Is Music Downloading Today's Prohibition?

from the too-many-to-count dept

Even USA Today has gotten into the “bash-the-RIAA” business. They have an opinion piece from a professor who decided she wanted to download some music legally. After trying out a few of the available services, she points out what a joke they are (both in terms of selection and what they let you do with the music). She says it’s no wonder people are using file sharing applications. The closing sentence, though, is worth repeating: “The last time so many otherwise law-abiding citizens broke the law, we called it Prohibition and changed the law.” I guess that makes file sharing systems the “speakeasies” of today.

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Comments on “Is Music Downloading Today's Prohibition?”

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dorpus says:

The Prohibition was Good

What they don’t teach you in a standard high school education: the real reason the Prohibition got enacted was to curb the social holocaust that was occurring to the working classes through the availability of cheap distilled liquors. Through the destruction of family values, alcohol was breeding a generation of criminal children with drunkard parents, fetal-alcohol-syndrome imbeciles who drooled their way through life or died on the streets. It was the 1920s version of the crack epidemic. This was also the same era when the government cracked down on unregulated narcotic usage, which was also breeding a Western frontier culture of children in a stupor, often brain-damaged. Opium and other narcotic addictions were rampant among the upper classes.

The prohibition did succeed in stopping the spread of the addiction culture, implanting burgeoise values upon the working classes so that they would aspire to higher education and home ownership over bar brawls. Life spans, IQs, and education levels rose. It gave a big boost to the economies of Canada and Mexico. It also gave birth to a new culture of jazz, upon which 20th century music was built.

It could be that music in its current form is the breeding grounds for a social holocaust of teens, who get their body piercings, tattoos, unsafe sex, unplanned pregnancies, suicides, and shooting rampages. Before you go about calling me a reactionary, it could be that future generations will view the horror of the music culture in the same light as the crack epidemic. Perhaps the destruction of the music culture will give rise to newer, nobler forms of art.

mark says:

Re: The Prohibition was Good

People who as toddlers learn secure emotional attachment due to good parenting don’t feel the need to abuse drugs or alcohol. Nor do they feel the need to attempt to control the behavior of others. The problems you cite are symptoms, not root causes. People drink/drug/eat/spend to excess to blot out emotional pain. Perhaps the root of the problems was the lack of dignity and security associated with sweatshops, immigrant poverty and severed old world family ties.

Of course, if government focused on education efforts to make sure that everyone was emotionally secure, teen pregnancy would go down, prison population would drop and society would have a lot less need to buy whatever consumer tchotchkies our corporate overlords are pushing this month.

Since there is no clear immediate economic payoff for the ruling elites, nobody ever advocates this. It’s a shame really. Life for everyone would improve greatly if we could find a way to stop shaming people and break the abuse cycle.

Shriya says:

Re: The Prohibition was Good

The reason the economies of Mexico and Canada rose? They were supplying American bootleggers with alcohol, while the US lost all the tax revenue they had previously garnered from the sales of alcohol. True, the Prohibition did start to curb the consumption of alcohol, but it’s consequences were disastrous.

dorpus says:

Re: Marijuana legal now?

Amsterdam enjoys the dubious distinction of being the criminal epicenter of Western Europe for allowing marijuana. Retraction of its legal status may yet happen, if Dutch voters get fed up with the depravity — endless seas of homeless teens, junkies pissing in public, tourists spewing geysers of bile.

A few years ago, the province of British Columbia in Canada did experiment with non-enforcement of marijuana laws. Farmers started growing the stuff en masse, and they found that it brought unattractive visitors — e.g. mafia types who show up in farming communities and shoot entire families dead to steal the pot. Columbian cocaine dealers were also showing up all over the province, apparently fueled by the permissive atmosphere. Sea kayakers trafficked “Columbian Gold” marijuana, bringing complaints from neighboring regions. The BC government ended up cracking down on marijuana again.

Really, marijuana is just a more noxious version of tobacco, so why should it have any more rights than smoking?

westpac says:

Re: Marijuana legal now?

Prohibition banned the manufacture, distribution, and sale (but ironically not consumption) of alcoholic beverages. Marijuana and opium and other drugs were already illegal. If prohibition was enacted to curb societal woes it if anything made them worse by shutting down legal breweries and distilleries (like Jack Daniels) and replaced them with moonshiners for whom quality control was not job one. It hasn’t been that many years in the south since it was still common for a person to be rendered blind by drinking a batch of moonshine that had been distilled out of an old rusty car radiator with a significant amount of ethylene glycol still present. Prohibition was repealed because all it really did was give rise to organized crime.

westpac says:

Re: Re: Re: Marijuana legal now?

Prohibition allowed organized crime to virtually take control of the nation. During the depression they were the only people with enough money to finance political campaigns. Al Capone had more clout in Chicago than city hall. Sure, organized crime controls the drug trade, but legalizing pot won’t change that one iota. All that will happen is that the mob will force their way into the legal side of the operation like they did in Las Vegas. Other drug trades will be unchanged, and the likelihood of crack, meth, or heroin being legalized is nil.

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