Monday, January 23, 2012

PROFITABLE TO DO RIGHT

"Those $O@#*! Democrats would rather keep collecting their Hollywood checks"

Here's something I found interesting: leftist bloggers are annoyed at the Democrats in congress over SOPA. Ann Althouse writes "lefty bloggers irked that SOPA activism is moving Republicans and not Democrats in Congress," and quotes some of the bigger leftist blogs.

And I suppose that's not too surprising, really. As she writes:
Fascinating. There's long been this assumption that young people take their political cues from the entertainment industry, but it's pretty obvious that no matter how much they like movies and music, they care more about what they personally do on the internet than the entertainment industry's financial interests.
But that works both ways, doesn't it? I've seen no evidence to suggest that Republicans are more honorable or righteous than Democrats. If the GOP got a lot of its money from Hollywood and big entertainment corporations, they would act much the same, I think.

The fact is, it seems Republicans were much more likely to disagree with SOPA and PIPA and move away from the bills when prompted because of this funding lack. In fact, I suspect they were more ready to abandon the bills because their opponents are funded by big entertainment.

Which means that the decisions on this were driven much less by informed, critical thinking and integrity and more by who it hurts or helps. And that's just awful.

But, as economist Milton Friedman argued, often only real way to get politicians to do what they are supposed to, at least in the current system, is to make it "politically profitable for the wrong people do the right thing." So I suppose the GOP guys doing the right thing (for now) for the wrong reasons is good in a way. And if we're honest, none of us do anything for all good reasons, there's always ego and selfishness and personal gain mixed in there somewhere.

I just would like to see leaders who did what they were supposed to because they felt it was right and good to do so. And honestly, I believe the last two presidents we've had - Bush the younger and Obama - did at least most of what they did because they honestly believed it was right and true. In President Obama's case most of the time its not just dumb but destructive, but I think he truly believes he's doing right.

By the way, regarding this whole copyright and pirating issue, its theft, its ripping off artists, and I personally understand the problem with this first hand by being a writer and artist. However, I think Ace is more right than not when he writes:
I still think piracy is wrong, but in a lot of cases, we're really talking, essentially, about poor teenagers sneakin' into the movies through the back door. Sure, that's not right. But the odds of them ever paying for your good are low. You're not actually losing as many sales as you might think.
People don't like to pay more than what they think a product is worth. Put out something worth paying for and they're much more willing to buy it. I think most internet download piracy is of stuff people weren't inclined to buy, but give it a try because its free and "cool" to get.

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