Saturday, October 07, 2006

Microcosmographia Licentia

David Berry recently offered this definition (with all due apologies to F.M Cornford) on the Libre-Society mailing list. Pretty priceless, I must say. Enjoy.

"Microcosmographia licentia:A talking shop of (mostly) non-lawyers discussing the number of DRM-angels sitting on invariant-pins all of whose deliberations are pre-framed within a particular 'objective' conception of law that they claim to dislike (copyright/patent/DRM), but which through the drafting process becomes increasingly reliant upon as a legal support for the very licences they endlessly discuss. Heavily influenced by libertarian conceptions of the state or government in which politics can be 'circumvented' by the individualistic use of technical hacks and clever tweaks instantiated through copyright licences (known as copyleft). Particularly known for its theological belief in the redeeming power of the Trinity of Richard M. Stallman, Eben Moglen, and Lawrence Lessig and the eschatological promise of a utopian GNU land of milk and honey where information is free. With its own version of Judas Iscariot (Eric S. Raymond), the Anti-Christ (Bill Gates/Microsoft) and the Devil (the RIAA), it rallies its members to fight the 'closing' down of human freedom through the use of online mailing lists, wiki, blogs and social-networking software. Discussions in microcosmographia licentia are bought to a swift close whenever anyone mentions belling the cat. The underlying principles are all deducible from the fundamental maxim, that the first necessity for a body of people engaged in the pursuit of free culture is the freedom from the burden of political cares. It is impossible to enjoy the contemplation of free culture if one is vexed and distracted by the sense of responsibility. The microcosmographia licentia is also superior to liberal democracy in having no organised parties. Thus avoiding all the responsibilities of party leadership (there are leaders, but no one
follows them), and the degradations of party compromise. It is clear, moreover, that twenty independent persons, each of whom has a different reason for not doing a certain thing, and no one of whom will compromise with any other, constitute a most effective check upon the rashness of individuals. See also Free Culture and Creative Commons."


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