Does the Aaron Swartz Case Present a Dilemma for Libertarians?

Does the Aaron Swartz case present a dilemma for libertarians? That’s what Gareth Price argues at the Huffington Post. According to Price, libertarians will be torn between supporting Swartz for wanting to liberate information, and condemning him for stealing.

Price makes two important errors, though: First, he assumes incorrectly that because libertarians are strong supporters of property rights that they are also strong supporters of intellectual property rights.

Second, he seems to believe that the case against Swartz involved accusations of intellectual property infringement, when in fact Swartz was accused primarily of unauthorized access (basically, illegally hacking into MIT’s computers).

Libertarian views of Swartz’s case have overwhelmingly been in favor of the idea that Swartz did nothing wrong. Which makes sense, because from a libertarian perspective, nothing Aaron Swartz did constitutes a crime (i.e. a rights infringement).

The lesson here is: if you’re going to use a young man’s suicide to make a political point, at least make sure your reasoning is sound.

(P.S. There have been many tributes to Swartz published online and elsewhere. Glenn Greenwald’s is probably one of the best.)

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Internet and Technology and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s