I often say that there are two things that hold societies together: Moral lessons learned as a child, and the promise of swift and certain punishment. On Father’s Day, let’s focus on the former for a moment.
I invite those of Professor Lessig’s pirate crew who are fathers to take a sampling of the literature about fathers, what it means to be a father, and those who remember their fathers. Tim Russert wrote an excellent book entitled Wisdom of Our Fathers with many remembrances of not only his own father, but anecdotes of viewers and readers of his books who wrote to him with their own stories about their dads.
Most of the stories that you hear about fathers or father figures are about moral lessons. These guideposts frequently are those pithy moral statements that impart simple truths to light our path in life. The stories are told with great pride by the daughter or son telling the tale, and the child often expresses gratitude that their father taught them lessons that put them on a solid path in life and helped them be better parents themselves, or better human beings in any event.
These lessons always include lessons from how Dad lived his life, not so much what Dad said about how one ought to live an idealized life. Dads inspire their children with how they conduct themselves and what they stand for, their moral code.
Strange—there’s not one story about sitting down with Dad, an Internet connection and Limewire to steal tracks. No mention of Dad showing Sonny how to use Bit Torrent to steal movies, books, and other copyrighted works. And no stories of gatherings around the family computer to hear misty eyed replays of the Grokster oral argument at the 9th Circuit courtesy of the EFFluviati.
I also couldn’t find stories of how Dad flew B-17s in World War II and came home to steal records, or perhaps a more contemporary version of the story—those great stories of how Dad told us kids how he fought in the Gulf to keep us free to steal movies.
No one tells a story of how Dad liked to kick recording artists in the teeth and how Dad made his kids understand truly why songwriters make too much money and deserve to be paupers. No tales of a great bonding experience watching Farting in Public off of YouTube. And no cherished autographed copies of Free Culture being passed down from pirate father to pirate child like copies of the little Red Book in the Cultural Revolution?
I’m sure that the reason I can’t seem to find those stories is that I’m just not looking in the right places. Surely the copyleft, who are so proud of their piracy, would be imparting these values to their children, and doing so widely and publicly. Lessig must have written A Child’s Garden of Theivery or something to help impart the commonsist values to a younger generation, yes?
Strange, isn’t it? I must live under a rock.