Geeks & Politics

Mon 31 March 2003 by pj Tagged as ancient commentary
Lawrence Lessig's blog says:
Ed Felten has a wonderful piece about the idiocy in the mini-DMCA's being considered by a number of state "governments." What is so frustrating about this business is not the people (like these governments) who disagree with you. But that their disagreement reveals that they have not done anything to understand the issue. We are over 5 years into this battle, yet these laws look like they have been drafted by people who have lived on another planet these past 5 years.
which echoes Cory Doctorw's statement in a recent interview:
Turing's Universal Machine is an incredibly powerful concept; so powerful, in fact, that as a culture we still haven't gotten our heads around it, which is why we now have people calling for the design of computers that can't be used to commit infringement, or can't be used to convey bad speech. . . . The idea that you can build a general purpose computer that can execute all instructions save for ones that are infringing is kind of touchingly naive, but profoundly ignorant of what a general purpose computer is.
I think these provide some insight into the fundamental geek disconnect from the political/law process: Geeks get it, so to them trying to legislate things like DRM is equivalent to the silly bill that tried to make pi = 3.2: It's nonsense. And the only real solution that I can think of, in the face of the willful ignorance of entities like the recording industry, is to let the ripples of education get far enough out that everyman, in the form of the people involved in the lawmaking process, is educated enough to respond to such proposals in the same way the would to a proposal to make a law that the sun rise in the west. In the meantime... do what you can, but realize you're fighting an educational battle, not an ideological one.