Information wants to be heavily commercialised

In recent weeks, I have come to slowly to the obvious realisation that not every human endeavour should be sold and wrung out for the highest profits – something exemplified in a quote from Slashdot in this post.

Now I hear (via ArsTechnica) that the Association of American University Presses (AAUP) has kicked up a fuss about Google scanning in works from some famous book collections and making the contents searchable (but not always browseable) online. Google has been fairly thorough in working with copyright holders to ensure that they keep the amount of text offered to the user within comfortable limits. Nevertheless, the AAUP is being ultra-conservative on this front, presumably seeing the thin end of the wedge flying towards its face at Mach 2.

Now, people will quibble about fair use and copyright law and so on, but what really riles me about this is that the AAUP, and other media gatekeepers such as the RIAA and MPAA, are completely sucking the joy out of human creativity. By being such all-or-nothing pricks about making money out of dead people’s art, they are failing to miss the incredible opportunity that the Internet presents: to place digital renderings of the entirety of human endeavour at the fingertips of a rapidly increasing number of the world’s citizens.

I’m getting really tired of seeing that in every situation where money and happiness are at loggerheads, money wins.

On a related note, I decided the other day to find out what Fascism is:

… fascism evolved into a new political and economic system that combined corporatism, totalitarianism, nationalism, and anti-Communism in a state designed to bind all classes together under a capitalist system. This was a new capitalist system, however, one in which the state seized control of the organization of vital industries. Under the banners of nationalism and state power, Fascism seemed to synthesize the glorious Roman past with a futuristic utopia.

Despite the themes of social and economic reform in the initial Fascist manifesto of June 1919, the movement came to be supported by sections of the middle class fearful of socialism and communism. Industrialists and landowners supported the movement as a defence against labour militancy. Under threat of a fascist March on Rome, in October 1922, Mussolini assumed the premiership of a right-wing coalition Cabinet initially including members of the pro-church Partito Popolare (People’s Party).

Hmm… State-supervised Capitalism; blurring of church, state and corporations (cf. Halliburton); a fearful middle-class; supression of unionism and blanket corporatisation as a means of oppressing the lower classes; Nationalism and Imperialism as a means of capturing the will of the people. All this evolved, under the same name, from the original Fascist philosophies of democracy, separation of church and state, and support for the working class.

So – are you really living in a democracy, or something altogether different with the same name?

Or, to be more blunt, is the United States of America a Fascist state?