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Re: python.el changes in emacs-24

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: python.el changes in emacs-24
Date: Thu, 24 Jul 2014 05:15:10 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.4.50 (gnu/linux)

"Stephen J. Turnbull" <address@hidden> writes:

> David Kastrup writes:
>  > At any rate, I am distrustful of any argument relying on the
>  > catchiness of buzzphrases.
> You mean like "Free as in speech"?

Free Software does not depend on that phrase in any manner.  It serves
as an explanation of the kind of freedom that Free Software is focused
on.  There are other explanations.

> There is *nothing* but buzzphrase (an "emotionally attractive axiom",
> if you prefer[1]) that distinguishes the Free Software Movement from
> the Open Software Movement.  You would do well to remember that.

The main difference in philosophy is that the Open Software Movement
indeed believes that Free Software was lacking the right buzzphrase for
selling the Four Software Freedoms.

> On the contrary, Tim's argument, while expressed in buzzword-like
> terms, is well-founded in human psychology and the expertise of
> marketing (without relying on the distasteful aspects of marketing).

I quote:

    So isn't the best way to get people to experience the freedom they
    could if they used Emacs is by convincing them via its transparent
    awesomeness? :)

What does he mean with "transparent awesomeness"?  It is in reply to
Glenn's question

    Why is python.el in emacs-24 seeing extensive changes at this time,
    for things that don't seem to be regressions?  (Or were all these
    things working in 23.4's python.el?)

    Ref: http://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/emacs-devel/2014-05/msg00309.html

So the answer for why a quality assurance decision has been overriden is
"transparent awesomeness" to "get people to experience the freedome they
coiuld if they used Emacs by convincing them via its transparent

Now you claim that this an argument on par with the explanation "Think
of Free Speech, not of Free Beer" that is actually so marginal to Free
Software that it is not even part of the Gnu Manifesto.

> The issue here is simply that on this list, the "economic" arguments
> characteristic of open source advocacy are considered at best
> incidental, and at worst harmful because they could (at least in
> theory) lead to conclusions that contradict that axiom.

But this was not about "economic arguments characteristic of open source
advocacy".  This was about throwing a software engineering decision for
creating a consistent quality release into the wind by claiming
"transparent awesomeness".

> Footnotes: 
> [1]  "We hold these truths to be self-evident."  Unfortunately,
> "self-evidence" is at the root of the most extreme arguments for
> applying capitalist principle to ideas, as well.  "A is A", as John
> Galt would say.

The Declaration of Independence sets forth values that the Founding
Fathers have _chosen_ to be so important to them that they will not
accept systems that assign them secondary value.  "We hold these truths
to be self-evident." is indeed hyperbole since there are obviously
systems _not_ ascribing the same level of importance or absoluteness to
the named "truths", self-evidence be damned.  If there weren't, there
would be no necessity of declaring independence.  Now if we read that
passage in full, it is rather sobering:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created
    equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain
    unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the
    pursuit of Happiness.

    That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men,
    deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That
    whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends,
    it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to
    institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles
    and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most
    likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will
    dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for
    light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath
    shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are
    sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to
    which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and
    usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to
    reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their
    duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for
    their future security.

You call this buzzphrases, and indeed calling all this a buzzphrase will
make people accept the curtailing of personal freedoms for the sake of
"preserving their country", a country whose self-identity is supposed to
be founded on the principle of _not_ accepting the curtailing of
personal freedoms.

You start with the philosophy, you bolster it with catchphrases, and
then you hold onto the catchphrases while letting the philosophy

Yes, this is an effective use of human psychology.

The stability of systems in some manner depends on their scalability.
Where is the point in being a billionaire when you can be housed and fed
with rather smaller means?  That's where marketing comes in: its purpose
is to save greed as a fundamental driving factor of human behavior from
becoming saturated and get it to scale it to arbitrary level by making
people desire things they don't need.

And just like marketing tries to remove the caps on greed in order to
keep the scale open for the driving forces of capitalism, so propaganda
tries to remove the caps on cowardice in order to keep the scale open
for the driving forces of fascism.

Not every effective use of human psychology is a good thing solely
because it is effective.

David Kastrup

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