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LinuxPlanet: .comment: Judge Robert Bork on the Microsoft Settlement

Jan 23, 2002, 16:25 (24 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Dennis E. Powell)
"In the Linux sphere, perhaps more than in most other places, the word "freedom" is waved like a fly swatter. And there are multiple, sometimes conflicting, definitions of the word, often derived from one's political point of view, which in discussion of the case of U.S. v. Microsoft has been overly distilled -- burnt, really -- into freedom of people vs. freedom of companies. (Some, mostly from countries where totalitarianism or the serious threat of it resides in living memory, manage to lump government in on the side of "big corporations.")

It is both more and less complicated than that. Entities, be they companies, governments, or small groups of individuals or even lone individuals, are capable of misbehavior. Laws exist to provide relief from and in some cases punishment of the transgressors. They also exist to guarantee and enforce the relative safety of entities seeking to go about their business.

So it is not so remarkable that a noted conservative lawyer would see perfect reason for action to be brought against Microsoft for the transgressions we have all witnessed and experienced over the years; what is remarkable is that people would find such a position at all unusual. It is unfortunate that some conservative commentators have sided with Microsoft, which to me is the same kind of knee-jerk response that I find so repugnant when it comes from the other side of the political spectrum. Part of the reason it so repels me is that it leaves the impression that conservatives hold the view that companies can do no wrong -- which is as foolish as believing that individuals can do no wrong, or that government can do no wrong. There's little justification in becoming yet another political sheep in yet another political herd."

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