Disclaimer: in this post I’m not going to pretend that I don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings.
Dear folks at Hacker News and around the web,
You sure like to discuss practical things instead of debating about abstract philosophy. When someone somewhere does some stupid thing, you are glad to find some optimizations and corrections to it. If the government tries to put a guy in prison for many years where he will be regularly raped, and then the guy goes mad and kills himself, you, of course, do not start questioning the whole situation. Instead, you want to optimize the flow of things. Fire this guy, change that law, complain here, petition there etc.
When anybody comes in and asks: why do you think it is better to fire this prosecutor and hire another (a “better” one) instead of just firing the prosecutor and not let that situation happen ever again in principle? What is the reaction of you, people? Your reaction is to downvote and let him know about all statistical models and wise books about how society needs to be organized to maintain rights, order, peace and, by the way, are you some kind of an crazy anarchist who knows nothing about how the “real” world works?
Ok, lets suppose we care about efficient organization. And models, and social sciences. I totally accept that and have no intention to disprove any of those. Because it does not matter.
How do you decide from a theory of something (lets say, a theory of evolution), that some people can put other people into jail? Also: how can you even study people’s choices (in economics and politics) without drawing a line (even a fuzzy one) between coerced behavior and free behavior? How do you know, what people generally tend to do or be, if somebody is constantly keeping a gun on the table?
Soon, unlocking the phones in US will be illegal. Do you know why it makes people angry? No, not because “It’s my property, dammit, I have a right to do what I blah-blah”. It is because of one-sided relationship. Nobody negotiated this decision with you. Some people somewhere talked about it and decided that. Some other people voted for some abstract ideas. Nobody made a written contract with anybody, and now you become evil person starting January 26 at 00:00 if you disobey. Did Apple or Google ask you how you feel about unlocking and made a contract with you? If yes, then you should obey agreement and protest the redundant laws. If no, then why did you enter the agreement? And if you think that agreement is void because you feel like it, then why do you complain when somebody writes the laws the way they like it? And if the contract sounds unfair and inevitable, then why is that? Isn’t it because you have no place to go and complain for real? Because courts and lawyers are part of a very expensive violent monopoly? So every silly EULA is not a negotiation, but a something like a threat of a very unequal fight in a very expensive court?
Asking yourself all these questions is the way to understand many problems that people ignore.
If you want to adjust existing laws and behaviors to make them more “efficient” for you or “society”, you are doing a very bad thing.
When you say “for copyright infridgement you should put in prison for 1 month instead of 35 years”, this is what you are saying in reality:
- It is good in case of a conflict, ultimately resolve it using violence (democratic or otherwise).
- It is good to have prisons paid by taxpayers, regardless of who they vote for.
- It is good to put in prisons many different people, including crazy killers and rapists.
- It is good to put in the same prisons guys who copy some files without authorization.
- It is good to have a complicated and opaque and easily corruptible process of deciding whether someone can be forced to go to prison, or if we tries to disagree, shoot him.
Many people accept these things, and I accept living with these people without feeling depressed too much. This is sad news, but it does not kill my soul. What really hurts is when people demonstrate sincere capacity for humility and love. When somebody kills himself because of bullying, and others feel depressed by it. And then they try to fucking adjust the murderous system to make it slightly less murderous. When you do that, you are a sick fucked up skin of a slave, not an independently thinking human being. First, prove the morality of what you are trying to modify. Then we’ll talk.
Next time, when something horrible happens, like a law saying “if you put a finger in your nose, we can impose a fine on you, and if you don’t pay, we will threaten to kill you”, then think about why is it good to even have a possibility of some people writing these things and some other people obeying them. Instead of discussing economical efficiency and how this will change the price structure and amount of unemployment around you.