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Re: opinion on Choice 1

Le mercredi 31 mars 2021 à 06:48:45+0000, Ivan Shmakov a écrit :
> >>>>> On 2021-03-28 20:23:38 +0200, Pierre-Elliott Bécue wrote:
> >>>>> Le dimanche 28 mars 2021 à 15:35:42+0000, Ivan Shmakov a écrit :
> 	In my previous letter, I’ve presented my general concerns about
> 	the ‘open letter’ that Choice 1 seeks to ratify; irrespective
> 	(more or less) of any specific organization or individual.
> 	Below I hope to clarify my position, as well as attempt to
> 	address some (but by no means all) concerns regarding Richard
> 	Stallman personally.
> 	I understand that for some of us, the mere suggestion that
> 	Richard Stallman may not be that wrong in certain respects
> 	can be offensive.  For that, as well as for any factual mistakes
> 	(corrections welcome) on my part below, I apologize in advance.

I'm not part of these people rolling on the floor on the mere idea to
have my ideas criticized or contradicted, so please don't bother. :)

>  >> “We do not condone his actions *and opinions.*”
>  >> “There has been enough tolerance of RMS’s *repugnant ideas* and
>  >> behavior.”
>  >> “[…] we will not continue suffering his behavior […] or
>  >> otherwise holding him *and his hurtful and dangerous ideology*
>  >> as acceptable.”
>  >> Where’s diversity in that?
>  > Diversity is not tolerating dangerous ideas and the persons defending
>  > these.
> 	I’m somewhat curious as to how you define ‘dangerous ideas’?
> 	In all honesty, I’m not sure such a notion has much value;
> 	in part because for every few persons agreeing, there probably
> 	will be a few more /millions/ to disagree.  And in part because
> 	a lot of things we now take for granted (such as equality) were
> 	once considered ‘dangerous ideas,’ and conversely, some of the
> 	things that were commonplace in the past (such as slavery) are
> 	now considered ‘dangerous ideas.’
> 	Is the idea of a violent overthrow of a government a dangerous
> 	one?  Yet this is how a number of extant goverments came to be.
> 	(To paraphrase Harry Harrison’s protagonist Jason dinAlt.)
> 	Add to that that such notions tend to vary across cultures and
> 	countries.
> 	Don’t get me wrong: I do /not/ consider all ideas to be ‘equal.’
> 	But I find it a slippery slope when we start talking about which
> 	views can be held and expressed (or ‘defended’), and which cannot.
> 	Other than that, I believe that if you witness actual criminal
> 	behavior (which is to say, a dangerous person /acting/ on his or
> 	her dangerous views), you should report it to the relevant
> 	authorities.  Certainly, on occasion the law violated will be
> 	unjust in itself, but I think it’s generally better for the
> 	society at large to have a public trial, and perhaps conviction
> 	(and a posthumous public apology from the government half a
> 	century later, as in [1]); than to have laws that are applied
> 	inconsistently (which is to say, selectively.)
> [1] http://theguardian.com/world/2009/sep/11/pm-apology-to-alan-turing

Bad, dangerous, et al, are subjective notions which imply a position in
time and a society to refer to. To me an idea is dangerous if it could
lead some people to become violent toward others in the name of such an
idea, or justify their crimes with these.

To me, defending or trying to diminish the impact of child abuse is
dangerous. Defending or trying to diminish the impact of domestic
violence is dangerous. Defending or trying to diminish the impact of
racism is dangerous. Because this is what makes some people think it's
legitimate to use violence.

>  > For the sake of clarity, I’m talking about his comments on the
>  > Epstein thing,
> 	Like, for example, condemning coercion and sexual trafficking?
> 	(Very much in line with his general views on coercion and
> 	other violations of personal freedom.)

I remember him trying to find excuses to his friend having profitted
from a child Epstein put him in relation with.

>  > like pretending having sex with 14 yo childs is okay
> 	This indeed was his view which he expressed back in 2006.
> 	He has since changed his mind [2].
> [2] http://stallman.org/archives/2019-jul-oct.html#14_September_2019_(Sex_between_an_adult_and_a_child_is_wrong)

Well, at least that. Thanks for the pointer.

>  > because they were “entirely willing”,
> 	An acquaintance of mine, a Russian Orthodox priest, used to say
> 	(in good humor) that Paul the Apostle advocated for a carefree
> 	lifestyle, and in support of his position quoted him thus:
> 	“let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.”
> 	And indeed, if you open First Epistle to the Corinthians, you
> 	will find these exact words right down there.  Though in context,
> 	their meaning is effectively the opposite.
> 	RMS’ letter indeed contained the phrase above which, without
> 	context, can be understood as implying that there was no coercion.
> 	Within context, the phrase can suggest that Minsky was a fool,
> 	that Stallman thought Minsky was a fool, that Stallman himself
> 	was a fool, or some combination or variation thereof.
> 	As far as I know, there’s not a shred of evidence in the
> 	correspondence that Stallman somehow thought that there was
> 	no coercion, or that said coercion is somehow ‘right.’
> 	(Consider, e. g., [3].)
> [3] http://jorgemorais.gitlab.io/justice-for-rms/#mischaracterizations

We can imagine many scenarios, but the most plausible scenario is that
she presented herself to him as entirely willing. Assuming she was
being coerced by Epstein, he would have had every reason to tell her
to conceal that from most of his associates.

I’ve concluded from various examples of accusation inflation that it
is absolutely wrong to use the term “sexual assault” in an accusation.

I'm pretty sure that in his country, sex with minors by an adult is
considered as an assault.

>  > and the possession of pedopornographic images.
> 	I don’t know what /his/ specific concerns about the relevant
> 	legislation are (someone will have to ask him), but I can
> 	suggest the following two.
> 	The first, and it’s applicable to /any/ law that criminalizes
> 	possession of /any/ material in digital form, is that such law
> 	makes it easy to plant evidence.  It’s one thing to plant guns
> 	or narcotics; they’re both bulkier /and/ the authorities may
> 	need to explain as to how you come to be in possession of them.
> 	Planting a microSD card is both easier physically, and then
> 	‘Internet’ can be claimed as the source.  Especially if they
> 	find something like Tor installed on the computer.
> 	The other is that the legal definition of ‘child pornography’
> 	may in some jurisdictions be way too broad.
> 	As I understand it, the US courts follow a strict definition,
> 	according to which such laws only apply to material whose
> 	production involved actual minors.
> 	In Australia, however, the respective law applies to images that
> 	depict either actual minors /or/ people /looking like/ minors,
> 	regardless of their actual age.
> 	As such, for example, an adult woman making and keeping a photo
> 	of herself in a suggestive pose may end up being charged with
> 	both possession /and/ production of child pornography.
> 	In Russia, I won’t be surprised to learn that one can be
> 	prosecuted for a stick-figure drawing labelled ‘minors having sex.’
> 	Of course, the concerns above can be alleviated by having
> 	appropriate legal safeguards in place.  But are they there?
>  > His attitude towards women, too.
> 	I’ve heard accounts (though dated) of those who’ve witnessed
> 	his bad behavior towards women firsthand, or were told of such
> 	behavior by the women involved.
> 	I think that someone who he trusts should’ve long called him out,
> 	privately, on such behavior.
> 	Unfortunately, I see nothing I can personally do to help him to
> 	resolve this problem (assuming it still stands.)
> 	If the organizers deem him to be too much trouble to have
> 	at a public event, I believe they have options on how to
> 	effectively ban him from attending said event.  I’m going to guess
> 	that the lack of appropriate response on the part of organizers
> 	might have contributed to the present state of affairs.

I would have troubles to have a "leader" who can't attend any public
event because he can't behave decently towards a potential half the

> 	‘Attitude,’ however, can mean not only behavior but also views.
> 	I’m not aware about any bad views he may have about women.

Generally, behaviour tends to help understanding your potential views.

>  > Although I’m ill-at-ease with other things he said, like “one should
>  > abort if their to-be-born child is likely to have Down’s syndrome”, I
>  > still consider that such personal views are his right and I would not
>  > sign a letter asking him out if his words and opinions were limited
>  > to these.  Because I indeed think that diversity also means accepting
>  > that some people think things that I am ill-at-ease with.
> 	Regardless of whether we find his suggestion good or bad, and
> 	regardless of if we agree with it, there’s still a problem that,
> 	to put it bluntly, children are ought to outlive their parents.
> 	I have no qualms with parents caring about children who have
> 	Down syndrome, or any other affliction for that matter.  But I
> 	understand that sooner or later, parents will no longer be able
> 	to.  Can the society provide them with the necessary care,
> 	whatever it may be?  Are there enough non-profits around the
> 	world that help them with their daily needs?  How many of us
> 	have ever contributed materially to any such non-profit?
> 	With all these questions still unresolved in my mind, I cannot
> 	in good conscience judge RMS for this view.

His view is not "these women should be able to interrupt their
pregnency", or "these women should consider whether or not it is a good
idea to give birth to such a child when they are not certain to be able
to care for them enough for their whole lives". It'd still be eugenistic
but I could understand the feeling (darn I became a father quite
recently, I never thought about it, but should my child have
disabilities, I'd fear for "what would happen to him in the case we are
not here anymore" a lot).

He said "I think the right course of action for the woman is to
terminate the pregnancy", which is far less "pro choice" and far more
eugenist. There is not necessarily a right course of action, and if
there is, it's up to the future parent(s), not to Richard.

But as I said, I couldn't consider it okay to ask him to go away just
because of this blog post.

>  >> Don’t you see, it takes either definite meanness or considerable
>  >> ignorance to call a person on his or her /past views/; the views
>  >> /can/ change, and they often do.
>  > I still am waiting for any proof that RMS did actually change.
>  > For now, I’m sorry to say that I have no element indicating that.
> 	In some respects, he already did change; see above.  In others,
> 	he didn’t.  In yet other respects, he didn’t change /and I hope/
> 	he never will.
> 	There, for example, can be an all around good person who in good
> 	faith states that non-free Javascript, or GPU software, or
> 	bootloaders are okay.  It’s their view and I can /and will/
> 	respect their right to have one.  But I’m afraid, however great
> 	their contributions to free software, or society at large, may be,
> 	they /do not/ speak for me when they express said view.  And
> 	when RMS criticizes said view, for all his flaws, he does.
> 	I just hope we aren’t expecting an entirely flawless leader.
> 	Because I know of no such one to ever be among mere humans.
> 	And I can understand people calling him good or bad, whether as
> 	a leader or as a person or otherwise – that’s your call, all right.
> 	But for goodness sake, call him bad for what he actually did!

I think it is not about having a flawless leader, but rather having a
leader whose flaws are not that big, an who is aware of the hurt he can

>  > And the way he comes back does not help any bit.
> 	That I can understand.
> 	It was something that I myself felt surprised by, and not
> 	pleasently so, even though I long understood that FSF was
> 	established with a somewhat authoritarian governance in mind;
> 	if only because back in the day, there was /no/ community
> 	identifying themselves with software freedom to allow for
> 	anything more democratic.


Thanks for your message, it was interesting to read. :)

Pierre-Elliott Bécue
GPG: 9AE0 4D98 6400 E3B6 7528  F493 0D44 2664 1949 74E2
It's far easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them.

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