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Like the "preview" systems in some record shops Napster and similar services provide a welcome opportunity to try new music and, in turn, they might even drive sales of some works. That's a good thing, especially for new artists and those in non-mainstream categories. The problem is that the online services encourage people to violate various laws which, in my book, at very least makes them an accessory to the crimes. Don't misunderstand. I don't take a position for or against Napster. If an artist and company is open to distribution of their property they provide clearinghouse that makes it possible. But as someone in the software business, an industry that has fought against the pirating of our products for years, I completely empathize with the musicians and record companies' positions. In fact, armed with that history, it may be that what the opponents fear is not just what is occuring today, but what is inevitable if it isn't brought under control: a complete abandonment of respect for copyright laws and the legal and moral right to be paid for one's artistic work in music.
An eloquent response. It is indeed a complex issue. My personal opinion (and it changes weekly) is that most people assume that artists act out of profit motive and are therefore inspired to create-- Take away their control and they will be less inclined to produce. All of the artists that I know, including myself, do not act out of a profit based motive, but rather a basic need to be creative. This is the essence of being an artist. The artist creates for the greater good. Thus, I think the control of artistic products is less an issue of the artist and more an issue of the industry that has built up around the artists. I think a real argument can be made that rampant capitalism has in fact degraded music, suppressing that which is less "marketable" and promoting the tastes of the "masses." It has created an appetite for the mediocre. Certainly, artists do need to be able to make a living, but do they and their record lables need millions upon millions? I don't cry for the likes of Metallica...certainly some of the profit oriented folks may drop out, but I don't think that it is necessarily a bad thing if we trim off some of the pork at this point in time. And start with N'Sync.
I see this as a much less complex issue than the posters above. If you download music, listen to it, and do not pay the artist or distributor for doing it you are a thief. This idea that this is all a creative activity and all humans have a right to share in it is absurd. Music is an intangible that results from persons creativity and hard work and they need to be paid for it. Would you download a document, image, or software program that was clearly owned by a party and not in the public domain that was intended for commercial sale and claim you had a right to it? would you steal a patented product design or novel and download it and consider it ethical? If so, you are a thief. Napster is much more involved in facilitating this crime (theft) than a money launderer, a pimp, or the owner of a crack house. All of these people are criminals and the owners of Napster are too.
Hmmm. I never thought of myself as a thief before. But maybe I'm wrong there. You obviously take the hardline capitalist viewpoint that all art is also a commodity and therefore should be regulated. I agree to maintaining an artists right to make money on his art should he wish. There is also a point to which the urge to control and make money begins to affect the quantity and diversity of non commercial art. No doubt that something created to reflect a person's/group's perspective and a product meant to appeal to masses of people will probably look very different. Just look at Hollywood, every film with the same proven formula. Not by chance for sure. Thus there is a need for a forum to give wider access to music and art, beyond the control of labels, corporations, etc. The internet is this media. To control Napster would set a precedent to control all the Internet, turning it into one giant business forum. The answer is somewhere in between. But surely you must see that there is more to the question than just "property rights." If not, oh well...By the way, it's not illegal to use Napster...so I'm not a thief yet.
I think that we all knew the court order (today) would happen, and it seems to me that Napster will eventually have to pay some kind of royalties, whether the music is coming "from them", or whether it comes from their "users". Either way, the so-called "free sharing of music" will not be allowed to go on by the RIAA, someone will have to pay something for what gets exchanged there, because it is all too easy for the music industry's primary "youth market" to get a bunch of music that they deem "as good as CD" for free, and how can that not affect profit margins? If they really like it as good (and usually they like it BETTER than CD), and they get it for free, WHY WOULD THEY PAY FULL RETAIL FOR A CD? THEY WOULDN'T, AND THEY DON'T. Interview a bunch of 14 or 15 year olds, and ask them how much of their music is bought on CD, and then ask how much did they get for free off the net. This is a no-brainer.........Yes, I've heard Napster's claims that more adults use them, than teenagers, but THERE'S NO WAY THIS HOLDS WATER EITHER....think about it. The bul (like 90%) of the music industry's income is youth driven, this cannot be denied or refuted.
This issue is not all that far beyond my youth, when eager young people would wait for their favorite song to be played by the "hottest" radio station, and they would record it to tape. I realize that with Napster this goes to a new art, being able to pick and choose the song and when you get to copy it. I am not sure the concept is any different though. Just for the record, I am neither for or against any of you availing yourself of the content of this new media. I, for one have never downloaded a single item from Napster. But then again, I never recorded a single song from the radio either, I simply went out and bought what I liked, after I heard it. Difficult to know what is right, for the consumer and the industry.
All interesting comments.I remember when Beatles White came out.Several fm stations played it in its intirety,as they did with new Eagles and the like.And there was Joe Benson's 7th day:7 albums uninterrupted.Those artists aren't out recycling cans or cardboard. I made copys on casette,and eventually bought everything I liked. MP3 is the 00's casette from the 70's
I'm of two minds as well, the artists are due their fair share, but there has always been ways to copy music and hasn't crippled the industry. The arguement can be made that there has never been "CD quality" copies available, but being an audiophile, MP3 and it's lossy compression techniques don't interest me much. Trying before you buy strikes me a fair. A recent case in point, the new Tragically Hip album was inadvertently released on the 'net and downloaded by many people before it was available through the traditional record stores (Music @ Work, good album). I listened to it for a few weeks, and then was one of the first to buy the production CD and attend their concert to enjoy their music. Here's where the whole music industry is at fault: the artist receives anywhere between $1 to $2.50 (max) for each CD sold, the rest is kept by the record company. I'd be happy to pay Steve Winwood $5 for a complete download of his next album, available through his secure site. He writes, performs, and produces his own work in his own studio, why should I pay $15 for the CD? The music industry argues they make significant investment in developing new bands that never make them money, but in my opinion they are pushing "cookie cutter" bands moulded to their own success formulas. As an example, I'd prefer to see Winwood double his income than pay record companies to keep their A&R guys well stocked in coke and Porsches. In order to take advantage of the music on the 'net requires a certain level of financial investment, either a DSL, Cable modem, or satellite link to download these huge files, and a CD burner to make the copies. In any event, targeting Napster does not address the fundamental issue of value-delivery of quality musci. The record companies have profited far too much for far too long...
Possibly it's the latent anarchist streak in me, but I tend to rejoice at the potential for entrenched, corporate models which rule and dominate creative industries being fundamentally challenged from time to time. Reminds me of the movie industry crying and pleading to the heavens and anyone else who would listen that VCR's (as opposed to VCP's-which just play tapes) would mean the certain death of the industry and that they absolutely, positively had to be banned if anyone ever wanted to watch a new movie again. They were serious, too. Models change. I have no doubt that the creative spirit and music will survive. The corporate model which feeds off of this creative spirit, however, is now confronted with a new paying field. It too, will survive, but it will look different. I am confident that Napster will be effectively crushed, at least in the short term. The laws (and those who enforce them) are created by vested interests to protect those interests, and new technologies are usually effectively stifled by an essentially conservative market and those who they threaten. (For example, cable was stifled by the broadcast industry for more than a decade with end-of-the-world style cries of hellfire and brimstone, just as cable is now stifling satellite broadcasting, deliciously, using precisely the same arguments which broadcast had turned against it. The same thing is going on with internet telephony, which scares the pants off of the telcom industry, and directly dovetails with the alleged digital conversion and the potential for multicasting v. the high definition programming which the industry promised Congress). I digress. That said, the genie is out of the bottle - no turning back. Sure, the industry will manage to suppress the development and full potential of all of these new technologies for a while by forcing them to play by outdated rules and cramming them into boxes designed in a different era. It has been ever thus. In the long run, however, were in for some changes. What? No idea. Creativity will survive. Music will survive. The rest (the playing filed, the rules, and even the players, not to mention whose pocket is getting lined) is just a curiosity to the likes of me. Hell, and if the upheaval only means a period of uncertainty, which can only then breed more creativity, I say bring it on. Us listeners / consumers, whatever our stripe, only benefit. Ive never once used Napster, nor do I ever intend to, but I love it. (Sure, mea culpa, I've conveniently glossed the genuinely thorny issue of property rights in the digital domain--which is terrifyingly important on countless level and utterly without any apparent solution--I just don't want the folks at Sony music to have any hand in coming up with the new paradigm, or, for that matter, perpetuating the old one...).
Let's get a couple of things straight.
I do not believe the RIAA is protecting anyone but the money grubbing music companies. This is not about the artists. They're ripped off on a daily basis by the labels they're signed to. Forced to make expensive videos (that come out of their own pockets), sign away their domain names, etc.
I wish that artists would make their own CDs and I could buy directly from them. They wouldn't even need a contract. Well, that's what a lot of this is about.
We all have heard that the music companies have been price fixing CDs since their inception. What this whole thing is about is that they want to control digital music and scare people into submission.
But let's call this nonsense what it is and not hide behind phoney arguments that any one with two IQ points can see is shallow. We all just end up looking like whiney kids when we say "but they're charging me too much, so it's okay to steal."
If you don't like paying that much, buy used. Or stop whining and don't buy. Or steal and keep your mouth shut about it. Protesting and stealing makes you look stupid and uninformed.
Unless you are that way....
And that's just how They want you to me. Stupid and gullible. End of rant. Thank you.
I am 16 and a napster user, put i do not feel downloading songs hurts the music industry, i use mp3s as a trial form of music to decide if i like the song enough to buy the cd. Of the mp3s i have now, i have or plan to buy almoust all of the artists cds. Napster is helping the music industry by giving them free publicity, so the riaa should shut up and go and play with the billions of dollars the industry reaps in every year
Until someone developes a way to download or xerox a BMW or a Lexus then the Public/governing authorites will understand we need to prevent copyright infringment- WE ALL lose if musicians are not compensated for their unique creative efforts whether they are pop artists or high art composers. If we don't stop the napster "PIGS" then we better all start learning to play an instrument because that maybe the only way to ever hear music again. What musician can possibly dedicate their life and their soul to music without financial return for their work.
Being a user of several on-line music houses, a FM Stereo listener, an Audiophile, and have an extensive knowledge of computing..... There is no reason that napster couldn't put standard copy protection algorythms to keep people from putting the information on CD. EMUSIC.com does this with promotional tracks! I think this is a perfect example of greedy people not taking the steps with technology to protect their investment. I can record music on CD from FM Stereo in complete album form, and get better info on a CD or tape than MP3 or other compressed formats. Is anyone stopping the play of complete albums on FM, or even complaining about it?? NO... Analog is a thing of the past in mainstream, but is still better format to those that have a good way to capture it.. I have recordings of the aforemention means, but I do not sell or distribute... and when I find an artist's recording that appeals to me, I buy the thing so the artists get their $1.50 and the supply chain gets the other $12+ in most cases. In return, I get the info that comes with the music, and usually a better recording. So, to me the only thing this is doing is limiting an option I have to expose unfamiliar music choices. I am not going to the record store and making selections that I am unsure that I will like. Thanks to all of those who don't follow the rules, or that are so insecure that they have to worry about getting ripped off... They will be the ones that will eventually lose in the long run anyway, no matter what they do. Closing this small leak of media is not going to do much in the scheme of things... there are plenty of ways to copy media in digital form without napster -- the honest will buy, the copyright infringers are not going to be phased by this...
Mr. grid_lock: I too find no sense in the "fair use" arguement. I completely agree that as the rules are now written (even more so today than yesterday), using Napster is against the rules. However, I'm arguing a more fundamental point. The rules, the large majority of which are written by people protecting their bank accounts, need to be changed altogether. Complete revamp. It's a philosophical point. You can argue that it isn't practical or that "that's the way it is in America so suck it up", I can respect that though I may disagree. I do not understand people who cannot see the larger picture however. I will continue to applaud any effort to resist the rulemakers when their rules are to the detriment of our society. Certainly, the alternatives are not clear, but they will become so as we progress.
Let's just be honest with ourselves here. That's all I'm saying against the whiners (not necessarily anyone here; there are several idiots at work who Don't Get It) who insist they're "sticking it to the Man."
Fine. Steal all you want. Let's just not use metaphors like "redistributing wealth" (or property, or intellectual property, et al.) when we're talking about stealing.
Even if it's from people you really don't like.
Issabre: I don't see the point you're trying to make. Everyone protects their own self-interests. That's the way we are. Artists, musicians, what-have-you need to make a living and none of them want to (or should) give away their work.
I don't see how obeying the Social Contract is to the detriment of our society. If you take someone's product they should be remunerated for it. It's called exchange: something for something.
People sitting at home and scarfing free MP3s are not exchanging anything for it. It's a one-way deal. How is that help society?
It's only helping people to lazy to go out and pay for the music they want. That's called greed.
And to those who use MP3s to audition new music and then buy said music are A) not violating copyright, B) operating within the spirit of the Fair Use clause and C) are the only ones actually helping the artists.
I have gotten the impression Napster's long term goal was to become a major force in commericial (for a profit) music distribution. Some small artist will be hurt, but the company seems to be hinding behind them. If the goals stated above are correct, then they are facilitating the giving away of something they do not own. Think if people could download (share) Harry Potter without paying for it? Think if people could share Microsoft Office and downloading it for free? How about everyone share the same AOL login name and password. AOL's entire revenue for the year would be $22.95 What if you could legally post other persons credit card number? It's just sharing right?
I guess the point I'm trying to make is this: with Napster we are at a sort of crossroads. A)We protect the rights of the artists (but are we really doing this or are we really protecting the rights of huge corporations masquerading as artists?) or B) We protect the sanctity of a free internet. We simply can't have it both ways. So which "right" takes precedent? With this ruling, there is a precedent being set that will assist other companies in their efforts to stake their claims to the internet in the future. Our entire system of law in America operates precedent. And America right rules the net. This will become even more complex as other countries join in. I know we call people who talk this way dark prophets, but look at the evidence. What's next...western pharmaceutical companies claiming that makers of traditional medicines in India have no right to sell on the internet because they're infringing on their patents? Nope, that was last year.
Even if Napster goes under, people can rip from CD's, DeCSS already means DVD's are able to be ripped. Getting digital data from a digital format is pretty much a given. Once that happens they can be sent or posted on places like FTP's. So even if there's no more Napster, there will always be message boards and FTP's where people can swap these crappy 10:1 - or worse - compressions. So even if you agree the artists have all the rights in the world, it appears as though they're unenforceable.
CRAP. I can't log on to NAPSTER. Did they already get closed down or are they just BOGGED down by frantic teenagers trying to get every song they can uncertain of napsters FUTURE? Wahooooo. Glad I got that awsome METALLICA song NO LEAF CLOVER just in time. Great song and great ORCHASTRA work. Not the biggest fan but this song is awsome.
Issabre: I think I see where you're coming from, but I think you're off base.
You can have access to the internet for free, you can find content for free, but access to property you don't own for free is not the pervue of the internet.
The internet is a medium for distribution of information. Whether it be printed, or multimedia.
However, it's all copyrighted. Just because you see an image on a web page, doesn't mean you can (legally) download it and place it on your own site. Someone else created that image and owns it (and can control its use).
The same goes for music. Someone illegally copying a CD to the internet does not make it free. Rights are rights. Whether the label or the artist owns the music is irrelevant. The point is that the people who upload these MP3s do not and everyone downloading them are stealing.
Trying to argue from any other stance is sophistry or another (unrelated) argument.
First, I'm pretty impressed with the quality of the posts here...most of them anyway. I think we agree on more than we disagree on. Secondly, I want to be clear that, as I use a modem for downloads-- taking years per song, I certainly do not avail myself of Napster all that often. Thus,with the demise of Napster, it's not the loss of free music that I lament so much as the further empowering of corporate domination of music, art, films..etc. Clearly art and music will survive, but commercialization has had and will have inevitable detrimental ramnifications for American culture (and don't even tell me that there are no ramnifications) which will in turn influence the popular arts. A downward spiral. We all agree that taking advantage of an artist's work without his consent is incorrect and wrong. So how do we solve the problem? If it goes before a court, it is a case of yes or no. However, the third option would have been not to hear the case at all. Find a solution outside the courts. Clearly, the music industry has not taken advantage of technologies available to prevent this phenonmenon. There are many, many answers. Why? In fact, the most drastic solution is to establish a precedent of regulating the internet. Why do this? Because, there is clearly more at stake and they want to sew up the issue now, while it's still early. So the questions regarding Napster are not unrelated, just a subset of much larger long term issues. Overall, I think we agree on the problems, it's the solutions that we are in disagreement about.
This is in response to Issabre's comment "Thus, with the demise of Napster, it's not the loss of free music that I lament so much as the further empowering of corporate domination of music, art, films..etc." It is not a matter of "empowerment." IMO, this is not about corporations and domination. This is a property rights issue. Either you own something or you don't. The owner of something has specific rights and it is improper to assume that because there is a new medium that those rights are somehow diminished. If someone moves to a new house does that mean they have fewer rights to privacy and protection of their property? No, their rights are generally sustained and remain essentially the same. A good excercise is to put yourself in the other fellow's shoes. What if it were your property being given away without your permission? What if it were your livelihood being jeapordized? Don't just think of it in terms of big dollar players. That's just who is getting the press right now. This ultimately effects all of us in many ways and with respect to a wide variety of media. In some ways the corporate types are doing us a favor (no, not in all ways) and it's about time.
Gridlock has it right, this isn't China where you copy anything you want for free. Issabre if you want to see how something sounds every large CD internet srore offers "real audio" sound samples of tracks from CDs they sell, this gives you idea of sound or style. Your argument of free unlimited sampling because maybe you will buy a CD is like saying you can use a "cable black box" and watch all the pay channels for free, just to see if you like it. Napster is piracy of copyrited material, and will be shut down very soon unless they pay artists for use of their material, regards Sam
It's not a matter of "soon", it's already happened. Do you not watch the news broadcasts? There are many others that will and are filling the Napster vacuum, but the government will obviously whittle the largest of them down also, over time...................I think there are other things going on in the USA that are more important than free music on the internet.....................Issabre, your guy claims he invented the internet, so "if" he's elected, maybe he'll solve all that worries you, heh heh heh.
I am surprised and relieved so many people feel the same way I do about this issue. Mr Gridlock has hit the nail right on the head IMHO. As for the notion that this will somehow lead to the decline of the Western Civilization - Give me a Break! If good sounding recordings were to be given away, with no money paid for that product, who would ever put up the $$$ for studio time, sound engineers, recording facilities, etc, etc - not to mention the musicians. To think that musicians are ONLY motivated by the artistry of their music is naive. From some kids in a garage band to the guy composing on his keyboard, musicians want their music to be heard but they also want to be paid for it if their dream is to do that for a living. Napster could potentially rob them of that dream. They may be able to share their music with a wider audience but if they don't get paid for it how can they keep doing it? Remember, Thomas Edison didn't invent the phonograph to share music with the world - he made it because he saw the potential to make money and sell a product he thought people would buy. He has been right for 100 years now. It's funny how people who advocate Napster are pointing their fingers at the evil, capitalist record companies whose only goal is to make a buck. What do you all think Napster's in it for? And they didn't even help make the product they are offering. That's theft.
Eldragon, funny how two of your examples are artists. The point though is that you're talking about ideas which can always be built upon, so long as there is no patent or copyright infringement. If this weren't the case we wouldn't see much advancement in anything. With your line of thinking (with the exception of Microsoft) we've all stolen someone elses idea - how far back do you want to go? Rome? Greece? Egypt? Babylon?
My thought is that Napster is like a giant radio station only you can get virtually any music you want at any time. I would like to have Napster pay BMI, ASCAP, SESAC, etc. licensing fees so the artists would be compensated. Broadcast facilities pay the fees so why not Napster. Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't bars and restaurants have to pay fees if they play recorded music to entertain patrons? I realize there is a difference between "playing music" and "downloading music" but "property" is still being used and use of "property" requires a fee unless the owner agrees to let the property be used for free.
Problem: Artist rights are infringed upon by unscrupulous internet users. Solution: Establish a powerful legal precedent that, may or may not actually be addressing the acutal problem, but will certainly aid those with enough money and connections to determine who can and cannot operate on the world's most extensive, soon to be most ubiqitous international information network. Analogy: Hey, that tree is on fire! Let's burn down the entire forest before it spreads to our top secret national laboratory. By the way, who left the highly classified disc drive behind the copier?
That surprises me not. And, revealed, your opinion is. Communism will always fail in the long run, because at some point, men fight for their basic freedoms...at least those outside that little island, so far. Socialism is a dangerous path that always leads to authoritarianism. America is full of men who'll fight for their basic freedoms, and to keep their markets and elections free. I pity those who aren't like us. Gore and his ilk will never understand that rugged individualism is what built the USA, and their ideals are what's tearing it down. "The greater good" does not take precedence over basic personal rights, that's what a republic is supposed to be.
OK, to intentionally digress now that it seems everyone is finished with Napster, and to pick up the glove that Carl threw down (albeit I find his tone suspect). That communism is a great theory, but perhaps not practical or workable in todays world is admitted. But Actually, the closest thing that we have to true Marxism today are large multinational corporations--pay grades, group health insurance, even the big brother cubicle. (Isn't it ironic that we tried to escape it all these years and ended up nuturing it at our own bosom?) Socialism on the other hand, is not a downhill slide to authoritarianism, I don't know where you got that. That's not only borne out in history, but in modern geo-politics. Yes, America is full of men who will fight for their freedoms and will receive them. However, freedom is just the beginning of the line, not the end. It's what you do with that freedom and how it benefits you and your fellow man that counts. And I think you'll agree that holding too closely to the concept of my liberty can forge chains as strong as any. Now, a well defined awareness of individual liberty when paired with two things that all Americans, like it or not, are inculcated with, social darwinistic thought (as evidenced in Manifest Destiny) and free market capitalism, we have a situation where a)people are keenly aware of "personal liberty"; b)are convinced that a failure to acquire what they percieve as their freedoms will result in utter extinction and, on the other hand, feel justified when they do get what they "need" at the expense of others ; c)have the means to acquire these things if they are hard working, smart and clever enough. Basically, this combination has resulted in a nation of extreme wealth, little collective conciousness or conscience (america consumes far far more than its porportional share of resources), (in my opinion)a largely miserable society (as evidence in our incredibly high crime rates, suicide rates, incidence of psychological disturbance..etc. America is not alone, those societies that hold dearly to these same tenents (and they are mostly western)develop ramant drug use and crime, suicide rates climb, etc. etc. Now where I used to live, in West Africa, you had perhaps the poorest people on the face of this planet, that while they had problems to be sure, they did not have the types of problems that we have...societal psychological problems. What struck me after returning to America after living in Africa for almost half a decade, was how happy people were there and how unhappy and dissatisfied people are here. It all comes down to this: We are masters of creating "need" in America. We always need more-- better cables, more output, deeper bias.. perhaps we will even go to the extreme and PURCHASE A KRELL AMPLIFIER (sorry). At any rate, the thing is we need more and feel dissatisfied when we do not have it. IT IS OUR RIGHT, THE WAY OF NATURE. That my friend is poverty. Poverty is not the actual need. It is the PERCEIVED need. And thus, my friends, due to the over-emphasis on these tenents, we have ironically become one of the most impoverished countries in the world today. That being said, I do not believe two of the three tenents are wrong, social darwinism however I do not ascribe to. Capitalism and Democracy however, yes, are very dear, very powerful and, while they are not an end in themselves, very legitimate TOOLS. But we must use them wisely. Somewhere along the line, we will realize that the situations where we gave up (though did not deny) some of our freedom, some of our rights, went against our instinct and tempered our desires, resulted in the most abundant outcomes ever experienced. Aren't those in fact the most blissful moments in life? Budda had it right...The way is in the middle. So the answer? Not communism. Not capitalism. Somewhere in between. Socialism? Perhaps. So yes, my position has been revealed. I stand naked before you. Avert your eyes if you wish. --And if you bring this back to audio, the lesson here is we CAN BE (but will we be?) all be happy with an old pair of Vandersteens, A dyna-st 70 and some Esoteric cables. I'm preachin...are you believin?
WOW.....Issabre, you tell us that "poverty is not the actual need. It is the perceived need". Would you care to go back to africa and tell all those millions of happy, starving, AIDS infected folks that are living (dying?) in war torn countries, that they actually have no "poverty"? ie no need for additional food, medicine, clean water, clothing, housing etc. Or are all those pictures on CNN totally wrong? I'll take my chances with America's problems, thankyou. Back to the topic: Napster itself may not be stealing music, but it certainly is making it possibe for those who do/would steal it-- it's called aiding and abetting, and that's wrong-- IMHO.
Garfish, Perceived need includes needs that are both real AND needs that are completely mental. It is an expansion of the definition of need, not a total redefinition. And yes, what you see on CNN is no way representative of the majority of Africa, just as what you see on CNN is no way representative of the majority of America. I'd just like to say thank God someone in the federal court system does see the bigger picture.
No, I'm not belivin. You need to publish your Mein Kompf elsewhere. Saying things like "people are the least happy in the USA, than in anywhere else in the world"...is utter foolishness. I could say just as accurately, "that everyone in America is actually blood red, it's just that their skin pretends to cover all of this blood that's actually perfectly visible underneath...if we just don't let the skin fool us into thinking that we aren't seeing it..." It is indeed born out in history, and I too "don't know where you get this". What do you suspect about my "tone", btw? IT IS ALL VERY SIMPLE. YOU, AND ALL LIBERALS AD SOCIALISTS, ARE THE ONES WHO ARE UNHAPPY. Why? Because you want to EQUALIZE EVERYONE'S LIFE OUTCOME, and have us all share a collective uncounciousness, and shirk out individualism. It'll never happen, it's not logical, it's not human, it doesn't occur in nature, or in the history of society, and it's the antithesis of capitalism, and everything out country was founded on. If you want a socialist utopia, I suggest you build one on the Moon, sans spacesuits! Give it up, and come over to the good side of the force, before you self destruct!
First, Adam Smith did NOT sign the constitution of the United States and our country is NOT based on freemarket capitalism, and our forefathers who were escaping intolerance in Europe certainly would NOT have advocated Social Darwinism lest they be damning themselves. These tenents were adopted outside the constitution. Second, You're right when you say that we liberals are the ones who are unhappy. By very definition "liberal" means open....open to many different perspectives-(it's a natural evolution of human thought when you are faced with the complexity of the universe. One man or culture cannot know about everything...so there must be other people with other perspectives who are right too. At least we are open to that possibility.) But we don't call ourselves liberals. It is only after one begins to act on this assumption that you are automatically slapped with this appelation. Why are we unhappy? Certainly not out of a desire to equalize outcomes or wealth. That would dictate that a belief that more wealth or more things equals greater happiness and capitalism has show great dexterity in that relm. So why? Simple. WHILE WEALTH AND POWER DO PLAY A PART, WE ULTIMATELY HOPE FOR DIGNITY AND HUMANITY FOR ALL PEOPLE. MOREOVER, WE VIEW OUR PRINCIPAL SOCIAL TENENTS AS THEY ARE HELD AND PRACTICED TODAY AS BEING INEFFECTUAL IN THIS PURSUIT AND, TO THE CONTRARY, ARE INCREASINGLY BEING MANIPULATED BY POWERFUL PEOPLE WHO DICTATE THE RULES OF THE GAME, SUCH AS THE MUSIC INDUSTRY. As Garfish pointed out all societies have their problems and I'll admit that Americans are not necessarily worse off than Africans-surely Africa has many points that it needs to develop. Both cultures have their advantages. But what I DO WANT to say is that if you think that America is fully developed in the broadest sense of the word, THINK AGAIN. Development is not a one way street...and technology is often mistaken for development.
I very much regret that I'm not as evolved as you. I would also like to apologize on behalf of all the USA, for not being the greatest country in the world. In addition to this, I would like you to consider seeking some sort of help for this depression of yours, before you join others who might have similar thoughts.