Metal foams, european narratives, The Day Israel Died, Intellectual property, SCOTUS rules and Bastiat at 214

Research from North Carolina State University shows that lightweight composite metal foams are effective at blocking X-rays, gamma rays and neutron radiation, and are capable of absorbing the energy of high impact collisions. The finding means the metal foams hold promise for use in nuclear safety, space exploration and medical technology applications.

Israelis were going to breakfast on August 30, 2016, when the bomb went off above Tel Aviv. There was an unfathomably bright flash in the cloudless sky at about 1515 feet, calculated precisely to be high enough to maximize the thermal and blast effects but low enough to churn up substantial fallout. It detonated over the Jaffa area of southern outskirts of the city instead of where it was aimed, the government center – only the Iranians could manage to miss a city with an A-bomb. Ironically, Ground Zero was heavily populated by Israeli Arabs.

Two main approaches are used by the members of the Austrian School to study the question of intellectual property: one is philosophical and discusses the nature of intellectual property. It will be treated in the first part of this work. The second is consequentialism, often called utilitarianism. It is solely concerned with the costs and benefits of copyrights and patents as incentives for creation and innovation. This last approach will be treated in the second part of this paper and will be divided into two sub-categories: copyrights and patents.

As long as it is admitted that the law may be diverted from its true purpose — that it may violate property instead of protecting it — then everyone will want to participate in making the law, either to protect himself against plunder or to use it for plunder. Political questions will always be prejudicial, dominant, and all-absorbing. There will be fighting at the door of the Legislative Palace, and the struggle within will be no less furious. To know this, it is hardly necessary to examine what transpires in the French and English legislatures; merely to understand the issue is to know the answer.

Is there any need to offer proof that this odious perversion of the law is a perpetual source of hatred and discord; that it tends to destroy society itself? If such proof is needed, look at the United States [in 1850]. There is no country in the world where the law is kept more within its proper domain: the protection of every person’s liberty and property. As a consequence of this, there appears to be no country in the world where the social order rests on a firmer foundation. But even in the United States, there are two issues — and only two — that have always endangered the public peace.

The thesis of the book is that government’s purpose is to protect life, liberty, and property, but that the law generally becomes perverted to sanction plunder. From the title page:

The law perverted! And the police powers of the state perverted along with it! The law, I say, not only turned from its proper purpose but made to follow an entirely contrary purpose! The law become the weapon of every kind of greed! Instead of checking crime, the law itself is guilty of the evils it is supposed to punish!

But how do we know when any of this is going on? From his subsection entitled “How to Identify Legal Plunder”:

But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.

Then abolish this law without delay, for it is not only an evil itself, but also it is a fertile source for further evils because it invites reprisals. If such a law — which may be an isolated case — is not abolished immediately, it will spread, multiply, and develop into a system.

The person who profits from this law will complain bitterly, defending his acquired rights. He will claim that the state is obligated to protect and encourage his particular industry; that this procedure enriches the state because the protected industry is thus able to spend more and to pay higher wages to the poor workingmen.

Do not listen to this sophistry by vested interests. The acceptance of these arguments will build legal plunder into a whole system. In fact, this has already occurred. The present-day delusion is an attempt to enrich everyone at the expense of everyone else; to make plunder universal under the pretense of organizing it.

Men have three basic choices as Bastiat saw it, in regards to the problem of legal plunder. From the subsection entitled “The Choice Before Us“:

This question of legal plunder must be settled once and for all, and there are only three ways to settle it:

  1. The few plunder the many.
  2. Everybody plunders everybody.
  3. Nobody plunders anybody.

We must make our choice among limited plunder, universal plunder, and no plunder. The law can follow only one of these three.

Limited legal plunder: This system prevailed when the right to vote was restricted. One would turn back to this system to prevent the invasion of socialism.

Universal legal plunder: We have been threatened with this system since the franchise was made universal. The newly enfranchised majority has decided to formulate law on the same principle of legal plunder that was used by their predecessors when the vote was limited.

No legal plunder: This is the principle of justice, peace, order, stability, harmony, and logic. Until the day of my death, I shall proclaim this principle with all the force of my lungs (which alas! is all too inadequate).

JOHN KORNBLUM: All big events are defined on the basis of a story, the narrative which tells what it is all about. In Ukraine, we have lost that narrative. Russia has quite skilfully established the legend that the West was too aggressive after the end of the Cold War. That we should have understood Russian sensitivities, and that we should have given them time to digest things. And that Putin’s aggression is a justifiable reaction to Western tactics.


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