State of Innovation

Patents and Innovation Economics

A Christmas Tale: ‘I Am My Brother’s Keeper’ – and How it Applied to Patents

The phrase “I am my brother’s keeper” is used to explain a moral goal or imperative.  The word ‘brother’ does not mean your biological brother, but those people in your community, or country, or really every other human being in the world.  The word ‘keeper’ is used to mean that you have a moral responsibility to help every other human being in the world.  This responsibility means that you are to put their needs before your interests and your moral goal is that people exist to serve others.  In other words, the phrase ‘I am my brother’s keeper’ enshrines SLAVERY as a moral goal.  Slavery is the condition in which you have no right to exist for yourself, your only right to exist is to serve others.  Note that all slaves need a master and as a result it is no surprise that President Obama has used this phrase to explain his policies as he is an avowed socialist and wants to be our master.

Wherever this moral goal has been tried it has resulted in human suffering, misery, disease, famine, death, and torture.  North Korea is the country that most encapsulates this moral goal today and it is a living hell.  The Soviet Union and Communist China also tried to implement this moral imperative and it resulted in the largest genocides in the 20th century, resulting in the death of over 100 million people.  Attempting to following this moral code also resulted in the Dark Ages under the direction of the Catholic Church.  It is also why the Christian right is often ineffective at countering socialists arguments, since they accept the same moral goal.  These bad outcomes do not occur because the wrong people are in charge, they occur because slavery is immoral and this is the logical result of following an immoral goal.

The opposite moral imperative to ‘I am my brother’s keeper’ can be found in our Declaration of Independence – namely the RIGHT to Pursue One’s Own Happiness.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

This right to pursue your own happiness is the exact opposite of slavery.  It states that no one has the right to enslave you (or anyone) morally or legally.  Wherever this moral ideal has been tried it has always resulted in human happiness, abundance, technological innovation, increasing life spans, increase health care, and yes fewer environmental problems.  There is no contradiction between what is moral and economic abundance and human happiness.  This has not occurred because the right people have been in charge, it is the result of pursuing that which moral, namely FREEDOM.

Why should a blog directed to patents and inventions care about such a subject?  Because this idea of ‘I am my brother’s keeper’ has been raised in the cases Association of Molecular Pathology v. USPTO (which was original called ACLU v. Myriad) and in Mayo v. Prometheus and it is used by opponents of patents.  They all argue that the inventor has no right to his invention and the only reason we allow them to invent is to serve their fellow man.  In the ACLU case this argument was re-crafted as property rights should not stand in the way of science.

Slavery is immoral and a moral goal of slavery, even if it is suppose to be voluntary, is immoral.  Those who push the moral goal of slavery are advocating human misery, death, famine, and genocide.



December 23, 2011 - Posted by | -Economics, -Philosophy, Patents | , , , , , , , ,


  1. Hi Dale,

    Happy and healthy Holidays to you and all your loved ones.

    I happen to be of the Jewish faith and we have a thing called “Teekune Olam” which sort of matches up with the Christian idea of being a good steward of the Earth.

    The idea is that each generation should strive to leave the world in a slightly better state than it was when one came into to this world. In other words, yes, I am my brother’s keeper and not only my brother of this generation but that of my children and their brothers of the next generation.

    It sort of makes logical sense.
    Leaving the world in exactly the same condition as when you entered is next to impossible.
    So the only other two options are leaving it in a worse condition or leaving it in a better condition.

    We owe so much to the many giants (as Sir Isaac Newton called them) who came before us and built the infrastructure we now enjoy. They “passed it forward” to us, and out of fairness we have an obligation to try and pass forward to next generations similar gifts of improved wealth and betterment.

    In other words, it’s not just about me and getting mine and the heck with everybody else.

    No one said that you should put your welfare underneath and subservient to the needs of others.
    That is absurd.
    Of course you need to take care of number one first.
    But with that said, there is a balance as with all things.

    When an inventor invents, he does it in the form of a “balance” where he is enriched and the rest of the world is enriched as well.

    You might want to pose your arguments as saying that it can’t be all the other way around, where just the rest of the world gets enriched but the original inventor gets nothing or hardly anything at all.

    MERRY XMAS, Peace, and a prosperous New Year to you and yours.:-)

    Comment by step back | December 23, 2011 | Reply

  2. Stepback,

    You are clearly wrong about “No one said that you should put your welfare underneath and subservient to the needs of others.That is absurd.”

    Our government does this and says this everyday. I have to pay for other people’s kids to go to college before I can put my kid’s in college (Taxes have to be paid first). I have to pay for Solyndra before I can pay for my house. I have to pay for the starving kids in Africa before I can take a vacation. And the US is comparatively more on the Freedom side than Slavery side. We have a worldwide epidemic of slavery.

    You are just wrong on this point.

    As for leaving the world a little better, I quote Adam Smith

    By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good.

    I will add one caveat, but the justification for Freedom is not that it furthers the goals of society, it is that slavery is wrong.

    Happy New Year to you and yours.

    Comment by dbhalling | December 24, 2011 | Reply

  3. Dale,

    In the spirit of the Holiday season I suggest we both “step back” and cool it rather than bouncing between extremist point and counterpoint.

    The Floundering Fathers were wise in realizing that there need to be checks and counterbalances against any extremist movement. Ron Paul libertarians are part of an extremist movement and so are Marxist style socialists.

    We need a government and taxes because roads need to be built and maintained, fires need to be put out and epidemics stopped in their tracks. Of course we cannot have an overly oppressive government that totally stifles individual freedoms. A tenuous balance has to be struck.

    With that, let us close this round of debate with wishes of peace and good will for all men (, women and children too).

    Comment by step back | December 24, 2011 | Reply

  4. Stepback, There is no logical balance between Slavery and Freedom, nor is there any empirical evidence suggesting that this produces a “better” result. Using the phrase extremism is not a logical argument. There is no comparison between Marxists and people who understand Freedom, natural rights, and natural law. When Marxists get there way there is only human misery and death. When Freedom reigns you get human happiness and extraordinary wealth creation. This is as certain as the Laws of Gravity.

    Comparing Ron Paul to Marxist is just absurd. Paul may be mistaken on issues, but he is not pushing death as the Marxist are.

    We need a government to protect our Natural Rights and nothing else. The government does not have to build and maintain roads. Epidemics can be dealt with by a government and the people without violating anyone’s natural rights.

    Comment by dbhalling | December 24, 2011 | Reply

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