[linux-elitists] RMS is at it again

Joakim Ziegler joakim@helixcode.com
Mon Dec 4 18:22:00 PST 2000

On Mon, Dec 04, 2000 at 04:45:15PM -0800, Seth David Schoen wrote:
> Joakim Ziegler writes:
>> On Fri, Dec 01, 2000 at 11:01:28AM -0800, Heather Stern wrote:

>> I generally agree with you, although I thought I'd comment on the paragraph
>> below.
>>> The real problem with RMS' philosophy is that he claims a fairly noble ideal
>>> (which he also seems to deeply believe in) but, he has chosen a means to 
>>> implement it which depends on lawyers and restricting rights.  Restriction of
>>> rights as a means to a goal of increased rights.... I dunno 'bout *you* but
>>> I see a bug in this design.
>> Most people who aren't anarchists or anarcho-capitalists or somesuch believe
>> a certain amount of restrictions on rights are required to maintain rights.
>> For instance, it's illegal to shout fire in a crowded theatre, even though
>> this is technically infringement of freedom of speech. Even more basically,
>> your personal freedom and right to murder people is restricted, for the good
>> of the community.

> anarchists don't all think that these limitations are problematic --
> or argee that they are limitations on rights.

> Restrictions on behavior are only restrictions of rights if you
> actually have a right to engage in the behavior in the first place.
> It seems very mistaken to me to suggest that all anarchists believe
> that there is a right to engage in _every_ possible behavior (such as
> murdering people).

> Peculiar to anarchism are particular concerns about the nature of
> restrictions and how they may be realized.

> I also have a big problem with the claim that those examples are
> restrictions made "for the good of the community".  Obviously there
> are some nice social benefits from the prohibition of murder, but...

I apologise if I offended anarchists by this post. In fact, anarchists are
people I respect, although I don't particularly agree with them, being more
of a socialist/social democrat myself.

I was referring more to the fact that absolute rights are very few, even in
societies that are generally considered very free and democratic. In
particular, the notion that "Restriction of rights as a means to a goal of
increased rights" has a "bug in the design" is rather absurd, since it's very
common to restrict some rights to ensure that other rights are furthered,
such as threatening people with violence is illegal in most places, even
though it's theoretically an infringement on the right to free speech. I see
the GPL's "infringement" of the right to use the source in non-GPL software
as a similar tradeoff.

Joakim Ziegler - Helix Code web monkey - joakim@helixcode.com - Radagast@IRC
      FIX sysop - free software coder - FIDEL & Conglomerate developer
            http://www.avmaria.com/ - http://www.helixcode.com/

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