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Re: The Legality of Discrimination

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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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 of 26 , Apr 15, 2003
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              On Tue, Apr 15, 2003, Shlomi Fish wrote about "RE: The Legality of Discrimination":
              > > I agree that if there is no discrimination, there is no need
              > > for laws against it.
              > > But in case it will happen, don't you think that the right thing to do
              > > is to stop this?
              > >
              >
              > I believe it won't happen. It's like saying a free, enlightened
              > man will willingly discriminate against black, gays, Jews, or whatever. He
              > would not because a free man does not destroy himself.

              Shlomi, this is bull.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

              Right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


              --
              Nadav Har'El | Tuesday, Apr 15 2003, 13 Nisan 5763
              nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
              Phone: +972-53-245868, ICQ 13349191 |"Luck is when preparation meets
              http://nadav.harel.org.il |opportunity." - Richard Sherman
            • Shlomi Fish
              ... I don t know too much about the south in the US from the 20 s to the 50 s, or how free or enlightened the people were. ... Free? Germany was enslaved to
              Message 6 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 7 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 8 of 26 , Apr 27, 2003
                  • 0 Attachment
                    On Thu, 17 Apr 2003, Nadav Har'El wrote:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                    Like I said, your point is invalid.

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

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

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

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

                    Correct.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                    Regards,

                    Shlomi Fish


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

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

                    Falk Fish
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