International Journal of Inactivism (now supplanted by Decoding SwiftHack)


Heartland Institute has a notion of software freedom

Filed under: Bonner and Associates,Heartland Institute,randomness — stepanovich @ 08:04

cite as: F. Bi. 2009. Heartland Institute has a notion of software freedom. Intl. J. Inact., 2:92–93

I have to admit, I’m somewhat uncomfortable with writing about global warming inactivism, because climate is such a diffuse phenomenon which I can’t simply directly tinker with in a lab. Thankfully, our old climate inactivist friend, the Heartland Institute, started talking nonsense about computer software, something I have somewhat more experience with. After publishing an essay by one James Lakely on their web site about the oh-so-scary Marxist plot behind the Free Software movement, they’ve put up another essay by Lakely which says this: [cached]

Apple has approved the creation of more than 65,000 applications (apps) for its wildly popular iPhone.51 Yet this year, it denied one — Google Voice — for the very good reason it would supplant the iPhone’s core software design and functionality. That decision by Apple prompted the FCC in the summer of 2009 to launch a net neutrality-related inquiry, creating the impression that anything less than approval of all applications may be presumed to be a violation of the FCC’s broadband principles. That is alarming, and absurd. […]

If a manufacturer or carrier does not have the latitude to reasonably restrict applications to ensure they abide with contracted terms of use and a viable business model/offering, then a provider effectively would have no property rights under the U.S. Constitution. That wireless provider also would have no meaningful design, operating, or business role to differentiate its product or service from competitors. […]

As more and more smart phones, netbooks, notebooks, and laptops are enabled to exploit wireless broadband, where would the line logically be drawn where the FCC’s wireless innovation regulation would stop? […]

Well, as you may remember, the other day I wrote a program which crawls through web sites and IP addresses. In the current proto-Marxist regime, I can just load up the program and run it:

$ ./ go
labyrinthvs: created directory /home/.../.labyrinthvs
labyrinthvs: created db
labyrinthvs: rolled back any uncommitted db changes
labyrinthvs: created any uncreated tables and indices
labyrinthvs: created web ua LABYRINTHVS libwww-perl/5.805
labyrinthvs: added pending url (priority 4a957c61.00000000)
labyrinthvs: processing url
labyrinthvs: ... resolved to

Now, if I live in a capitalist world with clear product differentiation and perfect respect for property rights, I’ll probably first need to submit my application to the PC manufacturer for approval, perhaps like an acolyte of yore:

Acolyte (me): O Great Computer Manufacturer Most Wise, Most Capitalist, and Most Free, would you approve my application, that I may use it to perform computations in your honour?

Then the Great Computer Manufacturer will carefully scan my program code for any signs of Marxism, or anti-Apple sentiment, or criticisms of Thomas Jefferson — and if all’s clear, they’ll finally tell me that my software has been approved for running, in accordance with the property rights protections as codified in the Constitution of the United States.

In other news, the Bonner and Associates fiasco continues.



  1. Frank, here’s something that deserves your special treatment.

    The only MSM TV source I follow is Rachel Maddow, who has a penchant for covering lobby groups, astroturfing, and similar. On yesterday’s show, she highlighted an interesting Heritage Foundation website I wasn’t aware of:, designed to reveal what they refer to as legislation against “trivial conduct [that] is now often punished as a crime”.

    The piece Maddow highlighted was this Heritage Foundation-led website protesting a law adding jail time to people who use illegal child labor – which, oddly, does not show up on the website’s search engine, but was still located on site by Google. Poking through its entry showed that it was, as recently as last year, opposed to laws against child sexual slavery, internet identity thieves, child soldiers, internet pedophiles / child pornographers, ENRON-style fraud, and (naturally) pollution, as they obviously are “trivial conduct [that] is now often punished as a crime”. But obviously they’re still representing the Moral Majority.

    (It would be interesting to take this libertarian viewpoint and present it to the ‘values voters’ and see if they’re OK with it.)

    It’s also worth noting that Overcriminalized’s commentary on the House climate bill includes calling CO2 a “so-called greenhouse gas”, while its server also hosts and the drill-baby-drill The site also takes a stance against internet/software freedom legislation, such as HR275 – which, you’ll note, was also opposed by groups like Microsoft. This reminds me of vintage Lambert in more ways than one.

    Comment by Brian D — 2009/11/11 @ 21:04 | Reply

  2. […] Brian D mentions a web site which was owned by another of those free-market ‘think-tanks’ — the Heritage ‘Foundation’. It protested against what it claims is the overuse of criminal law (in preference over civil law) in the prosecution of things like acts of negligence, and gives the following case study: Every tragic story that garners public attention seems to be addressed by adding to an increasingly long list of criminal laws. To illustrate the problem, Judge Bing cited the “Careless Driving” law. After a young woman was tragically killed in a car accident where the other driver was at fault but was not intoxicated or otherwise driving dangerously, her father started a campaign to enact a criminal law against “careless driving.” […]

    Pingback by Heritage Foundation has a notion of … freedom « International Journal of Inactivism — 2009/11/13 @ 20:42 | Reply

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