:: Re: [DNG] FSF, RMS and a danger to …
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Author: Mason Loring Bliss
To: Steve Litt
CC: dng
Subject: Re: [DNG] FSF, RMS and a danger to almost all GPL code
On Thu, Apr 01, 2021 at 08:39:30AM -0400, Steve Litt wrote:

> Didier Kryn said on Wed, 31 Mar 2021 12:07:50 +0200
> >  cancel-culture
> Please don't use that phrase, unless you're the second coming of Rush
> Limbaugh. It's an ugly, Foxnews/right wing radio epithet for the
> time-honored practice of boycotting, perhaps the last tool of power for
> the average citizen.

This bears some discussion. In a boycott, I choose to not deal with a
company (usually) and that's it. I might publicise that I'm boycotting a
place and why, but that's the extent of it. (To that end, my family
boycotts Amazon and Wal-Mart.)

This notion of "cancelling" someone is different. It's aimed at an
individual, and it generally seeks to do them harm - see them out of a job,
for instance, beyond public humiliation.

I don't have a settled opinion about this. I've certainly thought "serves
them right" when someone who harms other people is called out, but what's
different here is that it's someone I respect, and a situation where I
don't think the evidence presented against him holds up. This is someone
who has dedicated his life to making the world a better place in a
particular way, not, by comparison, an elected official mocking his
electorate as they suffer and freeze to death (literally) because the
climate disaster is catching up to us.

And yet, I have to recognize that the people carrying the torches and
pitchforks feel like RMS has done harm various ways. They think this, and
they take the opinions and records as being valid, even if I can look at
most of the same "evidence" and point out holes and context that utterly
changes its character.

It's worth using the phrase "cancel culture" because it's very different
from a boycott, and we need to understand what it does, and how, and if
there are better options for redressing grievances and finding justice. And
I don't know how to do this. It'd be easy if everyone cared about people
and we took care of each other, if people didn't victimize each other, but
that's not yet the world we live in. I think "cancel culture" is the result
of someone speaking up and saying "this cannot stand" and other people
taking up the cry, but it's awfully close to mob justice. But if we don't
want mob justice, we need a judiciary. We don't have one set up to rule on
moral or ethical stances. We hardly prosecute white-collar or corporate
crime at all, nowadays.

So, there's the problem. What are possible answers?

Mason Loring Bliss             mason@???            Ewige Blumenkraft!
(if awake 'sleep (aref #(sleep dream) (random 2))) -- Hamlet, Act III, Scene I