Our local library has a subscription to Ancestry.com, the genealogical research site. Unfortunately the response time is slow, and one day a couple of months ago I was working near enough the “New Releases” shelf to do some browsing during the otherwise interminable wait between entering my request and the return of the results.
The bright cover of Brett Kingstone’s book caught my eye. I was not impressed by the title, which sounded Limbaugh-esque and evoked images of conspiracy theorists. I brought the book home, thinking Porter might enjoy it, but did not expect to read it myself. It didn’t sound like my kind of book.
Porter picked up The Real War Against America in the evening and hardly came up for air until he finished it several hours later. It was obviously compelling, but why would I want to read a book that caused my husband to come to bed, spluttering with anger, at three in the morning?
But read it I did, and if I knew better than to read till nearly dawn, I did find it hard to put down. The tale of Super Vision’s struggle against international piracy takes place (mostly) in Orlando, and it was delightful to recognize familiar places, events, and people. Of the story itself I had heard nothing previously, perhaps because much of the action took place while we were in Boston. Nor were we prepared to find the name of a friend pop up in the middle of the book, a friend who though mentioned only briefly was close enough to the events to assure us that this is no right-wing propaganda piece but a true story, no matter how much it reads like a made-for-TV action movie.
Brett Kingstone’s entrepreneurial adventures started in a dorm room and eventually grew into the Super Vision company. If you’ve never heard of Super Vision, you’ve certainly seen their fiber optic lighting products, from Disney World and Times Square to the Moscow airport, from children’s toys to gigantic signs, from swimming pools to Christmas trees. You have seen Super Vision’s products, I say—and you have probably also seen the Chinese counterfeit products that nearly destroyed the company, the visible result of an unbelievably brazen scheme involving common thugs, company traitors, crooked bankers and lawyers, a bureaucratic legal system that favors the criminal over the victim, and an evil Chinese businessman who might have leapt full grown from Ian Fleming’s head.
I had never given much thought to intellectual property theft, beyond making a reasonable effort to respect copyrights. Nor have I had much experience with the American legal system. But just as Hurricane Katrina convinced me that the quality of local government really matters, and that nothing is an adequate substitute for personal effort and preparedness, this tale of untruth, injustice, and perversion of the American way has opened my eyes to a threat as dangerous as any scheme of Osama bin Laden's. Without economic freedom, few other freedoms can stand. And when legal victories are ultimately won by those who, like the “house” in a casino, have the funds to drag out the process until they bankrupt their opponents, what hope is there for justice?
Justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter. Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey. (Isaiah 59:14-15)