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Re: [Fsuk-manchester] the non-free neighbour asking for help dilemma

From: Noah Slater
Subject: Re: [Fsuk-manchester] the non-free neighbour asking for help dilemma
Date: Fri, 16 May 2008 12:51:11 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.17+20080114 (2008-01-14)

On Fri, May 16, 2008 at 12:32:18PM +0100, Dave Crossland wrote:
> 2008/5/16 Noah Slater <address@hidden>:
> > Perhaps the people you are thinking of like the freedom to run OS X software
> That's a convenience, not a freedom.

Yes, I remember Stallman saying this. I'm not sure I agree. My gut feeling is
that this is a way of using language to devalue someone else's value system,
which I think is a little underhanded.

> > What I think you meant to say is that they traded the freedoms they didn't 
> > value
> > for some other freedoms that they did value. Seems reasonable to me.
> They traded freedoms they valued less for conveniences they valued
> more. Seems foolish to me :-)

Okay, for the sake of discussion, lets drop the words "freedom" and
"convenience" as they tend to mean very different things to different people.

You could rephrase that sentence as:

"they traded something they didn't value for something else they did value"

Again, from the perspective of that persons local value system this is the
correct choice to make. From the perspective of my value system, or yours, this
seems like the wrong choice. It's important to recognise that this only arises
because we place value in different things.

If this is something that makes sense to you it should be clear that instead of
spending time telling people how "wrong" they are it makes more sense to explain
your value system to them, explain how you think it is beneficial and explain
how you can work towards prioritising those values.

When you tell someone that they are "wrong" for valuing something over something
else all you do is annoy or offend them. If you manage to use reason and
description to explain your value system you stand a chance of changing

They may decide that they share some of your values and ask you for more
information or they may decide that they share non of your values, either way,
nothing productive can come of ignoring this disparity in perspective or
pretending that it is unrelated to one's personal ethics.

> I'm thinking about the nature of moral absolutism, thanks for the
> challenging and enjoyable discussion Noah :-)

Oh, great stuff, I am glad I have not offended you Dave.

We agree on many points and I am not meaning to discredit your conclusions or
Free Software in general, only the method in which you reason them. I find that
my tolerance for absolutism is rapidly declining as I spend more time in online
discussions, and that goes for people I agree with as well as disagree with.

If you're interested, and not meaning to patronise, a good start is:


Best wishes,

Noah Slater - Bytesexual <http://bytesexual.org/>

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