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Re: Problems with mail system? [Fwd: Returned mail: User unknown]



On Wed, Sep 06, 2000 at 11:57:05PM -0400, Adam McKenna wrote:
> On Wed, Sep 06, 2000 at 11:33:21PM -0400, Buddha Buck wrote:
> > Perhaps it's from being too geeky myself, but Branden's explanation 
> > (the recipient of the error message is not welcome on *THEIR* Internet 
> > under the reasoning that they're ... refusing connections from machines 
> > with characteristics like [his] (...simply no reverse DNS record)) 
> > sounds like a fairly direct and accurate translation of "admisitrative 
> > prohibition (failed to find host name from IP address)".
> 
> Yes, that's what he said, but what he meant was that people shouldn't have 
> the right to decide who they accept mail from, and under what conditions.  I
> guess it's been too long since we had that particular flamewar on
> debian-devel.

I said no such thing.  You are failing to distinguish between rights and
policies.  Every individual has a right to maintain whatever "policies" they
like in life as long as they don't violate the rights of others.  However,
not all policies promote the common weal equally.  In fact, some work to
the deteriment of society in general.  It is difficult to read much in
social and political, or even legal, theory, without noting that
indiscriminate policies that affect as many innocent bystanders as targets
are ineffecient and possibly even detrimental.

Extreme political and economic conservatives perceive every human decision
in a microcosm, reducing every issue to Smith and Jones, ignoring aggregate
effects when it is convenient do so (see, for instance, Rothbard, Murray:
_Man, Economy, and State_).  As a pedagogical tool this is useful tool; but
if one wants to make real decisions or do real work, one has to consider
the real world.

Sure, Mr. Jones at ISP A has every right to shitcan mail from me at ISP B.
An individual analysis is merited by an individual decision.  Maybe Mr.
Jones doesn't want to read my rants.  But if Mr. Jones has a policy of
shitcanning all mail from all hosts whose IP's don't have reverse DNS
records, he has abandoned the pretext of basing his decision on individual
analysis, instead choosing to adopt a policy based on aggregates.  If Mr.
Jones is responsible to Messrs. Smith, Franklin, and Johnson for their
email as well, he needs to consider the impact of his policy on lines of
communication between all the people he is screening out due to his policy,
and his customers.  (Of course, he may be screening some of his *own*
correspondents with such a policy, but to the extent that he is aware of
this, he typically assigns responsibility for the problem on their
shoulders.  After all, he is unequivocally justified in his own mind.)

People like Mr. Jones don't like to consider impacts.  They like easy rules
and easy policies.  They don't like to do analysis.  And they especially
don't like to be inconvenienced by considerations of the impact of their
actions on a larger system.  Because that's Hard.  Nobody likes Hard work.

Nobody said fairness or intelligence were easily come by, either.  Does it
follow that we should not encourage their cultivation?

-- 
G. Branden Robinson             |    Communism is just one step on the long
Debian GNU/Linux                |    road from capitalism to capitalism.
branden@debian.org              |    -- Russian saying
http://www.debian.org/~branden/ |

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