If someone invented the ability to copy food, or copy oil, there would be riots in the streets if everyone couldn’t have all the food and oil they wanted.
And today, with MASSIVE political upside to conservatives:
We can promise the have-nots ALL the movies for FREE.
We can promise them ALL the video games for FREE.
We can promise them a copy of EVERY song for FREE.
We can promise them a copy of EVERY single college course taught at an Ivy League school for FREE.
Conservatives should & ought to do this.
We should do this because the Entertainment and Academic industries are not on our side, and we have no reason to support them.
We ought to do this because property rights do not and cannot extend to the digital. And we look foolish going along with it.
Property rights, since the Magna Carta, have been the foundation of free market economics, and personal liberty.
We put incredible value on a bar of gold, a dirty old shoe, a new 60” TV, a home PRECISELY because it cannot be duplicated freely and shared.
If we could duplicate and share the atomic we wouldn’t have to worry about property rights… they never would have existed.
Even further, we so innately know the difference between the two things, if someone tries to take something atomic from someone else, we view the use of force (even deadly force) as moral.
For now, forget Intellectual Property. We can discuss it at length later.
Even if we fast forward into the world of 3D printing, surely we can imagine the digital designs being unprotected and passed around freely, while the plastic, ceramics and metal - those ARE YOURS, and you must OWN THEM to print the shiny new thing.
The reason this crucial distinction is necessary between the digital (formed by bits) and the atomic (formed by atoms) is that when things go digital, SCARCITY goes out the window.
Scarcity is the backbone of economics historically. People have limited means, and unlimited wants.
But yet, this year more than last, and next year more than this - every year into the foreseeable future: more of humanity’s quality of life, more of human consumption, more of human want is digital vs. the atomic.
A new economics is in order: People have limited means for ATOMIC wants, but they can be fulfilled digitally to their hearts content.
Atomic capitalism does not go away when we embrace digital “socialism.”
In fact, I argue it is just the opposite.
Since we have been conned by Hollywood and Academia that somehow turning their work into free unlimited beer for the people… hurts America, we have caused our citizens to treat our atomic property rights as junk.
The defensive logic of Hollywood and Academia makes no sense to have-nots, so when we let creatives stand next to real property owners and act as if their digital assets are just like atomic ones… we demean the unfortunate zero-sum fact of atoms.
We demean the very foundations of property rights.
But if instead, conservatives approach the masses and say, “We have many free things to give you, and they are your moral right, since no one else has to give up theirs for you to be entertained and informed,” we are re-enforcing the specialness of the atomic.
By being honest, and speaking the capital “T” Truth to the have-nots, respecting what is to them so obvious, we can gain rational credibility, so when we double down on atomic property rights… they trust us.
Perhaps, the creative intelligentsia will come to have greater respect for conservatives’ property. Perhaps not.
But conservatives ought to fully embrace digital socialism, in order to save atomic capitalism.