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Re: The Legality of Discrimination

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  • Nadav Har'El
    ... Shlomi, this is bull. Again, you can take the south in the US from the 1920s to 1950s. In this period, every white man and woman was free ( enlightened is
    Message 1 of 26 , Apr 15, 2003
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      On Tue, Apr 15, 2003, Shlomi Fish wrote about "RE: The Legality of Discrimination":
      > > I agree that if there is no discrimination, there is no need
      > > for laws against it.
      > > But in case it will happen, don't you think that the right thing to do
      > > is to stop this?
      > >
      >
      > I believe it won't happen. It's like saying a free, enlightened
      > man will willingly discriminate against black, gays, Jews, or whatever. He
      > would not because a free man does not destroy himself.

      Shlomi, this is bull.

      Again, you can take the south in the US from the 1920s to 1950s. In this
      period, every white man and woman was free ("enlightened" is a different
      discussion :)) and they were quite happy to descriminate blacks - in fact
      they believed that to keep their freedom and lifestyle they *must* continue
      with the segregation and discrimination.

      Another obvious example is (at the risk of invoking Godwin's law, and killing
      this thread) the third Reich. Post-WWI Germany was a democracy, and people
      were free and enlightened (some of the most respected philosophers,
      scientists, etc., came from Germany). It didn't stop them from electing Hitler
      (maybe this wasn't a completely fair elections, but a large part of the
      population did believe in his ideas), from passing the Nurenberg laws, and
      finally massacring 6 million Jews and millions of other people - all in the
      name of their "freedom" to be a pure Arian nation, with enough "living space"
      to remain free.

      No, there is very little evidence that humans are basically good, and will
      only do good if left to their own devices. Read Golding's "Lord of the Flies"
      for a fictional depiction of what happens if humans are left without law.
      Or see what is happening in Iraq right now - Iraqi people are destroying their
      own country...

      In 2000, when I was in the "millenium" mood, I tried to calculate how many
      people were killed in the last millenium by human-inflicted disasters (such
      as wars, religious persecutions, etc.). The number I came up with: 500,000,000!
      That's half a billion people murdered by their fellow men in 1,000 years.

      > > Depends where. Not in the bible-belt, certainly.
      > >
      >
      > Perhaps not. I'm not entirely familiar with Historical anecdotes.

      Those who don't listen to history, are doomed to repeat it :)

      Experiments with forms of government is one place where "reinventing the
      wheel" is not only bad, it can actually cost the lives or at least the
      happiness of millions.

      > While the laws may have eliminated some discrimination, they did not
      > perfectly eliminated racism which is its core.

      So what? The situtation is still better than it was in the late 50s.
      Nobody said the anti-segregation laws resulted in a perfect society, any
      more than the laws against stealing and murdering resulted in a society
      free of those phenomena. But there are much fewer cases of these things
      and law-abiding people, at least, try to avoid them.

      Do you remember any recent case of a Klan lynching in the south? I certainly
      don't. These were almost weekly events in the early 60s, and large mobs
      participated in them - it was almost an accepted pastime. Believe me, a
      poor black hung on a tree would rather be "hated" than hung. He'd rather
      be "hated" than having his child refused entry to a good school that fits
      that child's scholastic ability, but not his skin color.

      > They would, because people who are free of opression always create good
      > values. Look at how the computer and software industry flourished out of
      > software being considered speech. Look at the open source world. Look at
      > countries which are free, safe and careless and how happy people are
      > there.

      These countries are free, but still have laws. Iraq, "the wild west", and
      Golding's island are examples of places that were free and lawless - I
      don't see any "careless and happy" people there.

      Obviously the laws in a democratic country (I don't like to use the term
      "free country" because it has other meanings) would need to be, "of the
      people, for the people, by the people", i.e., laws that the people themselves
      created for the purpose of regulating their own lives in a way that increases
      their own chances for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Laws
      passed for other reasons, like the glorification of God or Country, or for
      the personal benefit of certain individuals, are bound to be counterproductive
      and therefor wrong in this sense.

      > (I want to ask people on Usenet to give me test-cases of country that had
      > an almost Laissez-Faire Capitalism, and see how well they did. Game
      > Theoretical models can only go so far in "proving" it won't work. It is
      > very easy to form a model that will yield the expectations you give it,
      > because a real country is too complex to be described mathematically in a
      > model. We need some hard evidence.)

      Right.

      > I'm saying that the effort was bound to fail. A law canon should only
      > protect against initiatory force, coercion or fraud. Nothing more is
      > needed or ever necessary. And BTW, I fully support the right to bear Arms
      > and form private militias or police. I think they can be very effective in
      > protecting freedom as well. (probably more than Government ones)

      But only in protecting the freedom of the well-endowed; The poor will not
      have such private militias to protect them from the coercion by the rich.
      Also, if a certain militia goes "corrupt" (say, robbing people instead of
      protecting them, like Robin Hood's militia ;)), you'll need a different
      militia to fight them, and some court system to decide which one is "right",
      before the whole state goes into an anrachy of local wars. This is getting
      quite close to my thesis of why a free state cannot be stable - one day
      when I feel like it, I'll put what I wrote about that online :)

      > An amount like people drinking or smoking, or being religious or believing
      > in superstitions or whatever. If a thousand years from now, there will be

      Shlomi, please understand, once and for all, that everyone else who posted
      in this thread was talking about "morals" in the sense of "ethics", the
      treatment of others, not about some sort of "Christian morality", the acts
      that are "undignified" or "revolting" or "God won't like". Smoking (in your
      own room, not in the face of another person) or believing in superstitions
      is not immoral in the sense of being unethical.

      Your insistance of using non-standard meanings for the words "morals" and
      "legal" are making arguing with you on this issue quite frustrating :(

      > fraud. Things everyone agrees are wrong. While what is moral is never
      > agreed upon, and entire cultures and civilizations were ruined out of
      > trying to enforce Morality. (if you need historical examples, I can give
      > you enough)

      Try us.
      And please don't give me examples like the spanish inquisition. That might
      have something to do with "morality" but not with "morals" (ethics), which
      is the issue we were interested in.

      > I think discrimination against a person you don't like or has some stigma
      > on, is equally as destructive for the individum as discrimination against
      > a group. I do not discriminate against any group, and I do my best to be
      > fair and friendly to anyone I know. (sometimes without success).

      There's a moral difference between the two kinds of discriminations: if
      people discriminate you because of your own behavior (say, because you
      like to make up your own definition for the word "legal" :)), you are free
      to modify your behavior somewhat, in order to be better liked.

      If you are discriminated because of a certain group you were born into -
      say you were born with black skin, with two X chromosomes or your foreskin
      was removed when you were 8 days old - you have no way to change that.
      You are basically being punished for something you didn't do and have no
      way of changing. *that* is considered immoral.
      For the same reason, most countries have special laws dealing with criminal
      behavior of juveniles or people with mental illnesses - it is sometimes
      thought that these people have no way to modify their behavior (or have lower
      control over it), and so shouldn't be punished as severely as someone who
      *chose* the criminal behavior out of their own free will.

      > I believe Mercury has discriminated against me by letting me take a
      > psycho-technic test with the rest of the crowd instead of taking into
      > account the fact that I have a lot of proven experience, have almost
      > finished my degree in the Technion, and have a lot of unproven experience
      > working with UNIX, Perl, and other stuff. (I also know you, OmerM and
      > Gabor, who are Mercury engineers who can testify for my proficiency).

      Your complaint here might actually be right.
      Stephen Gould (the renowned zoologist) wrote a good book "The Mismeasure
      of Man" (available in Hebrew translation, 30 shekels in Zomet Sfarim) about
      the issue of how "scientific" measures of intelegence over the last century
      or have been plagued by racism, sexism, xenophobia, and what not.
      After reading that book, it's hard to treat those psyotechnic tests with
      any sort of respect; I hope that more HR people read that book...

      > IBM also rejected me because my grades were not high enough, despite the
      > fact that I am considered a very good programmer, much better than most of
      > the Technion students who do nothing but study all day. Muli, OTOH, got a
      > job at IBM because he had the right connections. (his grades were not
      > much better than mine, and he eventually left the Technion)

      This is getting a little too personal for my taste, and remember that Muli
      is not on this list to defend himself.
      IBM research is *not* a programming house. They are not looking for "good
      programmers" - good programming is required, but is not enough. Are you sure
      that having bad grades is not your fault? Grades in relevant CS subjects (not
      psychometric tests where you are asked to choose geometric shapes and
      complete number series) are quite relevent to your work in a place where
      CS research is being done!

      [by the way, starting next month, I'll also be working for IBM research....]

      > Muli is an excellent engineer. But I think I'm not a "Qotel-qinim" either.
      > If we define the suitability of the engineer as the one who'll get the job
      > done best, then I was discriminated against twice in the past year.

      Do you consider yourself better than Muli? Would you at least agree to say
      that you are "as good as Muli"? If that is so, given two candidates who
      are just as good, didn't they act sensibly in choosing the one with the
      better grades?
      Wouldn't you also agree that Muli's experience in the Linux Kernel might be
      a little more relevant to certain companies than your experience in Freecell
      Solver (which is an interesting program, but not of immediate interest to
      any company I know).

      > When I was discriminated it felt bad. It felt like I was worthless, and I
      > felt no one cared how good I really was. In my position I am not
      > discriminated against out of belonging to any minority. But when I do on a
      > personal level, it feels just as bad.

      But when it's done on a personal level you are free to learn from your
      mistakes and mend your ways, in order to succeed better next time. If
      you were discrimated because of the color of your skin or your accent,
      there was nothing you could have done about it.


      --
      Nadav Har'El | Tuesday, Apr 15 2003, 13 Nisan 5763
      nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
      Phone: +972-53-245868, ICQ 13349191 |"Luck is when preparation meets
      http://nadav.harel.org.il |opportunity." - Richard Sherman
    • Shlomi Fish
      ... I don t know too much about the south in the US from the 20 s to the 50 s, or how free or enlightened the people were. ... Free? Germany was enslaved to
      Message 2 of 26 , Apr 16, 2003
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        On Tue, 15 Apr 2003, Nadav Har'El wrote:

        > On Tue, Apr 15, 2003, Shlomi Fish wrote about "RE: The Legality of Discrimination":
        > > > I agree that if there is no discrimination, there is no need
        > > > for laws against it.
        > > > But in case it will happen, don't you think that the right thing to do
        > > > is to stop this?
        > > >
        > >
        > > I believe it won't happen. It's like saying a free, enlightened
        > > man will willingly discriminate against black, gays, Jews, or whatever. He
        > > would not because a free man does not destroy himself.
        >
        > Shlomi, this is bull.
        >
        > Again, you can take the south in the US from the 1920s to 1950s. In this
        > period, every white man and woman was free ("enlightened" is a different
        > discussion :)) and they were quite happy to descriminate blacks - in fact
        > they believed that to keep their freedom and lifestyle they *must* continue
        > with the segregation and discrimination.
        >

        I don't know too much about the south in the US from the 20's to the 50's,
        or how free or enlightened the people were.

        > Another obvious example is (at the risk of invoking Godwin's law, and killing
        > this thread) the third Reich. Post-WWI Germany was a democracy, and people
        > were free and enlightened (some of the most respected philosophers,
        > scientists, etc., came from Germany).

        Free? Germany was enslaved to France and had to pay an enormous tax to
        compensate it for the war. Consult every post-WWI history book to learn
        that.

        > No, there is very little evidence that humans are basically good, and will
        > only do good if left to their own devices.

        Humans are good by nature. Otherwise you could not expect humans to have
        survived for at least 3000 years since they gained consciousness. And
        notice that Laissez-Faire Capitalism does not mean an Anarchy - it means a
        society where only initiatory force, coercion or fraud is prevented.
        Objective crimes that can easily be proven.

        > Read Golding's "Lord of the Flies"
        > for a fictional depiction of what happens if humans are left without law.

        I heard of the "Lord of the Flies" but did not read it yet. Nevertheless,
        I find it hard to believe it is more than a depiction of Golding's world
        view. I find it hard to call it "the truth". I believe many societies
        existed in distant Islands and lived quite happily there, even for several
        generations. And like I said, LFC does not mean a lawless society.

        > Or see what is happening in Iraq right now - Iraqi people are destroying their
        > own country...
        >

        I have a hard time calling the Iraqi people as being free beforehand, or
        even free now.

        > In 2000, when I was in the "millenium" mood, I tried to calculate how many
        > people were killed in the last millenium by human-inflicted disasters (such
        > as wars, religious persecutions, etc.). The number I came up with: 500,000,000!
        > That's half a billion people murdered by their fellow men in 1,000 years.
        >

        I know. It usually came up with governments and other authorities who
        tried to enforce "morality" down people's throat. Not out of the actions
        of individuals.

        > > > Depends where. Not in the bible-belt, certainly.
        > > >
        > >
        > > Perhaps not. I'm not entirely familiar with Historical anecdotes.
        >
        > Those who don't listen to history, are doomed to repeat it :)
        >

        History repeats itself, but not exactly. There's a limit to how much room
        I can fill my mind with useless details. Otherwise, it becomes too crowded
        and I can't recall the more important things.

        I think applied logic is more important than knowing every historical
        detail. With applied logic one can analyse current affairs, using reason
        and idealism alone.

        > Experiments with forms of government is one place where "reinventing the
        > wheel" is not only bad, it can actually cost the lives or at least the
        > happiness of millions.
        >

        At the moment, there were many experiments with forms of governments. I
        support a gradual (not immediate) transition to LFC. The status quo now
        leaves a lot to be desired: anything from crime, to harrasment of
        individuals, to dishonest entities, to over-concentration of resources,
        are quite common.

        > > While the laws may have eliminated some discrimination, they did not
        > > perfectly eliminated racism which is its core.
        >
        > So what? The situtation is still better than it was in the late 50s.
        > Nobody said the anti-segregation laws resulted in a perfect society, any
        > more than the laws against stealing and murdering resulted in a society
        > free of those phenomena. But there are much fewer cases of these things
        > and law-abiding people, at least, try to avoid them.
        >
        > Do you remember any recent case of a Klan lynching in the south? I certainly
        > don't. These were almost weekly events in the early 60s, and large mobs
        > participated in them - it was almost an accepted pastime. Believe me, a
        > poor black hung on a tree would rather be "hated" than hung. He'd rather
        > be "hated" than having his child refused entry to a good school that fits
        > that child's scholastic ability, but not his skin color.
        >

        Granted the laws helped a bit. However, I believe that:

        1. Public Education.
        2. Organization and self-arming by Blacks and white people who supported
        them. Self-protection
        3. Enforcement of Laws that prevented public discrimination

        would have worked better in the long run and still can.

        > > They would, because people who are free of opression always create good
        > > values. Look at how the computer and software industry flourished out of
        > > software being considered speech. Look at the open source world. Look at
        > > countries which are free, safe and careless and how happy people are
        > > there.
        >
        > These countries are free, but still have laws. Iraq, "the wild west", and
        > Golding's island are examples of places that were free and lawless - I
        > don't see any "careless and happy" people there.
        >

        I don't support lack of laws and disorder! How many time do I have to say
        that initiatory force, coercion or fraud are unconstitutional?

        > Obviously the laws in a democratic country (I don't like to use the term
        > "free country" because it has other meanings) would need to be, "of the
        > people, for the people, by the people", i.e., laws that the people themselves
        > created for the purpose of regulating their own lives in a way that increases
        > their own chances for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Laws
        > passed for other reasons, like the glorification of God or Country, or for
        > the personal benefit of certain individuals, are bound to be counterproductive
        > and therefor wrong in this sense.
        >

        I prefer the term "free country" over "democratic country" because a
        democracy is a tyranny of the majority or a selected elite, and a "free
        country" means a liberal, Capitalistic country to me. I don't think a free
        country is an assertion - it is very much a process.

        It's like free software is sometimes preferable to open-source, but even
        more so.

        > > I'm saying that the effort was bound to fail. A law canon should only
        > > protect against initiatory force, coercion or fraud. Nothing more is
        > > needed or ever necessary. And BTW, I fully support the right to bear Arms
        > > and form private militias or police. I think they can be very effective in
        > > protecting freedom as well. (probably more than Government ones)
        >
        > But only in protecting the freedom of the well-endowed; The poor will not
        > have such private militias to protect them from the coercion by the rich.
        > Also, if a certain militia goes "corrupt" (say, robbing people instead of
        > protecting them, like Robin Hood's militia ;)), you'll need a different
        > militia to fight them, and some court system to decide which one is "right",
        > before the whole state goes into an anrachy of local wars. This is getting
        > quite close to my thesis of why a free state cannot be stable - one day
        > when I feel like it, I'll put what I wrote about that online :)
        >

        Let's suppose you have N militias where N > 5. If one militia goes corrupt
        (all of its members? Very unlikely), then the other N-1 militias can fight
        it. Like I said I don't believe in a free man destroying himself and
        becoming corrupt suddenly. A good man with a good philosophy and a lot of
        ideology will never go corrupt. You seem to have quite a lot of distrust
        of people? Why?

        > > An amount like people drinking or smoking, or being religious or believing
        > > in superstitions or whatever. If a thousand years from now, there will be
        >
        > Shlomi, please understand, once and for all, that everyone else who posted
        > in this thread was talking about "morals" in the sense of "ethics", the
        > treatment of others, not about some sort of "Christian morality", the acts
        > that are "undignified" or "revolting" or "God won't like". Smoking (in your
        > own room, not in the face of another person) or believing in superstitions
        > is not immoral in the sense of being unethical.
        >
        > Your insistance of using non-standard meanings for the words "morals" and
        > "legal" are making arguing with you on this issue quite frustrating :(
        >

        Whatever. Let's say that smoking, discrimination, consuming alcohol or
        whatever are "harmful" actions and sometimes the law decides to prevent
        them. I think the law should prevent people from directly harming each
        other and not from harming themselves.

        In discrimination no initiatory force, coercion or fraud was involved. If
        I did not get a job because I'm Jewish, I and my property were not harmed.
        I do not sanction people killing me because I'm a Jew. That is balantly
        unconstitutional.

        > > fraud. Things everyone agrees are wrong. While what is moral is never
        > > agreed upon, and entire cultures and civilizations were ruined out of
        > > trying to enforce Morality. (if you need historical examples, I can give
        > > you enough)
        >
        > Try us.
        > And please don't give me examples like the spanish inquisition. That might
        > have something to do with "morality" but not with "morals" (ethics), which
        > is the issue we were interested in.
        >

        The Roman Empire : Early christianity believing pleasure was immoral and
        trying to prevent it.

        France: King Louis XIV believing the Protestants were immoral and he
        banned them and made France much weaker.

        The USA Today: The government tells everybody that drug abusers are
        criminals (while not harming anybody) and jails 1 million Americans on
        drugs offences, and terrorizes everybody and destroys liberalism.

        > > I think discrimination against a person you don't like or has some stigma
        > > on, is equally as destructive for the individum as discrimination against
        > > a group. I do not discriminate against any group, and I do my best to be
        > > fair and friendly to anyone I know. (sometimes without success).
        >
        > There's a moral difference between the two kinds of discriminations: if
        > people discriminate you because of your own behavior (say, because you
        > like to make up your own definition for the word "legal" :)), you are free
        > to modify your behavior somewhat, in order to be better liked.
        >
        > If you are discriminated because of a certain group you were born into -
        > say you were born with black skin, with two X chromosomes or your foreskin
        > was removed when you were 8 days old - you have no way to change that.
        > You are basically being punished for something you didn't do and have no
        > way of changing. *that* is considered immoral.
        > For the same reason, most countries have special laws dealing with criminal
        > behavior of juveniles or people with mental illnesses - it is sometimes
        > thought that these people have no way to modify their behavior (or have lower
        > control over it), and so shouldn't be punished as severely as someone who
        > *chose* the criminal behavior out of their own free will.
        >

        Sometimes I am discriminated not because of my behaviour, but because of
        something else entirely.

        > > I believe Mercury has discriminated against me by letting me take a
        > > psycho-technic test with the rest of the crowd instead of taking into
        > > account the fact that I have a lot of proven experience, have almost
        > > finished my degree in the Technion, and have a lot of unproven experience
        > > working with UNIX, Perl, and other stuff. (I also know you, OmerM and
        > > Gabor, who are Mercury engineers who can testify for my proficiency).
        >
        > Your complaint here might actually be right.
        > Stephen Gould (the renowned zoologist) wrote a good book "The Mismeasure
        > of Man" (available in Hebrew translation, 30 shekels in Zomet Sfarim) about
        > the issue of how "scientific" measures of intelegence over the last century
        > or have been plagued by racism, sexism, xenophobia, and what not.
        > After reading that book, it's hard to treat those psyotechnic tests with
        > any sort of respect; I hope that more HR people read that book...
        >

        I heard about it. My problem is that Mercury trusted a psycho-technic test
        instead of a face-to-face interview and inspection of my C.V. and
        experience. Naturally, I know a Psychologist who prepares people for these
        exams.

        > > IBM also rejected me because my grades were not high enough, despite the
        > > fact that I am considered a very good programmer, much better than most of
        > > the Technion students who do nothing but study all day. Muli, OTOH, got a
        > > job at IBM because he had the right connections. (his grades were not
        > > much better than mine, and he eventually left the Technion)
        >
        > This is getting a little too personal for my taste, and remember that Muli
        > is not on this list to defend himself.
        > IBM research is *not* a programming house. They are not looking for "good
        > programmers" - good programming is required, but is not enough. Are you sure
        > that having bad grades is not your fault? Grades in relevant CS subjects (not
        > psychometric tests where you are asked to choose geometric shapes and
        > complete number series) are quite relevent to your work in a place where
        > CS research is being done!
        >

        I had good grades in my CS subjects. But my overall grade was lower. Was
        it my fault that I choose the less intuitive for me EE instead of the more
        intuitive and easier CS studies? Was it my fault that I invested time
        studying things and experimenting with things outside the corriculum
        instead of 100% of my time studying?

        > [by the way, starting next month, I'll also be working for IBM research....]
        >

        Good for you. Enjoy!

        > > Muli is an excellent engineer. But I think I'm not a "Qotel-qinim" either.
        > > If we define the suitability of the engineer as the one who'll get the job
        > > done best, then I was discriminated against twice in the past year.
        >
        > Do you consider yourself better than Muli? Would you at least agree to say
        > that you are "as good as Muli"? If that is so, given two candidates who
        > are just as good, didn't they act sensibly in choosing the one with the
        > better grades?

        Muli was not chosen instead of me. He was chosen, and I was rejected by a
        different team. I just gave him as an example.

        > Wouldn't you also agree that Muli's experience in the Linux Kernel might be
        > a little more relevant to certain companies than your experience in Freecell
        > Solver (which is an interesting program, but not of immediate interest to
        > any company I know).
        >

        Freecell Solver told me a lot about data structures, algorithms,
        modularity, efficiency, graph traversal algorithms, interaction with the
        user community, human-factors engineering, usability and many other
        things. While a basic solver can be written by an experienced programmer
        in a few days, it will take a lot of time to write something the extent of
        my program.

        I believe a programmer who can write a program with a good
        and feature-rich implementation (I'm not saying this is the case for FCS,
        but you can judge for yourself), is more capable as a computer scientist
        or software engineer than the average Technion student, even one with high
        grades.

        > > When I was discriminated it felt bad. It felt like I was worthless, and I
        > > felt no one cared how good I really was. In my position I am not
        > > discriminated against out of belonging to any minority. But when I do on a
        > > personal level, it feels just as bad.
        >
        > But when it's done on a personal level you are free to learn from your
        > mistakes and mend your ways, in order to succeed better next time. If
        > you were discrimated because of the color of your skin or your accent,
        > there was nothing you could have done about it.
        >

        Perhaps. But sometimes people don't like me because I am doing things
        right. I.e: jealousy, control freakness, or whatever. I think I did the
        right thing when I invested time in educational extra-corricular
        activities like hacking on Linux and experimenting with it, instead of
        devoting 100% of my time and attention to my studies. I worked hard and as
        I saw it, enough, but I learned a lot from things I did outside what
        Technion told me.

        Regards,

        Shlomi Fish

        ----------------------------------------------------------------------
        Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
        Home Page: http://t2.technion.ac.il/~shlomif/

        An apple a day will keep a doctor away. Two apples a day will keep two
        doctors away.

        Falk Fish
      • Nadav Har'El
        ... But the people of Germany were relatively free to choose many different courses of action. They could have even chosen to wage another war against france,
        Message 3 of 26 , Apr 16, 2003
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          On Wed, Apr 16, 2003, Shlomi Fish wrote about "Re: The Legality of Discrimination":
          > Free? Germany was enslaved to France and had to pay an enormous tax to
          > compensate it for the war. Consult every post-WWI history book to learn
          > that.

          But the people of Germany were relatively free to choose many different
          courses of action. They could have even chosen to wage another war against
          france, if they wanted. But that doesn't explain why they chose to be
          anti-semitic, because your claim is that being anti-semitic was against
          their own interests, and therefore they wouldn't chose it. I wish it were
          so simple...

          > > In 2000, when I was in the "millenium" mood, I tried to calculate how many
          > > people were killed in the last millenium by human-inflicted disasters (such
          > > as wars, religious persecutions, etc.). The number I came up with: 500,000,000!
          > > That's half a billion people murdered by their fellow men in 1,000 years.
          > >
          >
          > I know. It usually came up with governments and other authorities who
          > tried to enforce "morality" down people's throat. Not out of the actions
          > of individuals.

          This is true, though in a large part of history, it's not exactly clear
          what is a "government" or "authority", and what is a collection of men who
          voluntarily (driven by some shared belief) got together in order to do their
          mayhem (e.g., crusades, pogroms, etc.).

          It's too easy to say that all the evils you see are caused by a leader
          telling his followers to do bad things, and that in a "free state" you
          wouldn't have such leaders. But unfortunately, saying this is wrong. Very
          wrong. In a free state, local leaders are free to build up their own groups
          of followers, and even their own militias, and if the "good" militias of
          this state are not strong enough, they will not be able to stop the "bad"
          leader when he is strong enough and starts the "bad" acts (killing, lynching,
          robbing, or whatever).

          The word "local" in the above paragraph can vary in locality: for example
          in the US there were whole states where "bad" things (e.g., lynching) were
          done without being punished. In some countries there are neighborhoods or
          even cities where the local gang leaders have acquired so much strength that
          the official government can't do anything about it. Looking at the whole world
          (which in some respects can be called a "free state" because there are hardly
          any laws that effect the whole world), the whole world cannot do anything
          about renegade countries set out to destroy the world and/or make their
          own people miserable (see: U.N. and Iraq).


          > > > Perhaps not. I'm not entirely familiar with Historical anecdotes.
          > > Those who don't listen to history, are doomed to repeat it :)
          > History repeats itself, but not exactly. There's a limit to how much room
          > I can fill my mind with useless details. Otherwise, it becomes too crowded
          > and I can't recall the more important things.
          >
          > I think applied logic is more important than knowing every historical
          > detail. With applied logic one can analyse current affairs, using reason
          > and idealism alone.

          Let me tell you why I think learning history *is* important.

          I consider myself a scientist. And as such, I believe the scientific process
          should be followed.

          In the scientific process, it is not enough to make conjectures or invent
          theories (such as "humans are by nature good" or "LFC is a good form of
          government") - you must also set out to prove your theories.

          Now, proof of a scientific theory can be of two types:

          The first type of proof is a proof based on mathematics or logic: starting
          with axioms, you use the rules of logic to arrive with the required
          conclusion. This is the kind of proof you seem to prefer. But such proofs
          of theories in the area of political-science are almost impossible. We don't
          have any obvious set of axioms, and we don't have any encompassing
          mathematical models to model the behavior of individuals or groups.
          When such proofs exist for certain issues, they are wonderful, but
          unfortunately they don't exist for most political issues. I dare you find
          a mathematical proof that "drugs should be legal", for example (just to
          take one example you repeated several times). Don't forget that you'll need
          to base your proof on axioms that nobody will be able to contradict.

          The second type of proof is by experimentation, as is done in physics. You
          make up a theory, and check that in all known experiments the theory stands.
          You also make predictions for experiments not yet done, and see if your
          predictions succeed.
          But when dealing with theories in politics, we obviously cannot do direct
          experiments. Most researchers (not named Lenin, etc.) cannot try their
          political theories on a country. This is why to build your theories, you
          have to look at experiments already done by others, i.e., countries that
          now exist or have existed in the past. If someone tells me of a political
          idea, and can't demonstrate how it worked in practice in some country -
          or at least that it wasn't shown to be a spectacular failure in some country -
          this someone is not a serious philosopher/political-scientist/whatever.

          Let me give you an example: when Marx, and later Lenin, came up with their
          theory of how Communism would be a perfect political system, their ideas
          seemed plausible. These ideas were never tested before, and they "seemed"
          to be based on sensible conjectures like "people are good", "equality is
          important".
          But Lenin's experiment to prove his theory, spanning about 70 years and
          done on hundreds of millions of human guinea-pigs (where needless to say,
          the Helsinki Decleration was not exactly followed), was a spectacular failure.
          It not only failed to prove Lenin's conjectures, you might even say that it
          proved the opposite conjectures (through "reductio ad absurdum").
          But the important thing is that if somebody now "re-invents" the idea of
          Leninism, there is no need to try this sorry experiment again - we can
          immediately tell this guy: "no, this idea will fail, and we have an experiment
          to prove this". This is why knowing history is important.

          > > So what? The situtation is still better than it was in the late 50s.
          > > Nobody said the anti-segregation laws resulted in a perfect society, any
          >...
          > Granted the laws helped a bit. However, I believe that:
          >
          > 1. Public Education.

          This idea was hopeless when the education system itself was run by the
          same racists and with the same ideas of segregation that the federal
          government was trying to uproot in the first place.

          Before the education system could be used to promote the federal government's
          ideals, the federal government had to control it first. And this wasn't
          easy - and went against the tradition in the U.S..

          > 2. Organization and self-arming by Blacks and white people who supported
          > them. Self-protection

          Luckily, the blacks that followed your advice, like the "Black Panthers",
          "Nation of Islam", and so on, did not win over the heart of most blacks,
          and the gun-free ideas of people like Rev. Martin Luther King jr. became
          more accepted.
          If it wasn't so, I'd hate to think what the U.S. would look like now. Most
          likely it would be torn by civil war between blacks and whites, and both
          blacks and whites would have been much worse-off than they are right now.

          > 3. Enforcement of Laws that prevented public discrimination

          Exactly. But this is what you said originally they shouldn't do :)

          Note that here "public" doesn't mean "federal-government-run". The "public"
          in a complex organization like the United States has several levels - federal,
          state, city, corporation, and so on. In this context, "public" should
          basically mean any setting where people find themselves in without a real
          choice to be somewhere else.

          > Let's suppose you have N militias where N > 5. If one militia goes corrupt
          > (all of its members? Very unlikely), then the other N-1 militias can fight
          > it. Like I said I don't believe in a free man destroying himself and
          > becoming corrupt suddenly. A good man with a good philosophy and a lot of
          > ideology will never go corrupt. You seem to have quite a lot of distrust
          > of people? Why?

          How is what you describe different from the situation in many countries
          before modern times, where local chiefs, princes, warlords, shoguns, or
          whatever you'd want to call them fighting each other constantly? None of
          them though they were corrupt - they were always under the impression that
          their group was "right" and the other group was "wrong" and only a battle
          will settle this issue.

          --
          Nadav Har'El | Thursday, Apr 17 2003, 15 Nisan 5763
          nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
          Phone: +972-53-245868, ICQ 13349191 |"Do you want to restart Windows now or
          http://nadav.harel.org.il |wait for the next crash?"
        • Shlomi Fish
          ... 1. I was mainly talking about a free and enlightened individual rather than a free society. 2. It seems we disagree if Germany was free enough, or had
          Message 4 of 26 , Apr 27, 2003
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            On Thu, 17 Apr 2003, Nadav Har'El wrote:

            > On Wed, Apr 16, 2003, Shlomi Fish wrote about "Re: The Legality of Discrimination":
            > > Free? Germany was enslaved to France and had to pay an enormous tax to
            > > compensate it for the war. Consult every post-WWI history book to learn
            > > that.
            >
            > But the people of Germany were relatively free to choose many different
            > courses of action. They could have even chosen to wage another war against
            > france, if they wanted. But that doesn't explain why they chose to be
            > anti-semitic, because your claim is that being anti-semitic was against
            > their own interests, and therefore they wouldn't chose it. I wish it were
            > so simple...
            >

            1. I was mainly talking about a free and enlightened individual rather
            than a "free" society.

            2. It seems we disagree if Germany was free enough, or had the conditions
            to sport a fully liberal whereabout. Let's drop this case.

            > > > In 2000, when I was in the "millenium" mood, I tried to calculate how many
            > > > people were killed in the last millenium by human-inflicted disasters (such
            > > > as wars, religious persecutions, etc.). The number I came up with: 500,000,000!
            > > > That's half a billion people murdered by their fellow men in 1,000 years.
            > > >
            > >
            > > I know. It usually came up with governments and other authorities who
            > > tried to enforce "morality" down people's throat. Not out of the actions
            > > of individuals.
            >
            > This is true, though in a large part of history, it's not exactly clear
            > what is a "government" or "authority", and what is a collection of men who
            > voluntarily (driven by some shared belief) got together in order to do their
            > mayhem (e.g., crusades, pogroms, etc.).
            >
            > It's too easy to say that all the evils you see are caused by a leader
            > telling his followers to do bad things, and that in a "free state" you
            > wouldn't have such leaders. But unfortunately, saying this is wrong. Very
            > wrong. In a free state, local leaders are free to build up their own groups
            > of followers, and even their own militias, and if the "good" militias of
            > this state are not strong enough, they will not be able to stop the "bad"
            > leader when he is strong enough and starts the "bad" acts (killing, lynching,
            > robbing, or whatever).
            >

            It is very unlikely to happen. In an LFC environment:

            1. Bad people will find it more and more difficult to survive without
            changing their beliefs for the better. Most people will quickly become
            more and more enlightened and simply laugh at the evil leaders'
            irrationalities.

            2. Good militias, police and other benevolent forces like that will
            flourish in a free environment, much more than the equivalent ones backed
            up by unlawful elements.

            Remember that LFC is not a "dog eat dog" environment or an anarchy.

            > The word "local" in the above paragraph can vary in locality: for example
            > in the US there were whole states where "bad" things (e.g., lynching) were
            > done without being punished.

            Again, the U.S. was not a free state back then, and still isn't to a large
            extent.

            > In some countries there are neighborhoods or
            > even cities where the local gang leaders have acquired so much strength that
            > the official government can't do anything about it.

            These countries are not free states. If they converted into LFC, these
            gang leaders would be driven out or eliminated.

            > Looking at the whole world
            > (which in some respects can be called a "free state" because there are hardly
            > any laws that effect the whole world),

            The whole world is not a free state because any given person is living in
            one country or the other, which is itself not a free state.

            > the whole world cannot do anything
            > about renegade countries set out to destroy the world and/or make their
            > own people miserable (see: U.N. and Iraq).
            >

            Like I said, your point is invalid.

            >
            > > > > Perhaps not. I'm not entirely familiar with Historical anecdotes.
            > > > Those who don't listen to history, are doomed to repeat it :)
            > > History repeats itself, but not exactly. There's a limit to how much room
            > > I can fill my mind with useless details. Otherwise, it becomes too crowded
            > > and I can't recall the more important things.
            > >
            > > I think applied logic is more important than knowing every historical
            > > detail. With applied logic one can analyse current affairs, using reason
            > > and idealism alone.
            >
            > Let me tell you why I think learning history *is* important.
            >
            > I consider myself a scientist. And as such, I believe the scientific process
            > should be followed.
            >
            > In the scientific process, it is not enough to make conjectures or invent
            > theories (such as "humans are by nature good" or "LFC is a good form of
            > government") - you must also set out to prove your theories.
            >
            > Now, proof of a scientific theory can be of two types:
            >
            > The first type of proof is a proof based on mathematics or logic: starting
            > with axioms, you use the rules of logic to arrive with the required
            > conclusion. This is the kind of proof you seem to prefer. But such proofs
            > of theories in the area of political-science are almost impossible. We don't
            > have any obvious set of axioms, and we don't have any encompassing
            > mathematical models to model the behavior of individuals or groups.
            > When such proofs exist for certain issues, they are wonderful, but
            > unfortunately they don't exist for most political issues. I dare you find
            > a mathematical proof that "drugs should be legal", for example (just to
            > take one example you repeated several times). Don't forget that you'll need
            > to base your proof on axioms that nobody will be able to contradict.
            >

            We can't build an exact mathematical proof, but we can still use logic,
            reason and facts to conjure a good proof. We can analyze the arguments,
            and see where each one is true or false. It is a Neo-Tech claim that one
            can deduce anything starting from logic and the biological nature of men
            and women. Nothing else is required.

            I cannot give an exact proof that drugs should be legal. But there are
            many arguments, statistics and facts to back it up, and I could not find a
            good argument against it, that I was not able to nullify.

            > The second type of proof is by experimentation, as is done in physics. You
            > make up a theory, and check that in all known experiments the theory stands.
            > You also make predictions for experiments not yet done, and see if your
            > predictions succeed.

            Correct.

            > But when dealing with theories in politics, we obviously cannot do direct
            > experiments. Most researchers (not named Lenin, etc.) cannot try their
            > political theories on a country. This is why to build your theories, you
            > have to look at experiments already done by others, i.e., countries that
            > now exist or have existed in the past. If someone tells me of a political
            > idea, and can't demonstrate how it worked in practice in some country -
            > or at least that it wasn't shown to be a spectacular failure in some country -
            > this someone is not a serious philosopher/political-scientist/whatever.
            >

            Like I said, a complete Laissez-Faire Capitalism environment was never
            enacted yet. There were always small or large deviations (probably very
            large). I can note to some close cases and show that they are good enough.

            Nevertheless, Ofir here believes we can invalidate LFC just because some
            Game-Theoretic Models prove it is not stable. You should have a talk with
            him as well.

            > Let me give you an example: when Marx, and later Lenin, came up with their
            > theory of how Communism would be a perfect political system, their ideas
            > seemed plausible. These ideas were never tested before, and they "seemed"
            > to be based on sensible conjectures like "people are good", "equality is
            > important".
            > But Lenin's experiment to prove his theory, spanning about 70 years and
            > done on hundreds of millions of human guinea-pigs (where needless to say,
            > the Helsinki Decleration was not exactly followed), was a spectacular failure.
            > It not only failed to prove Lenin's conjectures, you might even say that it
            > proved the opposite conjectures (through "reductio ad absurdum").
            > But the important thing is that if somebody now "re-invents" the idea of
            > Leninism, there is no need to try this sorry experiment again - we can
            > immediately tell this guy: "no, this idea will fail, and we have an experiment
            > to prove this". This is why knowing history is important.
            >

            I'm not completely ignorant of history. If someone tells me a historical
            fact, I will not forcibly try to forget it. But I believe I can analyze
            enough new data based on what I already know.

            > > > So what? The situtation is still better than it was in the late 50s.
            > > > Nobody said the anti-segregation laws resulted in a perfect society, any
            > >...
            > > Granted the laws helped a bit. However, I believe that:
            > >
            > > 1. Public Education.
            >
            > This idea was hopeless when the education system itself was run by the
            > same racists and with the same ideas of segregation that the federal
            > government was trying to uproot in the first place.
            >
            > Before the education system could be used to promote the federal government's
            > ideals, the federal government had to control it first. And this wasn't
            > easy - and went against the tradition in the U.S..
            >

            Public education need not necessarily be done by the education system. It
            can be done by volunteers. It can be done by commercials and ads. It can
            be done by messengers.

            > > 2. Organization and self-arming by Blacks and white people who supported
            > > them. Self-protection
            >
            > Luckily, the blacks that followed your advice, like the "Black Panthers",
            > "Nation of Islam", and so on, did not win over the heart of most blacks,
            > and the gun-free ideas of people like Rev. Martin Luther King jr. became
            > more accepted.
            > If it wasn't so, I'd hate to think what the U.S. would look like now. Most
            > likely it would be torn by civil war between blacks and whites, and both
            > blacks and whites would have been much worse-off than they are right now.
            >

            I don't know too much about the "Black Panthers" and friends. However,
            the right to bear arms and to organize a militia and to protect oneself
            against violence is a constitutional right. Everywhere. Anytime. The
            Blacks in America had a right to protect themselves against lynches.

            I'm not saying they should have attacked innocent white persons. That is
            initiatory force. But they could certainly protect themselves.

            > > 3. Enforcement of Laws that prevented public discrimination
            >
            > Exactly. But this is what you said originally they shouldn't do :)
            >
            > Note that here "public" doesn't mean "federal-government-run". The "public"
            > in a complex organization like the United States has several levels - federal,
            > state, city, corporation, and so on. In this context, "public" should
            > basically mean any setting where people find themselves in without a real
            > choice to be somewhere else.
            >

            OK. But let's suppose I want to join a small private firm and it rejects
            me because I'm a Jew/Woman/Black/White/Male/whatever. I can simply try
            somewhere else. The discrimination is of no concern to the public good.

            I agree that the distinction between private and public is not always
            straightforward. However, a private entity can exercise discrimination,
            while a public one probably must not.

            > > Let's suppose you have N militias where N > 5. If one militia goes corrupt
            > > (all of its members? Very unlikely), then the other N-1 militias can fight
            > > it. Like I said I don't believe in a free man destroying himself and
            > > becoming corrupt suddenly. A good man with a good philosophy and a lot of
            > > ideology will never go corrupt. You seem to have quite a lot of distrust
            > > of people? Why?
            >
            > How is what you describe different from the situation in many countries
            > before modern times, where local chiefs, princes, warlords, shoguns, or
            > whatever you'd want to call them fighting each other constantly? None of
            > them though they were corrupt - they were always under the impression that
            > their group was "right" and the other group was "wrong" and only a battle
            > will settle this issue.
            >

            Those countries were not fully Capitalistic, communication was sporadic,
            and these militias were not voluntary, competing or private. Each locality
            had its own monopoly of a militia, and that was it. In an free country, it
            is possible that in a given area, several militias will co-exist, none of
            them harmful.

            I again refer you to the Neo-Tech Constitution for a very brief definition
            of what is constitutional:

            http://www.neo-tech.com/advantages/advantage83.html

            Regards,

            Shlomi Fish


            ----------------------------------------------------------------------
            Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
            Home Page: http://t2.technion.ac.il/~shlomif/

            An apple a day will keep a doctor away. Two apples a day will keep two
            doctors away.

            Falk Fish
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