nsb(_at_)guppylake(_dot_)com (Nathaniel Borenstein) writes:
Paul -- With respect, I think this argument is going nowhere because
some of us want to discuss it in terms of property rights, and others
of us want to discuss it in terms of human rights. I believe that
communication should be viewed as a human right, and that property
rights can and should be limited where necessary to ensure those
Since the E in "ietf" does not stand for "Human", I am concerned about
the direction this thread is taking us, and I feel sure that Harald is
shortly going to tell us to take it elsewhere. However, in the meantime,
I think we should find out if we have a point of agreement and then a
departure, or if we just have no common ground at all.
Property is something that humans have -- it does not exist apart from
a property-holder and the only property-holders recognized at this time
are humans. Therefore (and, tautologically) property rights ARE human
rights, or at least, rights that only humans have. When you seek to
separate them you seem to postulate that some rights-of-humans are more
human (or more humane) than others, where property rights are not among
the most fundamental. If this is your view, then I disagree.
The writings of John Locke (1632-1704) convinced me ~2.5 decades ago that
property rights, and specifically self-ownership was the foundational right
on which all other rights depended. Without it humans are just live meat.
If you wish to attribute to two parties the right to communicate, then you
must (by definition) strip any and all intermediaries of their right to
use and/or dispose of their property as they see fit.
It seems to me that our disagreement stems from this basic difference of
beliefs, rather than from logical flaws in one of our arguments, which
makes for a fundamentally unproductive debate, so I'm going to *try* to
shut up. :-) I will concede that if I started from a belief that the
issue was one of property rights, rather than human rights, then I would
probably agree with you and Vernon. -- Nathaniel
If you wish to balance the rights of some humans against the rights of other
humans, you can do so either by degrees or by exclusion. "One man's right
to swing his fist ends at the tip of another man's nose" would be an example
of the latter. "The state can lawfully deprive you of some share of your
property in order to ensure the welfare of others who have less" would be
an example of the former. Are you hoping that the Internet becomes some
kind of welfare state? Do you long for communications socialism? If so
then you will find potent forces arrayed against you -- not the least of
which is that the nature of the Internet medium prevents anything like a
police force from existing. An intermediary who withdraws their consent
can do so absolutely and your only recourse is to find a different
intermediary -- which you can do absolutely, so long as you have their
willingness to participate.
In my way of looking at things, this is the best possible system to ensure
that humans' rights are respected. And because the history of nations on
our little blue marble is such that they will never be able to agree on a
treaty that would overcome the Internet's essential communications freedom,
I think we'll forever live in an e-world where only private actions matter.