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Re: non-free and users?

On Thu, Jan 15, 2004 at 09:18:42AM +0100, Sergey V. Spiridonov wrote:
> >>If one distributes cocain because he wants to be more popular 
> >>it is bad no matter on degree it increases people dependency.

Raul Miller wrote:
> > Distributing cocaine is illegal.  If we're distributing anything illegal
> > in non-free, we should of course stop immediately.

On Thu, Jan 15, 2004 at 02:54:49PM +0100, Sergey Spiridonov wrote:
> Ethics does not operate on the level "legal" vs "illegal". It operates 
> on the level "good" vs "evil". We perfectly know that the law != ethics. 
> Ethics is counted when law is created. Law makers try to reflect ethics, 
> but not perfectly.

I agree that ethics and law are very different.  However, in this case
that distinction seems moot.  It's completely irrelevant to discuss the
distribution of cocaine while ignoring the laws and associated activities.

> It does not matter very much from ethical point of view, if distributing 
> cocain is legal or illegal. Important is harm which cocain makes to 
> people. If distributing  cocain is legal somewhere this doesn't mean, 
> that it is O.K. to distribute it from ethical point of view.

And I already addressed this issue.

> Especially, if it is done by the person very good acquainted with the 
> harm which is produced by cocaine, for example by the popular and famous 
> doctor. Doesn't matter if the reason is to attract patients from 
> competitors which use heroin.

Doctors routinely have to balance the good some treatment will do
against the bad.  Casting that into this example you're focusing on:
if someone is about to die because they're withdrawing from heroin,
and a small dose of cocaine will keep them alive, and if the doctor
wishes to increase his popularity by keeping his patients alive, you
would claim that the doctor should instead let that patient die.

> > Also, if we're distributing any software which consistently reduces a
> > the user's life expectency, we should stop distributing that software
> > on moral grounds.
> Exactly. I hope you do not think, that non-free software is a healing water.

No, I think it's more like a hammer.


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