Re: Celebrity advice (was: Advice to a Junior in High School?)

Discussion in 'Python' started by Colin J. Williams, Aug 28, 2003.

  1. Terry Reedy wrote:
    > "Tim Churches" <> writes:
    >
    >
    >>Cameron Laird wrote:
    >>
    >>
    >>>I ask in part because, as near as I can tell, you were the
    >>>first to mention him in this thread. It appears that you
    >>>regard his output as particularly hazardous.

    >>
    >>See the first few paragraphs of
    >>http://www.catb.org/~esr/guns/gun-ethics.html

    >
    >
    > I did. 'Few' means at least three. The second and last sentence of
    > the third paragraph reads
    >
    > " Every political choice ultimately reduces to a choice about when and
    > how to use lethal force, because the threat of lethal force is what
    > makes politics and law more than a game out of which anyone could opt
    > at any time."
    >
    > Do you disagree (with what seems to me like an obviously true
    > statement)? Or are you one who doesn't the 'people' to notice the
    > elitist hypocrisy of being 'anti-gun' while supporting the bearing
    > *and use* of guns by 'govern-men' the elitists hope to control? (I
    > think it safe to say that during the 20th century, 99% of the 100s of
    > millions of murders were committed by armed govern-men rather than by
    > private persons acting alone.)
    >
    > Well back to Python.
    >
    > Terry J. Reedy


    We seem to be straying from Python and/or advice to a your person, but
    the third paragraph is clearly nonsense.

    To give an example. In Canada, over the next year or more, the Members
    of Parliament and the Senators will have to make a choice as to whether
    gay marriage is to continue in this country. No threat of force exists.
    A decision will be made and the populace will accept it as being more or
    less democratic.

    Colin W.
     
    Colin J. Williams, Aug 28, 2003
    #1
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  2. On Thursday 28 August 2003 1:41 pm, Alex Martelli wrote:
    > Colin J. Williams wrote:


    <snip>

    > IS possible to do so (e.g., the mandatory trailing ':' in the head
    > clauses of several Python statements;-). People who don't want ID


    Wow trust the martellibot to drag this thread back round to Python!
    thanks Alex!


    >
    > Alex
     
    Martin Franklin, Aug 28, 2003
    #2
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  3. Colin J. Williams

    Terry Reedy Guest

    "Colin J. Williams" <> wrote in message
    news:jKl3b.9017$...
    > We seem to be straying from Python and/or advice to a you[ng]

    person, but
    > the third paragraph [of me] is clearly nonsense.
    >
    > To give an example. In Canada, over the next year or more, the

    Members
    > of Parliament and the Senators will have to make a choice as to

    whether
    > gay marriage is to continue in this country. No threat of force

    exists.
    > A decision will be made and the populace will accept it as being

    more or
    > less democratic.


    If the decision is a 'resolution', like the US Congress declaring some
    week to be 'National Python Week' or whatever*, then your are right.
    However, the whole purpose of the US movement to enact gay marriage
    'laws' is precisely to *enforce* what will be for some new, different,
    and possibly morally repugnant (to the people 'enforced') behaviors.
    Alex M. gave just one example (hospitals)**.

    Terry J. Reedy

    * I sometimes wonder about the relative cost of getting a Day versus a
    Week, Month, or Year resolution ;-)

    ** Further off-topic opinions: keeping intimates apart when sick is
    cruel; there are nonviolent ways to change old practices; gays are
    short-sighted to ignore the costs of bringing government violence
    threats into their relationships.
     
    Terry Reedy, Aug 28, 2003
    #3
  4. Colin J. Williams

    Cliff Wells Guest

    On Thu, 2003-08-28 at 05:41, Alex Martelli wrote:

    > Of course, if Hayek is correct, then saying that we do NOT want the
    > government to have the monopoly of lethal force is exactly equivalent
    > to saying we do not want effective government (Hobbes would surely
    > argue that way) -- we prefer deliberately-hobbled government to
    > government that is maximally effective. In this day and age it's hard
    > to make a case for deliberately inefficient arrangements, although it
    > IS possible to do so (e.g., the mandatory trailing ':' in the head
    > clauses of several Python statements;-). People who don't want ID
    > cards to exist, don't want government DB's to be cross-linked, etc,
    > plead much the same case -- they prefer inefficient government (whose
    > inefficiencies may help terrorists and other criminals) to efficient
    > government (whose efficiency might allow more effective oppression).


    Alex,

    This is one of the most compelling things I have read in quite a while.

    Thanks.

    --
    Cliff Wells, Software Engineer
    Logiplex Corporation (www.logiplex.net)
    (503) 978-6726 (800) 735-0555
     
    Cliff Wells, Aug 28, 2003
    #4
  5. Colin J. Williams

    poiboy Guest

    Alex Martelli <> wrote:
    >> In this day and age it's hard to make a case for deliberately
    >> inefficient arrangements, although it IS possible to do so (e.g.,
    >> the mandatory trailing ':' in the head clauses of several Python
    >> statements;-). People who don't want ID cards to exist, don't want
    >> government DB's to be cross-linked, etc, plead much the same case
    >> -- they prefer inefficient government (whose inefficiencies may
    >> help terrorists and other criminals) to efficient government (whose
    >> efficiency might allow more effective oppression).


    Dear Alex,

    Thank you for your segway. I was looking for an excuse..

    I disagree that vestigial colons are in any way sympathetic to
    terrorists. Their requirement is a common law which arose from the
    practice of writing some doohickey after certain conjunctive clauses.
    Their 'inefficiency' is analagous to the inefficiency of joining nouns
    and adjectives with an indicative ('is'.join(['car', 'fast'])). A
    violation of common *law*, failure to include vestigial colons results
    in swift, unavoidable, and equally applied punishment from the
    governing authority (specifically, the interpretive branch). Compare
    this with violations of common *practice* (here, leaving out an 'is')
    which normally just throw user-level warnings. In contrast, __slots__
    do appear to favor a criminal element by making it appallingly easy to
    frustrate common practice (however, I'll be the first to admit that it
    is my own fear and inadequacy which motivates my branding __slots__
    use as criminal).

    'Inefficiency' should not be confused with 'scope'. 'Scope' implies a
    social contract or order, the enforcement of which is frustrated by
    and disruption of which is inflamed by 'inefficiency'. As it turns
    out, not merely inefficiencies but also blatant errors in logic are
    found more often in the mechanics of things which try to order larger
    scopes (however it is interesting to note that even blatant errors in
    logic can be swallowed with a heavy enough dose of MS/NBC). I believe
    that people who value freedom prefer limited governed scopes, not
    inefficiencies. In particular, inefficiencies of vanilla Python
    (perchance indirectly, tacitly accomodating terrorism of the C#/.NET
    ilk) are *neither required nor preferred* by the righteous and are
    suffered only because of allegiances to much higher authorities (in
    the case of vestigial colons we pledge aesthetic allegiance).

    And in defense of those who may be mistakenly charged as terrorists
    by a modern, sophisticated community like comp.lang.python:

    Those who won't "go along to get along" by giving up their semi-colons
    and braces and subjecting themselves to communal indentation exemplify
    the rugged individualism that built the foundation upon which *our
    ability to choose* communal indentation rests. And it is the freedom
    to opt into or out of indented or braced communities which encourages
    the improvement of both.

    Peace-love-hope,
    ze Poiboy :)
     
    poiboy, Aug 29, 2003
    #5
  6. Re: OT: Celebrity advice (was: Advice to a Junior in High School?)

    Gerrit Holl wrote:

    > Alex Martelli wrote:
    >> People who don't want ID
    >> cards to exist, don't want government DB's to be cross-linked, etc,
    >> plead much the same case -- they prefer inefficient government (whose
    >> inefficiencies may help terrorists and other criminals) to efficient
    >> government (whose efficiency might allow more effective oppression).

    >
    > This is exactly true. The one extreme is called 'anarchy', the other
    > is called 'totalitarism' (either Communism or Fascism). It is a political
    > choice to find a balance. Of course, ID cards don't mean totalitarism,
    > but extreme government control, or extreme "effective oppression", does.


    ID cards are a tool that can make government more efficient -- for either
    good or evil purposes equally well.

    Similarly, promoting Python use in government-used programming makes
    government potentially more efficient. Generally, tools are morally
    neutral -- for an engineer there may be some moral (or, equally,
    aesthetic -- "beauty is truth, truth, beauty") value in a specific
    tool, but that's a biased viewpoint;-).


    > We don't want a state that controls everything. But we


    Hobbes did (he WAS pretty consistent). But his intellectual heirs
    (Locke and ff -- and the US's founding fathers were very much part
    of that continuing tradition) were the ones that best developed
    the case for limited and hampered government [[IMHO John Stuart Mills
    is the single best // clearest // most readable thinker and writer
    in that line... and not coincidentally the last major one -- other
    later writers in Liberalism, such as Hayek and other Austrians, do
    not really belong to the same line/tradition, IMHO, though it may of
    course inspire them]].

    > also don't want a state that controls nothing.


    Some extreme libertarians may indeed believe they want that (but
    just one look at Somalia and other cases where the state has
    basically wilted should hopefully be enough to dislike THAT:).


    Alex
     
    Alex Martelli, Aug 29, 2003
    #6
  7. Colin J. Williams

    Andrew Dalke Guest

    Re: OT: Celebrity advice (was: Advice to a Junior in High School?)

    Alex Martelli:
    > ID cards are a tool that can make government more efficient -- for either
    > good or evil purposes equally well.


    Personally, I don't think it's uses for good are all that clear
    for making government more efficient. It costs money to
    develop and maintain an ID card system; estimates for the
    UK "entitlement card" sytem were on the order of 39 pounds
    (http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/6/31581.html )
    per person per renewal. Small compared to the average
    household income of about 23k GBP, but non-trivial.

    Add to that the hassles when you don't have an ID card:
    if you forget it / have it stolen / lose it, does that prevent
    you from getting medical card? get you arrested (as in
    Belgium where an ID card is required)? prevent you from
    voting? Can you get out of jury duty (in countries which
    have citizen jurors) by claiming you lost your id? Are you
    arrested if it isn't replaced in time?

    Top it off with improper assumptions people have about
    the validity of said card and likelihood of misuse, and you
    get such modern problems as identity theft, or credit
    records messed up because of simple transcription errors.

    There is better efficiency in tracking down someone
    known, although again it's not unknown for that information
    to be wrong. (I recently read a case where a man was
    almost sent to Miami on a 30 year old warrant even though
    the name on the warrant wasn't quite his - the middle name
    was different - and spent several days in jail before his
    figureprints were checked. Would an id card have helped
    there?
    http://www.sptimes.com/2003/08/21/Tampabay/Here_s_one_guy_who_re.shtml )

    But you still need to know the person (and be correct).
    Consider another possibility - what about hiring more
    police officers instead? That would help track down
    the person who commited the crime.

    Figure renewal of every seven years means ~6GBP/yr.,
    If a police officer is paid average wages, then with a factor
    of 2 for overhead means that 8,000 cards is about the
    same as another police officer. Minors might not have
    cards, so that's about, say, 15,000 people. (Wild guess.)
    http://www.llcc.cc.il.us/gtruitt/SCJ290spring2002/France CJS1.pdf
    claims there is about 1 officer per 300 people, so ID
    cards correspond to about 2% increase in the police force.

    So I am not convinced that ID cards can make a government
    more efficient, or at least not all that much more efficient.

    (A rhetorical question: Belgium requires ID cards. Does that make
    the Belgium government more efficient than, say, the Dutch one?)

    > Similarly, promoting Python use in government-used programming makes
    > government potentially more efficient. Generally, tools are morally
    > neutral -- for an engineer there may be some moral (or, equally,
    > aesthetic -- "beauty is truth, truth, beauty") value in a specific
    > tool, but that's a biased viewpoint;-).


    "potentially more efficient" is different. I can say "potentially
    SNOBOL use in government-used ...." and be equally correct.
    Attempting to verify that shows otherwise. And potentially ID
    cards could make a government more efficient, but there may
    be other ways which make the government even more efficient,
    for less cost, and without the human rights concerns.

    Chaining everyone to a stake on a limited line may make
    government potentially more efficient. (Easy to track people
    down - don't need the change-of-address system for the postal
    service! - very hard to commit any crimes). Doesn't mean
    it's a good idea.

    Andrew
     
    Andrew Dalke, Aug 30, 2003
    #7
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