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RE: GPL & commercial software, the critical distinction (fwd)

At 02:36 AM 10/9/98 -0700, Matthew James Gering wrote:
> Not really, the state holds a monopoly on "legal" force,
> whereas the Mafia and other black-market organizations do
> not. What is interesting is they use force often because
> they cannot use the government legal system to arbitrate
> their disputes.

It has been a very long time since we had an armed  conflict
between one major mafia type organization and another in the

It appears to me that they have a problem because they cannot
resolve their disputes in public, thus it is hard to tell the
difference between an oppressive mafia organization that
mistreats its clients, and a legitimate mafia organization
that protects its clients.  However the government dispute
resolution apparatus does not possess any special wisdom that
the mafia dispute resolution apparatus lacks.

By and large, mafias seem to be less evil than governments,
and perform fewer violent, oppressive, and flagrantly unjust
acts than governments, and are less prone to expensive and
destructive wars.   This probably reflects the fact that such
actions by mafia chiefs are far more likely to get the mafia
chief killed, than similar acts by governments are likely to
get the ruler killed.

One might perhaps argue that some notable mafias in the US
are worse than the US government, though I have never heard
of them asking for fifty percent of someone's income.
However clearly no mafia in the US, or indeed anywhere, has
ever been as bad as any of the more objectionable

         James A. Donald
We have the right to defend ourselves and our property, because 
of the kind of animals that we are. True law derives from this 
right, not from the arbitrary power of the omnipotent state.

http://www.jim.com/jamesd/      James A. Donald