Re: The debate on Invariant sections (long)
But in more practical terms even, political speech is very functional
-- it's meant to persuade and educate. By the same token it can have
bugs (typos or poor phraseology), malware (screeds advocating racism,
or encouraging people to kill themselves), and can be improved and/or
adapted to new purposes. The difference, if there is one, is that it
is "executed" by our minds rather than our computers.
Programmers often approach issues by looking for the similarities
between a large number of cases, and trying to generalize as far as
possible. That is a useful approach for thinking about software, but
when applied to ethical questions, it is very likely to miss the
point. The differences are often more important than the
similarities. Analogies are often irrelevant.
A political essay is (typically) written by certain persons to
persuade the public of a certain position. If it is modified, it does
not do its job. So it makes sense, socially, to say that these cannot
We could imagine an analogous situation for a program: certain persons
writing a program to do a job on other people's computers in one
particular way and only that way. They could say that "if it can be
modified, it does not do the job." These situations are analogous,
but the ethics of the two situations are different.
The essay does not really "do a job" for the reader. You read it, you
think, and then you formulate your own views. If you want to think
differently from the authors, you can just do it--a modified essay
isn't necessary. No version of that essay is necessary. The
situation with the program is different. It runs on your computer,
rather than communicating to your mind. If you want your computer to
do a somewhat different job, you need to change the program (or else
write a new one from zero).
I have spent many years fighting for freedom, and I continue to stand
up for my views. I have stated the above views in speeches many
times, though here I have gone further into the reasoning behind them.
My views are not the most extreme possible (though my detractors often
call them extreme), and it appears you have views that are more
radical than mine. I have always tried to be a pragmatic idealist.