A Review of the Kinsella/Wenzel IP "Debate"Submitted by LapHog on Mon, 04/01/2013 - 23:35
Disclaimer: I'm a regular reader of Wenzel's blog.
Update: Here is the YouTube of the Debate
Having said that, this was not a debate. This was Kinsella generously attempting to give Wenzel a lesson in IP and law on various levels, and Wenzel substituting loud noises for sound arguments in an attempt cover up his quite-obvious ignorance in the subject matter. It was evident that this was going to be the case from the very beginning: Kinsella opened with a pertinent statement, outlining his main arguments.
Wenzel? Opened with a completely irrelevant, sanctimonious b!tch session: "I didn't call you names leading up to this debate, Stephen, why did you say something mean about me?"
I don't use the word often, but this was truly PATHETIC on the part of Wenzel.
Wenzel's combination of petulance and ignorance throughout was utterly unbearable. That Kinsella stuck around as long as he did is nothing short of miraculous.
To put it in terms that I think all of us can understand: Ever have a debate with someone when they don't really make an argument at all? They just kinda yell things or try to tell you what YOU believe, when they actually don't have a clue about the issue? They can't answer any questions you pose, and instead evade them at all costs or repeatedly cite what they think are "gotcha" points that are actually ignorant strawmen built on a foundation of sand? And worst of all, they actually think this means they are "winning"?
That someone in this debate was Bob Wenzel.
Kinsella was stuck trying to explain and distinguish terminology to the uninformed Wenzel most of the time, as the precision of the technical language involved- let alone IP theory generally- was beyond Wenzel's grasp. While Kinsella has posited an entire theory, with well defined terms, Wenzel has not even outlined any fundamentals or definitions before or during this "debate". As such, he merely attempted at various points to "appeal to authority" by throwing out a few quotes, without any semblance of theory underpinning the baseless claims or criticisms he was arbitrarily tossing around. Unfortunately for Wenzel, Kinsella was more familiar with the actual context and implication of those quotes- namely, Rothbard's - than was Wenzel. Thus, even Wenzel's own best shots merely resulted in self-inflicted wounds.
Start to finish, I was embarrassed for Wenzel.
Incidentally, the bloody mary example that Kinsella gives at approx 1 hr 32 min, to me, demolished the singular point Wenzel thought he had been making the entire time until then: that ideas are scarce "property" (a point, by the way, that in the manner Wenzel was attempting to make it was riddled with ambiguity and without context in which to consider what he might actually be driving at anyways). Kinsella demonstrates through this example that one may
take duplicate another's idea without affecting another's property (as defined by Kinsella) at all, and that the implications for any concept of property rights would be profound if one deems this duplication an illegitimate act (as the logical implications of Wenzel's singular point - even without a proper theoretical construct, since he hasn't ever offered one - would).
In any case, for as much as Wenzel talked (or more accurately, blogged) leading up to this, I was stunned at how truly and utterly pathetic he was. There is no other way to describe it.
I was literally shaking my head.
This "debate" was a failure on all counts. Those who disagree with Kinsella will be immensely disappointed in Wenzel's complete ignorance, which left him unable to discuss the subject matter in any productive capacity.
And those who agree with Kinsella have nothing to celebrate, since there was no meaningful challenge presented.
I started this post by saying "I'm a regular reader of Wenzel's blog."
I'll be reading with new eyes. His self-righteous feigning of expertise here signals to me some serious cracks in the foundation of his credibility.