The Null Device


I haven't been paying enough attention to France's rejection of the EU constitution to comment insightfully on it, but Momus has:
It seems to me that a very similar thing has happened to Europe that has happened in the US: the people voting Yes to the EU constitution have the same educated, urban profile as the people voting Democrat in the last US election. And in both cases they've been defeated and outnumbered by less tolerant, less affluent and educated, more anxious, irrational and xenophobic people from smaller towns and country areas. People who feel like outsiders to the political process are now, with splendid passive aggression, exacting their revenge by dealing it blows. In many cases these people are also outsiders to the process of wealth creation: strip away the blue coasts and the big cities and America loses the economic powerhouses which make it the world's predominant power. It's the same in Europe: the people now determining the shape of the continent are the insecure poor, unwilling to share their meagre income with Polish plumbers and Turkish bakers, but also unwilling to admit their economic dependence on the dynamic city folk and political elites they've just dealt a slap in the face.
Perhaps this is a good thing for trans-Atlantic peace. Perhaps the red-state Americans and the French Non-sayers can realise that they have a lot in common, put aside their hatreds of each others' countries and unite in a big joyous pogrom of their respective inner-city liberal-cosmopolitanist elites, shortly before devolving into a new dark age of poverty, superstition and xenophobia.

There are 5 comments on ""Non"":

Posted by: Pitr M http:// Tue May 31 19:13:48 2005

Did you know most French free software users voted "non" ? Just check out why :

Mayday more about all this will be said in English if Tony doesn't cowardly shuts it off.

Posted by: acb Tue May 31 21:03:07 2005

Ah yes, the software patent issue. How closely tied was it to the constitution?

Posted by: Pitr M http:// Wed Jun 1 15:50:07 2005

Well, the problem's really complex, and I'm definitively not a specialist abt this.

As far as I can guess, no FFII authroized speaker expressed any approval for the text itself, and a few publically expressed views against. Politicians from various E.U. countries publically expressed views saying that FFII supporters should remain neutral about the text itself.

IMHO, the problem lies in the fact that the very notion of "intellectual property" doesn't belong to the european culture (even if it belongs to the UK or danish culture, f.e.) according to Munich and Rome conventions and apparented texts. European culture for now knows about copyrights and patents, which are very different things.

But the text of the constitution introduces the notion of "intellectual property" in the european law.(Art I-17, if I remember well). This very fact isn't really deeply appreciated in countries such as Germany and France, especially among free software supporters, but also among artists, or event among some small &

Posted by: acb Wed Jun 1 16:29:04 2005

Good call.

Intellectual property isn't part of the British tradition either, let alone the US tradition (in the 19th century, the US was the original pirate rogue state, not honouring the copyrights of foreign authors, which seems to have been a good strategy for a developing economy). AFAIK, it's a recent invention, coming from the move to an information economy under corporate capitalism, and an attempt to aggregate a broad variety of limited concepts (copyrights, patents) into something broader and more overarching. Not to mention a flawed metaphor. (Did you hear that they're now patenting video game concepts?)

Posted by: Pitr M http:// Wed Jun 1 16:41:34 2005

Yep : I just heard today abt video games patents. I really thought UK was one of the "intellectual property countries for a long time, but apparently, I was werong. I suppose you can understand why the debate was so heated in France, since "intellectual property" doesn't yet belong to the French law. Some french open-source supporters have the feeling of running the very last battle before oblivion... (with a total lack of support from the last governements, either right ou left wing) and the constitution itself appears to belong to the Dark Side.

Ho : I suddenly realise that one of today's slashdot headlines might be related with the question about free software in europe :

Such words, coming from officials being the only ones in charge of making the european law (the Parliament only has a consultative role, and can't impose anything to the Commission wether with ou without the treaty currently debated) can show how hard it is t