Some of the bits of the Web that I pay close attention to are trying to figure out how to react to the Republican Study Committee’s new thinkpiece on copyright. On the one hand, they want to cheer on every word of the document, even if it is written from a more directly market-oriented perspective than their own.
On the other … Republican Study Committee.
I don’t know anything about the motivations of the aide who wrote this paper. However, I think it’s reasonably safe to speculate that if the Republican party takes this up, it will be less because of its burning desire to promote a healthy remix culture (‘tho perhaps their desperation to appeal to the kids might play a small role), and more because they’d like to screw an industry largely composed of people who give to the Democratic party
Even so, it poses an interesting question. Would we be better off in a world where this position prevailed, so that (a) copyright law was much looser, (b) the entertainment industry was much poorer, and (c ) giving to the Democratic party and other liberal causes was significantly lower as a result?It starts out kind of interesting, expressing the intellectual dilemma that faces someone when someone they are used to arguing with presents an idea they support. Then it swerves hard in the paranoid direction of assuming it must be a tactical scheme in a negative-sum fight between the two political parties.
In a way, the question he raised at the end is an interesting and important issue of organization vs ideals. Now that we have built the battle lines, how can we step away from them (short of total domination of the other side)? Can we admit that "our side" wasn't always perfect, and, more importantly, can we admit the other side had some good qualities?
I have little hope for the crooked timber of humanity if people who remind them selves every day from their masthead that we are imperfect, can't get past seeing any idea presented by the other side as being first and formost a way to screw them.