Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The DMCA: A Blogging Tory weighs in.

Credit where credit is due. Discuss.

STARTING THINGS OFF, I'm fascinated by this position of Aaron's:

Governments are under no obligation to consult with the public in the development of any bill. True, they do so at their own peril, and put themselves at risk of outcries just like the one erupting over DMCA. But it is not incumbent upon them to hold public meetings, and their failure to do so does not give them any less legitimacy.

But, Aaron ... given the slogan of the Stephen Harper Party of Canada of "Gettings things done for Canadians," how exactly do you propose that Steve and the Stevettes can "get things done" for Canadians if they have no idea what "things" those Canadians want "done" for them in the first place?

And isn't it a bit inconsistent to take the position that public consultation isn't such a big deal when that same party, not that long ago, was howling endlessly about the badness of same-sex marriage because, ostensibly, a majority of Canadians had made their opinions known on the subject?

And given how poll-driven are the Conservatives, to now suggest that they don't really need to hear from the public on this issue smacks of rank hypocrisy, wouldn't you say?

Anyway, I'm out of here for a couple of hours, so I'll leave it up to the regular swarm of rabid weasels to nail your posting bleeding to a wall, Aaron. I'm sure they'll be gentle.


Ti-Guy said...

Ah, I think Aaron should be complimented for posting that. It's entirely consistent with libertarian views regarding property and whether you agree with it or not, property is the concept at which thinking about this issue should begin.

The legalistic argument about the government's obligation to hold public consultations is unappealing. It's the type of attitude that ends up justifying all kinds of government misdeeds and no citizen should bother making it. Leave the spin-doctors to argue that case.

It reminds me once again of how propagandised we all are that we discuss politics as if we're all politicians.

ALW said...

Well CC,

The first point is that the slogan is "getting things done" not, "holding lots of meetings and taking lots of notes"

I’m not saying that any party is ever correct when they assert that polls are the basis for what’s right or wrong, much less what policy they adopt. But given that, as you, say, this government likes to spend public money commissions polls, and that this was resoundingly condemned in progressive circles as a bad thing, why would it be a good thing now?

So either the Tories were wrong before for consulting too much or wrong now for not consulting enough. It can’t be both.

ALW said...


Thanks - copyright is actually a very contentious issue in libertarian circles, but I agree with you that in order to be consistent I can’t see how musclar copyright laws can be framed as anything other than state protectionism.

Red Tory said...

Wow, that’s quite a howler and really astonishing when you consider the deep Reform roots of the Conservative Party (and Harper in particular) with respect to the fundamental belief that the public should have a high degree of public input into the formation of government policy. As I understood that sentiment, it was part of the Conservative Party’s core values of promoting transparency, accountability and democracy. Those are actually quite worthy objectives, but it would seem Aaron prefers the more authoritarian “father knows best” type of government where information is doled out with great reluctance on a “need to know” basis. So how is this different from the “arrogance” of the Liberals who have been prone to ignoring the public in the past?

LuLu said...

Shorter ALW:

CC might actually maybe have a point about the DMCA and the MIA Blogging Tories. But he swears a lot.

Scotian said...

So ALW believes only the elites deserve to have input into legislation and that the public does not given all the elites consultation this government does and shapes legislation for like with this DMCA and oh say the IT betrayal while leaving the public out of the equation, no wonder he supports a Straussian like Harper so strongly. For someone that lives in a representative democracy like ours to be making such arguments on this as he has here such a remark shows just how thin the commitment to the democratic system is and how total the party allegiance/loyalty/commitment is.

Sad really, and alas also a dangerous mindset/attitude in democratic societies.


Yes, it is interesting to see how so many former Reformers who were oh so concerned with citizen input into legislation have now suddenly become unconcerned with that. Like with so many of their other so called principled positions while in opposition it turns out to be situational, as in whether their guys or "the enemy" is the government. Now why am I not surprised by this? Oh yes that's right, because I have been paying attention the last few decades!

ALW said...

("Deep Reform roots" eh? But last week supposedly Harper was to blame for Brian Mulroney’s transgressions. I can’t seem to keep pace with the changing story.)

First off, I was never a Reformer. Secondly, what’s really howling is hearing nanny-state progressives make accusations about who’s an elitist. Third, I never said that the public shouldn’t have input; what I said, very specifically, was that the government - any government - is not legally obligated to hold hearings before it writes legislation, and failing to hold such hearings does not impugn the legitimacy of said legislation.

It’s especially rich to see finger wagging coming this crowd that’s engaged in “gotcha” politics for so many years. If you want to know why Stephen Harper is such a “control freak”, it’s because he knows that any minor discussion coming out of the Tory ranks won’t be treated maturely as the mere healthy discussion of issues and the wonderful blossoming of discourse in a free society. Rather, it’ll be immediately pounced upon by the Left as, inter alia, evidence of darker elements influencing party decisions, Harper facing rebels in his own party, Harper running roughshod over the latest Garth Turner/Bill Casey in caucus etc etc.

My proof: the substance of my post was about why the DCMA-clone is probably going to suck. But since I agree with most of you on that, instead you all need to try to pick on the one minor point of contention.

Southern Quebec said...

Maybe the reason that you have not heard about the DMCA over at SDA, is because Kate is not paying royalties for that cute little RoadRunner she paints?

The Seer said...


Gotcha! Gotcha! Gotcha!

In the US Congress, and in American state legislatures, the members are required to consult the public. Mechanically, the process starts with publication of the title of the bill, which is normally an outline of its contents, and publication of the agendas of legislative committees, since the legislative committees almost always hold hearings on public bills before they are sent to the floor.

The point behind "notice & hearing," as codified in the agency rule making procedures of the Administrative Procedures Act, is "fully informed decision-making," i. e., an opportunity for the governed to know and understand what the government proposes, and to give the government the benefit of the public's knowledge, before a bill or rule is carved into stone. The thinking is that no one staff can see all the obvious problems with a proposal, but if you provide public notice and an opportunity to comment, problems with the proposal will surface before you have made a fool out of yourself.

In Congress, the strictures of the committee system are evaded in "conference committee," when representatives of the two houses meet to work out differences in a bill. A conference committee can literally throw anything into the bill, which then is subject to a simple up-or-down vote in each house. Customarily, this is how pork gets into law. But they literally can put anything in a bill reported out of conference.

Many states have adopted a "title/object" clause in their state constitutions, which renders a provision in a statute "unconstitutional" if (a) the contents of the bill go unreasonably beyond the title, or (b) the statute, as enacted, has more than one "object."

Red Tory said...

Aaron — Yes, I was focusing on the premise to your opinion regarding the DMCA and not your overall assessment of it. Perhaps that’s unfair to isolate a salient point, but as I said, your statement seems rather astonishing to me and quite significant apart from anything else.

By the way, I wasn’t suggesting that YOU were a Reformer (or necessarily even agreed with their positions), but many Conservatives are and Stephen Harper most especially came from that background. Like it or not, a lot of the Reform Party’s values are now those of the CPC. That’s not necessarily bad thing, particularly when it comes to the matter of transparency, public (grassroots) participation and accountability.

Of course you’re correct that, technically speaking, the government has no legal requirement to consult with the public beforehand when it comes to the formulation of policy, but I think most people would agree that seeking input for ALL relevant stakeholders — not just one group of “special interests” — makes good sense and is how things should work in a representative liberal democracy such as ours. It seems odd to me that you felt compelled to stake out the position that the government is in no way legally required or obligated to engage in public consultations. Especially seeing as the proposed legislation in question has the potential to impact so many people (i.e., this isn’t some minor tinkering to the tax code or a bit of obscure regulatory tweaking — it could bite you in the ass when you go sell something on E-Bay, for example).

As for Harper being a “control freak” and how he chooses to deal with opinions from within his own party, that’s neither here nor there with respect to this issue.

Wayne said...

ti-guy was very rational with his posts, maybe there is hope.

This is usually the site of groupthink alw. Just like a Monty Python skit.

Brian (CC): Please, please, please listen! I've got one or two things to say.
The Crowd: Tell us! Tell us both of them!
Brian (CC): Look, you've got it all wrong! You don't NEED to follow ME, You don't NEED to follow ANYBODY! You've got to think for your selves! You're ALL individuals!
The Crowd: Yes! We're all individuals!
Brian (CC): You're all different!
The Crowd: Yes, we ARE all different!
Man in crowd: I'm not...
The Crowd: Sch!

Any well reasoned post you provide usually will be attacked with the usual foul words, personal attacks and name calling.

Everyone here has a track record of belittling anyone who slightly disagrees with their beliefs, even if you agree with most of what they are saying.

�Democracy is a means of living together despite our differences. Democratic deliberation is an alternative to physical violence. It is predicated on the assumption that it�s possible to disagree agreeably, that it�s better to laugh than cry, that one can vigorously contest the positions of one�s adversary without questioning his or her personal integrity or motivation, and that parties to a debate are entitled to the presumption that their views are legitimate if not correct.�
-Thomas Mann

Civil discourse will never be found here, just leftist groupthink hate.

Ti-Guy said...

Seer: What was the point of that little civics lesson?


If you want to know why Stephen Harper is such a “control freak”, it’s because he knows that any minor discussion coming out of the Tory ranks won’t be treated maturely as the mere healthy discussion of issues and the wonderful blossoming of discourse in a free society.

Have you actually forgotten what Harpy's said over the years? The firewall? Canada's second-rate status? The support for the Iraq invasion? And that's the stuff he felt comfortable expressing publicly.

Harpy's a control freak because he heads a party consisting of people too stupid to know when they're saying something mean and too mean to care that they're saying something stupid.

counter-coulter said...

Wayne said...
Any well reasoned post you provide usually will be attacked with the usual foul words, personal attacks and name calling.

Someone break out the fainting couch and smelling salts, Wayne's here.

Crabgräss said...

Wayne: "Any well reasoned post you provide usually will be attacked with the usual foul words, personal attacks and name calling."

Shut up, Fuckface.

Crabgräss said...


Ti-Guy said...

Didn't Wayne figure out that moaning about tone doesn't really count for much here?

I really want to see the end of complaints about civility. It's so, so tiremsome.

Rightwing blogs, particularly the comments sections, make me wretch. So, I don't read them.

Hitler hated profanity, by the way.

Red Tory said...

Isn’t Wayne like the “Dumbest Blogger, Ever®”? He’s so fantastically stupid it’s not even worth the effort pointing it out.

Go back to farming Wayne.

M@ said...

Any well reasoned post you provide usually will be attacked with the usual foul words, personal attacks and name calling.

Well, Wayne, why don't you try actually making a well-reasoned post some time, so we can see if your theory holds true?

Note: Mentioning your own blog posts of the type "Links to Articles What I Likes, By Wayne", sadly, do not qualify.

The Seer said...

Wayne. Amigo. In terms of foul language, this blog is more in the nature of a bar-room than a board room. This reflects the general social level of the liberal classes, whether working fools or intellectual snobs.

Secondly, the whole point about public debate is that there's a debate in public. If Sandra thought those ministers could acquit themselves well in public debate, she might be willing to loosen up. Don't tell me they have to keep quiet because of the debating skills of the opposition, as compared to the debating skills of those Sandra chose to fill out the cabinet. When you take that tack, you forfeit.

About the snobbery: This is not only how liberals treat conservatives; it is how they liberals each other. Again, this has more to do with class origins and male togetherness than anything else, whether the liberals are working class or university-educated. Liberals are just more contentious than social conservatives. From time to time, commentators on this blog, as well as the administrator hereof, feel they have a duty to remind yours truly to take his medication. How's that for friendly social intercourse? You need the duck's back kind of temperment to run with this crowd.

What you will not get from this crowd is canned argument, junk science or consistently sloppy thinking. We liberals call this "stimulation."

Wayne said...

Thanks seer.

My scottish granny always told me to be cooth.

It's a cultural thing I guess.

I'm an atheist and do not have a social conservative background, more a classical liberal background.

Anyway, DMCA is not being taken seriously enough by people in general, not just blogging tories.

Like any civil liberty/property issue it needs to be looked at very very carefully, by everyone.

Red Tory said...

All well and good Wayne, but you chose not discuss DMCA, but instead to bang on about the Pythonesque quality of the discourse (in your estimation) that you dismissed as “groupthink.” Well, um… why not try actually engaging on the subject rather than taking a knee-jerk partisan position? Also, the comments made in response to Aaron’s remarks weren’t notably uncivil or belittling. Furthermore, they take issue with him in different respects — hardly "groupthink" as you called it.

ALW said...


Ironic that of all the discussions I've been party to, this is the one you pick to accuse the progs of "groupthink". There's no point insulting them, although of course neither side can resist jabs all the time.

I'll keep coming back regardless, there's enough people willing to debate civilly enough of the time that it's worthwhile.

Ti-Guy said...

The word "civil" really brings out the worst in me lately. I get the impression the baby-boomers have bred a whole generation of scolding school marms.

ALW said...

ti-guy - yup.

KEvron said...

"Civil discourse will never be found here, just leftist groupthink hate."

well, that and rightist groupthink hate.

i think the next delicate rightie to cite either "civility" or "groupthink" (a wholey undeserved charge on this particular blog) should receive nothing but "fuck you" in perpetuity.


KEvron said...

er, "wholly".


KEvron said...

here's a sample of wayne's "civility":

"CC: has always been a delusional, narcissistic moron, just read his posts.....

CC will be a grumbling and yappy slave, who will no doubt receive many beatings."

lol! tres civil!


Phyl said...

alw, I always enjoy it when you comment, and although I don't have much time to read every worthwhile blog, I'm always glad when yours gets linked to.

Red Tory said...

KEv — LOL.

A fish, a barrel, a smoking gun...

Well done, sir.