Saturday, June 21, 2003
I kinda like the idea of blogging. And blogging in support of the rights of the people is a really good idea.
But "blogging for the people" is getting to sound a bit Marxist.
My friend Doug Kenline Says to Neal Boortz & Bill O'Reilly, "Music is free now. Get over it. Evolve or die."
Then a little later in the same post (June 21, 2003), he says, "Orrin Hatch is a fraud. The founding fathers wanted no part in popularly elected federal Senators. The so-called seventeenth amendmant was never ratified."
Now, this is not the "darker something" revealed in Doug's earlier post that I promised to discuss in a day or two, it's a different one. But it too is common in constitutional advocacy, so it also bears discussion. And now is as good a time as any.
It's the tendency to pick and choose among the various provisions of the constitution, advocating some and neglecting, or dismissing, or even attacking others. Leftists do this when they champion "free speech" (wonderful First Amendment) while screaming for "gun control" (awful Second Amendment).
Doug is doing it when he complains about fraud in the election of US senators (17th Amendment) and then dismissing patent and copyright protections (Article I, Section 8, Clause 7).
What makes this particularly ironic is that patents and copyrights are in the main body of the US constitution, not afterthoughts like the Bill of Rights. (Go ahead, misrepresent that, anybody who wants to say that I dissed the Bill of Rights as an afterthought. But admit it, it was. An essential and personally imperative one for me, yet not considered necessary in the original framing. Read the notes from the convention, read the Bill of Rights' own Preamble.)
So here we have a person chatting up the constitution all day long, and presuming to tell all of the rest of us how to do it, and he's actually confessing to violating artists' constitutionally-guaranteed rights. Sorry pal, maybe it's inadvertent, but it is real nonetheless: can you spell "hypocrite"?
Next, in another post (same day), Doug thinks that authors should just post their books to the internet and not charge, just put up a PayPal "tip jar".
I did that with my first book. Sold for $7 a copy in the printed version at bookstores, faster than I could deliver it. I made about $1.38 per copy. I put it live on the internet (1995) because a bunch of first-generation "Build-it-and-they-will-come" net friends badgered me that it was more important that the book get out there than for me to be paid for every copy. Well, they were half-right. I built it and people came. The first couple of months it downloaded over 25,000 times. I quit counting at 40,000 in less than a year. In bookstores in printed form, that's me making a living at over $55,000 --enough to work full time on such things. But only ten people sent money, less than $200, not even enough to pay for the website. I spent the year pounding nails and getting nothing important done.
The book is Mind Matters, and it's still up there, still downloading tens of thousands of times for years now, and I still get lots of email from readers. But in the past six years only one more person has paid for it. And I'm still pounding nails.
This is no fluke. I tried it again with my Effectiveness Profile self-improvement diagnostic software. You can run it free of charge online at effectivenessprofile.com. You get a graph showing your weakness and strengths in 20 attributes across 6 categories. And the PDF version of what was an 80-page printed manual. Lots of people do it, sometimes hundreds in a month. It also asks for a donation in exchange for an interpretation if the visitor wants more detail.
In over a year, THREE people have taken that step. Tells you how much people really value self-improvement. By and large, NOT.
By inference, it also tells you that they generally aren't going to do any more to defend their rights than they will to better their situations.
And still, I pound nails.
But hey, that's just me, right? No. The fellow who wrote the wblogger blog-posting program uses Doug's model. You download and use the program for free, he asks for financial tokens of appreciation. How's he doing? Can't afford to spend much time doing support for the program, still has to do "real" work.
It simply isn't true that people will pay on the honor system. Hell, they won't even pay for music when they know there's a price and the copies they're downloading are illegal. (Right, Doug?) But that's way of Marxism and all such "theories" espoused by people who live in fantasyland and have never worked both sides of the issue to learn the truth.
Oh, and excuse me for misquoting --Doug wants $10K a week, not per month. No problem, projections indicate that this will take six or seven months instead of four or five.
Only now I'm worried. If Doug is so misguidedly arrogant while he's making a mere living, how misdirectingly dangerous will he become when he has money? Will he still be telling people to sacrifice their creativity "for the people" when he's banking seven figures? Will he use his suddenly-found money to expand his meta-message, that it's okay to take from others and expect more?
Will he put his money where his mouth should be, in positive support of constitutional advocacy? Or will he just keep on nitpicking his estimations of other people's imperfections, all the while ignoring the redwood tree in his own eye?
At least he'll have to tell people where he got the opportunity --recruiting is still the only way to grow an MLM business, even if it's all automated except for incidental contacts.
I still plan to do the other analysis I promised. Only it won't be centered so much on Doug. I don't plan to spend any more time arguing with him. He's reminding me too much of the early taxpayer-supported internet denizens in the universities who spent hours a day "trolling", baiting people just to get a rise or something out of them for entertainment sake alone.
I'm a little too dedicated to getting a result to waste that much time.
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