The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

You Can’t Stand For Much Without Implicitly Rejecting Something

Posted on | February 28, 2012 | 2 Comments

by Smitty

Eric S. Raymond faced some well-reasoned blowback for asserting an anti-SOPA/PIPA position from someone saying ESR overplayed his hand:

The best any of our public faces can hope for is to represent us to 95% confidence and speak up knowing that some 5% are going to be disgruntled about it.
I know that our values push us towards so much respect for individual dissent that we tend to think unanimous consent is required before anyone can speak for the group. You’re expressing that very well when you report that you agree with me but feel a need to speak up for those who don’t. Trust me, I feel similar doubts about my standing to represent us every time I have to write something like that open letter.
The trouble with those thoughts is that they’re a counsel of paralysis.

Raymond might have quoted this blog’s motto,

“One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up.” — Arthur Koestler

ESR is one of the better thinkers in circulation these days. You might not agree with ESR point for point, and I don’t, but you can have confidence that whatever position ESR is assuming, he has really thought about it carefully and come to a conclusion in the classically liberal fashion of considering all the conclusions and selecting the least-worst position.

The nihilistic Lefty alternative of tolerating everything, however stupid, is explored here by Evan Sayet:


2 Responses to “You Can’t Stand For Much Without Implicitly Rejecting Something”

  1. Finrod Felagund
    February 28th, 2012 @ 1:47 pm

    I met ESR at WorldCon in Chicago some 20 years or so, he’s a good man.  He was also one of the few in the geek world that disbelieved global warming from the beginning and spoke out against it.

    Personally, I’d love to see ESR as the next Chairman of the FCC.

  2. K-Bob
    February 28th, 2012 @ 11:49 pm

    Sayet is fun to watch.  Good call.