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Re: [Gnu-arch-users] OT: Slavery???

From: Stephen J. Turnbull
Subject: Re: [Gnu-arch-users] OT: Slavery???
Date: Tue, 18 Nov 2003 18:33:29 +0900
User-agent: Gnus/5.1002 (Gnus v5.10.2) XEmacs/21.5 (celeriac, linux)

>>>>> "Tom" == Tom Lord <address@hidden> writes:

    Tom> I _did_ get from your message that you seem to feel insulted
    Tom> or professionally disrespected or something along those
    Tom> lines.

Then you are mistaken.  You could insult me, but not about this.  And
you lack the relevant qualifications to professionally disrespect me
(however, I value the kind of respect you can offer more highly than
the "professional respect" of all but a very few of my colleagues---
and my position in the industry shows it, too.  *wink*)

    >> But when talking about social structures, you are at a decided
    >> disadvantage in expertise.  I do this for a living.

    Tom> Yes, I know you do.

    Tom> I'm not _quite_ the amateur you think I am in that area.  An
    Tom> amateur to be sure -- but not _that_particular_ amateur.

You are, however, still an amateur.  My knowledge as a professional is
available to you if you ask for it, and it would serve your argument,
although we hold differing political positions.  (That's not to say
you don't have to worry about political bias affecting my professional
judgement, or even corrupting it.  However, you had better worry even
more about advice from a professional who agrees with you---you have
no hope of overcoming your own biases to detect his!)  Your knowledge
is in the service of your political goals only, and AFAICT those goals
have completely biased your studies.

    Tom> I could at least claim to be an "enthusiastic, unusually
    Tom> informed, and somewhat talented amateur" in that area.

And?  If you are genuinely interested in improving your knowledge (the
root meaning of "amateur", after all), why haven't you consulted some
easily accessible professional?

Now, _that_ peeves me.

    Tom> "Social structures" are, alas, a rather central topic in the
    Tom> narrative of my life

Sure, but I think it has little to do with differences among social
structures, and much more to do with the existence of structure at
all.  It seems to me that you are strongly averse having people (not
just yourself) identified with their roles in some structure, and that
often the "explosive" incidents you describe were "triggered" by such

While everybody agrees with you, more or less, most people consider
some degree of structure necessary.  Therefore they are willing to
cooperate with it even when it manifestly disadvantages them.  I can't
say that they're wrong, though the consequences distress me.  And
don't tell me that it was a matter of morality, you were right, and
you were ignored when you "went through channels."  It's the same for
everybody else, and I still can't say they're wrong to shut up.

    Tom> (hey, have you noticed my position in industry? :-)

No, I haven't.  I'm not in industry, nor "the industry".  Nor do I
have a useful idea of what relationships the 8-letter word "position"
is intended to encompass.  Surely "unemployed" is not a sufficient
summary!  I've seen tiny snippets of interactions with some of The
Mighty, and heard some gossip, of course, but 90% of that is from you.
Impossible to interpret: it's like asking someone who thinks he has no
accent about his accent.

[I'll simply delete your attempts to cast doubt on the possibility of
objectivity in social science.  After all, if it's impossible, you
have no claim to objectivity or knowledge of social justice, either.]

    Tom> As a poem, it says more than is true.

All poems do.  But that is a defect in the reality, not in the poetry. :-)

    Tom> As a poem, it can degenerate to become a slogan for mob action.

What in the _world_ are you talking about, if not yourself?  It's
consistently the _anti_-economists who resort to exhortation and
collective action, rather than reason and individual incentive.

In the case at hand, surely it was not the mob that decided to use
Bitkeeper, it was a singular phenomenon named Linus.  Whatever your
interpretation of Larry's role in Linus's decision, linking economic
reasoning to "mob action" fits none of the observed facts.

    Tom> I think I saw, in your question about my outrage, a little
    Tom> bit of that poetics in action.

After you declare your outrage followed by denying being emotional,
and deliberately phrase things in terms you acknowledge were intended
to offend, you then dare to point out the unavoidable "poetics" that
attend _any_ attempt to apply theory to reality?

Doesn't that pin the needle of your Bogometer?  It should.

Institute of Policy and Planning Sciences
University of Tsukuba                    Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
               Ask not how you can "do" free software business;
              ask what your business can "do for" free software.

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