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Ron Paul vs. RonPaul.com

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Clayton replied on Tue, Feb 12 2013 6:24 PM

I guess killing is more legitimate than torture. And deadly force is cool, but only after the criminal evades the cops.

Yes, killing may be justifiable under certain circumstances, though I cannot think of any circumstances where torture can be justified because torture is a depraved act.

And... cop out. Issues just seem to disappear form your responses as soon as I feel the point is proven. Maybe this is coincidence, or maybe not. I feel my point has been proven here as well, and your latest retort makes me wonder if pride prevents you from acknowledging your errors.

I address the points that I feel are relevant. If there's a specific point you strongly feel deserves to be answered, just call it out.

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What exactly did Ron Paul own, that he now does not, as a result of this website existing under it's current name? Or is it not an issue of theft? I don't really get it unless he's simply using whatever force he can to get what he wants.

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I completely understand trying to claim the domains that are his own name and his name is a brand at this point. The owner would not hand over the .com domain and asked for an unreasonable sum for someone who is meant to be a fan. One thing to sell tshirts with Ron Paul face on it during an election but he has retired now, it can become a bit exploitative. Why he had to go to the UN I am not sure. He could have just filed a complaint against the ISP in his own country. In some ways using the UN gives credibility to the UN in this sort of case which I think is a bad idea.

I could see how this sort of case could exist even without IP. Although at this point IP is about the only argument you could realy use in a legal case like this. I think there could exist a form of identity branding outside of traditional IP laws. Some where between misrepresenting your identity and trademark.

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dude6935 replied on Tue, Feb 12 2013 9:37 PM

1) Are you familiar with libertarian thought on proportionality? There are various takes on it, but it's pretty standard for libertarians to find torture not in proportion to theft.

Ok:

 If, then, proportionality sets the upper bound to punishment, how may we establish proportionality itself? The first point is that the emphasis in punishment must be not on paying one’s debt to “society,” whatever that may mean, but in paying one’s “debt” to the victim. Certainly, the initial part of that debt is restitution. This works clearly in cases of theft. If A has stolen $15,000 from B, then the first, or initial, part of A’s punishment must be to restore that $15,000 to the hands of B (plus damages, judicial and police costs, and interest foregone). Suppose that, as in most cases, the thief has already spent the money. In that case, the first step of proper libertarian punishment is to force the thief to work, and to allocate the ensuing income to the victim until the victim has been repaid. The ideal situation, then, puts the criminal frankly into a state of enslavement to his victim, the criminal continuing in that condition of just slavery until he has redressed the grievance of the man he has wronged.[3]

So it is proportional to enslave a thief until the debt is paid, but it is not proportional to punch him in the face until he becomes cooperative? And if he refuses to work as a slave, I presume is it in proportion to kill him, or at least refuse to feed him until he starves to death.

I don't buy it. You cannot arbitrarily graduate levels of legal force. As I just showed, even proportionality "in kind" fails if the criminal is uncooperative. The only non-arbitrary answer is that aggression justifies defensive force. Period. I don't reject the morality of proportionality, only its legality under libertarian law.

Marko pretty much handled 2. 

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gotlucky replied on Tue, Feb 12 2013 10:13 PM

I can't figure you out:

dude6935:

So it is proportional to enslave a thief until the debt is paid, but it is not proportional to punch him in the face until he becomes cooperative? And if he refuses to work as a slave, I presume is it in proportion to kill him, or at least refuse to feed him until he starves to death.

From the very piece that you quoted:

Thus, it should be quite clear that, under libertarian law, capital punishment would have to be confined strictly to the crime of murder. For a criminal would only lose his right to life if he had first deprived some victim of that same right. It would not be permissible, then, for a merchant whose bubble gum had been stolen, to execute the convicted bubble gum thief. If he did so, then he, the merchant, would be an unjustifiable murderer, who could be brought to the bar of justice by the heirs or assigns of the bubble gum thief.

It's plainly obvious that certain actions are considered to be out of proportion with the crime, and those actions are considered to be aggressive.

I don't buy it. You cannot arbitrarily graduate levels of legal force. As I just showed, even proportionality "in kind" fails if the criminal is uncooperative. The only non-arbitrary answer is that aggression justifies defensive force. Period. I don't reject the morality of proportionality, only its legality under libertarian law.

There is a world of a difference between defensive force and retaliatory force. Taking back your property is not defensive, it is retaliatory. I fully support reclaiming stolen property, though I don't support aggression in doing so. I'm amused that you think that torture is somehow proportional to the theft of money. There is nothing defensive in torture.

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dude6935 replied on Tue, Feb 12 2013 10:29 PM

I cannot think of any circumstances where torture can be justified because torture is a depraved act.

Yah, that is not circular at all. Torture is unjustifiable because it is [Morally corrupt; perverted].

I address the points that I feel are relevant. If there's a specific point you strongly feel deserves to be answered, just call it out.

Well last I heard, you rejected my position that people are not responsible for the positive externalities they enjoy. And you asserted that ronpaul.com can only attempt to engage in voluntary exchange because of man-made laws. Do you still hold these absurd positions that fly in the face of NAP, or did you change your mind? (I think you forgot about homesteading regarding ronpaul.com)

And you also seem to have dropped the argument that ronpaul.com has no homestead claim to its domain.

Here is one argument I overlooked after my work was lost. Since I am calling you out for dropping arguments, I feel obliged to correct my oversight:

The armorer for the abusive and aggressive police department can argue the same, no?

Yes. So what? They have done no harm. They have engaged in voluntary exchange.

I assume you will argue that they are receiving stolen goods.

1) I am not sold that receiving stolen goods is always harm, especially if it without foreknowledge.

2) The burden of proof is on the people whose money was stolen to prove that it is their money being used to buy equipment. And since some state funds are voluntarily donated and since money is fungible, that would be extremely difficult to prove.


 

 

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gotlucky replied on Tue, Feb 12 2013 10:48 PM

@Marko

Your position is the one that I lean towards, which is why I stated that I disagreed with Ron Paul's actions of using the state. What I wonder is what the situation would look like if domains were not awarded by a centralized organization. It may be, as Clayton claimed earlier in the thread, that accessing web sites would be so different in a decentralized utopia that the issue would be nonexistent. Maybe not. What I do know is that the system is centralized in a manner that it seems to actually create these disputes, as you have to follow their rules for domain names.

So if ICANN (and other government regulations) are creating a false scarcity in accessing web sites, I think it is reasonable to question if web domain ownership can even be considered legitimate in a libertarian sense. I don't think the situation is the same as the patent system, but I think it might be a little similar. You patent your special design for a door handle, and ultimately you register your domain name through ICANN. What if the current method of website access only exists because of this centralized system? Ultimately you have to follow the rules of the game, right or wrong. If you don't want your competition to patent your door handle, then you patent it (though a libertarian really should not sue the competition for infringing on the patent). If you want people to be able to access your website, then you have to register a name with ICANN.

I can think of two scenarios that might help get across my point:

1) Someone registers some land with the government and then homesteads it.

2) The government builds a network of roads and taxes people in order to pay for it.

So in the first scenario, it's pretty obvious that the homesteader rightfully owns the land. But in the second scenario, who gets to rightfully use the roads? Do car drivers get to rightfully use it? What about bicyclists? Parades? Protesters? Almost everyone pays for the roads one way or the other, so who gets to rightfully use them? People have to register with the government in order to have the right to use certain roads for parades and protests, otherwise they will be removed by the police.

So is the ronpaul.com situation more like scenario 1 or 2? I think that's a key question. Is "ronpaul.com" something that could truly have been homesteadable or is it a product of the governments regulations? While I think it is actually more like scenario 2, I do think that they used it first and really ought to be considered the owners under the present situation. But I think that this is a result of government centralizing something and creating disputes where there didn't need to be any.

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dude6935 replied on Tue, Feb 12 2013 11:25 PM

It's plainly obvious that certain actions are considered to be out of proportion with the crime, and those actions are considered to be aggressive.

Forcing a man into slavery can cause his death if he refuses to cooperate. So to accept slavery is to accept a risk of killing the thief. You cannot partition your actions from their unknown future consequences. Exacting proportionality is a joke because it is beyond our ability to ensure proportionality at all. We are not gods. That cannot be the legal basis for society because legal, proportional uses of force can and will lead to consequences that would not be proportional. I suppose you could accept that imperfection as the best that man can do, but I don't.

Further, it doesn't even make sense from an enforcement perspective. If a thief uses no force to steal, how can it be proportional to use force to repossess? Really, proportionality can only be applied to the value of the things that are repossessed since one thief may require much more force to repossess from than another. One might be subdued by a warning, when another would choose to fight to the death. The whole system seems absurd to me. And where does it even come from? I don't see it implied in argumentation ethics. But I have not studied that topic very well, so it may be in there somewhere. Who who says which acts are more or less proportional than the others? Value is subjective. I have view torture as less proportional than killing and you may think the opposite. So problematic...

Taking back your property is not defensive, it is retaliatory.

Pretty sure Rothbard disagrees. I can't find the quote I want at the moment but goes along the lines of  'repossession is defense of property because the thief can destroy what he has stolen'.

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The counterargument is what if you temporarily torture someone to extract information to immediately save lives. Is that morally depraved? I wouldn't think so. It's exactly the same as in physically stopping (punch, kick, etc.) someone from killing you or someone else. The only differences are the duration and intensity of the pain. Just as killing is not inherently depraved, so is the infliction of pain. Indeed, pain is a good and proper thing in the human experience.

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Clayton replied on Tue, Feb 12 2013 11:35 PM

@GL: Awesome post.

I'll give my illustration, slightly modified from yours:

3) The government paves a very large parking lot with numbered parking spaces. The government sells these spaces at a fixed price of $20 per spaces. Speculators buy up "vanity spaces" with cool numbers like 666 or other distinguishing marks and then resell them to the highest bidder. However, there is a rule that if someone's birthday is the same as the space's ID - such as 9231976 for someone born on 9/23/1976 - then that person has a right to the space at the government price of $20.

The entire scheme is illegitimate from the outset. The parking spaces are not genuine property, they are artificial scarcity created by the government and then "sub-let" to private mini-tyrants, looking to make a profit on the speculation. Certainly, it's not completely un-property - it would still be robbery for a person to beat somebody up and take their title to their parking space. Nevertheless, to naively apply the rules of originary appropriation and voluntary exchange to the matter as if this is how the land had been originally acquired and sub-divided is simply incorrect. Ron Paul is simply saying, "The rules - the very same rules by which you acquired this parking space and by which you deign to charge some large price for it - say that the space that corresponds to my birthdate can be purchased by me for $20. So I don't have to pay your asking price." 

The analogy isn't perfect, but it's close. The whole enterprise is illegitimate, to begin with. So it's incorrect to pretend that buying a government-allotted parking space is "the same as" or even "analogous to" homesteading unused resources... or that the government in originally acquiring and sub-dividing the lot had used original appropriate (the government is incapable of homesteading). Furthermore, for the owner of the lot to protest, "you're using the government's aggressive rules against me to take the lot from me at $20!" is contradictory because the current owner is using the government's aggressive rules against the hypothetical birthdate-individual to claim the elevated price in the first place!

We're playing in an environment of wholly-artificial scarcity here. There's no need for there to be this scarcity in the first place[1]. ICANN is a government-created entity whose job is not unlike the government sales counter for the parking lots above. They sell domain-names at a fixed price of around $10-$20. Her sister organization, IANA, manages the absurd task of allocating blocks of IP addresses to highest bidders. The rules permit resale of these government-created "lots" to the highest bidder... thus, there is a large market in domain-name speculation. While there is nothing illegitimate in reselling these domain-names, there is neither anything inherently "property"-like about them beyond whatever scarcity has been imbued into them by this government-created system. Hence, if the rules had been that "you may resell this domain-name to anyone who is not left-handed", why, that would be the rules everyone would abide by. Ron Paul is simply saying: The rules state that if your domain-name is a trademark, the name of a well-known entity, then I have the right under ICANN rules to supplant your DNS entries in the routing tables and redirect the domain name to my servers." Rules iz rules. If you live by the sword, you die by the sword... if you play by statute, then you get played by statute.

Now, this situation of artificial scarcity and faux-"homesteading" actually describes a great deal of property in society. Even many land titles can be criticized on precisely these grounds. In the US, public lands - to which the government itself never had any originary title - were sold to the "highest bidder" in closed and unfair auctions that violated the rights not only on the indigenous inhabitants, whose land and other resources rights were trampled in the process, but also of the public generally who was denied a fair chance to homestead the property by making use of it, rather than simply having the government claim it in their name and then "sell" it to them at some ridiculously low price.

But the lobotomized horde doesn't want to think about complicated problems like this. They want a clean, Platonic world where they can dream up some new "rule" and have it rigorously applied upon everyone alike at the point of a bayonet in order to "make society free" or fair, or efficient, or whatever their pet collectivist obsession is.

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[1] Some of the reasons why there is no need for this domain-name garbage: Distributed hash table, OpenDNS, VPN, Tor, MagnetURI, secure timestamping, etc.

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gotlucky replied on Tue, Feb 12 2013 11:38 PM

dude6935:

Forcing a man into slavery can cause his death if he refuses to cooperate. So to accept slavery is to accept a risk of killing the thief. You cannot partition your actions from their unknown future consequences. Exacting proportionality is a joke because it is beyond our ability to ensure proportionality at all. We are not gods. That cannot be the legal basis for society because legal, proportional uses of force can and will lead to consequences that would not be proportional. I suppose you could accept that imperfection as the best that man can do, but I don't.

I'm aware that Rothbard is inconsistent at times. I'm also not a Rothbardian. However, he explains the basics of proportionality rather well over all, and the idea of proportionality is hardly limited to Rothbard. Your points are precisely why a priori law is fundamentally flawed, yet you insist that there is only one right way of doing law.

dude6935:

Further, it doesn't even make sense from an enforcement perspective. If a thief uses no force to steal, how can it be proportional to use force to repossess? Really, proportionality can only be applied to the value of the things that are repossessed since one thief may require much more force to repossess from than another. One might be subdued by a warning, when another would choose to fight to the death. The whole system seems absurd to me. And where does it even come from? I don't see it implied in argumentation ethics. But I have not studied that topic very well, so it may be in there somewhere. Who who says which acts are more or less proportional than the others? Value is subjective. I have view torture as less proportional than killing and you may think the opposite. So problematic...

The point of using law is to avoid further violence. If the thief refuses to go to a court of law, then it's pretty clear he prefers using violence as a means to resolve the dispute. He just might end up dead, but his actions demonstrate that he is okay with that possibility.

dude6935:

Pretty sure Rothbard disagrees. I can't find the quote I want at the moment but goes along the lines of  'repossession is defense of property because the thief can destroy what he has stolen'.

Wiktionary defines these terms rather well: defensive and retaliation. Both can be nonaggressive, but not all nonaggressive violence is defensive.

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Clayton replied on Tue, Feb 12 2013 11:45 PM

Well last I heard, you rejected my position that people are not responsible for the positive externalities they enjoy.

I didn't say "people are responsible for the positive externalities they enjoy".

And you asserted that ronpaul.com can only attempt to engage in voluntary exchange because of man-made laws.

I also didn't say that. You need to keep your facts straight and actually pay attention to what I write if you intend to have me respond to every one of your confused and contradictory arguments. I've been posting on debate forums since the mid-1990s... unless I'm just brainstorming and writing stream-of-consciousness, I choose my words carefully and only advance arguments that I fully understand. You would do well to ask for clarification before jumping to conclusions and putting words in my mouth... an exercise in futility on an Internet forum where anyone can simply scroll up and read for themselves what was written down.

Do you still hold these absurd positions that fly in the face of NAP, or did you change your mind? (I think you forgot about homesteading regarding ronpaul.com)

 

ronpaul.com was not homesteaded because homesteading has nothing to do with domain-names.

And you also seem to have dropped the argument that ronpaul.com has no homestead claim to its domain.

I didn't drop anything. I just usually don't waste time responding to uncareful and frenetic posters like you.

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Clayton replied on Wed, Feb 13 2013 12:03 AM

It is a moot point. The people who registered ronpaul.com didn't just put a placeholder site there and waited for when around RP is going to come around so they can have a payday. They registered it in good faith and used it to build a vibrant pro-RP grassroots site around it. They did real homesteading after registering.

You could as well be saying a settler who built a cabin in Colonial-era West Virginia didn't really own the land underneath it because he had first purchased it from the Virginia Company which had never owned it.

Registering with ICANN is a hurdle imposed by the state on would-be homesteaders of domains. But people shouldn't be penalized for having to jump this hurdle and their whole homestead being proclaimed illegitimate, because a state-enabled monopolist shook them down for some money before they could exercise their natural right to homestead vaccant domains.

This post shows some important misunderstandings of what a domain really is.

A domain-name is no different than a path-name to a file or directory on your computer's hard disk. If you have Windows, click on the Start Menu, then select "Run". A little box will pop up and you can type "c:\windows" and then press OK. This will open Windows Explorer. The "c:\windows" means, "Open the directory named 'windows' on the hard disk named 'c' in this computer."

If you had typed, "c:\windows\system32\calc.exe" that would mean "Open the program ('exe') named 'calc' which is in the directory named 'system32', which is in the directory named 'windows' which is on the hard disk named 'c' in this computer." But what if you wanted to refer to something that wasn't on your hard disk, that is, something that didn't exist anywhere in particular... you just wanted to be able to refer to it and allow the computer network to figure out where it is and how to go retrieve it and bring it to you?

This is essentially what an Internet URL is.... except it's not. When you type "http://www.google.com" into your browser, what that means is: "Please locate the server named 'www' in the domain named 'google' - as registered with ICANN and present in all Internet routing tables - in the top-level domain named 'com' - created and controlled by ICANN and present in all Internet routing tables - using the 'hypertext transfer protocol' and tell that server I want it to serve me an HTML page."

Who has the right to control the routing tables? Why, the owners of the routers, duh! And who owns the routers? Zillions of different entities do, but mostly ISPs and major telecoms, as well as some universities, government agencies, and even private individuals and corporations. And why do they do what ICANN says? Because they will be ejected off the network if they consistently misroute packets. So why do we need ICANN then, since ICANN doesn't even handle the enforcement of its own allocations?! In fact, this is the very thing that makes cyber-squatting, spoofing and various other domain-name attacks possible in the first place. ICANN is a dinosaur - it exists for the same reason government does (people believe we need it) and it is unnecessary for the same reason government is: we in fact don't need it.

The whole thing is a sham and is a picture-perfect illustration of the tragedy of the commons.

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dude6935 replied on Wed, Feb 13 2013 1:05 AM

Well here is what you said. I can't read your mind.

And this applies directly to Ron Paul's situation - it is only by virtue of the very laws that the owners of ronpaul.com are now protesting that they were able to ask for $800+k and now $250k.

Sadly, your tone towards me has become unpalatable, starting with your equating my ideals to those of a mass murderer. It seems you may have spent too much time in debate forums because that tactfulness that develops from actual human interaction seems to have faded from your written discourse. Please feel free not to waste your time responding to me. Since I am not a masochist, I think I might benefit more from that arrangement than the status quo. If I enjoyed flinging retaliatory insults, I might feel differently.

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Marko replied on Wed, Feb 13 2013 7:45 AM

Your position is the one that I lean towards, which is why I stated that I disagreed with Ron Paul's actions of using the state. What I wonder is what the situation would look like if domains were not awarded by a centralized organization. It may be, as Clayton claimed earlier in the thread, that accessing web sites would be so different in a decentralized utopia that the issue would be nonexistent. Maybe not. What I do know is that the system is centralized in a manner that it seems to actually create these disputes, as you have to follow their rules for domain names.

...

So is the ronpaul.com situation more like scenario 1 or 2? I think that's a key question. Is "ronpaul.com" something that could truly have been homesteadable or is it a product of the governments regulations? While I think it is actually more like scenario 2, I do think that they used it first and really ought to be considered the owners under the present situation. But I think that this is a result of government centralizing something and creating disputes where there didn't need to be any.



OK, (now) I understand where you're coming from.

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dude6935 replied on Wed, Feb 13 2013 12:10 PM

Your points are precisely why a priori law is fundamentally flawed, yet you insist that there is only one right way of doing law.

I guess I see your point. I can state moral positions on crime and forceful restitution, but I cannot say beforehand what would be legal in a future society?

My moral beliefs must be non-arbitrary, or they aren't my beliefs at all. But law must be arbitrary (in the sense of 3rd party arbitration) in order to fulfill its function of preventing violence because that is the only way to develop laws that real people respect. Yes?

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Clayton replied on Wed, Feb 13 2013 12:49 PM

Cross-posting from LRC blog... I'm in complete agreement with Lew's views on this. The MSM and the phalanxes of DHS's anti-Ron Paul trolls are hitting the Internet with this bullshit about "Ron Paul using the GOVERNMENT to take back ronpaul.com":

'RonPaul'.com
Posted by Lew Rockwell on February 13, 2013 08:31 AM

There is so much disinformation on this issue that I will probably have to post more than once, but here are a few points:
--Ron is not using the State to acquire RonPaul.com. He could have brought a lawsuit in US government courts, but he did not. He is seeking to have ICANN enforce its own rules against cybersquatting, including the rule against registering a famous person’s name and making money off it. Anyone registering a URL agrees to keep all the rules, just as he must pay a recurring fee. A URL is not private property in the normal sense. It is a license, and ICANN is a private, non-profit organization.
--Ron is not calling on the UN. ICANN has four approved arbitration organizations. Because the RP.com guys registered Ron's name in Australia, the international arbitration option must be used. Yes, it is associated with the UN. Too bad, but one must play the cards one is dealt. The UN itself is not involved, though note—whatever else is wrong with it—the UN is not a State.
--Why did Ron wait so long to bring this claim? He did not feel he could do so as a public official. Once he became a private citizen again, he was freed.
--This fight is not about so-called intellectual property, since it involves private agreements. But if it were, must one agree with Murray Rothbard--who discussed IP more than 50 years ago--to be a libertarian? I agree with Murray, but IP is hardly a make or break issue. Certainly Murray did not see it as such. In the same sense, one need not be an anarcho-capitalist to be a libertarian, though, like Murray, I am one. One can be a constitutionalist or otherwise believe in limited government. Oh, and need I note that Murray loved and admired Ron?
--Is Ron "attacking his own supporters" by his action? Apparently, the RP.com people have never given a dime to any of his campaigns nor educational efforts. Instead, they are attacking Ron. Some supporters. But it will not work. And it will soon be over, freeing Ron from this distraction as he steps up his fight for freedom. Really steps it up, in historic ways.

Go Ron Paul!

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Sounds like a bunch of apologetics to me.  First of all, the bottom line is Paul is attempting to have someone's justly acquired property confiscated from them.  People can dance around it all they want (like Lew does here, claiming "he's not using the state, the UN is not a state, blah blah blah").  But the fact remains, these guys rightfully own the domain, and Paul is trying to unilaterally take it from them.  And Rockwell and the other Paul worshipers are trying to find any way they can to defend him, simply because of who he is.

And what the hell is this "he could have filed a lawsuit in US courts, but didn't"?  Didn't Rockwell admit just a few paragraphs later the domain was registered in Australia?  Could Paul have actually filed a lawsuit?  I thought this was the whole apologist argument..."it's the only recourse Paul has...it's not his fault the only governing body is an arm of the UN!  Blah blah blah!"  In fact, is that not the case Rockwell was trying to make here?  Which is it?  Is Paul backed into a corner with no alternative course of action, or is he just being a nice guy?  You can't have it both ways.

And this crap about how it's the only option he has, and ICANN is a private organization, and "you agree to the contract when you register a domain"...The fact of the matter is, first of all, Paul has other options.  He could, I don't know, negotiate with the property owners?  Or, perhaps, use another fucking domain?  He has nearly 75k subscribers on his YouTube channel.  (And of course anything he uploads will get mirrored).  Over 400k followers on Twitter.  Over a 1.1 million fans on his facebook page.  And god knows how many millions of email addresses and other contact info.  He would have no problem making sure everyone knew which page was his official one.  This is nothing more than "Ron Paul wants what he wants and doesn't want to bother doing with anything less that exactly what he wants."  Fuck that.

And what's more, as I outlined earlier, the whole thing is monopolized, and you can't get a domain without going through ICANN (and paying their fee, by the way.)  So Rockwell might want to go ahead and start arguing in favor of taxation...after all he does use the roads and the public works system.

And his nonsense about it not being about IP is complete bullshit.  Perhaps he needs to read the actual complaint?  It's right there.  Even Kinsella pointed it out.  The whole complaint is essentially based in trademark law.  And actually I think Lew realizes this, which is why he doesn't exactly spend the focus on actually supporting his claim that it's not about IP: notice he makes that claim, and then goes right into trying to make the (poor) case that IP isn't really that big of an issue (and pathetically uses an appeal to authority to do it.)  Why would it be so important to state that "IP is hardly a make or break issue", and that "you don't need to be ancap like Murray to be a libertarian"?  Why is that even relevant if "this fight is not about so-called intellectual property" anyway?

I think it's obvious he's trying to make it okay for ancaps to give minarchists and pro-IP people like Paul a pass...instead of recognizing the more probable reality.  He knows he's not going be able to make Paul out to be something he's not (there's already too much proof, and ancaps aren't exactly gullible idiots)...so instead he's trying to make the case that actually not following your stated principles through to their actual conclusions isn't really so bad...it's okay to be a "constitutionalist" or otherwise "believe in limited government".  No big deal.

Give me a break.

And of course, as if that weren't bad enough, he just had to top it off: "oh did I mention Murray loved Ron"?

Is he f-ing serious?  I'm supposed to agree with what Paul is doing because "the great Murray Rothbard" (who died almost two decades ago, when Ron Paul was 59 years old) "loved and admired" him?  How stupid does he think his readers are?...

"Oh, well if Rothbard loved Ron, I guess that makes it okay."  Jeezus Christ.  Not all of us are idol-struck morons like Bob Wenzel who will forever rubberstamp anything or anyone Rothbard agreed with.  And I'm actually kind of annoyed that Rockwell would insult his readers like that.  But I guess I can't blame him.  Gotta do what you gotta do when defending your friend's bullshit.

 

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I can't believe Paul would do this...I don't know if anyone has read the PolicyMic article that I posted in the low-content thread, but it's clear evidence that Ron Paul has just thrown out a ton of breadbits for the leftist birds to scarf down.

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Clayton replied on Wed, Feb 13 2013 2:39 PM

Sounds like a bunch of apologetics to me.  First of all, the bottom line is Paul is attempting to have someone's justly acquired property confiscated from them.

False. The DNS entries in the DNS servers are the property of the server owners. They freely comply with the ICANN rules in part due to network effects and in part due to history.

People can dance around it all they want (like Lew does here, claiming "he's not using the state, the UN is not a state, blah blah blah").  But the fact remains, these guys rightfully own the domain, and Paul is trying to unilaterally take it from them.  And Rockwell and the other Paul worshipers are trying to find any way they can to defend him, simply because of who he is.

There is no such thing as "owning" a domain. A domain is registered with ICANN, that's it. My understanding is the current registrant has first right-of-refusal in renewing the registration by ICANN rules... but also by ICANN rules, a "well-known" name such as ronpaul.com can be supplanted by the individual. I doubt the use of trademark law in arguing this is novel.

And this crap about how it's the only option he has, and ICANN is a private organization,

Lew doesn't say Paul has no other option. And, yes, ICANN is a private organization, a key point that those who want to say "Ron Paul is using the GOVERNMENT to seize blah blah blah" need to note, since they're simply incorrect. The point of going to the UN agency is because that is how ICANN has said that the dispute is to be handled in cross-border cases.

and "you agree to the contract when you register a domain"...The fact of the matter is, first of all, Paul has other options.

So what? If he's entitled to claim the domain under ICANN rules, why the hell shouldn't he? Why does he have to pay $250K penance to these guys? I would be frustrated too, if I was in their shoes, but I would also at least have the balls to man up and recognize that the rules are the rules... when I first started paying $20/yr. for the domain back in whenever, I had to know that, if Ron Paul chose at some point, he would be able to displace me from the domain due to his status as a widely-known public individual whose name has essentially a trademark status. To come from that position and demand $250K is just... bad bargaining skills.

He could, I don't know, negotiate with the property owners?

That's precisely what he is doing! If the domain owners call him up today and say, "Ron, we'll sell you the domain for $2,500" I'll bet he'll say "deal!"... because $2,500 is probably cheaper than the costs of paying lawyers, etc. to go through the ICANN procedures.

Or, perhaps, use another fucking domain?  He has nearly 75k subscribers on his YouTube channel.  (And of course anything he uploads will get mirrored).  Over 400k followers on Twitter.  Over a 1.1 million fans on his facebook page.  And god knows how many millions of email addresses and other contact info.  He would have no problem making sure everyone knew which page was his official one.  This is nothing more than "Ron Paul wants what he wants and doesn't want to bother doing with anything less that exactly what he wants."  Fuck that.

No, it's a case of these first-users have no higher claim to the domain according to ICANN's own rules, the very rules by which they sought $250K from Paul in the first place. I don't see what they or you are bitching about. I understand being sore about it but whining is just bad form.

 

And what's more, as I outlined earlier, tthe whole thing is monopolized, and you can't get a domain without going through ICANN (and paying their fee, by the way.)  So Rockwell might want to go ahead and start arguing in favor of taxation...after all he does use the roads and the public works system.

Whoa, hold on - how can you get so close to the point and still miss it???? "The whole thing is monopolized"! That's the only reason the current owners of ronpaul.com could demand such an exorbitant sum for a "name" to begin with!! How can you miss that?? And wth does that have to do with taxes???

And the roads are a perfect example. The whole idea of "stopping for 3 full seconds at every stop-sign" is statist garbage. Yet if someone did roll through a stop-sign and hit Ron Paul's car, is he supposed to say "Oh well, it's a government road and all the rules are illegitimate anyway, so I have no basis to make any claim against you... and if I did, it would go through government-cartelized insurance companies, etc. etc. So this one's on me." Give me a break.

And his nonsense about it not being about IP is complete bullshit.  Perhaps he needs to read the actual complaint?  It's right there.  Even Kinsella pointed it out.  The whole complaint is essentially based in trademark law.  And actually I think Lew realizes this, which is why he doesn't exactly spend the focus on actually supporting his claim that it's not about IP: notice he makes that claim, and then goes right into trying to make the (poor) case that IP isn't really that big of an issue (and pathetically uses an appeal to authority to do it.)  Why would it be so important to state that "IP is hardly a make or break issue", and that "you don't need to be ancap like Murray to be a libertarian"?

 

IP is not a make or break issue unless it's push to extremes (i.e. RIAA/MPAA DMCA tyranny). And in any case, in terms of the dispute here, the claimants of the domain-name can only insist on their rights by virtue of assuming that portion of IP law that underpins the whole ICANN hierarchy! They can't have it both ways. They can't say, "This pattern of ASCII characters is OUR PROPERTY, so you have to pay us for it" AND say at the same time "You're Ron Paul, you can't use IP arguments, they're illegitimate!"

I think it's obvious he's trying to make it okay for ancaps to give minarchists and pro-IP people like Paul a pass...instead of recognizing the more probable reality.  He knows he's not going be able to make Paul out to be something he's not (there's already too much proof, and ancaps aren't exactly gullible idiots)...so instead he's trying to make the case that actually not following your stated principles through to their actual conclusions isn't really so bad...it's okay to be a "constitutionalist" or otherwise "believe in limited government".  No big deal.

Wha? Ron Paul has always stated he's a constitutionalist that believes in limited government. While he's not actively avoided the "anarchist" label, I'm not aware of anyplace where he's applied it to himself.

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Clayton:
False. The DNS entries in the DNS servers are the property of the server owners. They freely comply with the ICANN rules in part due to network effects and in part due to history.  There is no such thing as "owning" a domain. A domain is registered with ICANN, that's it.

So a domain is not a scarce, rivalrous good?

 

My understanding is the current registrant has first right-of-refusal in renewing the registration by ICANN rules... but also by ICANN rules, a "well-known" name such as ronpaul.com can be supplanted by the individual. I doubt the use of trademark law in arguing this is novel.

Um.  The use of trademark law itself isn't novel.  That doesn't make it ethical, just, or libertarian.

 

Lew doesn't say Paul has no other option.

Lew Rockwell: Because the RP.com guys registered Ron's name in Australia, the international arbitration option must be used. Yes, it is associated with the UN. Too bad, but one must play the cards one is dealt.

Robert Wenzel: He may not believe that the UN should exist or be an enforcing body, but if they are, that is the body he must appeal to. What is his alternative, to call the local sheriff in the county he lives in?

Sure sounds like that's the case being made to me.

 

And, yes, ICANN is a private organization, a key point that those who want to say "Ron Paul is using the GOVERNMENT to seize blah blah blah" need to note, since they're simply incorrect. The point of going to the UN agency is because that is how ICANN has said that the dispute is to be handled in cross-border cases.

I addressed this.

 

So what? If he's entitled to claim the domain under ICANN rules, why the hell shouldn't he?

Ah I see.  So if the law is such that the President is entitled to murdering people at his discretion...why shouldn't he??  Great legal positivist argument there.

 

Why does he have to pay $250K penance to these guys?

You say "penance", normal people might just say "asking price."  But to each his own.  I suppose your grocier is pleased to receive such humility everytime you stop in for your Cheerios.

 

just... bad bargaining skills.

To quote you, So What?

 

That's precisely what he is doing!

Last time I checked, essentially suing someone is not "negotiating" anything.  I think everyone pretty much agrees they've moved passed negotiations at that point.  Unless of course you're one of those who considers all those people in your police brutality video "negotiating" with who should get the shit kicked out of them.

 

No, it's a case of these first-users have no higher claim to the domain according to ICANN's own rules, the very rules by which they sought $250K from Paul in the first place. I don't see what they or you are bitching about. I understand being sore about it but whining is just bad form.

No higher claim according to the rules of a monopoly system, supported by government force, with arguments based in trademark law.  Got it.

 

Whoa, hold on - how can you get so close to the point and still miss it???? "The whole thing is monopolized"! That's the only reason the current owners of ronpaul.com could demand such an exorbitant sum for a "name" to begin with!! How can you miss that?? And wth does that have to do with taxes???

Wha?  You mean to tell me that if the system weren't monopolized, more than one person/group could control "ronpaul.com" at a time?

 

And the roads are a perfect example. The whole idea of "stopping for 3 full seconds at every stop-sign" is statist garbage. Yet if someone did roll through a stop-sign and hit Ron Paul's car, is he supposed to say "Oh well, it's a government road and all the rules are illegitimate anyway, so I have no basis to make any claim against you... and if I did, it would go through government-cartelized insurance companies, etc. etc. So this one's on me." Give me a break.

Please.  That's carrots and pistachios.  You clearly described a situation in which property was damaged.  Please describe what property of Ron Paul's was damaged in this situation.  (And please don't resort to attempting to claim Paul owns his name or reputation, or I think I'll lose all intellectual respect for you.  And I'm just not sure I'm ready to have to deal with that.)

 

IP is not a make or break issue unless it's push to extremes (i.e. RIAA/MPAA DMCA tyranny). And in any case, in terms of the dispute here, the claimants of the domain-name can only insist on their rights by virtue of assuming that portion of IP law that underpins the whole ICANN hierarchy! They can't have it both ways. They can't say, "This pattern of ASCII characters is OUR PROPERTY, so you have to pay us for it" AND say at the same time "You're Ron Paul, you can't use IP arguments, they're illegitimate!"

I'll have to ask you again: so a domain is not a rivalrous good?  More than one person/group could control "ronpaul.com" at a time?

 

Wha? Ron Paul has always stated he's a constitutionalist that believes in limited government.

Um.  Yeah.  I kind of said that.

 

While he's not actively avoided the "anarchist" label, I'm not aware of anyplace where he's applied it to himself.

"Anarchist", "voluntarist"...you say tomato, Paul says tomahto.

 

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Clayton replied on Wed, Feb 13 2013 9:24 PM

John James:
So a domain is not a scarce, rivalrous good?

It's really not - anyone can set up a DNS and it can have any domain-name mapping they like. Now, you can't put a "rogue" DNS into the ICANN-approved DNS network because no one will forward DNS requests to your "rogue" DNS. But the point is that it's not an inherently scarce good... whatever scarcity is there is the creation of ICANN.

Um.  The use of trademark law itself isn't novel.  That doesn't make it ethical, just, or libertarian.

The point is that Ron Paul is doing nothing extraordinary or bizarre... ICANN rules permit Macy's to bump off someone besides the Macy's who has registered "www.macys.com" and without paying some exorbitant price to secure the domain. The same logic can be extended - under ICANN's rules - to very famous people like Ron Paul.

Lew doesn't say Paul has no other option.

Lew Rockwell: Because the RP.com guys registered Ron's name in Australia, the international arbitration option must be used. Yes, it is associated with the UN. Too bad, but one must play the cards one is dealt.

Robert Wenzel: He may not believe that the UN should exist or be an enforcing body, but if they are, that is the body he must appeal to. What is his alternative, to call the local sheriff in the county he lives in?

Sure sounds like that's the case being made to me.

Well, I'll drop this line of argument since I agree Lew's remark re. not suing in US courts was weak and irrelevant.

I addressed this.

Fine. My only point is that the HuffPo types need to shut their trap about Ron Paul using "the government" because it's not true. Nothing in your post refutes this. ICANN is private. Its rules for the registration of domain-names are private. They have the right to write the rules any way they like, including bizarre loopholes - my example was left-handed people. It's not unlibertarian to utilize any of those private rules - bizarre or not - because everyone who registers a domain agrees to the same rules. They voluntarily said "Yes, I understand I can be booted from this domain by a famous person with this name, but I'd like to register it anyway. Here's $20 to register it for this year."

Ah I see.  So if the law is such that the President is entitled to murdering people at his discretion...why shouldn't he??  Great legal positivist argument there.

It's not positivist and your "analogy" is a total red-herring. Let's say you go to a go-kart track. The rules are that you can rent a go-kart for $30 for one hour BUT anyone with a birth year that is the same as your go-kart number (let's say they're all 19xx) can pre-empt your seat. Now, that's a weird rule. Can a libertarian born in 1979 sit around and wait for someone to rent the go-kart numbered 1979 and then pre-empt him out of it? Of course he can! Why the hell wouldn't he? There isn't anything even slightly unlibertarian about it. What was sold was a limited right to use the go-kart with the (admittedly bizarre) proviso that you can be pre-empted from your go-kart by somebody with a birthdate that matches the go-kart's number. So, the go-kart owner is not aggressing against the renter by asking him to step out of the kart in preference to someone else - even though he's already paid the $30. Neither is the pre-empter aggressing against the original renter as he's merely requesting the go-kart's owner to dispose of his own property in accordance with the rules by which he had rented it to begin with.

Now, ICANN is different in that the "ownership" is really hierarchical bullshit inherited partly from the old ARPANet system and partly from the universities. Hence, it is an inherently "IP-ish" kind of thing. But that's the rub - the "renters" still agreed to these IP-ish rules and it is on the basis of these IP-ish rules that they are asking $250K. In asking for $250K, they are legitimizing the very rules which Ron Paul is utilizing.

Last time I checked, essentially suing someone is not "negotiating" anything.  I think everyone pretty much agrees they've moved passed negotiations at that point.  Unless of course you're one of those who considers all those people in your police brutality video "negotiating" with who should get the shit kicked out of them.

ICANN is a private organization. The domain names are registered pursuant to their terms, which include the possibility of reassignment of the domain-name. This is another red-herring as there is no connection between police brutality and Ron Paul filing with an arbitration agency in accordance with ICANN rules (the very rules that the owners of ronpaul.com agreed to) to have the domain-name reassigned.

No higher claim according to the rules of a monopoly system, supported by government force, with arguments based in trademark law.  Got it.

Exactly - in asking $250K, they're also claiming right by these rules!

Wha?  You mean to tell me that if the system weren't monopolized, more than one person/group could control "ronpaul.com" at a time?

Sure, why not. Look at BitTorrent and magnet-URIs... you can have a zillion different versions of "Batman: Dark Knight Rises" and the correct content will be located according to your search parameters. OpenDNS permits as many different versions of DNS as there are people willing to run DNS servers. The packets aren't routed by names, they're routed by numbers (IP)... you can (and if you use Chrome, you do) cache DNS mappings to your own computer, basically making your computer its own DNS server! Or you can do the translation yourself. Try the following... assuming Windows (may not work if you have a heavy firewall): Start Menu->Run, type "cmd" and click "OK", in the window that pops up, type "ping www.google.com" and press enter... You'll see something like (but different): "Pinging www.google.com [74.125.129.106] with 32 bytes of data:" Type the '74.125.129.106' part into your browser's address bar. Press Enter or click "Go". Pour champagne: you just did a DNS translation all by yourself!

Please.  That's carrots and pistachios.  You clearly described a situation in which property was damaged.  Please describe what property of Ron Paul's was damaged in this situation.  (And please don't resort to attempting to claim Paul owns his name or reputation, or I think I'll lose all intellectual respect for you.  And I'm just not sure I'm ready to have to deal with that.)

OK, crappy analogy.

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DanielMuff replied on Wed, Feb 13 2013 11:58 PM

Clayton:
 Rules iz rules. If you live by the sword, you die by the sword... if you play by statute, then you get played by statute.
I understand your point about the natives owning the land and agree with it, but Ron Paul is not a "native" in this case. The domain name wasn't his "property" or the property of his ancestors (at least to anyone's knowledge). It's not as if ICANN came in and took RonPaul.com away from Ron Paul and then sold it to the current owners.

Also, as far as "if you play by statute, then you get played by statute", you can't buy property without telling the state that you agree to its rules. (I suppose that you can, but then you will get the property taken away from you for not paying property taxes.) So, when a developer comes and lobbies the state for eminent over your property, it's all gravy because you agreed to the rulez?

To paraphrase Marc Faber: We're all doomed, but that doesn't mean that we can't make money in the process.
Rabbi Lapin: "Let's make bricks!"
Stephan Kinsella: "Say you and I both want to make a German chocolate cake."

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DanielMuff replied on Thu, Feb 14 2013 12:20 AM

Clayton: "ICANN is a government-created entity whose job is not unlike the government sales counter for the parking lots above."

Clayton: "ICANN is private. Its rules for the registration of domain-names are private."

I don't get it.

To paraphrase Marc Faber: We're all doomed, but that doesn't mean that we can't make money in the process.
Rabbi Lapin: "Let's make bricks!"
Stephan Kinsella: "Say you and I both want to make a German chocolate cake."

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Clayton replied on Thu, Feb 14 2013 12:37 AM

Clayton: "ICANN is a government-created entity whose job is not unlike the government sales counter for the parking lots above."

Clayton: "ICANN is private. Its rules for the registration of domain-names are private."

I don't get it.

Well, it's like the Federal Reserve in this respect - it is a government-created private entity. Trying to apply "libertarian rules" to the analysis of domain names is like trying to figure out how to run a "libertarian bank" under the Federal Reserve system: ludicrous. Given that you've opened a bank in the Federal Reserve system, you have to abide by the Fed's absurd rules. That's just how it is. Those rules are absurd ultimately because it is a government-created entity. But everyone who agrees to abide by those rules does so as a matter of contractual agreement. So, I see two separate issues:

1) Do the ICANN's rules make sense? If not, why not? (I think they don't. I think the fact it is a government-created entity explains why).

2) Do libertarians have to abide by ICANN rules? Is it aggressive for a libertarian to use ICANN rules to preempt another individual from a domain name he has been using for some time? (I think libertarians do need to abide by the rules and can use the rules to preempt others. I think the fact that ICANN is a private entity explains why, in part.)

Edit: I'm tired of this topic, BTW, so I probably won't respond anymore in this thread. I've only written on it because it pisses me off to see the HuffPo types slandering Ron Paul as "going to the government to rip off fellow libertarians". Criticisms on rational grounds by present company are completely within-bounds, but the MSM crap just irritates the hell out of me. Jonathan Goodwin has written the book on this issue, IMO.

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Marko replied on Thu, Feb 14 2013 8:03 AM

The packets aren't routed by names, they're routed by numbers (IP)... you can (and if you use Chrome, you do) cache DNS mappings to your own computer, basically making your computer its own DNS server!

Yes OK, Clayton. Providing your technical stuff is correct, and I have no reason to doubt it, I accept that you show that there is no libertarian answer to the situation. If in a free society there would be no obstacle to both RPCP [ronpaul.com people] and RP using the same domain name, then what RPCP has isn't real property, and it would not be real property of RP either. However I should say it is doubtful that RP knows any of this.

Your libertarianism-compatible case for RP's actions, certainly isn't the case being made by the most visible supporters of RP. Bob Wenzel is actually making an IP case going on about how RP wouldn't have any standing if RPC were registered by a different RP, but because it isn't he has, which is laughable. And Lew Rockwell has name-called the RPCP as "squatters" for the second time now as if RP has any better claim to it than RPCP do. You explain yourself he doesn't, and that any exlusive ownership of a domain is as arbitrary as the next.

It is a kind of a artificial gladiatorial arena where there is an ethical vaccuum and there isn't a real libertarian answer to it, but unfortunately that is not what LR et all are saying. They're making it out there is a good guy RP and bad guys RPCP.

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Here ya go:

Stephan Kinsella - Ron Paul is using gov't to steal from supporters

 

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Clayton replied on Thu, Feb 14 2013 3:21 PM

I listened to most of it. Most of Kinsella's points are correct - and I completely agree with his statement that the whole system is a creature of government force - but he then makes the comparison between Ron Paul's UDRP complaint and eminent domain. This is refuted by his own statement that the whole system is a creature of government force! It is generally the case that my ownership of a plot of land is not a creature of government force... it's a creation of original appropriation and voluntary exchange. Thus, for someone to use eminent domain to seize it is an act of aggression, mediated through government. A UDRP complaint is completely different from eminent domain since the original "property" itself is no more legitimate than the UDRP complaint. Both are creations of the same government force, the same system of exploitation.

The idea of a "domain" is not some "natural" phenomenon that would occur no matter how the Internet had evolved. I'm not saying that its origins are sinister... they are not. The purpose to which ICANN/etc. are being used is precisely what Kinsella says... the US media empire is trying to foist the ICANN IP system onto the rest of the world. In response, the Internet has balkanized and now you have ".uk" ".de" ".fr" etc. Yet you can still reach those domains that are not controlled by ICANN. Just goes to show that the whole concept of needing an ICANN - or its equivalents in other countries - is a pure sham. Personally, I think the system will eventually break down because the desired end-goal of ICANN et. al. is technologically infeasible. You cannot actually control the routing of computer communications like you could phone routing. There's just no comparison. The long-run virus that will kill this beast is cryptography... which the establishment is already demonizing as the "dark Internet"... like it's some back-alley. All modern corporate remote computer connections are done over a VPN... which is "dark". So, trying to say that Tor or Silk Road is a "dark corner of the Internet" is downright silly. If that's the case, then what are corporate VPNs... secret spy infiltrations of the Internet??

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What is "most"?  Exactly what time did you stop listening?

I've seen it before when you admittedly do not go through a full presentation and then come in and make your response based on simply the fraction you've heard, or even worse, what you assume the argument to be.  I realize when you're sharp you can kind of get away with this most of the time (kind of like Molyneux does in talking about subjects he knows little about), but it can get you into trouble.

 

Clayton:
But everyone who agrees to abide by those rules does so as a matter of contractual agreement.

Great, so I assume you have no problem being hauled off to a cage for traveling at a velocity above an arbitrary limit.

 

Clayton:

So, I see two separate issues:

1) Do the ICANN's rules make sense? If not, why not? (I think they don't. I think the fact it is a government-created entity explains why).

2) Do libertarians have to abide by ICANN rules? Is it aggressive for a libertarian to use ICANN rules to preempt another individual from a domain name he has been using for some time? (I think libertarians do need to abide by the rules and can use the rules to preempt others. I think the fact that ICANN is a private entity explains why, in part.)

Here we go again.

 

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Clayton replied on Thu, Feb 14 2013 5:03 PM

Great, so I assume you have no problem being hauled off to a cage for traveling at a velocity above an arbitrary limit.

No, but I accept that I am assuming that risk every time I get on the government's roads. The cop who pulls me over might even be a libertarian. So long as he is following the rules and avoids going into unconscionable behavior (using his de facto liberties to commit "justifiable" assault, etc.), he is doing nothing contradictory to libertarianism. His shoes will be filled by someone else, probably worse, if he were to quit. This idea of "pristine" libertarianism is ridiculous. I call it NAP-fundamentalism. It's the same basic mentality of any fundamentalists... "the world be damned!" "let come what may!" As Thoreau so eloquently said, "That government is best which governs not at all; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have." Men are not yet prepared for it. This is the time of John the Baptist. We need to prepare the way... because it is coming.

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gotlucky replied on Thu, Feb 14 2013 5:06 PM

JJ, you are missing Clayton's entire point. 

1) You have a unique username for the Mises website. It is not your property. The Mises Institute allows you to use that username for free. If they wanted, the Mises Institute could transfer your unique username to another person. You agree to follow the rules of the Mises Institute. If there is a process for something like this to occur, then you have to live with the results. You could always try to fight it, but ultimately it's not your property.

2) All the connections between computers and servers and the various types of connections are privately owned. There are different protocols for accessing computers that utilize those physical connections. Accessing Steam is different from accessing the WWW and accessing computers through FTP. Currently, if you access servers through the WWW, you have to use domain names registered through ICANN (though I guess not when in other countries). You don't have to access other computers and servers through the WWW. You could use FTP or whatever floats your boat. But if you want to use the WWW, then you rent your domain through ICANN. You don't own it. It's their rules, just like the Mises Institute has its own rules for forum membership.

EDIT: Clayton already mentioned accessing other computers and servers through bittorrent. I thought I'd also mention Usenet.

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Clayton replied on Thu, Feb 14 2013 5:18 PM

It is a kind of a artificial gladiatorial arena where there is an ethical vaccuum and there isn't a real libertarian answer to it, but unfortunately that is not what LR et all are saying. They're making it out there is a good guy RP and bad guys RPCP.

Hmm, yeah, I think that ronpaul.com's owners definitely aren't bad guys here. As you said, it's an ethical vacuum, unfortunately. Kinsella predicts Ron Paul's bid for the domain will not succeed... if this is how it turns out, I certainly won't shed any tears for Ron Paul. Unless one side or the other is absolutely certain they can win the case, probably the best thing to do is to go back to negotiating a price. Ron Paul's negotiating position is considerably strengthened by virtue of having filed this complaint and perhaps that is its true purpose. $250K is pretty damn steep, maybe he might settle for something in the $10K-$50K range. Hopefully, we'll see something in the news like, "Ron Paul and ronpaul.com have settled for undisclosed sum and a stipulated gag/NDA on the details of the exchange."

Clayton -

http://voluntaryistreader.wordpress.com
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Clayton:
No, but I accept that I am assuming that risk every time I get on the government's roads.

Ah, so Paul is in the right because the guys "assumed the risk" that he'd use a statist apparatus to expropriate their property from them?

 

The cop who pulls me over might even be a libertarian. So long as he is following the rules and avoids going into unconscionable behavior (using his de facto liberties to commit "justifiable" assault, etc.), he is doing nothing contradictory to libertarianism.

I'm sorry, traffic statutes are not contradictory to libertarianism?

 

This idea of "pristine" libertarianism is ridiculous. I call it NAP-fundamentalism. It's the same basic mentality of any fundamentalists... "the world be damned!" "let come what may!"

Are you kidding?  That's basically what you're advocating: "Hey man, this is just the way it is.  These are da rulez.  Makes no difference if they are unlibertarian and imposed in an unlibertarian way.  Those guys agreed to em.  Mah boi Ronny just be doin his thang.  It's all in the rulez bro.  Can't fault da good docta for using da rulez to his advantage, even if it means taking advantage of other human beings."

 

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gotlucky:
2) All the connections between computers and servers and the various types of connections are privately owned. There are different protocols for accessing computers that utilize those physical connections. Accessing Steam is different from accessing the WWW and accessing computers through FTP. Currently, if you access servers through the WWW, you have to use domain names registered through ICANN (though I guess not when in other countries). You don't have to access other computers and servers through the WWW. You could use FTP or whatever floats your boat. But if you want to use the WWW, then you rent your domain through ICANN. You don't own it. It's their rules, just like the Mises Institute has its own rules for forum membership.

No, apparently you don't get it.  Once again:

Put it this way: in a free society, there would be no reputation rights, no IP law, no trademark, no copyright, no right of publicity, so I doubt the private companies running the internet infrastructure woudl ever have a quasi-IP-based domain name dispute policy in the first place.

You are apologizing for Ron Paul's attempt to actively use an illegitimate system to do someting illegitimate...basically just because he can.  I see nothing in this entire argument that comments on the unlibertarian nature of the situation.  All I keep hearing from the pro-Paul camp is "Dos are da rulez".  Again, you can claim ICANN is "private" all you want, but as even Clayton admitted, it's about as "private" as the Fed...created through government, supported by government, largely (essentially) run by government, and basically backed by government.

And to claim Paul not only has a libertarian "right" to do what he's doing just because it's legal, or "dos are da rulez, (and ICANN isn't a state so that de facto means they're legitimate)", is just nonsense.

Bottom line:

Is it fair to say that Ron Paul is using government to steal from his supporters?

Stephan Kinsella: "Yes."

 

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Marko replied on Thu, Feb 14 2013 6:50 PM

1) You have a unique username for the Mises website. It is not your property. The Mises Institute allows you to use that username for free. If they wanted, the Mises Institute could transfer your unique username to another person. You agree to follow the rules of the Mises Institute. If there is a process for something like this to occur, then you have to live with the results. You could always try to fight it, but ultimately it's not your property.

I don't know why you think this strenghtens your argument. The LvMI own their website but ICANN doesn't own the domains. As you so aptly noted yourself: "Apparently ICANN somehow owns all domain names without using them first." LvMI is equally right in doing whatever they want with their accounts, but ICANN is equally wrong in doing whatever they do (if Clayton is right about the technology), so it is actually exactly the reverse example.


No, apparently you don't get it.  Once again:

"Put it this way: in a free society, there would be no reputation rights, no IP law, no trademark, no copyright, no right of publicity, so I doubt the private companies running the internet infrastructure woudl ever have a quasi-IP-based domain name dispute policy in the first place."

As I understand it the point is that in a free society a dispute like this wouldn't arise in the first place, as RP would supposedly not be barred from setting up another site and mapping it to ronpaul.com, but is barred from it now by the state enabled ICANN. So the situation is why should RPCP hold a state-enabled monopoly privilege on ronpaul.com rather than RP? Since that kind of monopoly isn't defensible, no person can have a better claim to it than another.

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Marko:
So the situation is why should RPCP hold a state-enabled monopoly privilege on ronpaul.com rather than RP? Since that kind of monopoly isn't defensible, no person can have a better claim to it than another.

So what is your argument then?  Are you seriously going to suggest that what you just said makes what Paul is doing justified, or ethical?

I say that just because someone came to justly own something in an illegitimate system, it doesn't mean you have the right to outrightly go and take it from them just because that same system says you can.

I think something along the lines of "two wrongs don't make a right" is in order here.

Really if you want to make that argument you might as well say that all your money isn't really yours because of the way it's created.  I'll link your dollars to other people and use the legal system to have all the dollars you own expropriated from you, because "no person can have a better claim to them than any other."

 

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gotlucky replied on Thu, Feb 14 2013 7:38 PM

Clearly you haven't read my posts in this thread, because you are not accurately portraying what I've said. I will restate an earlier analogy:

Right now, the government owns nearly all the roads in America. We all pay taxes, and those of us who drive more pay more taxes towards the roads. Who has the right to actually use these roads? Car drivers? Bicyclists? Runners? Horse and buggy? Protests? Parades? The rules change for various roads. This would be an easy answer in a society where the roads are private - let the owners decide. But it's not private, so the decisions are left to government. If you want to protest or have a parade, you need to go through government, which means that the government will ban anyone else from using the road while you are using it for your event.

The situation with domain names is no different. We are not in a system where domain names are privately owned. Well, in a sense they are in that ICANN is in charge. Since ICANN owns them, ICANN gets to make the rules. If it were the government that owned them, the government would get to make the rules. As libertarians, clearly we don't think that the government should own them or that ICANN's claims are legitimate.

If Ron Paul wanted to organize a parade on Main Street, he would need to go through government. Maybe we would prefer that the store owners are the ones who own the road in front of their stores, maybe it wouldn't be the case. Who knows? What we know is that the government does own the road, and if you want to use it for something other than driving, you need to go through them. With your position, you would be accusing Ron Paul of using the government to aggress against the people who own buildings on the road. It is not clear that they would be the legitimate owners, and it is perfectly reasonable and not contrary to libertarianism for Ron Paul to request the use of roads from the government for a parade.

How DNS Works and Fixing DNS - how to break up ICANN by Brad Templeton. From the first link:

 

The important thing to know from all this is that while ICANN controls the master root server, and the other root servers are copies (mirrors) of it, and almost everybody uses the same list of root servers, there is no law that makes this so. A few people can, and do, use other lists of root servers.

In theory, if enough people got upset at ICANN and the root servers, they could switch to another set, and that other set could look up names for you any other way you might choose.

In practice, such a switch would be very hard to do, especially a switch that changed who the master for ".com" was from Network Solutions to come other company. If people switched, some people might get a different answer for whoever.com than others do. You couldn't hand out a domain name on your business card and expect it to work reliably for all the people you give it to.

So while there is no actual legal power in ICANN, there is a natural monopoly for the "root" (master) of the domain system, because if everybody doesn't use the same list, we lose some valuable features.

From this, it sounds like you are paying ICANN to put your domain name on a list so that when others search for your domain name, they get routed to your site. But they don't have to use ICANN's list. It's convenient to use ICANN's list because everyone else does, just like it's convenient to use the US dollar because everyone else does (hahaha, because the US government would totally accept taxes paid in goods, but I digress). So no one owns "ronpaul.com". They register with ICANN so that "ronpaul.com" routes to the servers they want. Ron Paul is appealing to the rules that the ICANN list routes to him instead of the other people. He is not violating someone's "homesteaded" domain name. Absurd.

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Marko replied on Thu, Feb 14 2013 7:50 PM

So what is your argument then?  Are you seriously going to suggest that what you just said makes what Paul is doing justified, or ethical?

No, I'm not going to suggest that. Wenzel and Rockwell suggest that and I critique them for it. I suggest it may be the kind of a lifeboat scenario for which there isn't a real answer to it.

If I am feezing in water along with another guy who is the son of an MP, and then a government aircraft flies overhead and drops a tiny taxpayer-funded raft for the other guy to use to save himself, then I don't give a crap, if the government employees who dropped the raft intended it for the son of the MP and not me. I am inclined to wrestle it away from the other guy, even if he was able to swam to it before me, by the virtue of the plane dropping it nearer to him than me. I won't say my doing so is justified, but it certainly isn't unjustified either. F him. I don't see any reason he is more entitled to live than I am, by the virtue of the government having his back and not mine.

I say that just because someone came to justly own something in an illegitimate system, it doesn't mean you have the right to outrightly go and take it from them just because that same system says you can.

Well we would have to define what exactly it is the RPCP own. For example what if the state in return for a fee granted people the privilege of others not being able to come within 15 feet of them in public spaces? Would you say that was a justly acquired privilege in an illegitimate system? You wouldn't.

What RPCP have now is two-fold. One is the ability to map their site to ronpaul.com which they should have, and the monopoly on being the only ones to be able to do so, which they shouldn't have. RP on the other hand doesn't have the ability to map his site to ronpaul.com, which he should have, but also doesn't have the ability to preclude all people other than himself from doing so, which he should not have. Either way somebody is going to get screwed in equal proportion. So who shall it be? Why is it more right RP gets shafted rather than RPCP, or indeed the other way around?

I think something along the lines of "two wrongs don't make a right" is in order here.

I agree nobody is in the right, question is is anybody wrong?

Really if you want to make that argument you might as well say that all your money isn't really yours because of the way it's created.  I'll link your dollars to other people and use the legal system to have all the dollars you own expropriated from you, because "no person can have a better claim to them than any other."

No, I think you're overstating your case here. Dollars aren't a privilege. I can't force people to give me something for them, if they don't want to sell.

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Marko replied on Thu, Feb 14 2013 8:10 PM

If Ron Paul wanted to organize a parade on Main Street, he would need to go through government. Maybe we would prefer that the store owners are the ones who own the road in front of their stores, maybe it wouldn't be the case. Who knows? What we know is that the government does own the road, and if you want to use it for something other than driving, you need to go through them. With your position, you would be accusing Ron Paul of using the government to aggress against the people who own buildings on the road. It is not clear that they would be the legitimate owners, and it is perfectly reasonable and not contrary to libertarianism for Ron Paul to request the use of roads from the government for a parade.


That's a bad analogy, because it is clear to me the store owners do own the road in front of the store right now. (I guess it's a commercial street?) Maybe in ancapistan they would eventually come to sell it off and it would be the case this situation of store owners actually owning the road would be extremely rare, however, as is the case now, in this very moment, they are the rightful owners. If RP got a permit to hold a parade the store keepers didn't want, and held it, he would be guilty of trespass.

Your federally-funded highway out on the sticks is a much better example, because there rightful ownership actually is murky in the present (and may only be resolved once government is gotten out of the way).

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gotlucky replied on Thu, Feb 14 2013 8:16 PM

Why do the store owners own the road? Not only do we all pay taxes to the roads, but store owners change a lot. I'd say that current store owners have a better claim than the government does, but I don't see why they necessarily have the best claim out of everyone. They didn't build the road, and it's quite possible that what they paid in taxes didn't fully cover the financing.

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