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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Thoughts on Intellectual Property

Dennis Prager is adamant - if you use an idea that you first heard from him, you should essentially cite him in your conversation. I disagree entirely. If I am turning in an academic paper, or attempting to publish a work for income, I agree. However, in verbal conversation and blogdom, I think it is actually counterproductive.

Here is why: If I propose an idea, and note that I got the idea from Josef Stalin, I expect to receive a very different response than if I note that I got it from Teddy Roosevelt, John Locke, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Plato or Christ. In each of those cases, the response is more likely to be a result of the source of the position than the actual position.

Mark over at The Moderate Liberal tries (he says) to consider GWB ideas as if they were proposed by Clinton. However, I don't think we are able to separate our consideration of ideas from the emotions we have about the personality.

Thus, I am a plagiarist. Sometimes I will hijack an entire block quote and use it as my own here. Why? Because I seek people's reactions to the idea, not the personality. I suppose I should add a disclaimer on my site that mentions this. Incidentally, if I used Google Ads to try to make money from my blog, I would have to stop this practice.


  • I commented over at David Brin's site a week ago and Brin complained "Your own reflex to defend these guys is the issue here". "These guys" were Bush and company, people I'd replace with random people from the phone book if given the chance (at least they'd be careful).

    That was kind of funny.

    But it also showed how once someone labels you it alters everything they think about your argument. I followed up with this:

    "As a side note, isn't it amazing that the need to identify which "side" someone is on is so strong? Try as I might, I can't read an editorial from someone I don't know without trying to figure out which "side" they are on.

    Is that senator saying something smart are trying to trick me? I better check to see if there is a D or R next to his name.

    And on and on. You may disagree with what I said in the first post, but if you re-read it with the simple knowledge that I'm on your "side" you'll probably find you don't disagree nearly as much.

    We humans have issues, don't we?"

    By Blogger Mark, at 2/01/2006 06:26:00 PM  

  • Hi Hammer,

    I like the way you are comfortable disagreeing with one of your hero’s. You are truly a man of character.

    Oh, and BTW, you are also wrong; you should not quote with giving credit (according to DP and me). : -)

    By Blogger David M. Smith, at 2/02/2006 06:48:00 PM  

  • Mark,
    As I recall, that has happened to you before!

    We do all tend to want to put new people and things into our set schemas. It's our inherent laziness, but it makes life easier to handle. Instead of not knowing anything about a person until we REALLY get to know them, we classify them by what we think we know. Because some senator we know may be saying something smart or may be trying to trick me, I have to have something to go on. A few of us will read what he says and look into it. Most do not have the time (or don't make it) and decide based upon the D/R category.

    Schemas make life managable, just like non-cognitive actions. If we cognitively and deliberately made every decision, we'd probably all be sitting at some stop light.

    By Blogger Hammertime, at 2/03/2006 03:22:00 PM  

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