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L. Neil Smith's
Number 593, October 31, 2010

"These times aren't exiting, they are downright exhilarating!"

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The Great Milk Robbery
by Anthony Shelley

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Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

In last week's TLE, (Number 592, October 17, 2010) Paul Bonneau makes interesting points to IPR proponents without getting into the "we have copies—you still have your original" issue. He puts the burden of property protection where it belongs—on the one who claims ownership.

Whether intentional or not, he uses good Harry Browne-like points.... HB saw rights as a trap, and group traps such as government trap... and HB's answer is to take direct action to get desired results that don't involve changing, controlling, convincing others--including IPR proponents. (Controlling others is a form of dependence on others.)

Freedom from the treadmill: Do what you want to do. But recognize that there are many things you want to do and you can't have them all. So establish priorities in your values and stick to the ones at the top. (Innovation is at the top for me but apparently not for Disney.) When you have to give up the lesser values (such as policing others and forsaking the profits of innovation), don't waste your time bemoaning the loss of what could have been obtained only by giving up something more valuable (which is what Disney, Watt, Whitey, Wright brothers ended up doing.)

In fact HB called this the great milk robbery—leaving one's milk out on the porch and finding it stolen, there is a risk someone will steal it.... so? Put it somewhere else or continue to leave it alone and write off the cost of the robbery because you have more productive uses of your time than catching milk thieves—productive uses such as innovating!

The Great Milk Robbery

To illustrate this, let's suppose that I walk out to my front porch one morning, expecting to pick up my milk. But lo and behold, I find that it's been stolen. What do I do next?

I can bitterly feel that the thief had no right to steal from me. But would that get my milk back? (rights trap)

I could stand on the front porch and deliver an eloquent speech, cursing the disgraceful fact that there are thieves in the world. But what would that get me—aside from a few angry neighbors?

To say that there are thieves in the world is only to repeat what I've known all along. To say that it's disgraceful is to say that if I were God, I'd have made the world differently. But since I'm not God, that point is irrelevant, too.(I would call this the relevance trap)

To say that I would never steal someone's milk is to acknowledge that I'm different from many of the people in the world and that I have my own way of trying to achieve happiness. But why should I expect someone else to use my way? (identity trap)

Direct alternative / self rule:
The only area of interest is that which I control. I've decided to risk theft by having the milk bottles left on the front porch. And I can decide to continue that risk or have the milk handled in some other way.

If I concentrate on the thief's immorality or on my rights, I'm probably leaving myself vulnerable to another theft. But if I use what I control to make new arrangements, I can see to it that the theft isn't repeated—and that should be my major concern.

And I can think about that while I'm pouring water on my Wheaties. Ideas from Harry Browne's How I Found Freedom In an UNFree World

Anthony Shelley says he's "Living On Freedom Road In an UnFree World"


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