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Hatch's Unacceptable Plan
06/18/2003

I wasn't going to say anything about this because it's so obviously wrong and so widely denounced that it seemed unnecessary:

[Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah)] acknowledged Congress would have to enact an exemption for copyright owners from liability for damaging computers. He endorsed technology that would twice warn a computer user about illegal online behavior, "then destroy their computer."

"If we can find some way to do this without destroying their machines, we'd be interested in hearing about that," Hatch said. "If that's the only way, then I'm all for destroying their machines. If you have a few hundred thousand of those, I think people would realize" the seriousness of their actions, he said.

I don't know much about Hatch, but this is the second issue on which I've found him not to be a very reliable (or principled) ally; the first had to do with embryonic research, as I recall. Hey, that's two strikes. Perhaps I ought to be able to destroy the machine of his political career.

I battle the libertarians all the time on what expectations are reasonable on their part regarding the Republican Party and our "conservative coalition." But I prefer principle to power (particularly power held by somebody to whom I'm only connected based on shared principles), and I think politicians on the political right should make an effort to remember what it is they stand for. I understand that it must be awfully difficult to let go of that ring of power when it is on one's finger, but it is better to toss it than to lose power as well as a finger.

Posted by Justin Katz @ 01:09 PM EST