Subject: Re: Societal differences and rudeness calibration
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 1999/09/30
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Dobes Vandermeer <>
| The intention of the original writer (Erik) was merely hyperbole; and
| although it was well achieved it obviously struck a wrong note by placing
| the trivial Bill Gates problem as equal to the Holocaust in magnitude;
| since equality goes both ways this creates the implication that the
| holocaust was a disaster no larger than the one that Bill Gates hopes to
| lead us into.

  I don't think leading 90% of the Western Civilization, those who have
  entrusted their information to a system running an "operating system"
  from Bill Gates and believe he won't intentionally harm them when it
  suits his own designs, into a massive shutdown because he doesn't want
  his enemies (that's just "competitors" to normal people) to win.  we
  already know that Microsoft _intentionally_ creates venues for viruses
  and make new products that are virtual breeding grounds for viruses that
  harm their users, and I suspect it's because they have interests in the
  anti-virus companies.  (and I say _intentionally_ because stopping this
  insanity is easy, and they refuse to do it and refuse to think about
  security issues until somebody outside the company exposes it, and then
  they downplay it and gloss it over.)  we already know how much press a
  virus gets, and how Bill Gates dons his glory and complain about the evil
  people in the world.  every damn time there's a serious threat, Bill
  Gates manages to win from it.  there's no reason to think this is not

  we've seen what Bill Gates can do and what he routinely does to companies
  that provide a threat to Microsoft -- his actions are not that of a sane
  businessman, it's that of a pathologically competitive and now very
  powerful maniac.  what will he do when he realizes that the customers who
  want to leave his control pose a seriousthreat to Microsoft and himself?
  what will aircraft, traffic control systems, nuclear battleships, etc, do
  when their Microsoft-based software goes belly up?  the U.S. Navy already
  knows what happens: modern Navy vessels sit dead in the water for three
  hours while technicians get the NT-based computer system back on line.
  it has happened once.  it will happen again.

  the problem with any comparison of past and future is that some people
  will regard the past as much worse than it was.  there's no doubt at all
  that I offended Erann Gat's view of the Holocaust (which he may tell you,
  as he has told me, includes the German soldiers and civilians who died in
  WWII, which it doesn't in any reference works or even in any literature I
  have read) by diminishing its importance to him, but is he the standard?
  there are people out there who will feel that the entire female sex and
  every women in the entire world history are _suffering_ once somebody,
  somewhere in the world, looks at a pornographic picture.  no doubt they
  would say that I diminish the tragedy suffered by women if I made a
  comparison between somebody and Hugh Hefner, but is it _rational_ to
  respect their views and feelings?  does it serve any useful ends to tread
  so softly that one does not offend deranged people who have a _wildly_
  exaggerated view of something?  I don't think it does.  therefore, we
  cannot suffer the restrictions to which the Erann Gats and Raffael
  Cavallaros of the world want to subject all human communication.

  the United States have for a number of years had restrictions on what
  could be talked about, and it has been a self-policing that some have
  labeled political correctness, quite contrary to the explicit belief in
  the freedom of speech, which seems reduced to dealing with non-offending
  ideas and otherwise offensive material.  on USENET, we cannot avoid
  suffering the consequences of raving lunatics whose madness is triggered
  by words or ideas or even certain opinions.  it's even hard to tell where
  the line is to be drawn sometimes, but when somebody responds "I didn't
  mean what you interpret it to mean" and they keep raving, the line has
  certainly been crossed.

  how many people in the interbellum Germany were unwilling to consider the
  imminent evil even when Hitler published Mein Kampf and spelled it out?
  how many fled because they did understand?  and, more importantly, how
  many of those who fled were labeled paranoid and delusional by those who
  stayed and who later died or otherwise lost their future?

  we should learn from the past -- the makeup of the human being hasn't
  changed all that much over time and is unlikely to change a lot in the
  future, so the past is a very good guide to what might happen again if
  people don't learn from it.  by refusing to listen to the very many very
  serious lessons taught us by World War II, we don't see how the means
  employed to gradually poison a whole population with demented ideas and a
  desire for violent revenge that could not be mustered without a careful
  propaganda plan deployed over decades.  by refusing to consider parts of
  the history of a period during which atrocities were committed, we don't
  really know how they came to be committed, and that's the only thing we
  can use them for after the fact.  we can mourne and all that, but those
  who were not part of it, have a duty to prevent it from happening again,
  and if that means ignoring the insane wailing from people who are unable
  to deal with the facts that this atrocity had a history and a development
  that could be reinvoked only with people who are unaware of the history,
  so be it.  there are just too many people who exaggerate the importance
  of just about anything that we can believe them to be right without being
  careful when assessing the complainer's sense of proportions.

  a conservative estimate of the number of people who would die during a
  period of five years after only _half_ of the electronic infrastructure
  in the United States had collapsed is 30 million people.  this is part of
  unclassified disaster planning that surfaced because of the Y2K scare,
  and it has been published widely by scaremongers that a decimation, in
  the technical meaning of 10% loss, of the population is considered a
  tolerable loss.  if such an event should be caused by the pathological
  competetiveness of one man who has cut so many corners as to have very
  little left to stand on, with a whole company and culture who adore him,
  who are the people who would work _against_ securing a future where this
  does _not_ happen?  why does Erann Gat have to label this paranoid
  delusions simply because he doesn't understand the need for contingency
  planning and securing the removal of the option of atrocity?  are lawyers
  suffering from paranoid delusions when they write up contracts that
  specify how to deal with several really bad situations?  of course not.
  it is clear that the American people are just as unable to think about
  the future and The Road Ahead (a really retarded book by Bill Gates), as
  interbellum Germans faced with explicit rhetoric, and just as willing to
  be subjected to propaganda of the same kind.

  am I thereby reducing any tragedies or atrocities?  no, damnit, I'm
  trying to show how the attitudes that made it possible for them to become
  reality are still among us, and the worst of them is complacency and the
  rampant stupidity that goes with "they're German, don't mention the war".
  we can't hide from history, but we can forget, and if we only remember
  the horrors and not how they came to be, we stand unprepared in the face
  of the next horror.  we must get over the horrors and prevent the next.
  this is not reducing their importance, it's _using_ their importance to
  productive ends: to ensure that equally destructive-minded people don't
  get a chance to put their ideas into reality.

  those who stepped up to warn people in the early 1930's were ridiculed by
  the dolts who saw only the positive effects and the positive rhetoric.
  Microsoft's collapse is no more than 5 to 10 years away, and Bill Gates
  is already reaching out to take control over companies and technologies
  that will survive Microsoft.  I think the collapse could go largely
  unnoticed by the users, because all the products will have competing
  products on other platforms that can run on the same hardware, but there
  are a few signs to indicate that Bill Gates wants it to be otherwise: the
  drive to move most of the software in that used to be located in
  peripheral equipment is intensified such that manufacturers are pressured
  to make drivers availbale only for Microsoft operating systems and not
  disclose their specifications so others can make drivers for other
  operating systems, which means that people will lose their hardware
  investments when leaving Windows.  Microsoft is all about this kind of
  control and the consequences of too much control in too few hands should
  be well known by anyone who has even the slightest interest in history,
  even if they feel terribly threatened by comparisons with their favorite
  horrors.  I'm not saying we should ignore the scars left on our psyche by
  tragedies, but neither should we obsess about them so much that we get
  paralyzed whenever something similar appears, or deny similarity because
  that awakens the suppressed pain and angst and whatever.

  I just wish some people could quit being so hysterical and instead of
  defending their personal issues could understand the argument.  that
  would help us avoid derailing discussions.  if the argument is obscured
  by their own emotional responses, I suggest those who just _have_ to go
  bananas do it nicely by asking for a restatement of the argument, without
  including innuendo, accusations, assumptions, etc, etc, which would so
  rude as to render any argument about the value of politeness ridiculous.
  thanks in advance.