, but that's my opinion on the matter, for what it's worth.