Mind your business.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Cody Wilson Shows All Libertarians How to Properly Interact With The Media

One can imagine Cody-- a UT Law student-- conducting a cross examination as effortlessly and effectively as he faces one here...

1:08 - Cody Wilson explains that what he's really doing here is law. He's concerned about the legal precedent his next interactions with the Washington regime might set.

1:28 - Oops. Used a technical word that a lot of your viewers might not know the meaning of. Forces you to speak up and ask me to explain what it means. Establish that I'm an expert on this subject and that you as the media and as the audience are consulting my expertise. Cue bashful smile: "Sure media. I'd be glad to explain what a CAD file is..." {gives a very concise, clear, articulate explanation of what a CAD file is}

"Computer Aided Design files-- pieces of software that might in some sense represent material objects, but at the same time, are really just pieces of information or technical data."

1:40 - {seamless transition back into his original legal presentation; establishes an advantage quickly and gracefully, but does not violate the cardinal rule for dealing with the media that you will be super inclined naturally to err on the wrong side of because your attention span is too short for your age so you have to make a conscious effort to: STAY ON MESSAGE} One can imagine Cody-- a UT Law student-- conducting a cross examination as effortlessly and effectively as he faces one here.

Cody explains that the government is claiming regulatory jurisdiction over the information that he wants to share with us online, meaning the power to control that information and even force Cody to stop sharing it with us.

Cody says this is a form of "prior restraint" and overreach.

"Can you explain what prior restraint is?" the newsman did not ask. Aww, come on. That's as big a legal jargon bomb if not bigger than the technical jargon bomb Cody dropped at the beginning of the interview. But of course-- the newsman wants to change the subject[1].

1:58 - Cody, isn't Congressman Steve Israel right? Aren't you making it easier for terrorists and criminals to get *your guns* onto airplanes? (Cody hasn't even sold anybody a single gun. He's just publishing lines of information to a website. Let's be more clear about that, Tapper.)

2:38 - "I disagree. The TSA uses advanced imaging technologies. Millimeter wave. Back scatter x-ray. These guns are immanently detectable by those technologies. The metal detector is a standard from the 1980s that was written into that law, but never updated by Congress. In fact the law suggests to even the reader now that Congress anticipated one day that the state of the art and the imaging technologies, especially those involved in weapons detection, would advance in time, but Congress hasn't updated the law."[This game is called Cat and Mouse!]

(Cody has done his research. As usual, he is conspicuously erudite. One can imagine that he would have been very excited about moveable type printer technology had he lived in Europe at the time of its creation.)

The newsman then changes the subject back to the actual testing of The Liberator 3D printable handgun. Cody uses the opportunity to establish his expertise again. And laugh dismissively at the pompous regime.

3:49 - Last shot:

"Are you going to move beyond the handgun and try to produce a fully-functional, printed semi-automatic rifle or automatic rifle?" I suspect the newsman or his boss wants you to subconsciously hear this as, "So just how scary and destructive are your guns going to get?"

4:04 - Cody doesn't take the bait:

"No, I don't think in the current materials that we're using, that we could really create that semi-automatic rifle.[This game is called Cat and Mouse!] If I could turn back to the Undetectable Firearms Act though: I accused Congressman Steve Israel of acting in bad faith..."

And after making his case for this accusation, Cody summarizes: "Basically, he's not interested in security, he's interested in taxing the expedient production of gun parts."


4:35 - "Steve, uh, Cody-- I'm sorry, we have to-- we have to leave it there. Thank you so much for your time. Have a good weekend. ...This weekend, movie producers are...!"

I lawled.

Anyway, Cody's right:

It's always about the money and power with politicians, not about your safety. This isn't controversial. If Steve Israel's really worried about your safety, he could maybe look into how the White House sold thousands of metal rifles-- more serious than anything Cody has designed-- to criminals in the Mexican drug cartel.


[1] Prior Restraint - This is a legal term that means censorship, a kind of censorship that in 1976 the Supreme Court described thusly:

"The thread running through all these cases is that prior restraints on speech and publication are the most serious and the least tolerable infringement on First Amendment rights."

Cody Wilson is saying this is not a Second Amendment issue. It's a First Amendment issue. All Cody has done is share information on his computer with you by letting you download a copy of it to your computer. That's a matter of free speech and free press. The government is engaging in prior restraint and censorship by ordering Cody to stop sharing his information files with you.

[This game is called Cat and Mouse!] This is my favorite part. Remember how Cody used to act up until this interview? ≈You can't stop this technology. This is disruptive. The world was going to be all tidy and perfect, but [cue thunder clap and ominous music] *then the Internet happened.* ...The dream is collapsing!

Now he backs off a little. ≈This technology is not disruptive. It can be defended against with other advanced technologies. The only dream that's collapsing here is that of the Washington legislators and bureaucrats who think they're relevant any longer.

When the newsman asks him if he's putting guns in the hands of criminals and terrorists, he says we've got the technology to beat them already. His gun designs aren't disruptive to people who want to live in a world where it is difficult for terrorists and criminals to hurt them. When the newsman asks him if he'll be making more powerful and effective models of his firearms, he backs off and says he doubts it. Here, I believe he is being strategically coy.

But the solution is not in policy, and cannot be in policy. It is impossible to police 6 billion or more people with rapidly increasing access to additive manufacturing. It is impossible to police them for what kinds of information they have and what kinds of things they create with that information. It is impossible to do so, and it is also impossible to do so without taking a dim view of human spontaneity; without regarding all people as guilty until proven innocent, as too free, as sinners in need of constant discipline and punishment; without perpetually smashing a boot into the collective face of billions of individual human beings and stamping out the humanity in them that yearns to overflow into so many wonderful possibilities. It is impossible to police so many people, it is impossible to do so without regarding them all as guilty until proven innocent, as criminals, and it is especially impossible to do so as technologies advance exponentially in kind and quality, leaving only some of the inhabitants of one city in northern Virginia, with their relatively small and rapidly shrinking amount of knowledge the impossible task of making decisions for billions of people about technologies they cannot possibly understand as intimately as the vastly greater number of people whose use of these technologies they condescend to regulate and control.

deep breath

Technology has more and better solutions than command-and-control oligarchy and police statism. The effective employment of technology to serve us and solve our problems and keep us safe will require the collective knowledge and work of all several billion of us via a free, unfettered, and robust marketplace of human action and voluntary exchange. Decisions by the many are better than decisions by the few. Only by coordinating the vast knowledge of all of us as effectively as the market does, can we respond to the many disruptions that have already happened and will continue to happen more frequently and more dramatically as new knowledge and new technologies open up more possibilities.

Cody Wilson has done an excellent job of making his case delicately and carefully. What he's doing is disruptive, he once said. But he clarifies that this isn't disruptive in a way that should be perceived as scary for you. It should be perceived as scary for someone who's trying to control a world that cannot be controlled, who is fighting change that cannot be stopped, who is obsolete and useless, who has nothing helpful left to offer us. To help us shrug off the shell of this obsolete tyranny is a delicate process. Cody Wilson's actions are speaking so much louder than my words ever could. I believe his words in the news segment under discussion here state what I have above, but more succinctly. He models how to properly interact with both the media and the state for all libertarians.

Successfully pushing the envelop just the right amount for meaningful change does involve a skillful game of cat and mouse. In a blog post at Defense Distributed, Cody explains:

'A few have criticized how quickly I responded to the DDTC and began participating in their regulatory process. It is said I should have stood and fought if I believed in keeping the files free, instead of complying. This compliance has been viewed as some kind of ultimate one, as if I don’t intend to do anything else.

“No takedowns, ever.” Was a motto I had built into my vision of, not, and it referred to a strategy for dealing with intellectual property claims and social pressure- this is NOT the strategy DD/ can adopt with the Department of State. It seems we may have to have our rights declared in court to simply keep developing gun files to put into the public domain. DD’s right to exist is being challenged.

DD has maintained counsel for many months, and it happens that my strategy is not to just have DEFCAD seized and DD sued out of existence. No, as ever, I think DD/DEFCAD can win. The Liberator was a victory. DEFCAD serving near a million files is a victory. Letting the State Department get that global spotlight was a victory.

The Internet was asked to choose between guns and the control of information. Guess what it chose? We created an important moment for understanding a future with 3D Printing, and the Liberator is rightly everywhere.

Now the demonstration is over, and the hard work of having all our rights preserved is just beginning. ITAR might cover 3DP technical data for generations if DD doesn’t intelligently challenge this assertion of authority.

These politicians have looked like absolute monsters in the vacuum.

I will not apologize for knowing how to choose the battle.'

When you're dancing with the devil, you've got to watch your step.

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