EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

05.14.20

The World Class Sins of GIAFAM

Posted in Antitrust, Apple, Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Google, IBM, Microsoft at 12:54 am by Guest Editorial Team

Article by figosdev

Sins

Summary: “They corrupted Torvalds and the Linux Foundation, they slander free software activists — and while comparing real activism to “religion” they themselves have an unholy army of shills called “Evangelists” who produce and follow script-like screeds on how to lie to, manipulate and exploit customers and competing developers and CEOs alike.”

Techrights is not a political blog, and this article is not about partisan politics. Yet the moment you put the word “free” in front of “software”, you unavoidably become political because freedom is a political matter.

This article is really not (at all) about Donald Trump, and I have the option of knowing that here is a perfect illustration — one where the entire world is watching, pitying and commenting, and not bringing up the name of a corrupt CEO just because he happens to (post impeachment) occupy the White House.

“Yet the moment you put the word “free” in front of “software”, you unavoidably become political because freedom is a political matter.”Yet the world is well aware of his crimes, just as they are aware of the crimes of GIAFAM and the DOJ that used go through the motions of preventing them from taking over the world, or at least the country. These are not small things, and some may pose an existential threat to the Constitution of the United States. At the risk of sounding Americentric, it’s a known fact that the world cares about some aspects of this. The regime does not represent the feelings of most Americans, the majority of which do not wish the world to suffer for any corrupt government, world power or otherwise.

Of oft and substantial relevance to the tech world is that government in question does not represent The People. It foremost represents multinational corporations, cartels and weapons manufacturers. It represents war for profit, death for profit and the impoverishment and exploitation of everyday people for profit. It represents crushing citizen journalism and the freedom of the internet — it tortures people like Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange, simply for making the world more aware of the truth. But try to remind people that the tech companies play a significant role in this corruption and injustice, and just watch what happens!

Matters like these are where the “politics” we don’t talk about here carry over into the world of “politics” that we do talk about — because Free software is indeed about freedom, including the freedom of speech, the press, and by extension the Internet and computing in general. You really can’t have user rights or digital rights without Human rights.

“You really can’t have user rights or digital rights without Human rights.”Some people will imply that you have no right to disagree, on a number of topics which are increasingly considered sacred. I think it’s very important to point out that in a democracy people have not only a right to disagree, but without that right democracy cannot have any meaning.

Science cannot (does not) happen if we are forced to agree on the outcome. Politics are not of The People, if the people are not allowed to represent their own points of view. Since not everyone agrees in the first place, disagreements are a hallmark of a free society. So if there is any doubt as to whether we should have the right to disagree, just read that part again.

I am also aware of the fact (it is one of the complaints of this article) that many people who reserve the right to voice their opinion are manipulated and misled. This manipulation has many levels, from a very natural baseline (simply caring what your closest family and friends think, even if you don’t always agree) to the most egregious and sinister. None of this negates the right to speak, but that is not the point of this article either — it is merely a preface.

It’s John Stuart Mill who is quoted as saying “Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.” If worded today, it would probably be (more explicitly) gender-neutral and remain just as valid, but the point is the real moral issue of apathy, and misplaced neutrality.

“We should do everything we reasonably can to base things on evidence and proof, that’s a hallmark of due process.”There is a certainly a place for neutrality, and situations where it is absolutely necessary. Neutrality is where all real justice begins — setting aside your prejudices to the greatest of your ability, and looking at issues themselves over names and accumulated personal baggage. This is how we judge fairly — by wiping the slate before looking at the evidence.

Some people have turned this into an insane, fatalistic kind of neutrality where the slate remains clean no matter what — at least for certain wealthy and well-connected parties. Such people expect us and tell us as much to examine every fact as if no other context exists at all, as though everything they’ve ever done (which is already public knowledge) is off the record.

It’s as if someone accused of beating 15 people to death with a hammer is defended by saying “we don’t know anything about this person, really — it’s not as if we live out every day with them, is it?” when we have not only a signed confession from the accused, but the fact that they served 28 years previously for an identical crime.

Let’s be as fair as we possibly can be about this. The prior history indeed does not prove guilt. But it’s not irrelevant, either. When we have mountains of proof and very little evidence to the contrary — the least we can do is admit to ourselves that it’s not a silly question to ask if the party might be guilty!

“Linus Torvalds calls it extremism, and “hate”.”We should do everything we reasonably can to base things on evidence and proof, that’s a hallmark of due process. But when people defend the worst of these corporations in their efforts to sell out the users that pay for the privilege of being under constant surveillance and manipulation — the response is often akin to “You have NO RIGHT to accuse my client of such things!”

No right — really, now? With all we know, I would say we have more than a right, we have an obligation. Yet we are constantly being “informed” that to be a “decent person”, to “be nice”, to avoid being labeled a “zealot” we must assume good intentions from the worst offenders. In other words, the slate must always remain immaculate. That’s a circular argument they’re foisting on the world: “My client MUST be found innocent!” It’s wrong to even suggest otherwise. “How dare you, Sir!” Jim Zemlin, without a hint of irony, compares it to “kicking a puppy”. Linus Torvalds calls it extremism, and “hate”. What the F$$$, Linus?

“You know it’s a corporate cult when they leave no aspect of your life alone.”This is indeed a cult tactic, and we should be troubled by how far it has encroached on our lives and even our personal relationships (Facebook) hobbies (Software development), Art (extreme copyright laws and RELATED technical measures; damn you, lxo) and activism (bribery and gradual takeover of non-profit organisations).

You know it’s a corporate cult when they leave no aspect of your life alone. Yet if they had kooky beliefs about God or aliens, we would treat it as a cancer on society, but if the kooky beliefs are about letting CEOs overhaul every single aspect of our own lives solely so their companies can profit and control people, we don’t treat this as far something more threatening. We have allowed this cult to enter — and own — the mainstream.

I am not (as of yet) anti-capitalist, anarchist or communist. I lean libertarian, but without question more towards the left of libertarianism’s centre. I think we need the anti-capitalists, we may well need the anarchists, if only for their point of view, and I may even get along with a self-proclaimed communist on occasion — but we come from different worlds and they can certainly tell. Above all, there is a fierce humanitarianism in my politics, with strong devotion to the diversity of ideas and freedom of expression — of control over your own life. If you can’t say you have control over your own life, then what is freedom?

“If you can’t say you have control over your own life, then what is freedom?”With regards to speech, some people now say “people just want to have speech without consequences” — and exactly what “consequences” do you promote just for having and stating an opinion? That says a great deal about a person’s real attitude towards freedom.

Not that this freedom negates our responsibility to use it wisely and ethically. In my opinion, you have every single right to say something foolish. But you have a responsibility to use your head (whatever the outcome of that) and to use your voice, when you know that something is wrong. The right to free speech also implies a need to listen — but that’s not something that our culture excels at. To be fair, our culture is constantly bombarded with nonsense.

I believe there are exceptions to a responsibility to express ourselves, of course — there is a time for diplomacy, and a time to stay strategically quiet. But these are still exceptions, and we all suffer greatly when they instead become the rule. Everything we care about suffers, when we decide to become overly quiet and self-censor as a way of life.

“So the danger of letting career criminals determine every facet of our culture is truly existential — they will not only literally pollute and poison our planetary ecosystem to death, but they will ultimately (and gradually) demand that we all cease to advocate for anything good at all.”We become a lesser humanity, a weaker, more pliable (more naive) culture when we let institutions take over our own jobs of determining our identities, and outsource our moral decision-making to them. When these institutions take over the job of speaking for us, no one speaks for us at all. We must participate, in an active, self-determined role at least sometimes, or our will itself is something dead — to say the least of our freedom.

So the danger of letting career criminals determine every facet of our culture is truly existential — they will not only literally pollute and poison our planetary ecosystem to death, but they will ultimately (and gradually) demand that we all cease to advocate for anything good at all.

When you ask yourself how anybody could defend the unfettered madness of the Trump regime, ask yourself how by contrast you can remain quiet, complacent and even overly and openly sceptical about the following:

Google bribes non-profits — thousands (sometimes 10,000 or more, from what I’ve read lately) of dollars at at time. Like the other tech giants, it participates in a cynical brand of “Open source” (the only kind of Open source that ever existed, in my opinion — not that it hasn’t gotten notably worse of late, on which the FSF says practically nothing) where some components are thrown on a heap of freely-licensed projects that often have little purpose outside their own ecosystem — most developers in practice will not adapt them to anything else.

These projects are used predominantly as social currency (openwashing) and bait for non-free offerings. But because of the social currency aspect, they develop large scale (widely perceived) immunity to criticism. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you! Not even if it feeds you poison.

Not content to merely track everything you do online via their ad system, they want to track your phone, your fitness tracker whether you have a Google phone or not, and they listen in on your conversations with so-called “smart” speakers. (Amazon does the same, and Microsoft is getting into this as well). Google is creating an absolutely textbook dystopian sci-fi future in the present — but who cares?

“IBM taught Microsoft everything it knows about how to play the Monopoly game — how to take out all competition with tactics that antitrust law should prevent, but doesn’t.”Former Google social network fanboys who demonstrate no qualms with their surveillance in practice like to regularly talk down to free speech advocates on what freedom of speech really means, as though such freedom could ever exist even hypothetically in Google’s corporate fascist surveillance state — all while Google and the Chinese government alike continue to hone and promote their content analysis and censorship systems.

IBM taught Microsoft everything it knows about how to play the Monopoly game — how to take out all competition with tactics that antitrust law should prevent, but doesn’t. How to stay on top when competitors are doing things that are better, using lawyers and market saturation and by simply being bigger to start with.

It has a deal to pay Holocaust survivor organisations that depends on not being forced to admit to or apologise for its role in the Holocaust, and today (through its purchase of Red Hat) it preaches “tolerance and diversity” while developing algorithms to flag people on surveillance camera by race — to activists that have no real problem with diversity in the first place (who are regularly defended by members of disenfranchised groups as being helpful and inspiring, but continue to be accused of wrong-doing by corporate P.R. people to destabilise political movements in tech).

The result of this slander by corporations is people leaving behind more grassroots organisations for ones that have greater sympathy to and cooperate more with monopoly tech giants. They continue to support lawsuits over bogus software patents, though Techrights (really) is the best place I know to follow where they stand on that matter. I’m aware of my bias there, but I can’t find a competing outlet (unless it’s one that Techrights already quotes, cooperates with and speaks well enough of).

“The result of this slander by corporations is people leaving behind more grassroots organisations for ones that have greater sympathy to and cooperate more with monopoly tech giants.”Apple is Apple. Like other corporations (HP, Red Hat) that started literally in a garage or flat, Apple exists to get you to pay for perceived luxury items that thumb their nose at standards and compatibility. They somehow managed to turn BSD into a convoluted, relatively insecure platform that focuses on the GUI design over any other sane implementations, informally joined Microsoft’s war against the GPL and successfully imposed the idea of an “App Store” where being able to rely on your phone or tablet largely depends on letting one company decide whose software you can run, whether you like it or not.

The details always change, but what doesn’t is the way that this hurts the user’s ability to run the software they want. Only Apple could have gotten away with imposing such restriction on users initially. Once successful, this concept has spread to Microsoft, Google (who still doesn’t abuse it to the level that Apple has) and even Ubuntu with Snap packages and (less restrictively, but still problematically) Red Hat with Flatpak. All of the solutions are more restrictive than traditional packages, most are justified with a cynical take on what “security” really means.

Apple also deliberately sabotages existing operating system installations to make them more obsolete (a bit like those damned speakers that brick themselves) though Apple users (like some Microsoft fanboys) tend to internalise and ultimately sympathise with so much corporate abuse that they rarely even complain about it.

Facebook has not only a penchant for, but is built on a foundation of sheer dishonesty, manipulation and exploitation. Like the Gates Foundation and many notably corrupt and unethical billionaires, it tries to buy goodwill by throwing funding at initiatives that appear charitable on the surface — which just happen to lend themselves to further control, influence and indirectly (but not too indirectly) profit for the people “investing” in such “charity”.

Meanwhile, its founder (who has such a good idea about how much privacy you really have, he tapes his own laptop camera) got away with so much from Facebook’s inception that he was astonished how gullible his own users were. He also expressed a shameless intent to exploit them further. People know the quotes in question, but they still don’t treat Facebook like the digital plantation and surveillance platform (complete with deliberate psychological manipulation of users, for research and profit) that it is.

“If you can make use of something you know is deliberately destroying your privacy and manipulating you — and that’s the bulk of what it does — you’ll rubber-stamp this if it also has video chat and a way to post cat pictures to more people?”THIS horrible thing is treated as some kind convenience — which says as much about the modern world as anything does. If you can make use of something you know is deliberately destroying your privacy and manipulating you — and that’s the bulk of what it does — you’ll rubber-stamp this if it also has video chat and a way to post cat pictures to more people? And this is in real life, not some weird, dark sci-fi romantic comedy?

Amazon is easily worse than Apple, not only destroying (through brilliant business acumen, though not without staggering violations of what would be antitrust if such a concept still existed in real life) commerce in general, but posing a serious threat to all libraries by creating a world where publishers (or booksellers) retain the control and surveillance of your personal library after “purchase”. Librarians are some of the fiercest defenders of privacy and free speech and “readers’ rights” on the planet Earth, but they are powerless if the books they offer are encrypted and the keys are controlled by the companies that sell the titles. Richard Stallman wrote about a culture not entirely unlike the one we inhabit now, in “The Right to Read”, but the Kindle did not yet exist. Ever since they unleashed it on the world, I have striven to avoid all business with the company.

If that weren’t enough, they fit their workers with low-level torture devices, the modern equivalent of the old slave-worker cliche of beating a drum to force a certain speed of production. Amazon is not shy about their ambition to fill our skies with the noisy, flying equivalent of the Ring video doorbell, and they turn their workers into desperate android-like machines. We should treat all goods from Amazon as the product of slave labour. Quite a lot of it would be anyway, of course — this approach “merely doubles” the amount of slave-like labour (or slave labour) involved.

Which brings us to Microsoft, a company so terrifying and powerful (or so “convenient”, whatever you like) that all the other companies mentioned have a “Verified” Microsoft Github account with them. Google, IBM, Apple, Facebook, Amazon — all develop software on GitHub. Microsoft paid to help George W. Bush in the 2000 election that ultimately changed American democracy and global war for the next 20 years, they hold the “JEDI” defense contract coveted by Amazon, they have spent literally decades fighting against the very notion of Free-as-in-freedom software, and whenever we let them, they take possession of our computers, deleting and installing whatever software it pleases them to, changing whatever settings they like, even deleting our personal files at times.

“They corrupted Torvalds and the Linux Foundation, they slander free software activists — and while comparing real activism to “religion” they themselves have an unholy army of shills called “Evangelists” who produce and follow script-like screeds on how to lie to, manipulate and exploit customers and competing developers and CEOs alike.”There are still many websites dedicated to criticising Microsoft alone, and while they never got more ethical than before, they have gotten more powerful and better at destroying competitors. They promised to fight Open Source in the late 90s, and easily everything they ever hoped to do to counter software freedom, they have accomplished, with perhaps the sole exception of completely wiping out our software. They don’t need to do that, if they can gain control of it instead.

They continue to prop up bogus patents so that some fraud can “own” software that is already leased in NEAR de facto perpetuity (by the GPL — which is only “in perpetuity” per certain conditions, to be certain) to the public, and they have engaged in the most successful campaigns to water down protections and protests against non-free software of anyone. They corrupted Torvalds and the Linux Foundation, they slander free software activists — and while comparing real activism to “religion” they themselves have an unholy army of shills called “Evangelists” who produce and follow script-like screeds on how to lie to, manipulate and exploit customers and competing developers and CEOs alike. I’ve dealt with such evangelists personally, and many fanboys emulate their tactics.

Microsoft doesn’t just hate user freedom, it openly hates all competitors and all competition that it can’t exploit and bring under its own control. “Control” is synonymous with what Microsoft calls “Love”, a twisted concept consistent with the psychology of the sort of powerful narcissist that Microsoft is merely a world-spanning, techno-financial encounter-suit-like extension of. How utterly poetic then, that the logo for Microsoft GitHub has actual tentacles.

Through “charitable” manipulation and sheer market power, Gates has interfered with and gained influence of countless institutions that society relies on, from hospitals to libraries and schools — much to the chagrin and protest of teachers and administrators alike. To top it off, there is a most disturbing trend of the FLAGSHIP of free software — the GNU project, migrating further and further towards the event horizon of Microsoft GitHub.

“Through “charitable” manipulation and sheer market power, Gates has interfered with and gained influence of countless institutions that society relies on, from hospitals to libraries and schools — much to the chagrin and protest of teachers and administrators alike.”I have a good idea (it’s something I’ve looked unto but haven’t said much about — and YOU can look into this too) just how many current GNU developers continue to trust Microsoft with their own personal software development projects, more than a year after Microsoft took control of GitHub and more than half a year after Stallman was encouraged to step down from leadership of the FSF — while people (likely current or past employees or interns) tried to hack his own blog as a prelude to trying to get him to step down as head of the GNU Project itself.

We have facts on this — with occasional errors but an overall good quality data set, and unless they start covering up the traces, you can check on some of this data yourself. It’s hard to imagine how they would make it impossible to check, but perhaps they could start by making it harder to get information that is now publicly available, perhaps by (as companies sometimes do) moving it to an area that only logged-in subscribers can access. But that’s not enough to stop most journalists, only the general public.

The keystone defense of all this madness is — as with the current American regime, lying constantly. Bribing and even harassing journalists — which Techrights covers, has been subjected to, and which isn’t any real stretch of the imagination in a world where Assange is slowly dying for showing you a video of civilians being murdered against all international law. It shouldn’t surprise people anymore when this very corporate regime does not treat journalists as heroes — it treats them like terrorists.

The principle defense of such a regime is to lie, lie, and lie again. We accept regimes that lie for running our lives, so we should of course accept that anyone who critiques them is a liar, so say we all. This has to be said twice and perhaps a third time, because the first time left someone still questioning it. They will never stop lying, and the critics will always be wrong.

Of course “wrong” is such a strong word, my favourite variety is “unhelpful”. I have no desire to “help” corporations that have done everything possible to earn the label of evil. We should be helping users, not monstercorps, and turning these crimes around on the user being “unhelpful” is really helping what, exactly?

So let’s all divide our shill tactics into two parts — one part that comes right out and tells the most outrageous lies to your face, and other that preaches “moderation” in the face of valid critique. “Be nice”, he says, while robbing everyone to give that much more to his fans. Don’t be unhelpful — that’s not nice.

“A conspiracy theorist begins with facts, discovers “secrets” and quickly spirals out of control.”On the matter of journalists vs. conspiracy theorists, I think there is certainly a line to be drawn. A conspiracy theorist begins with facts, discovers “secrets” and quickly spirals out of control. Some are misinformed or sloppy, others have actual, literal mental problems, and many are doing their best to make sense of a world that they have learned not to trust.

I maintain a distance from conspiracy theorists myself at most times, as most (not all) of them are impossible to sustain a rational conversation with (not all of their conclusions are rational, but some of them are rational in contexts outside their pet theories). But I don’t wish to tar them all with the same brush, and I think the line between conspiracy theory and journalism is relevant to this article.

What makes journalism differ really is that it is more passionate about facts and maintaining context than the mere connections between ideas. Any random two things can be connected in some shape or form — and like a scientist, the most responsible, highest-quality journalist will put more effort towards sorting the real connections from the nonsensical ones, than they put into the discovery of such connections in the first place.

Of course whether you are a scientist, journalist, historian or conspiracy theorist (or just a raving nut) it all begins with drawing connections between ideas and events. Einstein believed there was a direct, mathematical connection between matter and energy, and many peers thought he was insane or at least stupid. It took a lot of work to eventually prove he was right, though he managed. We too can only manage if we have a society that continues to asks honest questions and demand honest answers.

The only difference between reason and raving is what you do with those connections. Many of us try to have (and are capable of) rational, reasonable conversations about them — some of us can really only gibber about random facts and random things they’ve read, but their ability to arrange it into a coherent, consistent pattern or argument is lower than average.

I’m really not making fun of those people, the only time I feel the need is when one has spent the afternoon (or late night) harassing me about something. I don’t think my opinion of them is as low as what many people have, simply because I think they only differ from the rest of us in a single regard.

“When the things being talked about aren’t theories, but things we all know these corporations were taking part in, the people bringing those facts up aren’t conspiracy theorists, they’re journalists.”None of that changes the fact that corporate shills will try to conflate all investigation of corporations with nutty conspiracy “theory”. When the things being talked about aren’t theories, but things we all know these corporations were taking part in, the people bringing those facts up aren’t conspiracy theorists, they’re journalists.

The fact that 5 corporations own 90% of the media companies helps to explain why only a fraction of journalists ever bring these facts up for more than a few days, before speaking dismissively as though such things never happened. Sure, we know about what happened “in the 90s” but that was different! Things have changed.

The people doing the very most to conflate the comparison of commonly known history and current events with “conspiracy theory” tend to be (or tend to favour) marketers, P.R. sleazeballs and anti-journalists. They aren’t standing up for freedom, or for truth — they’re defending freedom’s destruction and trying to make simple facts into things we don’t talk about. They aren’t helping journalism — instead, like the current government regime, they’re attacking it for actually doing its job.

These corporate shills are not people we should emulate, for their purported monopoly on all that is considered “reasonable”. They are people that society must defeat on moral and ethical grounds, or we will not be a society.

“The fact that 5 corporations own 90% of the media companies helps to explain why only a fraction of journalists ever bring these facts up for more than a few days, before speaking dismissively as though such things never happened.”To provide commentary on the subject and also to remind people how pervasive copyright has gotten, the following two or three lines (quoted in a manuscript) would prevent nearly any large publisher from taking it on for printing. Techrights may eventually be forced to remove these few simple lines from a Rod Stewart single, which took me years and years to fully appreciate. They tell the story of a controlling person’s effect on a now disillusioned lover or family member, who knows they’ve been exploited all along — for the sole benefit of the person using them:

If I gave you time to change my mind
I'd find a way just to leave the past behind

I really do love Stewart for recording it, but it was actually written by Tim Hardin as a folk song in 1965 and performed at the Woodstock music festival, so it’s sort of ill-fitting that a giant media corporation will control these 19 (to 28) words in de facto perpetuity — under a flag that Lawrence Lessig once noted before the Supreme Court, constitutionally forbids perpetual copyright.

“These corporate shills are not people we should emulate, for their purported monopoly on all that is considered “reasonable”.”We will be told these companies can change, will change, even have changed — but nothing ever changes except their image, and the bat-$$$$ insane amount of reach they have into all of our lives. On that, Stallman was not just a little bit, but incredibly, unbelievably right. Still we look to find a reason to believe.

Long live rms, and happy hacking.

Licence: Creative Commons CC0 1.0 (public domain)… minus/sans the wonderful and immortal three lines by Tim Hardin.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

A Single Comment

  1. Canta said,

    May 14, 2020 at 2:00 pm

    Gravatar

    > Techrights is not a political blog, and this article is not
    > about partisan politics. Yet the moment you put the word
    > “free” in front of “software”, you unavoidably become
    > political because freedom is a political matter.

    And in the same sense, the moment you put the word “rights” in your blog’s name, you unavoidably become political because rights are a political matter.

    I’ve told Dr. Roy several times (by comments here) that I don’t like this “Techrights is not political” vibe sometimes shows up.

    I know it doesn’t mean anything like “we run away from politics”; it’s usually about “political zealots often avoid technical debates, so we prefer the technical side of issues we tackle”, or even “we don’t take a stand here for any particular political party”. So, is mostly an OK thing to want. But “not political” is just plain and simply not true for Techrights.

    I’ve even wrote a long article once about it, that was published here, with focus in the relation between “freedom” and “rights”. But it doesn’t matter, my point in this comment is that we (free software people) have the heavy ethical burden of master the delicate balance between technical and political. We shouldn’t prefer one over the other, as they’re pretty much mixed up in our field (and most likely in any other human field whatsoever).

    Let me put it this way: Free Software is a political movement, and for “non political” you have the OSI. Ethics are a political matter. Truth is a political matter. And so Techrights is very much political, in a very strong way. “Political” shouldn’t sound like some kind of unrelated, unwanted, or even sinful attribute.

    With that in mind…

    > We become a lesser humanity, a weaker, more pliable
    > (more naive) culture when we let institutions take over
    > our own jobs of determining our identities, and outsource
    > our moral decision-making to them. When these
    > institutions take over the job of speaking for us, no one
    > speaks for us at all. We must participate, in an active,
    > self-determined role at least sometimes, or our will itself
    > is something dead — to say the least of our freedom.

    This is a modern problem, yet to be solved. Perhaps it doesn’t even has any solution, who knows? What I would like to read is your pespective about it. I’ll try to be a little more specific.

    Libertarianism frequently abhors the State, and some other institutions for the same reason: such institutions drain power from the people, directly harming their freedom. And I fully agree with this view of the relation between people an institutions. Yet, there are also lots of cases, of which XX century gave us numerous examples all around the world, where people’s power by itself (I mean, “non delegated”) doesn’t seem to be the way to go to solve anything, but most likely otherwise. And that’s even part of the very definition of “rights” itself: without such thing like a State, or any other higher power than our own freedom, there’s hardly any “right” for anybody.

    Take for example the current state-ridden quarantines worldwide. Today, that’s the difference between life and death to millons of people. Then take a look at who are the common quarintine detractors: people with libertarian arguments about freedom, but mostly with only money in mind, and a complete disregard for others lives.

    Those are real, empiric problems for “freedom” as a notion itself. There are real, empiric situations where freedom is most likely a recipe for literal disaster, and delegating power sounds like a good idea. Yet, my own libertarian sensibility feels unconfortable by that last sentence, even when I’m not some full-on libertarian.

    So I’m libertarian mostly when it comes to speech, access to knowledge and information, and other issues. But I’m all about State when it comes, for example, to market regulations, or “rights” in general. I even support the idea of STRONGER states when thinking about rights.

    I don’t believe we become weaker by delegating power. I mean “we” as “humanity”, as per your article. And so, I don’t abhor so much the idea of sometimes losing freedom as a full libertarian would. Yet, I also don’t have a clear distintive limit showing me when shuch a thing would be a good idea or not.

    With all this, I would like to ask you if, some time in the future, could you please write some reflections about it. With no rush: take years if you want. My point behind this being: you’re very passionate about Free Software, and you DO think about this kind of stuff, yet very rarely I see this kind of debates taken explicily in the Free Software spaces I frequently read. Because “they’re not philosophical”, I guess, in the same way “they’re not political”. And I believe maybe it’s time to start debating this issues, in light of all the entrysm FLOSS movements have suffered last decade, with the heavy losses in leadership ranks, and with FLOSS activism future in mind.

What Else is New


  1. Allegations That Microsoft Will Ruin Besieged Clinics and Hospitals to Retaliate Against Those Who Name the Culprit

    With a broader picture coming into view, as per the above index, we're starting to wrap up the series while issuing a call for more stories and eyewitness testimonies, exposing the nature of attacks on hospitals (those almost always target Microsoft and others' proprietary software, which is technically unfit for purpose)



  2. Microsoft Has Ideas...

    Based on the pattern of media coverage, composed by Microsoft MVPs and Microsoft-affiliated blogs/sites, confusing the public about the meaning of GNU/Linux is reminiscent of an "Extend" phase



  3. ZDNet Proves Our Point by Doing Not a Single Article About Linux (RC7), Only About Linus and Windows Clickbait Junk

    It seems abundantly clear that nobody wants to cover the actual news about Linux and instead it’s all about which PC Linus Torvalds is using (gossip/tabloid); ZDNet‘s latest two articles are an example of this…



  4. UPC Lies That Make One Laugh...

    IP Kat and Bristows (overlaps exist) are still pretending that the UPC is coming because reality doesn’t seem to matter anymore, only self-serving agenda



  5. Canonical Continues to Help Promote Windows Instead of GNU/Linux or Ubuntu

    Thrice in the past week alone Canonical used the official “Ubuntu Blog” to help Microsoft instead of GNU/Linux and it is part of a disturbing trend which lends credibility to jokes or rumours about a Microsoft takeover; it's not like many people use this thing, either (Canonical helps Microsoft shore up a dying/languishing EEE attempt)



  6. Links 27/5/2020: CoreOS Container Linux Reaches Its End-Of-Life, 2020 GNOME Foundation Elections Coming

    Links for the day



  7. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, May 26, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, May 26, 2020



  8. GNEW Seedlings vs. Free Software Deforestation

    “The idea of the GNEW Project really is about keeping the goals of the GNU Project alive — hopefully, they won’t destroy or co-opt too much of the GNU Project, that people like the Hyperbola devs can’t fix it with BSD.”



  9. Joi Ito Already Admitted on the Record That Bill Gates Had Paid MIT Through Jeffrey Epstein

    An important exhibit for the accurate historical record (because MIT has been trying to deny truth itself)



  10. It's Convenient to Call All Your Critics Nuts and/or Jealous

    Bill Gates antagonists are not motivated by hatred or jealousy but a sense of injustice; spoiled brats who break the law aren’t a source of envy any more than mass murderers are subject of admiration



  11. Real History of Microsoft and How It Became 'Successful'

    New video that contains a portion about the history of Microsoft -- the part paid-for 'journalists' (paid by Microsoft and Bill Gates) rarely or never speak about



  12. Hostility and Aggression Towards Staff That Does Not Use Windows After Windows Takes Entire Hospital Down

    Microsoft Windows, with NSA back doors, continues to take hospitals offline (with records copied by criminals if not stolen by effectively locking the originals out of reach for ransom money); but guess who’s being punished for it…



  13. They Came, They Saw, We Died...

    It cannot be overstated that we're under attack (or a "Jihad" against Linux as Bill Gates himself put it) and failing to act upon it will be costly as time may be running out and our groups are being 'bought off' by Microsoft in rapid succession, as per the plan/strategy



  14. The GitHub Takeover Was an Extension of Microsoft's War on GPL/Copyleft (Because Sharing Code to Anyone But Microsoft is 'Piracy')

    Licences that make it easier for Microsoft to 'steal' (or a lot harder for Free software to compete against proprietary software) are still being promoted by Microsoft; its GitHub tentacles (see GitHub's logo) further contribute to this agenda



  15. ZDNet is Totally a Microsoft Propaganda Machine

    The site ZDNet has become worse than useless; it lies, defames and launders the reputation of famous criminals (that's the business model these days)



  16. When Microsoft's Mask Falls (or When Times Are Rough)

    Microsoft loves Linux in the same sense that cats love mice (they might play with them until they get hungry)



  17. Careers in Free Software Aren't Careers in the Traditional Sense

    With historic unemployment rates and people 'stranded' inside their homes there's still demand and need for technology; these times of adaptation present an opportunity for Software Freedom



  18. Embrace, Extend, Extinguish 2020 Edition

    Embrace, Extend, Extinguish (E.E.E.) is alive and well, but the corrupt (paid by Microsoft) media isn't talking about it anymore; in fact, it actively cheers and encourages people/companies to enter the trap



  19. Links 26/5/2020: SHIFT13mi GNU/Linux Tablet, Linux Kodachi 7.0 and Some Qt Releases

    Links for the day



  20. EPO Propaganda on Steroids (or on EPO)

    What EPO management is saying and what is actually happening



  21. Breton (EU) 'Joins' Team UPC to Help His Buddy Battistelli... Again

    As expected, Breton acts as little but an EPO tool, looking to prop up supremacy of patent litigation over science and innovation



  22. Removing Free/Libre Software as an Inadequate Response to Microsoft Windows (With Back Doors) Getting Compromised, Killing People

    GNU/Linux takes the blame (in a sense) for incidents that are purely the fault of Microsoft and its deficient software with deliberate back doors; it's believed that this boils down to opportunistic retaliation against those looking for a solution to the problem (or merely speaking about the problem)



  23. IRC Proceedings: Monday, May 25, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, May 25, 2020



  24. Under Distributed Denial of Service Attacks Lately, But We're Too Robust For Those

    Efforts to take Techrights offline have been ramped up lately; but it's not working and it hardly even distracts us from publishing



  25. The Art of Giving: Why Free Software Will Inevitably Survive Attacks Against It

    Societies that share and look after their peers/neighbours will always be better off than predatory societies, which breed exploitation, distrust, discord and eventually systemic collapse



  26. 'Journalism' in 2020: Far More Articles About What Computer Linus Torvalds Bought Than About Linux Releases

    Yesterday's (or late Sunday's) Linux announcement (RC7) is symptomatic of a broader issue we've long spoken about; it restricts people's ability to express an opinion, which can cloud any meritorious and substantial debate about technical matters journalists cannot grasp or comment on (it takes more effort and research)



  27. Links 25/5/2020: Wrapland Redone, DebConf20 Plans, Many More Games

    Links for the day



  28. Media Covers WSL Like People Actually Use This Trash (a Failed Distro Which Only Works With Windows)

    Lots of abundantly redundant puff pieces have appeared in paid-for (by Microsoft) media this past week covering WSL/2, but that's grossly disproportional to the people who care and actually use those types of things (because money talks, not technical substance)



  29. Working From Home on Patent Monopolies Would Lower Their Quality and Perceived Legitimacy

    The patent system wherein people grant monopolies from their sofas and bedrooms isn't helping the already-eroded perception/image of patent offices that mostly grant patents to massive multinationals (and far too many patents overall)



  30. The Attitude of António Campinos Toward Courts and Toward Justice Same as Benoît Battistelli's

    6 years down the road we're still dealing with unaccountable tyrants who laugh at the law, laugh at lawmakers and disregard law enforcers (like the Trump regime across the Atlantic)


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts