Subject: Re: Kent, why do you use free software
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: Wed, 27 Mar 2002 02:25:32 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Thomas Bushnell, BSG
> If free software is such a harmful dangerous thing, Kent, then why do
> you use it to read and post news?  

* Lars Magne Ingebrigtsen
> Isn't that a rather ad hominem line of discussion?

* Thomas Bushnell, BSG
| It would be ad hominem if it were offered to prove that Kent's ideas are
| wrong.
| Actually, I suspect Kent of (minor) hypocrisy, telling us that we
| should all pay for software we use, that if we don't, it's valueless,
| and the like.  I don't think he really believes that.

  And what is "suspect Kent of (minor) hypocrisy" if not ad hominem?

  You are intellectually dishonest, Thomas Bushnell.  I have said so
  before.  This _is_ an ad hominem argument because what you say is
  strongly reduced in value when you display such flagrant inability to
  think clearly and stay clear of your amazingly dirty tricks, the above
  being one of them.  I am actually deeply saddened that you choose to
  attack Kent with this crap -- he has shown us that he is much more
  sensitive to such treatment than I am, whom you have attacked with
  similar vitriol in the past, but that at least seems to have abated.
  But at the very least, be honest about your choise of ad hominem attacks
  -- or the "hypocrisy" label is a lot closer to home.

  Incidentally, that someone can find some "hypocrisy" in the _person_ of
  somebody else is not only an ad hominem argument, it is useless as such.
  It is impossible to avoid all forms of hypocrisy as seen by others, for
  several reasons: some other person may "see things" because of his mental
  state, which makes him seek hypocrisy because he is himself a hypocrite,
  and to a hypocrite, the hypocrisy of others is _really_ bad; some nutjob
  may well misconstrue an argument that something is undesirable or harmful
  and completely ignore the issue of proportion to its desirability and go
  environmentalist on an issue; some nutjob may also well misconstrue an
  argument against something to be against something else which everybody
  would think is good, and therefore attack the person for hypocrisy based
  on his own lack of thinking skills; even otherwise reasonable people may
  fail to grasp the argument if they _first_ look for hypocrisy.  Moreover,
  if you "establish" that somebody is a hypocrite, what do you do with this
  new information -- if _not_ to use it to ignore what somebody says, or to
  make them feel bad, or some other destructive purposes?  If you want to
  ignore what somebody says, at the very least, have the decency to accept
  responsibility for this stupidity on your own -- do not try to blame your
  victim.  But then again, if you are not into blaming your victim, chances
  are you would also be smart enough to figure out that an argument that
  someone makes about the harmfulness of something does not mean that the
  person who makes the argument is not trying to get out of it, has chosen
  the best of all possible alternatives, has more values that needs
  attention, so the choice between Windows-bad and Linux-bad is that Linux
  is the least bad.  Calling this "hypocrisy" is such an idiotic thing to
  do that I would argue that anyone who brings up hypocrisy to attack
  someone has failed to grasp what a public forum is about and has also
  made it clear that he no longer first listens and then judges, he only
  judges.  In other words, make an hypocrisy argument and be doomed.

  In a fight against something, the fight has value, victory has none.
  In a fight for something, the fight is a loss, victory merely relief.