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Re: Utterly imbecile pinky communist Ninth Circuit 'judges' (Vernor scan

From: Joe Fineman
Subject: Re: Utterly imbecile pinky communist Ninth Circuit 'judges' (Vernor scandalous ruling)
Date: Wed, 08 Dec 2010 16:02:35 -0000
User-agent: Gnus/5.101 (Gnus v5.10.10) Emacs/22.3 (windows-nt)

The social trend always lags behind the technological one. And while
technology tended, in these days, toward simplification, the social
pattern was immensely complicated, since it was partly an outgrowth of
historical precedent and partly a result of the scientific advance of
the era. Take jurisprudence. Cockburn and Blackwood and a score of
others had established certain general and specific rules -- say,
regarding patents -- but those rules could be made thoroughly
impractical by a single gadget. The Integrators could solve problems
no human brain could manage, so, as a governor, it was necessary to
build various controls into those semimechanical colloids. Moreover,
an electronic duplicator could infringe not only on patents but on
property rights, and attorneys prepared voluminous briefs on such
questions as whether "rarity rights" are real property, whether a
gadget made on a duplicator is a "representation" or a copy, and
whether mass-duplication of chinchillas is unfair competition to a
chinchilla breeder who depended on old-fashioned biological
principles. All of which added up to the fact that the world, slightly
punch-drunk with technology, was trying desperately to walk a straight
line. Eventually the confusion would settle down.

It hadn't settled down yet.

So legal machinery was a construction far more complicated than an
Integrator. Precedent warred with abstract theory as lawyer warred
with lawyer. It was all perfectly clear to the technicians, but they
were much too impractical to be consulted; they were apt to remark
wickedly, "So my gadget unstabilizes property rights? Well -- why have
property rights, then?"

And you can't do that!

Not to a world that had found security, of a sort, for thousands of
years in rigid precedents of social intercourse. The ancient dyke of
formal culture was beginning to leak in innumerable spots, and, had
you noticed, you might have seen hundreds of thousands of frantic,
small figures rushing from danger-spot to danger-spot, valorously
plugging the leaks with their fingers, arms, or heads. Some day it
would be discovered that there was no encroaching ocean beyond that
dyke, but that day hadn't yet come.

-- Lewis Padgett, "Ex Machina" (1948)

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