Phyllis Schlafly’s Speaks: Inventions and Patents
Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) was an important American grassroots activist and public intellectual who was engaged in advocacy on a broad range of public issues. She wrote or edited more than 20 books, published an influential monthly newsletter beginning in 1967, appeared daily on nearly 500 radio stations and delivered regular commentaries on CBS television in the 1970’s and CNN in the ’80s.”
Her areas of interest (and associated areas of impact) were broader than her image often conveyed. These different areas could almost always be characterized as containing a general theme that concerns the importance of fighting for the interests of the average citizen (i.e., “the little guy”) in the face of the invariable behind the scenes efforts of governments, large corporations, internationalists and establishment elites (particularly those found on the U. S. east and west coasts).
Phyllis Schlafly had a strong and enduring interest in issues relating to invention, patents and other forms of intellectual property (including copyrights). These intellectual property and innovation issues were very important to her and fundamentally underpinned her views on why America was a great, successful (and unique) country. The importance of the American system of invention and patents was a theme that she returned to again and again over the years.
Phyllis Schlafly cared about these invention, patent and intellectual property issues for a number of important reasons:
- Patents and invention were central to the Founding of the United States and to its enduring prosperity.
- Phyllis Schlafly recognized that many of the matters raised concerning patents and copyright were fundamental and represented important Constitutional issues.
- She also pointed out how inventors had been (and continued to be) the “liberators” of women throughout American history.
- The policy issues associated with invention and patents were also a key battlefield in the fight between the rights of the average citizen and the large economic entities who could play the game in secret and behind the scenes.
- Phyllis Schlafly also recognized the importance of the international dimension of invention, patent and other intellectual property issues.
- Phyllis Schlafly will also be remembered for her constant vigilance against efforts aimed at the “harmonization” of the U.S. patent systems with other systems internationally.
- She also recognized the importance of mobilizing the opposition to so-called “patent reform” efforts, that she referred to as “no reform at all,” but rather “a direct attack on the unique, successful American patent system created by the U.S. Constitution.”
- She also saw the important “national security” dimension of invention and patent issues.
- It is important to recognize that these issues were also personal to Phyllis Schlafly.
The newly published volume, Phyllis Schlafly on Patents and Invention, is intended to do help begin this process. It represents another chance to appreciate the full extent of Phyllis Schlaffly’s multi-faceted legacy and the debt Americans owe to her for “a public life well lived” in the context of her important work upholding the core values and traditions of this country.
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