Ancien Regime


Old regimes never die easily and revolution is never pretty.  These are axioms often forgotten in a purportedly kindler, gentler world.  Entrenched monarchs and pampered aristocracy were murdered and imprisoned as the Enlightenment swept through Europe courtesy of movable type.  Royalty just wasn’t able to adapt quickly enough to advances in the politics and technologies of control.  The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Indeed, in the battle between the RIAA and their customers, only emotional heads have been lost so far.  The inspiration for this post came from a Slashdot thread I came across.  After the usual bickering amongst Slashdotters for and against an array of file sharing issues, I came to an astonishing sub thread that delved into how best to live “under the radar” if the RIAA managed to win a substantial judgment against someone with no ability to satisfy it.

First up was a large plot of land and a used shipping container adapted for living space.  One could support oneself in limited fashion by selling secondhand items on Craigslist and Ebay and by selling plasma (once per week, if you keep healthy!).  If a shipping container is too pricey, a hay bale home or geodesic dome could work as alternatives.  A homeless man jumped in with a much cheaper alternative, living on the street with an initial investment of $400.  His main problem with being homeless is the boredom.  He considered the limited commerce offered by selling plasma and other things as a “hustle” beneath him, yet he “only asks other people for food” after X number of days without it.

The natural progression in the discussion, from RIAA issues to homelessness, reminded me of the callous disregard that aristocracies have for their subjects.  I suppose that homelessness would cut back your illegal downloading quite a bit as priorities shift to finding potable water and a place to sleep.  I have not heard of a case of homelessness brought about by RIAA antics, but how long will Americans sit idly by while lives are being destroyed by the love of music?

A different axiom is applicable.  Just as there are no completely new ideas, there are no completely new human conditions.  The staggering excess of the music industry is fueled by the same aristocratic bent that kept propping up the Ancien Regime just prior to the French Revolution.  The masses are expected to keep funding the trough this insatiable aristocracy feeds from.  They squeal when the trough runs low, callous to the cries from the masses that enough is enough.  This is revolution in progress, and no, it isn’t pretty.

History repeating.    

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