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Utopia According to Lightner Pt. 4

by Jason Lightner May 3rd, 2013 | Independent Ideas
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retro labHello once again, friends! We’re almost ready to wrap up this weekly essay on what I feel would make for a great society, and I feel like I have a good point to make in next week’s article, which should tie everything together. This week, however, we’ll look at Government’s role in art, science, and invention.

For your convenience:

Part One — Laying the Foundation
Part Two — Public Service
Part Three — Personal Responsibility

Let’s get right down to it.

Part Four — Making Progress

It has always struck me as strange that Government didn’t take a more active role in promoting the education and intellectual wellbeing of its people. In my opinion, there can be no greater asset to a populace than education and the pursuit of knowledge. After all, the more we understand about the world, the easier it is to understand our role in the world, and our relationships with each other — or at the very least we can be a little less scared of ourselves.

Article IX: Science

Government should devote  funding to scientific endeavors including, but not limited to, finding cures for disease, energy sources, space exploration, and acts of nature. Although private funding for research should be allowed, it should not be the only method for funding scientific discovery. As an agent for the wellbeing of the people, the Government has a responsibility to provide reasonable assistance in the pursuit of expanded knowledge.

Scientific research and funding should be free from restrictions which are political or religious in nature, and all work should be performed according to the scientific method. Findings should be immediately made available to the public, except in the rare instance of an extreme public safety issue which could cause a mass panic (imminent asteroid impact on the Earth or something of that nature).

This is to ensure the we remain a curious people, and to encourage transparency and honesty in our discoveries.

Article X: Art

In order to promote culture, understanding, and expression, Government should maintain historical museums of various topics, periods, and media. The Government needn’t provide all of the museums as many could (and should) be privately funded, however, there should be some form of preservation committee established with the intent of keeping an accurate artistic record of important works both nationally and internationally. The Government should also provide libraries where the people can discover different forms of art, funded by taxes and donations.

Modern man has developed a unique language known as art with which to express himself. From the depths of the human mind come things such as paintings, sculptures, photographs, film, games, and art in the form of many other media. These creations serve to enhance our connection with and understanding of the things around us, as well as ourselves and, in combination with science, benefit society in ways that cannot be easily measured.

Article XI: Protection of Invention

The purpose of Government protection for inventions, trademarks, artistic works, and discoveries is to ensure truly new and/or innovative thinking is rewarded. At the same time, after a period of time, the need for protection is diminished as an idea or a creation is no longer new — it then becomes a part of society’s culture and is to be treated as such. There should be a balance between the right to monetize a creation, and the defense against “cash-cow” creation.

Reasonable trademarks should be protected to prevent confusion in the market. Copyright on creative works is held to the initial creator and lasts for 15 years from the date of creation, after which the work falls into the public domain. Patent protection is determined by an invention’s novelty, as well as if the inventor is actually making use of said patent within a reasonable timeframe. Patents should expire after 10 years for most things.

Things that cannot be copyrighted or patented should include, but not be limited to genetics, medicine, agriculture, and energy technology.

Creators, inventors, and artists have the right to make a living doing the things they love. At the same time, society has a right to benefit from the work of creators. Placing limits on the duration of, and strength of restrictions provides the creators with ample opportunity to monetize their creation, and allows for public use, derivative works, and further innovation, invention, discovery, and art.

Next week I hope to round all of this up into one succinct package. We’ll see if there’s a point to all this bloviating then.

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