While the adoring throngs were paying tribute to a small group of millionaires who, truth be told, generally despise the fans, the ever present Department of Homeland Security was patrolling the crowd, looking for terrorists to arrest. Although no terrorists were discovered the government bureau was pleased to announce shortly after the parade had dispersed that they had "seized more than 350 counterfeit NFL related merchandise items." I breathed a sign of relief when I read that report. Who knows how many, probably 350, deaths by exploding baseball cap they prevented that day?
A story in the Denver Post gave me the sordid details about how and why Homeland Security would be harassing a handful of people out trying to make a buck by selling Broncos paraphernalia to the faithful. I was relieved to see that "no arrests were made following the seizure from 15 vendors who were hawking counterfeit T-shirts, jerseys and beanies with Broncos and Super Bowl 50 trademarks....Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agents seized 361 items from salespeople in Civic Center park with the expertise of two NFL-brand security experts who could spot the fake items." Well there you have it. Apparently having a shirt with the word "Broncos" on it is illegal if the Broncos and the NFL have not first approved it. I give my heartfelt thanks to the ridiculous and immoral copyright laws of this country for what went down at the parade. I know I am safer for it.
I am not going to point out that the government issuance of a copyright or a patent is an immoral act because it seeks to allow the original creator of a good the ability to control the use of that good after the good has exchanged hands. In essence copyright law turns every transaction into a rental agreement rather than a sale since the new owner really does not have the rights of ownership over the good he has purchased. All of this is done in the name of the public good but the actual fact of the matter is it is little more than the creation of a government monopoly to enrich those connected to the government. But I am not going to mention that here today. I want to focus upon the reason given by Homeland Security for their confiscation of private property.
David Thompson, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations, offered this reason for the seizures, "Counterfeits are inferior quality. They steal Amerikan jobs, and they support criminal organizations." Well there you have it. Three fine reasons why Homeland Security had to protect us from the unscrupulous criminal element that lives among us and preys upon us by producing goods we want to purchase and selling them to us for prices we are willing to pay. This will not do! Let's consider each of the agent's arguments in the order he presented them.
- Counterfeits are of inferior quality. So what? When I make a purchase I only do so because I value the good I am purchasing more than the cash I hold in my hand. It does not follow that every purchase I make must be of the highest quality. Sometimes I am satisfied with inferior quality. What business is it of government whether I buy inferior or superior quality? When I purchased a 1998 Subaru Impreza many years ago I did so because I valued the car more than the $15,000 cash I was holding. But you know what? The Impreza was of inferior quality when compared to a Lexus or a BMW. I could have had a car with a stereo, heated seats, a sun-roof and side airbags. My Subaru had none of those items, although it did have everything that I wanted. I wanted to purchase a "key and heater," nothing more. Should Homeland Security have interjected itself into the transaction and confiscated the car because it was of inferior quality to many others cars I could have purchased? According to the logic being offered up by agent Thompson, he would be well within his rights to do so as an agent of the federal government protecting me from terrorists and any good he deems to be inferior.
- They steal Amerikan jobs. Now that is a fascinating assertion. From what I could tell the good folks selling clothing emblazoned with Broncos logos in Civil Center park were hard at work the night before making those items in their basements and garages. They were people who live in the Denver metropolitan area. They were operating as self employed entrepreneurs when they sold their wares to a willing public at the parade. They had actually created a job, their own, and remained off the unemployment rolls as a result of their initiative. On the other hand, the officially licensed Broncos clothing being sold by government approved salespeople was made in Pakistan and Honduras. You got that right. Michael Stewart, of Evergreen, wrote a letter to the editor of the Denver Post explaining that he had paid twice as much money for a couple of items that were officially approved only to discover they were made overseas. Agent Thompson has his facts confused. He was supporting an immoral monopoly, the NFL and the Denver Broncos, that has resulted in some jobs being shipped overseas. Oh, by the way, Michael Stewart also claimed that "Both items appear to be made form thin, poor quality material."
- They support criminal organizations. That is a good one! Ha! Ha! Ha! The only reason the Mom and Pop shop that made those T-shirts is considered to be a "criminal organization" is directly attributed to the fact that the immoral copyright law turns them into criminals, not because they actually are criminals. I can just see it now. Mafiosos all over the country sent their henchmen to Denver to sell T-shirts after the Broncos victory. Were it not for the fearless actions of Homeland Security we would have enriched organized crime beyond belief. No, I believe the truth is exactly the opposite. The agents from Homeland Security were the ones supporting a criminal organization. They were supporting the copyright bureau of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika, a criminal organization if there ever was one.