Ezra Klein tells about young conservative think-tanker Derek Khanna, who wrote at his bosses’ behest a paper criticizing the heavy-handed use of copyright law to inhibit competition. Conservatives praised the paper, but then pushback from corporate funders caused the think tank to pull the paper and fire its author.
Khanna had unwittingly stumbled into a deep fissure in today’s Republican Party. The party sees itself as the champion of private enterprise. But which private enterprises? The ones that exist today? Or the ones that might exist tomorrow?
There’s a difference between being the party of free markets and the party of existing businesses. Excessively tough copyright law is good for big businesses with large legal departments but bad for new businesses that can’t afford a lawyer. And while Khanna, like many young conservative thinkers, believes in free markets, the Republican Party is heavily funded by big businesses. [Read more…]