Libertarianism, Reasonableness and Protest

Now I am by no means a libertarian, a lot of my libertarian friends would hurt me for suggesting that I am. I am generally much more realistic and pragmatic rather then idealist. But this article will concentrate on a few tweets that I have seen over the last few weeks regarding the possible eviction of various occupy protests, and the rights to protest.

A lot of the tweets (from libertarians) seem to support the protestors taking up long-term camp and supporting their right to protest, regardless of other people’s rights.

Now as being slightly libertarian I believe people should be able to do what ever they want, as long as it doesn’t have an unreasonable negative effect on a 3rd party (note, a 3rd Party could be a person or business or any other organisation).  Third Parties will be used interchangeable with people.

So if we break that down, the keyword in the sentence is “unreasonable”, what exactly is unreasonable? And in that case what is reasonable?

People have to interact with many different 3rd Parties all the time. Most of these transactions are reasonable and negative effects are minimized. But there are times when some of these transactions are a cause for concern and have to be moderated.

One of the easiest transactions to use as an example here is that of planning permission & property building. So I buy a plot of land down a street, or an existing house and want to build a new property on it. There are two issues of concern here. How will the building process affect the neighbours, how can these negative effects be kept to a minimum to keep the neighbours happy.  The second issue is the effect of new building on the properties around it, how will it affect the neighbours in terms of physical effect and financial effect.

The first issue is a rather minor one, the negative effects from the building process is a temporary one, and are in most cases fairly reasonable, and in some cases where there are people with particular issues near by that restrictions on build are placed (restricting the hours of work to minimize noise at certain times).

The second issue is that of the effects of the building once built. Building designs have to be reasonable to not negatively effect neighbours. This means that if you want to build a 3 storey house down a street of bungalows your out of luck, your house cannot look out of place, and should not be overlooking neighbours. Building a 3-storey house down a street of bungalows would be unreasonable, building a bungalow wouldn’t be, and in some cases building a small house wouldn’t be unreasonable either.

So now I have explained reasonableness and unreasonableness lets apply it to the recent protests we have had, and the recent occupy protest.

Now while I think a lot of the recent protests are pointless and disagree with the aims, the ones which go for a stroll around London then go home, are fine and perfectly reasonable, because the negative effect while large, at the time is very temporary and a one off, so can be regarded as reasonable.

The occupy protests though are in my mind unreasonable, because they go on for a long time, affect many people constantly for the duration, and that this negative effect is unreasonable. So I regard it as a illegitimate form of protest.

This is where I am in contrast to a number of my libertarian friends, they regard the protests to be legitimate, and the negative effects a worthwhile effect because the right to protest trumps the rights of those who are negatively affected by the protest.

So while the right to protest is very important, the rights of the masses are as well and therefore protest should be moderated to ensure the negative effect from the protest are minimized and kept reasonable

Digital Economy Bill #debill

There has been an over reaction to the bill. I understand how some people were annoyed at:

  1. How fast it was rushed through.
  2. The number of MPs who turned up to debate it.

For the first point, i fully agree, it was rushed through when it shouldn’t have been, a number of amendments could even be debated for this reason, and there are some slight issues that were raised in the debates about the bill, and i think this is going to lead to a number of amendments to it afterwards.

The second point is not valid, that’s the average number of people who turn up to debate a bill, sometimes its even less (yes i know I’m sad, but i watch a fair bit of BBC Parliament, its interesting honest 🙂 ) and 650 people debating the bill would have been overkill, it would have been overkill if 100 people had been debating it.

Now before i go any further lets just make this clear: Piracy is wrong, it is stealing, and that most users of sites like the pirate bay, are breaking the law.

Now i have pirated stuff before, sometimes in a legitimate reason, like when I’m repairing a laptop or pc for someone, they have valid license codes, but they no longer have the disks, i have to download them, and i think that while it is technically illegal, its a fair use in my opinion.

The other things i pirate are music and TV shows, and the odd movie, now my reasoning about this:

  1. There is not an affordable, convenient, preferably DRM free service that i can access. Yes there is Spotify and iTunes, but these have their issues. iTunes and its store are not affordable. Spotify is closer, you can pay for premium features, and to have adverts but it is streaming and doesn’t work so well with portable, and multiple devices. I have seen the Zune subscription and it is closer to what i want, but its not in UK
  2. Convenience and getting what i want. As a student in the UK i cannot get access to many American channels to watch American TV shows (not to mention the time zone issues), i also cannot download them, and why should i have to wait a year or so for the DVDs or even longer for them to be aired somewhere in the UK, what i want is a service that will let me download each episode as close to when it is aired as possible, for a reasonable price (maybe £1 for a 20-30 minute episode like the Simpsons, and more for longer episodes like CSI), if i could do this, i would.
  3. Non physical mediums, i do not want to have to buy a DVD, i don’t want the trailers, adverts, the special DVD extras, or copyright warnings, i just want the film, in a format that i can transfer across my many devices which can be used without a internet connection.
    If those services described existed, i wouldn’t pirate, i wouldn’t need to pirate, now while i suspect this is true for a number of pirates i would suspects that a fair number of pirates do it because they don’t want to pay for the content.
    Now lets get onto the serious issues in the bill that its opponents pick on. There is the “Clause 18” which allows with a Court Injunction to block a website, where it is begin used to infringe on copyright. People worry that this will be abused, but it requires consideration by a court (as far as i can understand from the rewritten clause, I’m not a lawyer), and the impact on legitimate users is to be taken into account. I think this part of the bill is reasonable, if you remove the sources of the illegal material, it makes it harder for people to pirate, if you remove the opportunity less people will do it.
    The other issue is the blocking people from the internet, in a 3 strikes type of law. People say this is unfair to people who don’t know what their kids do on the internet or don’t have properly protected wifi. There are ways of blocking P2P traffic, and as long as the first notifications of an infringement, include sources of information on how to do this, and i believe by the third letter, they will face more serious penalties, like having their connection restricted or even disconnected

I think this is fair, but only if they are treated as innocent, and a court finds them guilty before the measure takes place.

So yes i have a few minor objections but overall the bill generally makes good sense in my opinion.

On a side note, i saw a number of tweets this morning saying that that democracy had not been served, but in all honest there was not enough public action about the bill in its early stages, only in its final few days, also only 19,000 emails and letters sent to MP’s is not good enough, the top petitions on the goverments website get upto 200k+ supporters.

Hopefully the above post is fairly interesting and incite full, (i apologise for any grammar / spelling mistakes that i missed)

OpenGL / Mesa3D programming in Visual Studio

Update: You will need to move the various .dll files into your project folder so they are in the path of the application, otherwise you will get missing DLL errors.

I am currently taking the Computer Graphics and Visualisation module at university and it require writing some programs in C using OpenGL / Mesa3D. Unfortunately the guides and tutorials they give on how to do it on Windows are from 1997, so i have decided to update them for 2010.

In this tutorial i am using Mesa3D 7.6.1, Visual Studio 2008. It also works with Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2.

The first step is to either download the Mesa3D Binaries from here or to compile them from source (compiling from source is pretty simple). Then extract the file somewhere sensible.

The second step is to setup a Visual Studio project so we can actually code something.

First create a new ‘Win32 Console Application’:


Then choose your options. I’m picking a Empty project for this, but modify the options to what ever your needs are.


Click finish then we, and we have our newly created project. Now we need to make a few changes, to include the additional libraries, and header files we require.


Open up project properties. Then under ‘Configuration Properties’->‘C/C’++->’General’ you have the ‘Additional Include Directories’ setting, open this up, and add a folder, and navigate to your Mesa3D folder and select the ‘include’ directory.

It has been noted that you need to have at least ONE .c / .cpp / .h file in your project for the C/C++ options to become available.


Then go back to project properties, now under ‘Configuration Properties’->‘Linker’->’General’ you have the ‘Additional Library Directories’ setting, open this up, and add a folder, and navigate to your Mesa3D folder and select the ‘lib’ directory.


Now you can do your coding as you like. Import code straight from your Linux projects (Use ‘Add Existing Items’) and it should compile fine if you have done everything correctly.

Anyway i hope this helps someone, if you have any comments for potential improvements or problems you are having, then please leave a comment and i will try to help out.