Friday, December 31, 2010
Happy New Year’s everyone. I am just hoping I can stay awake to see the ball drop."
Thursday, December 30, 2010
By 1990, the prices were lower, and the Malthusians paid up, although they didn’t seem to suffer any professional consequences. Dr. Ehrlich and Dr. Holdren both won MacArthur “genius awards” (Julian never did). Dr. Holdren went on to lead the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and today he serves as President Obama’s science adviser."
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Though air travel is often no picnic, and the industry is more turbulent than it was in the days of price regulation, it’s much cheaper thanks to Kahn’s efforts. By some estimates, airline deregulation saves consumers as much as $20 billion per year and helped democratize air travel. Airfares have climbed of late but, as this WSJ editorial notes, “fares are still lower today in real terms than they were in the 1970s.”"
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Congressional Democrats could not find the votes to pass 'net neutrality.' No problem. Three un-elected officials will impose rules on hundreds of millions of satisfied online consumers. A federal appeals court stops the FCC from employing authority over the Internet. Again, not a problem. Three out of five FCC commissioners can carve out some temporary wiggle room, because as any crusading technocrat knows, the most important thing is getting in the door.
It's not that we don't need the FCC's meddling, it's that we don't need the FCC at all. Rather than expanding the powers — which always seem to grow — of this outdated bureaucracy, Congress should be finding ways to eliminate it."
That's not an enormous change. But it's part of a long-term trend that has reshaped the nation's politics. If you go back to the 1960 election, when the electoral votes were based on the 1950 census, you will find that John Kennedy won 303 electoral votes. But the states he carried then will have only 272 electoral votes in 2012, a bare majority. And without Texas, which he narrowly carried, the Kennedy states would have only 234 electoral votes."
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Specter is acting as if the question at the confirmation hearing was: If we put a really, really huge number of words into the record, do you promise to let us do anything we want? And the answer was: Yes, of course. When I see a lot of pages, I always think, wow, that must be true."
Monday, December 20, 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Nevada Democrat Harry Reid gave up on the nearly $1.3 trillion bill after several Republicans who had been thinking of voting for the bill pulled back their support."
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
But I'm not joshing, Josh. The reason there are so many law articles called 'Taking X Seriously' is that we don't rule out a proposition of constitutional law simply because no one seems to taking it seriously right now. We work through the analysis, and maybe we discover that it should be taken seriously."
Monday, December 13, 2010
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Even that 25% recidivism rate is likely too low. The intelligence community reports that it usually takes about two and a half years before a released detainee shows up on its radar. Our forces probably have yet to re-engage most of the terrorists among the 66 detainees released so far by the Obama administration."
Friday, December 10, 2010
'I am pleased that Bill Clinton has agreed to come out of retirement to head up this crucial post in my administration,' said Obama. 'He brings a lifetime of previous executive experience as Governor of Arkansas and President of the United States, and has worked closely with most of the members of my Cabinet.'"
Sounds good, right? That is, until you realize that this section will be completely un-powered and un-supported until more lines are built. No trains, no maintenance facilities, just empty tracks and stations. Que?"
Instapundit » Blog Archive » CHANGE: Why I’d rather my daughter marry a rich man than have a brilliant career….
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Conservative legislators take lessons on how to subvert the feds. - By David Weigel - Slate Magazine
In response to Barnett's question, every hand went up."
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Althouse: "I know in my heart I am not going to be judged by this Congress. I’ll be judged by my life in its entirety."
That's what he means right?"
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
On its own terms, this has worked very well. The size of the Congressional Black Caucus relative to the House is within a few percentage points of the black proportion of the population. Seats in state legislatures and the House frequently are stepping stones to statewide office. But because black politicians need not cultivate a transracial appeal to win office in the first place, they are at a disadvantage when they consider a statewide run."
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
“It is not a good policy to have these massive subsidies for (U.S.) first generation ethanol,” said Gore, speaking at a green energy business conference in Athens sponsored by Marfin Popular Bank.
“First generation ethanol I think was a mistake. The energy conversion ratios are at best very small.[']"
Saturday, November 20, 2010
TSA: 'This is not considered a sexual assault.'
Tyner: 'It would be if you weren't the government. . . .'
TSA: 'Upon buying your ticket, you gave up a lot of rights.'
Oh? John Locke, call your office."
Friday, November 19, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Of course, the sociology of Mormonism is separate from its truth claims, and though skepticism probably comes more naturally to me than belief, I nevertheless choose to believe. I savor what we have in common with other Christians—the Bible, resurrection, forgiveness of sins, gifts of the spirit, the example of our savior, the importance of moral living (though I certainly acknowledge that Mormons are not orthodox Christians)—and I love the doctrines of the Restoration (as we call it): that everyone who has ever lived has an equal opportunity for salvation, that sinners and unbelievers are not cast into hell forever, that God is not ultimately responsible for all the evil and suffering in the world, that marriages and families can last into eternity, that there is no end to knowledge and progress, and that God continues to speak to prophets today just as in biblical times. When I go to the temple, I marvel that I belong to a religion with such a sense of sacred ritual, and that it means so much to me. As I have studied and researched the Book of Mormon for scholarly, academic publications over the last few years, I find it more and more impressive. Though I respect the opinions of those who are attuned to its many historical improbabilities, it seems to me to be a revealed text, with roots in the ancient world. It may be hard to believe such things, but I do. They make sense to me, and as I have prayed, studied, served, and performed priesthood ordinances such as giving blessings and baptizing my children (another advantage of a lay ministry), I have had spiritual experiences that I interpret as the Holy Spirit bearing witness to me of the truths of Mormonism.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
BUSH: Yes.� Huge mistake.
LAUER: Yeah, it made you look so out of touch.
BUSH: Detached and uncaring.� No question about it.� And--
LAUER: Whose fault was it?
BUSH: It's always my fault.� I should have touched down in Baton Rouge, met with the governor, and, you know, walked out and said, 'I hear you.'� I mean, 'We know.� We understand.� And we're gonna, you know, help the state and help the locals, governments with as much resources as needed.'� And-- and then got back on a flight up to Washington.� I did not do that and paid a price for it."
Monday, November 8, 2010
LAUER: You remember what he said?
BUSH: Yes, I do.� He called me a racist.
LAUER: Well, what he said, 'George Bush doesn't care about black people.'
BUSH: That's, “ he's a racist”.� And I didn't appreciate it then. �I don't appreciate it now.� It's one thing to say, you know, 'I don't appreciate the way he's-- handles his business.'� It's another thing to say, 'This man's a racist.'� I resent it.� It's not true, and it was one of the most disgusting moments in my Presidency."
BUSH: That's right.
LAUER: --You would still go to war in Iraq?
BUSH: I-- first of all didn't have that luxury. You just don't have the luxury when you're President.� I will say definitely the world is better off without Saddam Hussein in power, as are 25 million people who now have a chance to live in freedom."
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
I have started blogging at Bull v. Elephant. I'm not sure how it all happened, but it just did. I'm not sure if I'll be able to continue giving both this blog and the new one the attention they deserve. It doesn't seem quite appropriate to post every random thought over at B. v. E. like I can here. However, I like that fact that more than Danny, Brett and Val (and maybe Dallas?) read the other blog. In short, I do not know how much blogging time will be left to blog here. I think you are more than welcome to read and comment at B. v. E. if you'd like. I don't really know that for sure, though.
Monday, October 18, 2010
Saturday, October 16, 2010
But we were at the Wonder Room to see Teenage Fanclub.
They were good, but they looked twenty years older than in the video. Of Course, that video was made twenty years ago.
BONUS: What's the link between Telekinesis! and The Velvet Teen?
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Soccer has its strengths and weaknesses. Its most obvious drawback is not very much scoring. These Simpsons clips speak much truth about the sport's drawbacks:
Low scoring is also sort of a virtue because scoring a goal in soccer is kind of like catching a long bomb in football or hitting a home-run in baseball. Goals are rare enough that they're always exciting.
I also like the fact that the game is a constant flow of action. There's really only one break at the half.
There seems to be a conservative divide on soccer--that is liberals like it and conservatives think American sports are better. I'm not sure why that is. Also, I find most American fans of soccer really annoying for some reason. Like I saw a bunch of galaxy fans with their scarfs on in LA and just thought it was kind of obnoxious and not very authentic.
2. I really haven't played video games that much in the last 4 years, but in Scotland I played a lot of FIFA 10, and got really into it. I thought maybe it was only fun because I had a lot of people to play with, but I've had FIFA 11 for 2-plus weeks now, and I still look forward to playing every day. There are some differences between 10 and 11. Passing is harder in FIFA 11, and so is making that chip/lob-shot over the goalie. But it's more or less the same game I've been playing straight for over a month. Not sure why the game has such depth, but it does.
Monday, October 11, 2010
Saturday, October 9, 2010
The author of that trolley problem has died:
The most arresting of her examples, offered in just a few sentences, was the ethical dilemma faced by the driver of a runaway trolley hurtling toward five track workers. By diverting the trolley to a spur where just one worker is on the track, the driver can save five lives.
Clearly, the driver should divert the trolley and kill one worker rather than five.
But what about a surgeon who could also save five lives — by killing a patient and distributing the patient’s organs to five other patients who would otherwise die? The math is the same, but here, instead of having to choose between two negative duties — the imperative not to inflict harm — as the driver does, the doctor weighs a negative duty against the positive duty of rendering aid.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
I mostly liked your EconTalk podcast about immigration, and thought most of your arguments for open immigration were pretty good. But your thought experiment where a person goes to Haiti to do humanitarian work only to discover he can't return to the U.S. is, I think, off. What I think you're trying to show is that only country of birth--which is a matter of luck --separates poor Haitians from comparatively well off Americans. The randomness is unfair! Well, the listener certainly gets a sense of outrage, but, I think, for the wrong reasons.I think the biggest source of outrage in the example is not the randomness of allocation to countries, but the random government rule change mid-trip. The humanitarian was relying on the fact that he would be able to return to the U.S. The reaction would be much different if the humanitarian knew before he left that he could not return. I don't see how outrage over a sudden rule change helps your case for open immigration.The hypothetical is also unsettling because the humanitarian had something that was taken away from him, as opposed to having had less to begin with. I'd feel bad for a billionaire that lost his fortune and had to make due with $100,000 a year, even though that income is actually quite good by most standards. But maybe that is parts of your point--that we should be just as outraged about the unseen consequences of immigration policy as the seen consequences in the hypothetical? Maybe we should lament missed opportunities as much as a loss? At least the humanitarian got to live in the U.S. for a while. But psychological, I don't think we do, which makes the U.S.'s arguably unduly-restrictive immigration policy at least more psychologically benign than your hypothetical.Finally, your hypothetical misses the mark because the humanitarian is permanently and involuntarily relocated. I think people would find the idea of a person who lives in Portland, OR going on a business trip to New York, NY and then discovering that he can't return to Portland mid-trip troubling, even if he could take his family and friends with him. And by your account, New York is better than Portland. So I don't think this sense of unease has much to do with different standards of living. The average person is going to find this sort of involuntary, permanent relocation and disruption of life troubling, regardless of economic opportunity.
Monday, October 4, 2010
Friday, October 1, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Since the time I read Machinery of Freedom on Professor Boudreaux’s recommendation, I've thought two things: 1. It was be great to have a government/society that did not coerce anyone, but derived its authority from the consent of all its constituents, and 2. there is no way to do this.I made another comment at the Kling link.
Mr. Hinkle tries to use his HOA example to draw a distinction between a government of consent (HOA) and government, which rules without its constituent’s consent. The example is not persuasive, mostly because this case he uses as a jumping point is some kind of anomaly. Owners do not sign a contract to abide by the CC&Rs when they purchase into a HOA; They are bound to the terms of the CC&Rs regardless of whether they assent. You could argue that when a purchaser buys the property that they know is subject to CC&Rs they assent to them. But there is no ability to negotiate the terms of the contract; the purchaser must take or leave the CC&Rs, just as an immigrant must take-or-leave the laws of the country he immigrates to. And what if a person is born to a family living in an HOA and later inherits the property? The person is still subject to the regulations in the CC&Rs. That situation seem no different to me than being bound to the laws of the country you were born in without ever having consented to those laws.
You could say, if HOA's/CC&Rs aren't consent to, then we don't need them! We'll just let property owners opt in and opt out of private law system created and enforced by private companies (the Protection agencies from the Machinery of Freedom.) But HOAs solve property right problems, and their CC&Rs must "run with the land" to do so. If I want to buy property in a neighborhood where people mow their lawns and cannot paint their houses bright pink, these obligations must run with the land. While current owners may agree to those terms, I have no assurance that subsequent owners will likewise comply unless the contract, like CC&Rs, bind future owners, too.
I agree with Professor Kling that HOAs are better than government, because they are generally small, and easier to escape if they get too oppressive. However, on the question of consent, I see no principled distinction between an HOA and government. Both bind all who fall within their territory, regardless of consent.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Friday, September 24, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Thursday, September 9, 2010
The single hardest thing for a practising politician to understand is that most people, most of the time, don’t give politics a first thought all day long. Or if they do, it is with a sigh...., before going back to worrying about the kids, the parents, the mortgage, the boss, their friends, their weight, their health, sex and rock ‘n’roll.....
For most normal people, politics is a distant, occasionally irritating fog. Failure to comprehend this is a fatal flaw in most politicians.
Saturday, September 4, 2010
I wake up at 5.30am. I have no problem getting out of bed. The first thing I need is a cup of tea, usually lapsang souchong. I dress as lightly as possible. I often wear a shirt open down to under my chest, but not out of vanity. The truth is, I find clothes suffocating. I want to live as much as possible in the open air, in the sun. I’ve never worn a tie in my life. That caused problems a couple of times: once at the Elysée Palace when I was invited to a lunch with the then president, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, and once at the Vatican at a private audience with Pope John Paul II. I put my foot down both times. The Vatican let me not wear one on the spurious grounds I suffered from a serious handicap.
I awake, as is my preference. My waking had, as usual, the pleasant quality of surfacing from one world to another, with the gradual abandonment of one state for another, a trading of realms whose various attributes have merits in eternal opposition. In the sleeping state, one might be conversing with Descartes on an iceberg, while walruses provide hors d’oeuvres on the points of their tusks; in the real, physical state, one finds one has wet the bed again. But to wake is to be born, one thinks, and a certain amount of fluid is present in either case.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Update: I originally saw this on Cafe Hayek. He found it through this blog. Of course, the movie isn't about math, not really. It's about trying for the impossible and achieving it. It's also about human tragedy.
Here is one of my all time favorite documentaries, the 45 minute Fermat's Last Theorem made by Simon Singh and John Lynch for the BBC in 1996. I've watched it many times and every time I am moved by unforgettable moments.
The plainspoken Goro Shimura talking of his friend Yutaka Taniyama, "he was not a very careful person as a mathematician, he made a lot of mistakes but he made mistakes in a good direction." "I tried to imitate him," he says sadly, "but I found out that it is very difficult to make good mistakes." Shimura continues to be troubled by his friend's suicide in 1958.
Monday, August 30, 2010
Dear Supporters of the Center for a Stateless Society,
I blame myself.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Saturday, August 28, 2010
- Data indicate that the earth's temperature has been rising since industrialization.
- Data indicate that the earth's temperature will continue to rise.
- Data are inconclusive as to temperature trends in the last 1,000 years.
- Data are consistent with no change in temperature for the last 1,000 years.
- Data are consistent with slight decline in temperature for the last 1,000 years.
Orange Dual Terror or Tiny terror W/ ex Cab, Vox AC 15 (Heritage) DR. Z, Port City. Or maybe something cool I don't even know about. Must be tube. I am not really looking to sell, and lets face it, its hard to sell anything right now anyway:) so lets make a deal.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Upon reflection, I think I am against it. I still think it's clear that the owners have the property right to put the mosque there, and I don't think those who oppose the mosque should use the government to get what they want. But. . . I think that the people who are building the mosque are using ground zero to be intentionally provocative. Specifically they are intentionally building a mosque by ground zero to "promote inter-community peace, tolerance and understanding locally in New York City, nationally in America and globally. " In other words, they picked a spot next to ground zero--where American's were slaughtered by Islamic extremists--to launch a program to teach tolerance to the most tolerant nation in the world. It's condescending. And it's bad form to use a tragedy to gin up attention for your project.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Chotiner's right, this is a bad analogy. A more apt comparison to 31 percent of Republicans believing that Obama is a Muslim, is 35 percent of Democrats believing Bush had knowledge about the 9/11 attacks in advance. Of course, there is nothing per se wrong with being a Muslim, whereas Democrats inexplicably believe Bush was complicit in the largest terrorist attack on American soil ever.I am a little late coming to this, but yesterday's David Brooks column, which discussed our ability (or inability) to (in Orwell's words) face unpleasant facts, included the following:The ensuing mental flabbiness is most evident in politics. Many conservatives declare that Barack Obama is a Muslim because it feels so good to say so. Many liberals would never ask themselves why they were so wrong about the surge in Iraq while George Bush was so right. The question is too uncomfortable.Is Brooks really comparing these two things? A huge percentage of Republicans think that Barack Obama is a Muslim. A huge percentage of Democrats (presumably) think they were right to oppose the surge. In other words, a lot of Republicans have a bizarre, often bigoted, and undeniably wrong opinion on a very simple topic. A lot of Democrats think that a hugely complex, somewhat successful, and still inconclusive policy was right to be opposed. (Let's ignore the question of whether it was smart to oppose the surge based on the evidence people had at the time.)
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Saturday, August 21, 2010
If I invest time and energy in discovering which candidate will make the best President, the benefit of that investment, if any, is spread evenly among 200 million people. That is an externality of 99.9999995 percent. Unless it is obvious how I should vote, it is not worth the time and trouble to vote 'intelligently', except on issues where I get a disproportionately large fraction of the benefit. Situations, in other words, where I am part of a special interest.
Friday, August 20, 2010
In my opinion, the practical problem with grounding libertarianism in the ideals of the American Revolution is that Americans no longer hold those ideals, and Europeans never did. Both, today, follow a moral code which is essentially socialist. It is true that this is the natural consequence of 'education' at the hands of a government which is essentially socialist.This has occurred to me, too. Some people need to be led to water. But all the people doing the leading have a vested interest in the current state of education, and vicariously, government.
Monday, August 9, 2010
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
The Volokh Conspiracy: "The right to marry has been historically and remains the right to choose a spouse and, with mutual consent, join together and form a household. Race and gender restrictions shaped marriage during eras of race and gender inequality, but such restrictions were never part of the historical core of the institution of marriage."
Monday, August 2, 2010
Are the Corporate Money Floodgates About to Open? | Mother Jones: "But free-flowing corporate money may also have a price. In Minnesota, it's fueled a backlash from gay rights activists who have slammed Target and Best Buy for backing Emmer, a gay rights foe who's called for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as 'the union of one man and one woman.' Both Target and Best Buy had previously garnered praise from the LGBT community for their support of gay rights in the workplace and beyond. Target, for instance, offers domestic partner benefits to gay and lesbian employees, and has backed the Minnesota AIDS Walk and Twin Cities Pride. Best Buy had a similarly gay-friendly reputation, and both companies have been celebrated by the Human Rights Campaign."
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Nobody, except a few Brahmins in Delhi and two or three Trotskyites in New York, still believes that the earthly paradise can be achieved by nationalizing General Motors and turning the corner grocery store over to the Mayor's office. Socialism, as a coherent ideology, is dead and is not likely to be revived by student rebels in Paris or Soviet tanks in Prague. (emphasis added).hmmm.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Monday, July 12, 2010
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Monday, May 31, 2010
To the Editor:
The copyright hassles of Blaise Faint (Independent Weekly 2/1/95) [2010 note: alas, I no longer recall what Blaise Faint’s copyright hassles were] illustrate how obsolete intellectual property rights have become in the electronic age, when information can be duplicated and transmitted a hundred times over in the blink of an eye.
Intellectual property rights – copyrights, patents, and the like – have always stood on dubious ground, both ethically and economically.
Don’t get me wrong. As a wild-eyed free-marketeer, I’m a fan of property rights in general – probably more so than most people. And at one time my enthusiasm for property rights extended to intellectual property as well.
But ethically, property rights of any kind have to be justified as extensions of the right of individuals to control their own lives. Thus any alleged property rights that conflict with this moral basis – like the “right” to own slaves – are invalidated. Intellectual property rights also fail to pass this test. To enforce copyright laws and the like is to prevent people from making peaceful use of the information they possess. If you have acquired the information legitimately (say, by buying a book), the on what grounds can you be prevented from using it reproducing it, trading it? Is this not a violation of the freedom of speech and press?
Me: of course when the constitutional power to protect copyright pre-exists the first amendment. And the First Amendment did not explicitly repeal the protection of copyright. So unless this is just a argument based on what freedom of speech should entail, I don't think this is what the First Amendment was intended to accomplish.
It may be objected that the person who originated the information deserves ownership rights over it. But information is not a concrete thing an individual can control; it is a universal, existing in other people’s minds and other people’s property, and over those the originator has no legitimate sovereignty. You cannot own information without owning other people.
As for the economic case for property rights, that case depends on scarcity, and information is not, technically speaking, a scarce resource. If A uses some material resource, that makes less of the resource for B, so we need some legal mechanism for determining who gets to use what when. But information is not like that; when A acquires information, that does not decrease B’ share, so property rights are not needed.
Of course an MP3 file of a song can be reproduced infinitely without any problem. However, it takes humans real time to produce a song. And people's time is scarce. Increases in productivity and standard of living are due to people using their time more effectively. If the true benefit to the society of a intellectual property is not internalized to the creator of it, then there will inevitably be less of that property created than is optimal.
Some will say that such rights are needed in order to give artists and inventors the financial incentive to create. But most of the great innovators in history operated without benefit of copyright laws. Indeed, sufficiently stringent copyright laws would have made their achievements impossible. Great playwrights like Euripides and Shakespeare never wrote an original plot in their lives; their masterpieces are all adaptations and improvements of stories written by others. Many of our greatest composers, like Bach, Tchaikovsky, and Ives, incorporated into their work the compositions of others. Such appropriation has long been an integral part of legitimate artistic freedom. (In any case, whatever protection innovators may need can be achieved through voluntary means, such as contract or boycott; there are many successful historical examples of this kind of remedy in copyright cases.)
First, just because great artists made great art in the absence of copyright does not mean that copyright would not improve things. The question is whether those artists would have created even more or even greater art with copyright protections in place. Or whether there might have been more artist creating art, but because they knew the benefits of their creation would not be internalized, they did something else.
Also, historically, there were ways to limit the spread of a piece of work, and therefore, better internalize the benefits of it. At the time of Mozart, if you wanted to enjoy his symphony, you couldn't download an MP3; you had to go to the symphony. The benefits of intellectual property were internalized, even in the absence of property.
The argument that copyright may stifle creativity is the strongest. But as the movie Avatar demonstrates, even with copyright, we have plenty of story borrowing. And copyright does not last forever, (although it is extended every time the copyright on Steamboat Willie is about to expire). This is where knowing IP law would be helpful. But I understand you can still use someone else's copyrighted material if you do something transformative with it. You can still do parodies of copyrighted material. You can use those materials for literary criticism. There is a fair use exception to copyright. So I think Shakespeare still could write his plays today because Copyright protections are not absolute.
Protect copyright through contract? I doubt that will work. Once a electronic file gets out, there is no way to trace it back to the original purchaser who promised not to share it. And I doubt Boycott would be effective enough to properly internalize the true value of a product. Think file sharing.
Though never justified, copyright laws have probably not done too much damage to society so far. But in the Computer Age they are now becoming increasingly costly shackles on human progress. Consider, for instance, Project Gutenberg, a marvelous nonprofit effort to transfer as many books as possible to electronic format and make then available over the internet for free. Unfortunately, most of the works done to date have been pre-20th century – to avoid the hassles of copyright law. Thus, copyright laws today are working to restrict the availability of information, not to promote it. More importantly, modern electronic communications are simply beginning to make copyright laws unenforceable, or at least, unenforceable by any means short of a government takeover of the internet – and such a chilling threat to the future of humankind would clearly be a cure far worse than the disease.
Intellectual property rights are a luxury we can no longer afford.
Copyright restricts project Gutenberg printing books, because if the second someone wrote a book it appeared on project Gutenberg for free, many of the books people write today would not be written at all.
I'm not convinced. But there are more thoughts by the same blogger here.