[linux-elitists] We are elitist criminals!

Ben ben@valinux.com
Sat Aug 26 17:34:31 PDT 2000

Regarding DVD and the MPAA and others. I've read Ghandi's
autobiography a couple of times and to me it seems that answer to DVD
is really simple. We shouldn't be trying to force them to give us what
they have. We need to stop wanting what they have. We need to stop
being consumers of the things that they produce. In india it was
called the "home spun revolution". India grew cotton which was shipped
to England where it was spun into thread and then woven into clothes
and sold back to india with an exceptional markup. In the eyes of the
Indians it was transactions such as this which kept India poor. The
people power was in the hands of the people who controlled the means
of production. Ghandi's answer was truly simple. Teach everyone to
spin their own thread and weave their own clothes. Ghandi would sit
there and give patriotic speaches while spinning thread from
cotton. It became a patriotic symbol to be wearing clothing that was
hand made. They took back the means of production and made it more
democratic and gave it to everyone. This removed the power that people
who had previously owned the means of production held over
everyone. They removed the DEMAND for the products produced by the
mills in europe. It was funny all the lengths that the Brits went to
keep their advantage. Watch for many of these in the future:
     a) When people started not buying the european manufactured
clothes anymore. The europeans dropped the price of the clothes to
make them more attractive to the poor indians.
     b) They tried to buy up all the cotton so that people couldn't
find any cotton that wasn't being shipped to europe.
     c) They made laws against people publishing pamphlets suggesting
that people wear home spun clothes. Ultimately, they jailed the people
publicly distributing this information. The Indians adapted by not
publishing anything and having little meetings where the word was
passed by word of mouth.
     d) They outlawed gatherings of people. Imagine this, there would
be a group of 5 or 6 women sitting in a living room quietly spinning
fiber into thread by hand and the british military would storm in and
beat up these women and haul them off to jail.
     e) They outlawed people wearing home spun clothes. The soldiers
would come and rip the clothes off of anyone wearing home spun
clothes. So Ghandi and the quite a few Indians just walked around
completely naked. The quote that I remember was something along the
lines of, "I am humbled to stand before you naked. I am greatly
dishonored. Some would say that I have no dignity to allow my full
nakedness to show. However, I would say that it is a greater dishonor
to be forced to stand before you in clothing not made by Indian

I think that the open source community has to take similar stance and
quit whining about the constraints those of other beliefs put on their
creations. I think we need our own home-spun revolution. We need to
make our own music; we need it make our own movies. We need to have
our own performers. When they see that this is what we are doing, then
they will try to stop us. They will try to cripple our production
equipment and we will have to learn how to make our own. Linux is just
the beginning of the revolution.

Not engineered here:
Living here in La Paz is kind of sad in one respect. La Paz is the
main commercial port for the products from Asia. The city is like a
huge duty free shop for asian goods. The thing that I really stands
out to me is the concept of "not engineered here". There is so much
stuff here that is not engineered here. The Mexicans haven't developed
the engineering talent to design or produce many of the things that
they use in their daily lives. It is pretty sad. 

I guess the thing that brought this to mind was that in all the shops
that I visited I only saw 1 mini-disc recorder or player. It was an
older model sony recorder but it cost the equivilent of $650. It was
the only mini-disc recorder in La Paz. I remember back in the US, I
bought my MD for only $250 but and even in the US MD recorders were
uncommon the Japaneese Sony site always seemed to have newer more
interesting models. When I thought about it, I understood why MD's
were so hard to find in the US. No MD was engineered in the US. They
were all imported to the US. The availability of MDR's in the US was
directly related to the caprice of those importing them. If there was
a demand, then could the people of Mexico engineer a MD recorder on
the same level as the one that I frequently carry around. The answer
is probably not. They are dependant on foreign technology. That was
what made me feel sad. In the US at least, I can look at many things
and say that this was designed and made in the US. i.e. We have
someone somewhere who can make most things. 

That is when it hit me, that really behind companies like Sony there
are ONLY few people who do the designs for their products. Maybe 1000?
Those people are embodiment of all the technology that we think of as
Sony products. There are probably only a few people who have the
knowlege and experience to figure out how to fit the the pieces of a
MDR together in such a compact form factor. Since it is actually so
few people. If we develop similar talent we can make anything that we

Other thoughts:
It is said that you don't travel to learn about other places. You
travel to learn about where you live. I've been down here in Mexico
for the past month or so and I have to say that in many ways it is a
more free society than we have in the US. However, in other ways it is

For example, the courts here have decided that it is personal
responsibility if you get hurt doing something on someone elses
land. This has a big impact on the society as a whole. For example,
public pools stay open pretty much all the time because there is no
need for a lifeguard. They are much deeper because the insurance
industry hasn't enforced higher rates on pools that have deep
water. There is a nice set of skateboard ramps in one of the parks and
kids are welcome to come and skate... Because our legal system casts
blame on the owner of the land for making something potentially
dangerous for someone to use we ultimately don't allow people to take

Also little shops are and food carts are all over the street. We don't
have them because they don't meet our highest health standards. So
instead of letting people choose to take a slight risk of eating at an
unsanitary we eliminate people's ability to choose by mandating high
food sanitation standards. Once again legal action has taken away our
right to choose.

The thing that I want to point out is that we have been taught from
day 1 in america to trade freedom for safety. As long as we continue
to allow safety to override freedom then we will continue to restrict
our actions.

Another concept that I have come to realize while down here is LAW is
a very scary thing. Law is an agreement by a group of individuals to
override the will of another person. The concept that someone can take
away my freedom to choose on some matters is truly frightening to
me. I don't think that we fully appriciate the gravity of making
laws. The idea of making a job out of making laws seems to be an
almost perverse. 

> As much as I hate posting recycled slashdot crap,
> http://slashdot.org/yro/00/08/26/0330249.shtml really caught my eye.
> I'm hoping that we can have a discussion here that won't be as lame as
> the typical slashdot one.
> Is it time for BurnAllDVDs.org ?
> _______________________________________________
> linux-elitists 
> http://zgp.org/mailman/listinfo/linux-elitists

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