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RE: The Legality of Discrimination

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  • Shlomi Fish
    ... WiJG? Discrimination does hurt people. But so will you approaching me and shouting at my face: Shlomi - you are a complete, fat, bastard, loser!
    Message 1 of 26 , Apr 9, 2003
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      On Wed, 9 Apr 2003, Chen Shapira wrote:

      >
      > > Not according to my dictionary... I define an illegal action
      > > as anything
      > > that is _objectively_ illegal. There is such thing as an
      > > Objective Law.
      > > Let's not fight on what it is just assume that it is. An
      > > objective law is
      > > such that is required to prevent people harming each other
      > > maliciously.
      > > I.e: objective law prevents people from killing, stealing, exercising
      > > fraud, or other things that any person from any society in our
      > > situation will agree that are wrong.
      >
      > And you say that discrimination doesn't hurt people?
      >

      <sigh /> WiJG?

      Discrimination does hurt people. But so will you approaching me and
      shouting at my face: "Shlomi - you are a complete, fat, bastard, loser!"
      (if someone on the street says so, I probably won't pay much attention,
      but I obviously care about your opinion)

      Now, would you consider verbal abuse as a crime? Saying so will contradict
      the liberty of speech. Or a general criticism of me, which I take the
      wrong way. Again, not something that should be made illegal.

      When talking on the LinuxChix mailing list, one woman said that she was
      tired of men hitting on her all the time. She said that at small
      quantities being made a pass on is nice, but it eventually becomes
      annoying. Would you consider making it illegal for men to hit on women?
      Again, that would be unconstitutional.

      Murder, Theft and Rape violate the body of the indivdual or his property.
      By discriminating against someone, you are violating neither. So you don't
      by hitting on someone, or bv criticising someone.

      Regards,

      Shlomi Fish


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

      My opinions may seem crazy, but they all make sense. Insane sense, but
      sense nonetheless.
    • Chen Shapira
      ... 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
      Message 2 of 26 , Apr 9, 2003
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        > > Do you think Israel will benefit from having large Arab ghettos that
        > > they can't leave?
        >
        > I find it hard to believe that all non-Arabs will reguse to
        > sell or rent
        > homes to Arabs in Israel. At least I and many enlightended
        > people I know
        > won't. So I don't think that a ghettos situation will become
        > a reality.


        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?



        > Back to the diner. I think that even then, many diners accepted Black.

        Depends where. Not in the bible-belt, certainly.

        > What Black people (or White ones) could have done
        > invididually is protest
        > outside the diner, claiming it should not discriminate
        > against them. Such
        > voluntary actions are usually much more effective than legal ones.

        Prove your statement please.
        Laws against such discrimination were highly effective.

        > The O.J. Simpson trial changed that a lot. While Simpson won the
        > criminal trial (but lost the civil one), he has remained
        > outcasted, and
        > became friend-less. Moreoever, in other trials of murderers,
        > people were
        > less reluctant to take into account such excuses as black vs.
        > white, or
        > whatever.

        I have no idea where you found those "facts".
        I would love to see refernces to the friend-less Mr. Simpson.

        > I think the best way a country can make it a better place for
        > its citizens
        > is by staying out of their way, and letting them make it a
        > better place.

        And if they don't do that?

        > The Israeli Canon at the moment has a lot of Acts. Some of
        > them are good
        > and valid. But the majority of them are harmless at best, if not very
        > harmful. This is all out of attempts to make the country a
        > better place.

        You are saying that since the effort failed, we shouldn't even
        make the attempt?

        > In a Laissez-Faire Capitalism, the dynamics of market will cause most
        > problems to disappear, and everyone will propsper.

        You are just guessing here. You may be wrong.

        > There may
        > still be a
        > small amount of immoral behaviour, but it will be of non concern to
        > society at large.

        What amount? And why will it be of no concern?

        > > You seem to think that people should have a basic right to
        > be bigots and
        > > discriminate.
        >
        > I do, yes.

        Well, we have a disagreement on basic rights here.
        I don't think this discussion will get anywhere.


        > That's not a right. It's a privilege.

        Only because *you* say so?
        I say it is a basic right and should be protected by law.

        > Like I said to Nadav, I
        > felt that I was discriminated against recently, only it was a personal
        > discrimination. It's not the first time it has happened to me, and I
        > believe it has happened to anybody here several times so far.
        > It's part of
        > life.

        What do you mean by "personal" discrimination?
        Someone refused to hire you because your name is "Shlomi Fish"?

        Discrimination against a group is a problem because it is against
        a group. I am not discussing anything personal here.


        > Theft, rape and murder are objective crimes. Discrimination
        > is not.

        Discrimination is objective. Just harder to prove.
        Suppose you have 100% accurate truth machine or a mind-reader.
        You could ask people "Did you reject him because he is black?"
        and get a true answer.
        This would make discrimination an objective crime, right?
        And just because it is difficult to prove racism, you think it
        should be legal?

        >
        > You have to discriminate sometimes, and people should be able to
        > discriminate, even if it involves some kind of racism or prejudice.

        You should seperate relevant and irrelavant discrimination here.
        If you are looking for a programmer, you can discriminate against
        people who can't program. You shouldn't discriminate against blacks.

        You have to discriminate on relevant points, but it should be illegal
        to discriminate on irelevant points.

        Since we have a wide disagreements on the basic rights in the issue,
        I think we can safely drop the discussion.

        Thanks,
        Chen.

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      • Nadav Har'El
        I wonder if this is a personal argument between Shlomi and me, or if anyone else is reading this... ... Hmm, I didn t think it was that appalling ;) ... What
        Message 3 of 26 , Apr 9, 2003
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          I wonder if this is a personal argument between Shlomi and me, or if
          anyone else is reading this...

          On Wed, Apr 09, 2003, Shlomi Fish wrote about "Re: The Legality of Discrimination":
          > Nadav, I was quite appaled for your post. I dare say that you should

          Hmm, I didn't think it was that appalling ;)

          > check out the definition of Liberalism (true Liberalism, not modern day
          > "liberals" who call for social aid and such) and understand that Morality

          What you describe here is called a "free state", and I belive (though I
          may be wrong) that such view is usually called "Libertarianism". There's
          also a Libertarian party in the US - these guys believe that indeed the
          country should involve itself as little as possible with the citizens -
          it should not even take income tax.

          Libertarianism is a minority opinion, even in the capitalistic U.S..
          Nobody ever declared this idea "correct", and I don't know of any country
          running according to its rules. So I don't understand why you discard my
          actual examples of an actual countries and actual people suffering, only
          to replace it by extremist ideas that have never been tested in practice.

          I once wrote (it's in my drawer ;)) a short paper on why a pure "free state"
          cannot be stable. I'd very much not like to see Israel become one, and
          Americans don't want theirs to become one.

          > Now, if I kill someone, it is illegal and immoral. However, if I get drunk
          > it is only immoral. I have made my mind less clear and denied myself of
          > human biological needs, but otherwise did not harm anyone else. Do you say
          > that the government should pass a law in which I cannot get drunk?
          > Certainly not, because I have every right to.

          No, I didn't say that. If drinking harms only yourself, it is only immoral
          in the sense of "God doesn't like it". It is not immoral in the sense of
          morals, i.e., ethics. Ethics deals with how humans behave towards the
          rest of the world (especially other people), not with what a person does
          with their own life without effecting anything or anybody else.

          > The problem is that the definition of morality is a bit fuzzy. Some would
          > claim that looking at porn magazines is immoral. Maybe it is, maybe it's
          > not. Nevertheless, you are not harming anyone by looking at porn
          > magazines, so it must not be enforced by the government. Most people would

          If nobody else is effected by your reading porn, it is not an ethical issue,
          perhaps just a religious issue (and this is something else completely).
          If however, one argues that porn does do harm to other people (say, women
          get exploited, porn-reading-sex-maniacs go raping, or whatever) then it
          is indeed a ethical issue and can be dealt-with by a government.

          The question of whether porn (to use your example) is an ethical issue or not
          might not be clear cut, and might need to decided by contemporary lawmakers
          and judges. Their decisions aren't always wise; For example, in the mid 19th
          century, a woman lawyer in the United States sued the bar for not accepting
          her (women were not allowed at the time). The judge basically decided that
          this (an organization refusing to admit women) was not an ethical question,
          and more over the bar's behavor makes sense (given that women "naturally"
          belong in the home, not in the courthouse, and given the fact that at the
          time married women were not even allowed to sign contracts (!)), and he
          refused to force the bar to change their decision, despite the 14th amendment.
          A judge nowadays would most-likely rule differently.

          > agree what a legal action is. But if you ask 10 random people on the
          > streets to define what kind of actions constitute morality you'll receive
          > at least 11 different answers.

          If you asked 10 random people to forumulate a constitution, or bill of
          rights, or a codex of law, or moral code, or economic plan, or whatever,
          for a country, you'll also come up with 11 different answers, 11 of them
          terribly flawed.
          This is why a country normally leaves those things to professionals, who
          can be elected professionals but they must be professionals nontheless.

          > > Something similar to what you say here is what torn the United States into
          > > a civil war 140 years or so ago.
          > >
          >
          > What torn the United States into a civil war was the actions of a very
          > evil man by the name of Abraham Lincoln, who engineered it. The

          Oh my god, now that statement *is* appaling.

          Lincoln - Evil?

          I suggest you listen carefully to Martin Luther King "I have a dream"
          speech, delivered in 1963, nowhere else but on the steps of the Lincoln
          Memorial in Washington DC (if you can't find the audio, I can send it to
          you). Here is what King said in the beginning of his speech:

          "Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand
          signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a
          great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared
          in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end
          the long night of captivity. But one hundred years later, we must face
          the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free."

          So I guess not everyone agrees with you that Lincoln was evil.

          > discrimination against Black people in the southern states was unfortunate
          > and since enforced by the government illegal. Some of the individual
          > rights of the Black people were actively defied. However, the war at large
          > was completely unnecessary.

          Slavery was legal in the south, and consistent with the constitution of the
          united states and those of the southern states. So you can't pretend it
          was illegal, or that the legal rights of blacks were defied - they had none.
          Slavery was not illegal, it was just immoral!

          "Legal" just means "written in the law books"...

          > The Civil War of the USA costed the lives of more Americans than all other
          > wars America took part in combined.

          Probably true (I don't remember the exact numbers).

          > Lincoln went on and enacted Income
          > Tax, which you'll have problems finding someone who likes this law in

          Lincoln's tax, used to fund the war, only lasted during the war.
          Only in a later war, in 1913, was income tax made possible by the 16th
          ammendment.

          > Government and most public institutions cannot discriminate against
          > anybody. I've explicitly states it. However, a private employer can if he
          > so wishes, because it's his business and his decision.

          It's hard to say what is a "public institution" and what is a "private"
          one. In the united states, many of the universities are "private", running
          as for-profit businesses. Should they be allowed to have segregation while
          the state-owned universities should not? What's the sense in that?

          > If your society is immoral than most probably your laws are already
          > immoral, because they allow it. If there is a high level of crime and

          Please reread my examples. In the 1960s the federal government in the US
          already had laws saying that blacks are equal to white in every respect.
          But some parts of the country - certain states, certain institutions or
          businesess, refused to adhere to these laws. Legal battles and force was
          necessary to uphold those laws (e.g., Kennedy's battle with Wallace in
          1963).

          > The result: a lot of black market, lots of added crime, and ruining
          > paradise. You threw the baby along with the water. Destroyed paradise in
          > order to "save" it.

          There are plenty of fiction books describing a country (or planet, or
          whatever) in which people think that they are happy, just because terrible
          atrocities and immoral acts are being done behind their backs and hidden
          from them. There's a saying in English, "Ignorance is bliss" - it's easier
          to be happy if you just ignore every wrongdoing that goes on around you
          and concentrate only on your own happiness...

          > A government (or any other body) that wishes to avoid some "immoral"
          > tendency can easily educate the public by commercials, or hiring a few
          > dynamic individuals who wish to evengelize a more moral behaviour. This

          Another book you should read (if you haven't already) is 1984 ;)

          > Again, if a black man is denied access to a university which is a public
          > institute, it is illegal and not just immoral. If the law says everyone
          > should receive a K12 education, then Black people should as well. These
          > are a matter of law not morality.

          Shlomi, you simply are not aware of the facts. In Southern states in the
          1950s, segregation in schools was not illegal. To the contrary - it was
          the law!!! In fact, I read about a schoolmaster who wanted to open an
          integrated school (for both whites and blacks) but it was closed by the
          state because this was illegal!

          In the end of the 1950s, the American federal government and supreme court
          finally started to put an end to all that, declare some laws of the southern
          states unconstitutional, and make new laws instead that forbid segregation.

          > Also, a standard "he did not promote me because I'm a woman" can be
          > subject to many problems in trying to figure out who's right. For all we

          The burden of the proof normally lies with the accuser. If she has no
          proof, she will lose. She will be wasting her time in court too if she
          started a senseless suit...

          > A country with a proper set of laws will not deteriorate morally. Period.

          Right. Which is why the laws should be changed if it does deteriorate. And
          the new laws will be based on the contemporary common beliefs of what is
          moral and what is right.

          > A government should make sure people _can be_ prosperous, safe, free, and
          > happy. It should not try to make them more "moral" people than they are or
          > aren't. The Law Canon of many countries nowadays is bloated by many laws

          The government isn't the one that wants people to be moral - it's the
          people that that want their fellow citizens to behave morally, and these
          people vote for a government that will carry out their intentions.

          > One of the most important things I realize is that biological immortality
          > is something desirable. Most people think death is inevitable and
          > necessary, and as Qoheleth identified in the Bible it makes everything
          > meaningless. By ackwnoledging the importance of youth-rejuvanating
          > biological immortality you actually start thinking that everything is
          > meaningful again, and consider where you've been wrong.

          I disagree that selfishness (the insistance that *you* should live forever,
          because you are irreplaceble) is a good basis for a philosophy to base
          your life on...

          > To quote Muhandas Gandhi:
          >
          > "Live like you were going to die tomorrow. Learn like you were going to
          > live a thousand years".
          >
          > Best advice one can give.

          Right - and you should do that even if you know for a fact that neither
          one of these possibilities will happen.

          --
          Nadav Har'El | Wednesday, Apr 9 2003, 7 Nisan 5763
          nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
          Phone: +972-53-245868, ICQ 13349191 |Deja Moo: The feeling that you've heard
          http://nadav.harel.org.il |this bull before.
        • Nadav Har'El
          ... I wrote this statement before I knew Chen was into the discussion too :) Sorry. -- Nadav Har El | Wednesday, Apr 9 2003, 8
          Message 4 of 26 , Apr 9, 2003
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            On Wed, Apr 09, 2003, Nadav Har'El wrote about "Re: The Legality of Discrimination":
            > I wonder if this is a personal argument between Shlomi and me, or if
            > anyone else is reading this...

            I wrote this statement before I knew Chen was into the discussion too :)
            Sorry.

            --
            Nadav Har'El | Wednesday, Apr 9 2003, 8 Nisan 5763
            nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
            Phone: +972-53-245868, ICQ 13349191 |Cement mixer collided with a prison van.
            http://nadav.harel.org.il |Look out for sixteen hardened criminals.
          • Omer Musaev
            Shlomi, you sound like an narsissic, indoctrinated, ignorant idiot. However, since it doesn t contradict the freedom of speech, I cannot stop you from doing
            Message 5 of 26 , Apr 9, 2003
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              Shlomi, you sound like an narsissic, indoctrinated, ignorant idiot. However,
              since it doesn't contradict the freedom of speech, I cannot stop you from
              doing so.

              -----Original Message-----
              From: Shlomi Fish
              [the message discriminated. plonk]

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            • Shlomi Fish
              ... LOL. I can assure you that although a little narcisitic I am not indoctrinated, ignorant or an idiot. My opinions are unusual in a way, and very much
              Message 6 of 26 , Apr 9, 2003
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                On Wed, 9 Apr 2003, Omer Musaev wrote:

                > Shlomi, you sound like an narsissic, indoctrinated, ignorant idiot. However,
                > since it doesn't contradict the freedom of speech, I cannot stop you from
                > doing so.
                >

                LOL.

                I can assure you that although a little narcisitic I am not indoctrinated,
                ignorant or an idiot. My opinions are unusual in a way, and very much
                anti-mainstream. However, there is a deep amount of logic and humanity
                behind them.

                Still, I don't what you did now, even if it was serious was illegal or
                should have been so. Since I did not take it seriously, it did not dent my
                hapinesses. If it was a genuine attack, it may have. A person should learn
                to cope with criticism, because it's impossible to completely eliminate it
                even between two people who are very fond of each other, as a general
                rule. For more information consult "Feeling Good" by David Burns which I
                already recommended on Hackers-IL.

                Narcistically yours,

                Shlomi Fish

                "Those that don't understand Objectivism are bound to re-invent it. And
                badly".

                And similarly:

                "Objectivists who don't understand Neo-Tech are bound to re-invent it, and
                sometimes very badly"

                > -----Original Message-----
                > From: Shlomi Fish
                > [the message discriminated. plonk]
                >
                > ________________________________________________________________________
                > This email has been scanned for all viruses.
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                > Mercury Interactive Corporation
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                >



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

                My opinions may seem crazy, but they all make sense. Insane sense, but
                sense nonetheless.
              • Shlomi Fish
                Hi Nadav! I read your recent reply and have plenty to say. Nevertheless, it is quite late now (21:00) and I have to wake up early tomorrow. I will write back.
                Message 7 of 26 , Apr 9, 2003
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                  Hi Nadav!

                  I read your recent reply and have plenty to say. Nevertheless, it is quite
                  late now (21:00) and I have to wake up early tomorrow. I will write back.

                  Note that old-fashioned liberals fought for individual rights and (perhaps
                  to a lesser extent) economical freedom, and were as a general role highly
                  moral characters. After most of the concepts formed by them were
                  integrated into democracies of countries, the word started to mean people
                  who think poor should receive compensation, social aid, etc. Sort of
                  "liberal-democratic". However, this is not the correct meaning of the
                  word.

                  This has brought the word Libertarian and Libertarians into existence,
                  which are an Anarchist party who upholds the old fashioned liberal values.
                  Ayn Rand accepted most of the Libertarians demands from the Government
                  and its political agenda, yet ruled that Liberal is a perfectly good word
                  instead of Libertarian. In Neo-Tech literature, they often use "liberal"
                  in quotes and explain in a footnote why it differs from the old liberals.

                  I do not identify myself as a Libertarian because I'm not really an
                  Anarchist. I do however accept all or the vast majority of their political
                  agenda. Our good friend ESR is a Libertarian, and he has an essay titled
                  "Why I am an Anarchist?"

                  Generally, I think hackers should oppose control of any form, even control
                  that tries to correct things that are considered bad. If you let a
                  government correct something immoral (but not unconstitutional) that is
                  considered bad by you, then you are giving it the power to later "correct"
                  other "immoralities". If you let it hunt drug abusers, it can later hunt
                  political activists, or relatively harmless computer intruders, or
                  innocent programmers, or whomever.

                  A good government should only hunt people who practice force, coercion or
                  fraud against the bodies or property of innocent individuals. No-one else.
                  Not discriminators. Not drug abusers.

                  "When they came for Jews, I said nothing, for I am not a Jew. When they
                  came for Catholics, I did nothing, for I am not Catholic. Then they came
                  for me."

                  Now replace "Jews" with "Discriminators" and "Catholics" with "Drug
                  Abusers" and you'll see that they later going to come for hackers who use
                  Perl/LWP to manipulate web-sites, that were supposed to be used only manually.

                  Regards,

                  Shlomi Fish


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

                  My opinions may seem crazy, but they all make sense. Insane sense, but
                  sense nonetheless.
                • Nadav Har'El
                  ... You are very right that it government intervention is a slippery slope. If the citizens do not agree on what is moral and what is not, the consequences
                  Message 8 of 26 , Apr 9, 2003
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                    On Wed, Apr 09, 2003, Shlomi Fish wrote about "Re: The Legality of Discrimination":
                    > "When they came for Jews, I said nothing, for I am not a Jew. When they
                    > came for Catholics, I did nothing, for I am not Catholic. Then they came
                    > for me."
                    >
                    > Now replace "Jews" with "Discriminators" and "Catholics" with "Drug
                    > Abusers" and you'll see that they later going to come for hackers who use
                    > Perl/LWP to manipulate web-sites, that were supposed to be used only manually.

                    You are very right that it government intervention is a slippery slope.
                    If the citizens do not agree on what is moral and what is not, the
                    consequences could be dire: the US went into civil war because the north
                    wanted to force on the south its morality on how to treat blacks. There
                    is now a smaller battle in the US about the morality of intellectual-
                    property rights and such things, where each side claims morality is on
                    their side. The ideals of morality also changes - a mere 30 years before
                    my father was born, women could not vote almost anywhere on the planet,
                    and nobody seemed to be bothered by this not being ok.

                    But I think that your paraphrase on reverend Niemoller's famous quote
                    is a misunderstanding of what he was trying to say. This quote (google
                    for the entirety) actually says that even if you are not hurt personally
                    by some immoral act, you should still do everything in your power to stop
                    it (i.e., vote for a government who plans to stop this act). Because if you
                    don't, when this act is finally done to you, nobody will be left to help.
                    In fact, Kant declared (and I'm freely paraphrasing him) something to be
                    immoral if you wouldn't want it to become common practice and perhaps even
                    done to you. Jewish tradition also agrees with that (as in "what you hate,
                    don't do to your friend").

                    P.S. You gave the example of someone shouting at you on the street, and
                    that's not being illegal. However, flashing someone in the street (taking
                    your clothes off in front of someone) *is* illegal. Why? After all, it
                    does not harm to the "victim" seeing someone's genitelia... So is this
                    law "unobjective"? Perhaps. But society decided that it hates the phenomenon
                    of flashing - individual people do not want to see a flasher in front of
                    them, so much that they get seriously offended by this act - and so the
                    people decided that this act would be declared illegal. The right
                    taken away from the flasher, "the right to take your pants off in public",
                    is usually not considered important enough to worry about it being taken
                    away. Maybe in 100 years this would change and people will get appalled
                    remembering how in the early 21st century people still got arrested for
                    taking their pants off in public! :)


                    --
                    Nadav Har'El | Thursday, Apr 10 2003, 8 Nisan 5763
                    nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
                    Phone: +972-53-245868, ICQ 13349191 |Always go to other people's funerals,
                    http://nadav.harel.org.il |otherwise they won't come to yours.
                  • Ofir Carny
                    Even though I don t agree with you at all, I thing I understand you. However, how being a public company changes anything in your opinion? ... From: Shlomi
                    Message 9 of 26 , Apr 9, 2003
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                      Even though I don't agree with you at all, I thing I understand you. However, how being a public company changes anything in your opinion?

                      -----Original Message-----
                      From: Shlomi Fish [mailto:shlomif@...]
                      Sent: Wednesday, April 09, 2003 5:14 PM
                      To: philosophy-il@yahoogroups.com
                      Subject: Re: The Legality of Discrimination


                      If IBM had a no-hiring-blacks policy in its regulations, that this is
                      something that borders the illegal, if not very much so. (IBM has offered
                      stocks to the public).
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                    • Ofir Carny
                      I prefer Those that don t understand Objectivism may adopt it ;) By the way, I think unconstitutional is even worse than illegal. We don t have a
                      Message 10 of 26 , Apr 9, 2003
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                        I prefer "Those that don't understand Objectivism may adopt it" ;)

                        By the way, I think unconstitutional is even worse than illegal. We don't have a constitution and if we had one, I very much hope you would not like it.

                        You could use 'something that shlomif thinks is objectively illegal'. That I can consider accurate.

                        "Those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it", people are not by nature good (as you seem to assume), and history can teach us that.

                        -----Original Message-----
                        From: Shlomi Fish [mailto:shlomif@...]
                        Sent: Wednesday, April 09, 2003 8:54 PM
                        To: Omer Musaev
                        Cc: 'Shlomi Fish '; ''philosophy-il@yahoogroups.com' '
                        Subject: RE: The Legality of Discrimination

                        "Those that don't understand Objectivism are bound to re-invent it. And
                        badly".
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                      • Nadav Har'El
                        ... Sorry to be nitpicking about my own post, but I listened to the actual audio, and found that this quote I found by random googling was close, but not 100%
                        Message 11 of 26 , Apr 11, 2003
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                          On Wed, Apr 09, 2003, Nadav Har'El wrote about "Re: The Legality of Discrimination":
                          > I suggest you listen carefully to Martin Luther King "I have a dream"
                          > speech, delivered in 1963, nowhere else but on the steps of the Lincoln
                          > Memorial in Washington DC (if you can't find the audio, I can send it to
                          > you). Here is what King said in the beginning of his speech:
                          >
                          > "Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand
                          > signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a
                          > great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared
                          > in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end
                          > the long night of captivity. But one hundred years later, we must face
                          > the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free."
                          >
                          > So I guess not everyone agrees with you that Lincoln was evil.

                          Sorry to be nitpicking about my own post, but I listened to the actual
                          audio, and found that this quote I found by random googling was close, but
                          not 100% accurate. The actual transcript is:

                          "Five score years ago, a great American in whose symbolic shadow we stand
                          today signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as
                          a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been
                          seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak
                          to end the long night of their captivity. But one hundred years later,
                          the Negro is not free. ..."

                          Makes one think that Google and the websites you find there probably aren't
                          always the most trustworthy sources of information...

                          --
                          Nadav Har'El | Friday, Apr 11 2003, 9 Nisan 5763
                          nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
                          Phone: +972-53-245868, ICQ 13349191 |My password is my dog's name. His name is
                          http://nadav.harel.org.il |a#j!4@h, but I change it every month.
                        • Shlomi Fish
                          ... Nadav, there s a small inconsistency in your reasoning. You re saying that because: 1. Martin Luther King said Abe Lincoln was a great man. and 2. Martin
                          Message 12 of 26 , Apr 11, 2003
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                            On Fri, 11 Apr 2003, Nadav Har'El wrote:

                            > On Wed, Apr 09, 2003, Nadav Har'El wrote about "Re: The Legality of Discrimination":
                            > > I suggest you listen carefully to Martin Luther King "I have a dream"
                            > > speech, delivered in 1963, nowhere else but on the steps of the Lincoln
                            > > Memorial in Washington DC (if you can't find the audio, I can send it to
                            > > you). Here is what King said in the beginning of his speech:
                            > >
                            > > "Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand
                            > > signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a
                            > > great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared
                            > > in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end
                            > > the long night of captivity. But one hundred years later, we must face
                            > > the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free."
                            > >
                            > > So I guess not everyone agrees with you that Lincoln was evil.
                            >
                            > Sorry to be nitpicking about my own post, but I listened to the actual
                            > audio, and found that this quote I found by random googling was close, but
                            > not 100% accurate. The actual transcript is:
                            >
                            > "Five score years ago, a great American in whose symbolic shadow we stand
                            > today signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as
                            > a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been
                            > seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak
                            > to end the long night of their captivity. But one hundred years later,
                            > the Negro is not free. ..."
                            >
                            > Makes one think that Google and the websites you find there probably aren't
                            > always the most trustworthy sources of information...
                            >

                            Nadav, there's a small inconsistency in your reasoning. You're saying that
                            because:

                            1. Martin Luther King said Abe Lincoln was a great man.

                            and

                            2. Martin Luther King was a great man or gave a very great speech at that
                            context.

                            Then it follows:

                            3. Abe Lincoln was a great man.

                            Obviously, another option is that Martin Luther King was misled to believe
                            Lincoln was a great man, as most Americans were. Or that Martin Luther
                            King's speech was very irrational as well, despite sounding good on the
                            surface.

                            There are many cases in history were very bad people were depicted as very
                            good or "humane" and very good people were depicted as destructive. If
                            you'll ask a random American he may say J.D. Rockefeller was a cheap
                            bastard and a "Robber Baron". However, Rockefeller:

                            1. After getting hold of the oil industry of texas sought ways to increase
                            oil consumption by Americans. For instance, he gave away free carosene
                            lamps.

                            2. Eventually, Power companies came to supply electricity and they needed
                            a lot of available energy so they turned to Rockefeller's oil. That has
                            made him very rich.

                            3. The Sherman Anti-trust act (or a similar act by Teddy "The
                            Trust-Buster" Roosevelt) caused Rockefeller to have to split his business
                            into several businesses while selling his parts of the businesses.

                            4. Rockefeller became filthy rich without having too much to do with the
                            money. He spent a lot of it on building schools, and others acts of
                            philantropism which he saw fit and benefited many Americans. He is the
                            greatest American Philantropist prior to Bill Gates.

                            Now some people would envy Rockefeller and claim he was bad. I don't. I
                            also don't think there was a place in splitting Bell Corp. into AT&T and
                            the Baby Bells, because Bell was obviously not abusing anyone, and it only
                            caused prices of telephones to rise. (not to mention Bell Corp. which
                            owned Bell Labs had done more to American well-being than the American
                            Government itself - there's a BSD fortune about it)

                            I also don't think Bill Gates is the Evil person some free software
                            advocates depict him as such. He is a great businessman who lacks a lot of
                            technical knowledge, who actually helped many people get their work done.
                            (with a few frustrations, but nonetheless). I still prefer Linux and think
                            UNIX is superior. But side by side with UNIX there was the Altaire, and
                            CP/M and a hole slew of developments using much cheaper, but much more
                            sub-standard hardware. Only recently these two worlds have clashed.

                            Regards,

                            Shlomi Fish



                            >



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

                            My opinions may seem crazy, but they all make sense. Insane sense, but
                            sense nonetheless.
                          • Nadav Har'El
                            ... No, that was not my reasoning. My reasoning was that Martin Luther King was a greatly admired person whose speeches represented the thoughts of a lot of
                            Message 13 of 26 , Apr 11, 2003
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                              On Fri, Apr 11, 2003, Shlomi Fish wrote about "Re: The Legality of Discrimination":
                              > Nadav, there's a small inconsistency in your reasoning. You're saying that
                              > because:
                              > 1. Martin Luther King said Abe Lincoln was a great man.
                              > and
                              > 2. Martin Luther King was a great man or gave a very great speech at that
                              > context.
                              >
                              > Then it follows:
                              > 3. Abe Lincoln was a great man.

                              No, that was not my reasoning. My reasoning was that Martin Luther King
                              was a greatly admired person whose speeches represented the thoughts of a
                              lot of American people, especially blacks (but not only). The blacks think
                              that Lincoln was the person who freed over a million of their ancestors
                              from their slavery, and hence he was a great man, and King's speech
                              demonstrate just how great they thought Lincoln was.

                              There's a saying "hindsight is 20/20", joking about the fact that it's
                              easy to understand and judge something after it has happened, more than
                              before or during its happening. But it also suggests that you *can* judge
                              something that happened in history, and you don't have to pretend you
                              don't know what it resulted in.

                              Looking in retrospect at Lincoln's deeds and legacy, there are some good
                              things he did (emancipation proclemation, etc.) and some bad things (like
                              stretching the constutiution a bit, and taking income tax during the civil
                              war). History has judged that Lincoln's good acts outnumbered and were more
                              important than his bad ones, and so remembers him as a good person.

                              Sometimes the opposite happend: Stalin was thought, during his rule, to
                              be a great man: he faught with Hitler helping save the world from Nazism,
                              he brought various successes to the USSR (e.g., their space program, the
                              atomic program, etc), he represented a fashionable (in some circles)
                              ideology, etc. But after his time, when more facts and more of his acts
                              became known, the view of him changed completely, and he became regarded
                              (even by communists inside the USSR) as a brutal blood-thirsty dictator,
                              an embarrassment to his country and to humankind.
                              Stalin's successor, Khrushchev, exposed Stalin for what he really was, and
                              in 1961 (8 years after Stalin's death) Stalin's remains were removed from
                              Lenin's mauseleum.

                              > Obviously, another option is that Martin Luther King was misled to believe
                              > Lincoln was a great man, as most Americans were. Or that Martin Luther

                              Since it appears we're discussing here American history a lot, I think I
                              should give you the exact details of a book I recommended earlier:

                              "American Democracy - The Real, the Imagined, and the False",
                              Prof. Arnon Gutfeld et al., 2002

                              (it's a book in Hebrew with articles written by professors, supreme
                              court judges, etc. I got it in Zomet Sfarim for 30 shekels, but its
                              official price is 74 shekels).

                              One article there deals with the memory of assassinated leaders, and Lincoln
                              in particular. There is no doubt that it's easier to associate an
                              assassinated leader with the big change that happened while he was
                              assassinated. But the article claims that assassination is not enough for a
                              leader to be fondly remembered - giving examples of two other assassinated
                              presidents (Garfield and McKinley) that nobody remembers.

                              Another article talks about the federal government's powers in a time of
                              crisis (like wars, economic disasters, etc.). Lincoln's position on the
                              issue is presented, and contrasted with Thomas Jefferson's position. As
                              much as Lincoln was into "bending" the constitution into giving him more
                              powers, this was nothing compared to what Wilson did during WWI and what
                              FDR did in his 4 terms (!) in office during the great depression and his
                              "new deal", and later WWII. By the way, FDR is also remembered as a very
                              good president.

                              I don't think Americans were misled about Lincoln. There's no argument
                              that he wasn't perfect, but also little argument that he wasn't more
                              "good" than "bad". I haven't seen any proof to the contrary.

                              > There are many cases in history were very bad people were depicted as very
                              > good or "humane" and very good people were depicted as destructive. If
                              > you'll ask a random American he may say J.D. Rockefeller was a cheap
                              > bastard and a "Robber Baron". However, Rockefeller:

                              Nobody thinks Rockefeller is evil. Maybe they don't think he's a great
                              humanitarian, but nobody thinks he was "evil". In fact, in NYC you have
                              the "Rockefeller Center". Do you think that if he was thought to be evil,
                              it wouldn't have been renamed? I dare you find a "Hitler Center" in
                              Germany, a "Stalin Center" in Russia, or even a "Saddam Airport" in Baghdad :)

                              > 1. After getting hold of the oil industry of texas sought ways to increase
                              > oil consumption by Americans. For instance, he gave away free carosene
                              > lamps.

                              What you are listing are business tactics. They don't have any moral value -
                              you don't consider someone to be "good" just because he wanted to increase
                              oil consumption.
                              If anything, this kind of thing has a mild "bad" stamp put on it by people
                              who think that using fossil-fuels is harmful to the planet.

                              > 4. Rockefeller became filthy rich without having too much to do with the
                              > money. He spent a lot of it on building schools, and others acts of
                              > philantropism which he saw fit and benefited many Americans. He is the
                              > greatest American Philantropist prior to Bill Gates.

                              And people do remember that (e.g., Rockefeller Center). Which is why I don't
                              see why you think people remember him as evil.

                              > I also don't think Bill Gates is the Evil person some free software
                              > advocates depict him as such. He is a great businessman who lacks a lot of
                              > technical knowledge, who actually helped many people get their work done.

                              Bill Gates is not evil - he's simply misguided (in his vision of the software
                              world), and takes advantage of laws (like copyright laws, DMCA, etc.) and
                              peer pressure to increase his own wealth. I don't care about Bill Gate's
                              money - what I care about is that his world-vision doesn't become reality,
                              and that laws that helped create this software monopoly will be changed.

                              --
                              Nadav Har'El | Friday, Apr 11 2003, 9 Nisan 5763
                              nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
                              Phone: +972-53-245868, ICQ 13349191 |Seen on a sign outside a church: "This is
                              http://nadav.harel.org.il |a C H _ _ C H ... what's missing?"
                            • Shlomi Fish
                              ... 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
                              Message 14 of 26 , Apr 14, 2003
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                                On Wed, 9 Apr 2003, Chen Shapira wrote:

                                >
                                > > > Do you think Israel will benefit from having large Arab ghettos that
                                > > > they can't leave?
                                > >
                                > > I find it hard to believe that all non-Arabs will reguse to
                                > > sell or rent
                                > > homes to Arabs in Israel. At least I and many enlightended
                                > > people I know
                                > > won't. So I don't think that a ghettos situation will become
                                > > a reality.
                                >
                                >
                                > 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.

                                >
                                >
                                > > Back to the diner. I think that even then, many diners accepted Black.
                                >
                                > Depends where. Not in the bible-belt, certainly.
                                >

                                Perhaps not. I'm not entirely familiar with Historical anecdotes.

                                > > What Black people (or White ones) could have done
                                > > invididually is protest
                                > > outside the diner, claiming it should not discriminate
                                > > against them. Such
                                > > voluntary actions are usually much more effective than legal ones.
                                >
                                > Prove your statement please.
                                > Laws against such discrimination were highly effective.
                                >

                                Perhaps they were. Again, many white people simply hate black people in
                                the Bible belt. I remember a record by a white Jew that became black by
                                taking chemical substances. He went to the Bible belt and could survive
                                less than a day. His description of the treatment of the white folk was
                                startling. I read it in an article in an Israeli newspaper. It happened
                                not a long time ago and he was interviewed on Oprah.

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

                                Note that a law against discrimination that was passed in California,
                                actually caused fewer students of not-as-well minorities to be accepted
                                into Universities. The law simply said that you should not take into
                                account a student's background and only his grades or whatever. And
                                naturally, some minorities have on average better grades than some.

                                > > The O.J. Simpson trial changed that a lot. While Simpson won the
                                > > criminal trial (but lost the civil one), he has remained
                                > > outcasted, and
                                > > became friend-less. Moreoever, in other trials of murderers,
                                > > people were
                                > > less reluctant to take into account such excuses as black vs.
                                > > white, or
                                > > whatever.
                                >
                                > I have no idea where you found those "facts".
                                > I would love to see refernces to the friend-less Mr. Simpson.
                                >

                                I overheard them from my mom. I know Simpson actually socialized with
                                white people most of the time. (his wife was white as well). While he was
                                a hero in America, many Blacks considered him as a traitor of his culture.
                                Maybe now he has some new friends which are Black.

                                > > I think the best way a country can make it a better place for
                                > > its citizens
                                > > is by staying out of their way, and letting them make it a
                                > > better place.
                                >
                                > And if they don't do that?
                                >

                                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.

                                (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.)

                                > > The Israeli Canon at the moment has a lot of Acts. Some of
                                > > them are good
                                > > and valid. But the majority of them are harmless at best, if not very
                                > > harmful. This is all out of attempts to make the country a
                                > > better place.
                                >
                                > You are saying that since the effort failed, we shouldn't even
                                > make the attempt?
                                >

                                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)

                                > > In a Laissez-Faire Capitalism, the dynamics of market will cause most
                                > > problems to disappear, and everyone will propsper.
                                >
                                > You are just guessing here. You may be wrong.
                                >

                                Granted. But I gave some evidence and intend to find more.

                                > > There may
                                > > still be a
                                > > small amount of immoral behaviour, but it will be of non concern to
                                > > society at large.
                                >
                                > What amount? And why will it be of no concern?
                                >

                                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
                                religious Jews who believe in God, but don't do anything to enforce their
                                belief upon others (or Christian, or whatever), then it won't dent my
                                happiness. I am not concerned with eliminating immorality. I am concerned
                                with eliminating illegal activity like initiatory force, coercion or
                                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)

                                > > > You seem to think that people should have a basic right to
                                > > be bigots and
                                > > > discriminate.
                                > >
                                > > I do, yes.
                                >
                                > Well, we have a disagreement on basic rights here.
                                > I don't think this discussion will get anywhere.
                                >

                                Maybe, but it will be an interesting discussion.

                                >
                                > > That's not a right. It's a privilege.
                                >
                                > Only because *you* say so?
                                > I say it is a basic right and should be protected by law.
                                >

                                My definition of right is a freedom to _exercise_ a certain quality or to
                                preserve it. It is not something that society must provide you (that is a
                                privilege). Now a "right for education" can be interpreted as:

                                1. The right to always be able to receive education should someone be
                                willing to give it to you.
                                2. The necessity that the country give you education.

                                No. 1 is a right. No. 2 is a very dangerous contortion of the word
                                "right". I strongly recommend everyone to avoid using right in this sense.
                                (it's actually a privilege)

                                > > Like I said to Nadav, I
                                > > felt that I was discriminated against recently, only it was a personal
                                > > discrimination. It's not the first time it has happened to me, and I
                                > > believe it has happened to anybody here several times so far.
                                > > It's part of
                                > > life.
                                >
                                > What do you mean by "personal" discrimination?
                                > Someone refused to hire you because your name is "Shlomi Fish"?
                                >

                                Not because I was named "Shlomi Fish" but because he disliked me, and
                                thought I was up to no good, while in fact I was only inactive and did
                                something else entirely in a different way. (I do not wish to explain
                                further).

                                > Discrimination against a group is a problem because it is against
                                > a group. I am not discussing anything personal here.
                                >

                                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).

                                But I know some control freaks or people who treat me and others like
                                inferior people. We sometimes label people as "idiots", "jerks",
                                "racists", "machos", etc. But in most cases this label cannot accurately
                                describe the complex individual behind them. It's not morally wrong to
                                think this way, but you should avoid acting upon it.

                                >
                                > > Theft, rape and murder are objective crimes. Discrimination
                                > > is not.
                                >
                                > Discrimination is objective. Just harder to prove.
                                > Suppose you have 100% accurate truth machine or a mind-reader.
                                > You could ask people "Did you reject him because he is black?"
                                > and get a true answer.
                                > This would make discrimination an objective crime, right?
                                > And just because it is difficult to prove racism, you think it
                                > should be legal?
                                >

                                I claim that even then, you cannot jail the person and say: "Hey you
                                discriminated against him because he was Black. You're a criminal". I have
                                the right to believe I hate Jews, Blacks, Gays, or whatever. My former
                                driving teacher told me he hate the British and the French. I asked him
                                why and he beated around the bush. Then I asked him if he knew any British
                                or French people and he said he did not. (BTW, he tutored my friend who is
                                an English-Israeli Jew). Then he agreed he should know some before he
                                makes such grounding conclusions.

                                I have met some British and French people and they are really nice, and I
                                quite admire France and Britain for their technological,
                                philosophical and cultural achievements. (albeit not completely approve of
                                anything their rulers did)

                                > >
                                > > You have to discriminate sometimes, and people should be able to
                                > > discriminate, even if it involves some kind of racism or prejudice.
                                >
                                > You should seperate relevant and irrelavant discrimination here.
                                > If you are looking for a programmer, you can discriminate against
                                > people who can't program. You shouldn't discriminate against blacks.
                                >
                                > You have to discriminate on relevant points, but it should be illegal
                                > to discriminate on irelevant points.
                                >
                                > Since we have a wide disagreements on the basic rights in the issue,
                                > I think we can safely drop the discussion.
                                >

                                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).

                                Now, did Mercury find a more suitable candidate than me? If the only thing
                                that set us apart was the Psycho-technic tests, than maybe. But if we take
                                my general expertise? I'm not entirely sure.

                                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)

                                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.

                                Some people will become better programmers in a year, than many will in
                                ten years. (and it seems bad programmers can stay like that for years
                                without learning anything). A workplace must discriminate against
                                potential workers somehow, because he can't tell in advance how good a
                                worker he will be until he hires him. And if he does, he may waste a lot
                                of time training him, and get little if any output from him if he does.

                                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.

                                Regards,

                                Shlomi Fish

                                > Thanks,
                                > Chen.
                                >
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                                ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                                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
                                ... 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 15 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 16 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 17 of 26 , Apr 16, 2003
                                    • 0 Attachment
                                      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 18 of 26 , Apr 27, 2003
                                      • 0 Attachment
                                        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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