Austro-Anarchist Libertarian Legal Theory
KOL364 | Soho Forum Debate vs. Richard Epstein: Patent and Copyright Law Should Be Abolished
Kinsella on Liberty Podcast, Episode 364.
This is my Soho Forum debate held Nov. 15, 2021, in Manhattan, against professor Richard Epstein, moderated by Gene Epstein. I defended the resolution "all patent and copyright law should be abolished" and Professor Epstein opposed it. Oxford debate rules applied which meant that whoever changed the most minds won. My side went from about 20 to 29 percentage points, gaining about 9; Richard went from about 44 to 55%, gaining about 11, so he won by 1.7 percentage points.
Transcript and postmortem episode to follow. My notes are below.
Abolish Intellectual Property Rights?
Patent lawyer Stephan Kinsella debates Law Professor Richard Epstein
GENE EPSTEIN | 11.24.2021 1:00 PM
Abolish Intellectual Property Rights?
The United States Constitution explicitly calls for copyright and patent laws to "promote the progress of science and useful arts" by "authors and inventors." But would getting rid of all intellectual property laws actually encourage more creativity and innovation by inventors, writers, and artists?
That was the topic of a November 15 Soho Forum debate held in New York City.
Stephan Kinsella, who's spent 28 years as a practicing patent law attorney, argued in favor of the proposition that "all patent and copyright law should be abolished."
He believes that government-created intellectual property laws empower patent and copyright trolls and powerful corporate interests while limiting the free flow of information, thus reducing the rate of innovation and creativity.
Richard Epstein, the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law at NYU School of Law, says that our current system isn't perfect but sees copyright and patents as a natural extension of private property rights and believes that it should be defended by libertarians accordingly.
The debate took place in New York City in front of a live audience and was moderated by Soho Forum Director Gene Epstein.
Narrated by Nick Gillespie. Edited by John Osterhoudt. Production by Caveat. Photos by Brett Raney.
In 2018, Gene Epstein retired from a 26-year stint as Economics and Books Editor at Barron's, where he wrote the weekly column, "Economic Beat." He's director of the Soho Forum, which he co-founded in 2016, a monthly debate series that receives fiscal sponsorship from the Reason Foundation.
—✦— Kinsella Notes —✦—
Resolved: All patent and copyright law should be abolished.
A Soho Forum Debate
Stephan Kinsella vs. Richard Epstein
Nov. 15, 2021
Caveat, 21 A Clinton St. New York, NY 10002
MAIN PRESENTATION – NOTES
Resolution: All patent and copyright law should be abolished
because these laws violate property rights, they violate freedom of speech and the press, they distort culture, they impede innovation, they literally kill people, and they impoverish the human race.
There is nothing good about patent and copyright law.
They are total abominations and harm humanity.
They are a mistake.
[No, you don’t have to be an anarchist, anti-legislation, a Rothbardian, Austrian, or even a libertarian to oppose IP law]
(By the way I’ve been practicing patent and IP law for 28 years, representing clients such as Intel, General Electric, and so on.
So I have some rough idea of how the actual system works.)
What are the laws in question?
Copyright protects the right to copy of make “derivative works” of “original works of authorship” for the...
KOL363 | Explain Argumentation Ethics to Me Like I’m 5, with Caleb Brown
Kinsella on Liberty Podcast, Episode 363. I was interviewed by Caleb Brown on the topic of argumentation ethics and related matters. Recorded Oct. 29, 2021.
Note: I mangled my friend Bogdan Dabrowski's name during the podcast, switching it around and Russifying it to Dobran Bogdanovitch or something like that. Mea culpa, Brother Bogdan! (some of his work is linked here: Bogdan Dabrowski, Mises’ Human Action & Hoppe’s Argumentation Ethics applied to Psychology, Philosophy Europe Convention, Cryptoanarchy Institute, Prague (Sept. 12, 2015); and Praxeological Psychology, 27 February 2013)
KOL362 | California Gold #6, with Matt Sands: Defining Libertarianism, Anarchism and Voluntaryism
Kinsella on Liberty Podcast, Episode 362.
I was a guest on California Gold #6, with guest host Matthew Sands. From the shownotes:
Stephan and Matt covered a wide variety of libertarian themes, including property rights, self-ownership, the Non-Aggression Principle, intellectual property, Hoppean Argumentation Ethics, Georgism, Objectivism, utilitarianism, deontology and much more. Stephan was hosted by Matthew Sands of the Nation of Sanity project (http://www.nationsofsanity.com/), which aims to promote the Non-Aggression Principle as a universal peace agreement, hosting for California Gold for the first time.
KOL361 | Libertarian Answer Man: Oaths: With Kent Wellington
Kinsella on Liberty Podcast, Episode 361.
A nice young man, self-described as "generally an anarchist? But also a statist (monarchist? ie 'the kingdom of heaven') in the spiritual sense" had some questions for me since he doesn't have a lot of people to bounce his ideas off of. I agreed to do it if we could record it, in case anything interesting came out of it. You be the judge.
A variety of topics came up, primarily his interest in the problem of "oaths" as the root evil in the modern world, and related/other issues like the nature of contracts, usury as evil, Pournelle's "iron law of bureaucracy," Jesus, and the evils of the Uniform Commercial Code (something to do with Babylon), and Galambos.
Libertarian Answer Man: Oaths: With Kent Wellington
Stephan Kinsella & Kent Wellington
Oct. 17, 2021
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Okay, hey, this is Stephan Kinsella, Kinsella on Liberty. This is another one of my episodes where someone asked to talk to me about something. And I said yes, if I can record it in case there’s anything of interest to listeners. So this is Kent Wellington who briefly informed me he’s not exactly a libertarian but just has some questions. I don’t really know what you want to talk about, but Kent, why don’t you introduce yourself, however you want to do it, and then we can start?
KENT WELLINGTON: Hey there. My name is Kent Wellington, and I just have been very anti-IP since I was a child really. And when I realized that Mr. Kinsella was the one who wrote one of my favorite books, Against IP, I was really taken aback. And then I was like, wow, I should reach out to him and just try to have a conversation with him because I’ve sort of been in the – what do you say – I’ve just been up in the towers on these topics for a long time, like my whole life.
And I’ve never – I never really get to talk about these topics with anybody one on one, and I just saw his – that he puts his email out there, so I was like, I’ll just email him, see if he’ll – he’s willing to talk to me for even a minute. So that’s what we’re doing right now, and I have some very different takes, I guess, what I think are some novel takes but maybe aren’t, and I’d love to be proven wrong, or I just wanted to throw some things at you regarding contracts, IP, anarchism, a few different things. Mainly, I guess my main hypothesis is – so I’m very into the quotes from Jesus on oaths, and I believe that, without – so I think that oaths are the key social mechanism of the state. Do you – what do you think about that? Are oaths not the key social mechanism of the state?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Oaths? O-A-T-H?
KENT WELLINGTON: Yes, oaths, yeah.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I’m not sure I know what that means. What do you mean?
KENT WELLINGTON: So oaths are – if you want to become a doctor in the US, at least a professionally recognized doctor, you have to take the Hippocratic Oath. Others are – so our whole professional society is filled with oaths, which are really these sort of mystical activities, and our secular world is filled with these oaths. To become a lawyer, you need to take the bar oath. To become a politician, you just swear in. You need to take an oath of office. There’s a bajillion oaths you need to take in modern society if you want to partake in modern society.
And so Jesus – and I’m not necessarily getting religious here. You can just say that in one of the most popular books in the world, which the Bible is, well, the biggest guy, the most important guy in the book, in the New Testament, Jesus,
KOL360 | Discussion with Isaac Funderburk about College, Careers, IP
Kinsella on Liberty Podcast, Episode 360.
Isaac Funderburk sent me this email:
Hello, Mr. Kinsella! I'm an economics student in Tennessee looking to get involved in the discourse around Austrian economics and libertarianism, particularly through culture change and academic organizations. Would it be possible to talk for a few minutes sometime this weekend or next week?
I'm currently working with Turning Point USA as a social media manager and event organizer for a local ambassador, and I am involved with the Libertarian Party in the area. I've been familiar with Austrian economics for years now, but I had the good fortune to get an Austrian economics professor this semester and he has influenced me to pursue connections within the Mises Institute. I came across the many Mises Institute lectures and articles, and realized this is something I could get behind.
I've recently spoken to Dr. Jonathan Newman, Mr. Jeff Deist, and Dr. Patrick Newman. I'm interested in understanding contract theory on a deeper level and found your lectures on intellectual property to be insightful.
Would it be possible to arrange a brief phone call this week? Thank you for your time.
We talked about college and what a libertarians goals should be, activism, careers, publishing, and economic and libertarian issues such as intellectual property.
Advice for Prospective Libertarian Law Students
Reading Suggestions for Prospective/New Law Students (Roman/Civil law focus) (March 3, 2021)
KOL359 | State Constitutions vs. the Libertarian Private Law Code (PFS 2021)
Kinsella on Liberty Podcast, Episode 359.
From the recently-concluded Fifteenth Annual (2021) Meeting of the PFS, Bodrum, Turkey (Sept. 16–21, 2021).
For others, see the links in the Program, or the PFS YouTube channel, including the growing PFS 2021 YouTube Playlist. Additional media of the proceedings will be released presently.
For a similar talk, see KOL345 | Kinsella’s Libertarian “Constitution” or: State Constitutions vs. the Libertarian Private Law Code (PorcFest 2021).
The followup panel discussion later that day is here:
My notes are below:
State Constitutions vs. The Libertarian Private Law Code
Property and Freedom Society Annual Meeting
Sep. 19, 2021 – Bodrum, Turkey
Joke: I’ve prepared a libertarian constitution, and I hope to cover as much of its 18 parts and 45 pages as possible in the next half hour.
Part I, Section A, Subsection 1: “Definitions.”
Just kidding. I’m not going to read it. I haven’t even finished it yet. My wife said “is this what you geeks think is funny?” I said we’ll see. Half of them may be relieved, but some of them will be saying “Oh damn, I wanted to hear a Libertarian Constitution read to me.”
Tell Hoppe Porcfest choking joke.
I’m going to talk about the idea of constitutions and libertarianism—whether the idea makes sense at all.
Since I’ve been a libertarian in the early 1980s, I’ve seen various utopian libertarian projects, many of them scams, most of them failures—
cruise ship nations, now seasteading (Blueseed);
Oceania—The Atlantis Project
Same people: Project Lifeboat: “From the people who brought you the Oceania project so many years ago comes the Lifeboat project. An attempt to create a spaceship for the purposes of saving the human race from the singularity predicted by Vernor Vinge.”
crazy guys homesteading abandoned oil rigs and declaring sovereignty;
private justice, arbitration, and common law groups;
The “Creative Common Law” project (Jamin Hubner), an anarcho-capitalist project in which I was enlisted as an advisor, only for it to later turn from “Creative Common Law 1.0: Anarcho-Capitalism” to “Creative Common Law 2.0: Anarcho-Socialism/Syndicalism”
Always be wary of “Waystation libertarians”
Tom Bell’s “Ulex,” or “Open Source Legal Operating System”;
LiberLand, which I helped draft an early constitution for
see “The Voluntaryist Constitution”
Galt’s Gulch Chile, a scam that ended in disaster;
the Honduras special economic zones;
General Governance (David Johnston), the idea of leveraging Indian tribes’ special status to extend their federal tax-free enclaves or zones;
even the Free State Project
National Constitution Center’s “The Libertarian Constitution”
Roderick Long’s “Imagineering Freedom: A Constitution of Liberty Part I: Between Anarchy and Limited Government” and Michael Darby’s “Draft Constitution for a Reviving or New Nation,” both at http://freenation.org/a/
Dennis Pratt https://www.quora.com/What-would-a-libertarian-bill-of-rights-look-like/answer/Dennis-Pratt-3
Siegen, Bernard H. (1994) Drafting a Constitution for a Nation or Republic Emerging into Freedom. 2d ed. Fairfax, Virginia: George Mason University Press.
I’ve been dragooned into helping some of these as consultant or advisor—
General Governance, we met with Indian tribe north of Texas; now you get a 404, as David Johnston moved on to bitcoin, after assuring me that within 6 months we’ll have a libertarian nation.
Will I choose a Kinsella interview to doze off to. But thats okay, I know Woods will put me to sleep. ;)
If you don’t buy the govt version of historical events you’re “naive and retarded” according to Kinsella. Your following should know what you think of them.
Kinsella is right
Awesome on IP, GREAT LIBERTY MINDED individuals