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Classical Liberalism/Moderate Libertarianism

I am a classical liberal, otherwise known as a (moderate) libertarian. This means that:

(For historical information on classical liberalism, see An American Classical Liberalism.) My ideal world includes a balance of power between various individuals, groups, and organizations, including governments, with none dominant.

Computers and politics

Part of how I see this world as coming about involves the use of computers, such as via encryption, anonymization (or pseudonymization), and other methods. Because of these possibilities, organizations that try to keep a monopoly on power (governments) see them (correctly) as a threat, as is visible in various laws attempting to regulate cryptography, online privacy (such as many provisions of the so-called "anti-terrorism" USA "PATRIOT" Act), etcetera. (Various other organizations also oppose online freedom, as seen in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and the LICRA vs Yahoo case(s). My mention of the latter does not by any means indicate any support for neo-Nazis and their kind (indeed, they are calling one of my grandparents a liar (see the section on her husband, Smitty, in my (late) grandmother's home page)), but my opposition to such restraints on freedom of speech/press. The quote from Francois Marie Arouet de Voltaire may be overused, but it is still valid: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." I find it sadly ironic that the birth country of Voltaire, France, is involved in such censorship attempts - and am disgusted by their hypocrisy in taking no such actions against such similarly insulting material as books claiming American political groups planned and carried out 9/11.) It is thus pragmatic for those interested in computer progress to support individual liberties. I also have a pragmatic interest in political freedom due to my long-term research interests (see in particular index.old.html).

Religion and politics

My religion also plays a role in my politics. I find "An ye harm none, do what ye will" (sometimes known as the Wiccan Rede) an excellent expression of libertarianism. Moreover, many of the anti-freedom forces have religious fundamentalism at their core, ranging from September 11th (although I view Christian Fundamentalism as a larger long-term threat) to opposition to modern scientific research (e.g., vs evolutionary biology, as with my own research); indicative words and phrases here include "playing God", "unnatural", and "hubris". For more on this last topic, see "Embracing Change with All Four Arms", "Intimations of Immortality", "Progress, Counter-Progress and Counter-Counter-Progress", and some material on my long-term research interests. (My old research webpage may also be informative.)

I am pro-choice, as you might guess, unlike, say, Murray Sabin - roughly 50% of Libertarians are. I have concluded that, given evidence on their brain-wave patterns lacking human characteristics, fetuses should not be treated as even possibly people until the third trimester (and I would, even during the third trimester, place the life and health of the mother (and/or of other people) above that of the fetus, since she is most definitely a person and the status of the fetus - like that of, for instance, bonobos (pygmy chimpanzees) and chimpanzees - is definitely in question). I do not believe claims from the "mainstream" anti-choice movement (e.g., the Catholic Church) not to support violence against abortion doctors and clinics (e.g., the recent shooting of Dr. George Tiller). Almost all of said movement is, after all, in favor of laws against abortion - laws that would be enforced by violence. (I also note that the Catholic Church disapproves even of abortions necessary to save a woman's life.)


In regard to September 11th, Benjamin Franklin said it well, during the life-or-death struggle for American Independence:
They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
September 11th is truly a second Day that Shall Live in Infamy, but it is not an excuse for limiting the freedoms that the terrorists were attacking. I say "excuse" because of how much law enforcement, and others, have used it to gain the powers that they were striving for even beforehand - which would have made no difference whatsoever in preventing the atrocities of 9/11. It was inevitable that something like 9/11 would happen eventually; many, including myself, were predicting that such an event was going to happen (there are times when one wishes that one had been wrong). But we supported, and those of us with a real committment still support, liberty.

Intellectual property rights

Recently, questions regarding one variety of property rights - or, rather, one claimed variety of property rights - have been coming up more frequently. That variety of (possible) property rights are those over intellectual property. I have mixed feelings about the idea of intellectual property rights in general. I have, however, concluded that, at least with the growing information exchange possibilities of the Internet, copyrights, trademarks, and (except as enforced via individual contracts) registered trade secrets are no longer truly valid. (I do not believe that patents over things that are not physically researched (researched requiring equipment other than an ordinary computer), such as algorithms/software and business methods, are validly patentable in the first place (hopefully the EU will be brighter than the US currently is in regard to this).) They conflict too much with freedoms of speech/press, as the DMCA and the other efforts of the RIAA, MPAA, etcetera make clear.

Note that the (US) Constitutional clause giving Congress the power to create copyrights, trademarks, and patents is in the main body of the Constitution; it is thus overriden by amendments to said main body, most particularly by the First Amendment. Also note that the specified purpose of said power is to "promote the progress of science and useful arts" - thus, if (as would be the case with SCO's Microsoft-backed actions against Linux, if SCO's case were valid in the first place, which I do not believe) copyright et al were to come into conflict with said progress, the US government has no (legitimate) power to enforce said copyrights et al. Until this is fully realized in law, I will, however, be willing to use copyright law against those who, due to it and related invalid intellectual property law, illegitimately have more power/money/etcetera than they should have (or who are attempting to gain such via said laws). Thus, I do retain copyright over these pages, over software I create, etcetera.

In regard to software, I place all that I write under an open-source copyright (usually the GPL or Perl licenses). I am particularly insistent on that anyone who writes software for scientific work should place said software under an open-source license - for some examples, refer to my research page(s). Similarly, most of my webpages and all of my scientific research results are under a Creative Commons license; note that they are not under a later version than 2.5 because of later versions' acknowledgement of the alleged "moral rights" that some governments wrongly enforce. (I suggest a Creative Commons copyright disallowing the production of "derivative works" by any author in a country recognizing "moral rights", unless the author was able to reject such "rights" - most countries unfortunately do not allow authors to do so.)

Other information

For more information, use the below links (which are in semi-alphabetical order). Note that I do not necessarily agree with all - or even almost all - of the viewpoints of the below-listed pages and organizations. Moreover, due to personal privacy concerns, some political organizations that I support (indeed, in which I am involved directly) may be left out of the below.
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