"It is awfully tough trying to figure out the motivation for
people of widely varied political philosophies taking atypical
views in that little lawsuit known as United States v. Microsoft
"Thinking people spend at least part of their thoughtful lives
seeking what amounts to a unified theory of right and wrong: a set
of base principles whence everything else derives. And thinking
people often as a result embrace a political philosophy, politics
being the administration of coercive institutions. Though there are
shades and flavors all along the line, the fundamental argument is
between conservatism, which sees the individual as the fundamental
unit of society, and liberalism, which sees the group -- sometimes
society as a whole -- as the fundamental unit of society. The
Constitution of the United States, a pretty perceptive political
document, takes both philosophies into account, providing the basic
document as a charter for a liberal government, and the Bill of
Rights (as written, rather than as interpreted in recent years) as
a series of protections for the individual. People who ponder these
things typically find one philosophy more sensible than the other,
and the answer to many questions, illuminated by the chosen point
of view, is often, maybe usually, suggested."
"Considering the people involved, it would seem as if U.S. v.
Microsoft is immune to answers drawn from political philosophy. I
mean, take a look: those lined up against Microsoft include the
lawyers David Boies (who most recently represented Albert A. Gore
Jr. in his Florida legal wrangling), Robert Bork (who was, well,
borked by Senate liberals during his U.S. Supreme Court
confirmation hearings), former Whitewater Special Prosecutor
Kenneth Starr, and, well, me. Microsoft's supporters include the
liberal writer Michael Kinsley (who I have described in this space
as being the result of an attempt to merge the gene pools of the
human and the tree frog) and the conservative broadcaster and
author Rush Limbaugh (who I count among my friends)."
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