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Re: The Legality of Discrimination

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 of 26 , Apr 15, 2003
                  • 0 Attachment
                    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 9 of 26 , Apr 16, 2003
                    • 0 Attachment
                      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 10 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 11 of 26 , Apr 27, 2003
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                          On Thu, 17 Apr 2003, Nadav Har'El wrote:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                          Like I said, your point is invalid.

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

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

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

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

                          Correct.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                          Regards,

                          Shlomi Fish


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

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

                          Falk Fish
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