Gates, the new McCarthy
Bill Gates has claimed that Free Culture advocates are commies. For an explanation of why he's horribly mistaken, read on. Joe McCarthy preyed on the fears of Americans to create a sort of mass hysteria during the cold war leading to his downfall. If you look up demagogue in the dictionary there is no picture of McCarthy but you will find the following quote. "A consummate demagogue, McCarthy played upon cold war emotions and made charges so fantastic that frightened people believed the worst."
In a McCarthyesque interview with CNET Bill Gates said
"I'd say that of the world's economies, there's more that believe in intellectual property today than ever. There are fewer communists in the world today than there were. There are some new modern-day sort of communists who want to get rid of the incentive for musicians and moviemakers and software makers under various guises. They don't think that those incentives should exist."
Unfortunately Bill hadn't done his homework. Lawrence Lessig is the de facto leader of the free culture movement. The uninformed (Gates') assumption is that he's a left wing fanatic, looking to rid the world of intellectual property. If you dig a little deeper you find that he's not anti-IP, in fact he wants to make the system more efficient. The former head of the RIAA (the recording industry's knee breakers) even softened up to him after a debate.
There is an old tounge in cheek argument that the kid that bashes car windows while his neighbors sleep is a good thing for the economy. He creates business for the window repair people, jobs are created, GDP goes up, everybody wins? Obviously that's not the case but that appears to be the logic Gates is using. In fact, he's been breaking Windows for nearly two decades.