27 Jun 2012

Tom Woods on the Libertarian Moocher

Tom Woods 30 Comments

The historian strikes back. (Incidentally, Tom charged me $1000 to host this video at Free Advice, so if you want to bake me a pie or something, I would appreciate it.)

30 Responses to “Tom Woods on the Libertarian Moocher”

  1. Matthew Murphy says:

    I had to pay 10 cents to watch it on his website.

  2. Jonathan M.F. Catalán says:

    This is Bob’s subtle way of seeing whether or not he ought to charge us to read his blog.

  3. Ken B says:

    I was gonna suggest you should make Anatomy of the Fed available free. Guess I’ll wait on that …

  4. Silas Barta says:

    What’s funny is, a lot of these things they’re charging for are effectively non-rival goods within a certain range. So you could swap out Woods’s rant with a rant about the anti-IP crowd demanding access to intellectual works for free, and it would be *exactly* as applicable — the part about the efforts to put these on, the opportunity costs involved in creating these events or someone coming to speak, the fact that these things would happen at all (and thus throw off some benefit to the non-payers) if they *couldn’t* charge, etc etc etc.

    And yet many of his confederates (pardon the pun) would see no dissonance in going right out and claiming a moral right to pirate whatever intellectual works they want.

    Oh, I spoke too soon, Woods *did* touch on an example of someone gating his intellectual works and went on to hammer the critics of this as “moochers”.

    Hm, is the anti-IP crowd going to start seeing the light, given as this is coming from Tom Woods and all …? I doubt it. I mean, I’ve been there, and these people cannot hold three logical steps in their minds at once without letting one slip away.

    • Joseph Fetz says:

      Tom’s been pretty open about the fact that he hasn’t really studied the issue much.

      • Silas Barta says:

        Well, I’d love to be a fly on the wall when he and Stephan_Kinsella finally get to talking about the issue.

        • Bob Murphy says:

          Silas, if you ever find yourself in such a position, check before you reproduce the contents of that discussion.

            • Richard Moss says:

              I think Bob means otherwise you might be ‘stealing’ the content…

            • Bob Murphy says:

              Aww c’mon Silas, that was an easy joke. You must be overanalyzing it.

              • Silas Barta says:

                Heh, I missed it because I was expecting anything mentioning “reproduction” to be a clever remark related to the experience of being a literal fly…

              • Bob Murphy says:

                You want to have sex with Jeff Goldblum?

              • Silas Barta says:

                What the…? Huh? We were on a completely different topic!

                But … yes :-/

              • Joseph Fetz says:

                LOL. That exchange was priceless.

    • Paul says:

      The way I figure it, the only problem with IP is that it is protected by law. There is nothing wrong with someone wanting to protect their work and get as much money from it as possible. As long as they don’t use force to eliminate competition to the distribution of their work then there is really nothing wrong with protecting it.

      I’m not familiar with many anti IP people saying that, not only should we not have IP, but that if you do come up with something that would classify that it has to be freely distributed. Maybe that argument exists, but I haven’t heard it anywhere.

      • Silas Barta says:

        The targets of the moochers’ criticism weren’t using force to keep the moochers out of their paid events???

        • visose says:

          What does that have to do with IP?

    • visose says:

      I also understand it as Paul explained. The anti IP libertarians, like all libertarians, are against the use of force. Not against forcing any particular goods or services to be free.

      This is how i understand the anti IP libertarian argument:

      Tom is free to charge any amount he wants for whatever he is offering and people are free to enter into a contract with him.
      If someone duplicates his content and posts it in Youtube, and I download it, Tom can’t force me to delete my copy or can’t force Youtube to take it down, because what I own is not a scarce resource that he previously owned and is now missing from him.
      He can, however, sue whoever posted it on Youtube for breach of contract. He can also frown on my behaviour and even create a video commenting on what a moocher I am.

      He can justifiably be angry at me. He just cannot call the police.

      • visose says:

        > Not against forcing any particular goods or services to be free.

        That should read, not for enforcing any particular goods or services to be free.

  5. Greg Adams says:

    Although I share Tom’s sentiment, I don’t think this trend is about entitlement. I think it’s the (sometimes admirable, sometimes not) near delusional commitment to liberty people may have. For some there exists a tacit notion that if at any time someone profits off of the fight against the state, they are slowing down the fight and hence encouraging coercion. There is an expectation that one must become a martyr in their fight, or else they are not really genuine or trustworthy.

    Why be a martyr to the state? It’s pointless and foolish.

    Take the activists getting arrested in New Hampshire. They are the part of a community (a radio show, a website that takes donations, etc) so their arrests are not as admirable as they would have you believe. In fact, it’s the goal. To replicate this thinking in one’s own day to day life is a very bad idea.

  6. Gene Callahan says:

    Tom is pretty good on video.

    • Silas Barta says:

      Come on, say something about the IP issue!!!

    • Joseph Fetz says:

      I cannot help but wonder if this means that you think he sucks at other things. But, yes. Tom is very good on video, he’s also very good behind a podium, and soon we’ll see how good he is at running his own show (he always does pretty well filling in on Peter Schiff’s show)

  7. Matthew Swaringen says:

    As one of the anti-IP guys I posted at Tom’s blog in agreement with his point, but I can see how some anti-IPers probably do make stupid arguments on this subject.

    I do find it annoying to see the position blatantly misrepresented as a whole by people like Silas, but such is to be expected as that was always the pro-IPers form on Mises blog comment threads.

  8. Doug says:

    Woods is right to be ticked off, though perhaps he should cut people a bit of slack. Consider the various places where free goods are provided: Mises Institute, FEE, Learnliberty.org, EconTalk, EconLIb, and others. One could be completely self-educated by these entities and never need to pay a penny.

    This means two things to me: (1) Woods is completely justified to be peeved because there’s so much available for free, just shut up and pay up if you want a few luxury goods like hearing a popular speaker; and (2) what other attitude would you expect when 90% of the goods and services mentioned above are absolutely free!?

    To me, this argument has nothing to do with IP or IP law. I’m completely with Kinsella on this issue, yet I have absolutely no problem with gatekeepers to the content. If the content has sufficient demand, people will pay.

    • Ken B says:

      I prefer Woods’s attitude to that of some congressmmen, who are upset that things like the IE browser or Google search are offered for free.

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