A License to Live

The world around us is changing everyday. It is in fact, changing quite drastically. Our current cultural beliefs, social faux pas and the accepted standards of living that we have now were practically unheard of a hundred years ago.

I’m not going to comment on the good or bad of that fact. I just want to recognize what it is for the sake of what it is: quite different. Some of it is good and some of those differences are bad (horribly bad). Ok, I’ll cave in and point out a bit of what I believe is the bad.

Numerous news sources are talking about the Monsanto seed patent case that is now going before the Supreme Court. The case pertains to a farmer who bought specially patented seeds through a third party that was primarily selling the seed as feed. In short, Monsanto does not sell its seed – it is licensed on how the seed is used. Selling it as feed entails cost that are less than selling it as a planting seed. Monsanto has such a price structure in order to offset the millions of dollars they spent on bio-engineering the seed. Quite honestly, I sympathize with both parties in the situation.gavel

What I find execrable in the matter is not the viewpoints of the plaintiffs or the defendants, they both kind of make sense.It is the viewpoint that has been silently neglected that I find abominable: the viewpoint of our lives.

Both companies, the Supreme Court and thousands of followers are busy analyzing the details of the case to determine who in fact has the ‘right of way’. The sad detail that has been overlooked does not pertain to ownership however, it pertains to our livelihood. Is anybody looking out for our food source?!

It disturbs me that during all of these patent issues, nobody seems concerned with our food supply. As genetically engineered foods become mainstream, the very source of our supply is licensed to us. We are a society that no longer has the means to plant our own food without great cost. We no longer own anything, nor can we, and we are becoming more and more accustomed to it. The concept of property, as it was once known, is a forgotten relic buried under layers of time.

I don’t own an Iphone. It’s not because I don’t like Iphones but it’s because I abhor the concept that I can’t do what I want with the hardware that I purchased. It’s open source all the way for me and so I’m an Android user.

It’s hard to say where society let go of the things they own. Certainly a lot of it happened in the cell phone age when hardware, coupled with software, became more common. It has become so extreme it’s now illegal to unlock your own cell phone for use with a different carrier. Congratulations, your mobile is now licensed to you. The DMCA butchered ownership rights as well by further taking away your property in allowing “anti-circumvention” provisions on patented devices (a broad statement but summarily correct). More and more frequent now, what you buy is no longer owned, but licensed. Can it get any worse?

Yes, it can get much worse. Think about “Obamacare”. Healthcare has now been legally provided to you on the basis of a tax that has removed your freedom to choose whether or not you want it (again a broad statement but summarily correct). Please don’t think I’m bashing Obama or his intentions. I believe the intentions are good. But I also believe that allowing ourselves to be sold into a licensed system of life is bad. It’s very bad.

In some ways democracy is to blame and, in other ways, it is the corporate abuse of democracy that is to blame. We live in a culture that values and worships the power of the dollar and now our legal system is conforming to it. When the legal system confirms to something, you confirm to it or society as a whole rebels to the extent that it gets violent (alcohol prohibition for example).

I can only hope that society wakes up to smell the cesspool but I doubt that will happen. People seem to be content with this modern form of feudalism just as they were hundreds of years ago. Additionally, there’s prophecies to be fulfilled and a more ‘controlled’ way of life fits in with those prophecies just fine. We can’t really change it as Christians but we can certainly recognize it for what it is: a license to live.

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