The Radical Middle

I look at my emails and I see the bulk of them (well, most of them, not much bulk) tell me that I ought to be grateful that AMD will let people change the multiplier on their $700 processors.

I look elsewhere, and find out that if you aren’t grateful, you’re at least in danger of being called a crypto-communist for it (which is not to say there aren’t a lot of those around). The appropriate response apparently is, “Don’t beat them, join them.”

Maybe I’m an extremist for not being an extremist like everyone else, but I do think there’s some middle ground between bending over for a corporation, then saying “Thank you” and telling the corporation to bend over and then thanking you.

A Market: It Takes Two To Tango

One side will call themselves free-marketers, and the other side might call themselves “fair marketers,” but neither side really understands what a market is.

A “free market” does not mean “free to market” without contradiction. Nor does it mean “the market is free,” as in no cost.

Neither side understands that a market is a really, really, REALLY big dance, a dance that takes two people. You have one partner out to sell and one person out to buy.

Being a greedy bastard, the seller wants to get as much money as possible for what he is selling.

Being an equally greedy bastard, the buyer wants to pay as little money as possible for what he is buying.

All a free market is the process by which both parties don’t get what they want, but get what they need.

A free market is like consensual sex. You need two to tango, and they both have to agree on the terms and conditions. The extremists I’m talking about don’t believe in that. They want to set all the rules of the encounter; it has to be all their way.

The problem is not wanting it, that’s natural. The problem is expecting to actually get it, without any opposition.

Not surprisingly, those folks usually find themselves masturbating off in some corner of a forum, usually with like-minded . . . well, you get the idea.


I’m Not Being Loved, I’m Being Raped!

Extremists always portray themselves as victims; it’s the mask they put on to look reasonable.

Listen to their answers for a while, though, and you find out they aren’t against rape at all. Their answer to being raped is not to stop rape. Their answer is to be the ones on top.

Again, it’s not just a matter of “do it to them before they do it to you.”

If you look at the music industry, yes, there are some pricing problems, and perhaps all the music execs have conspired to make CD prices a couple dollars more than they would be otherwise. But that’s about all that could be attributed to evil.

Most of the rest extremists complain about are hardly evil things like the local record store making money and record companies advertising a pretty flaky product. That doesn’t mean all the practices are necessarily all good, either, that’s just more extremism. All have a variable mix of plusses and minuses.

The great irony is that there are considerably greater efficiencies (and price cuts) possible through digital distribution, but they won’t be possible until the “raped” stop raping, whether on the sneak or have their raping legitimized.

It is true that markets don’t always work, but the answer is being raped is not to rape. The answer is to call a cop in to stop the rape, and a court system to determine whether a rape did in fact happen, and decide suitable punishment.

This is what we have laws and legislatures and legislation for, and they do work. They just don’t punish the raper with rape.

Being on the side of civilized society does not make one evil.

Nor does bargain-hunting make you a Bolshevik. I don’t think we’re entitled to hypercheap processors. AMD or Intel is perfectly free to charge whatever they like for their CPUs, and we are just as perfectly free to buy either, or buy none. We’re the other side of the free market, and we have as essential role to play in that free market as those selling them.

Nor does the color of the rapist change the crime. If the Hulk or even Kermit the Frog rapes you, the answer isn’t, “It’s better than bending over for the Blue Man Group.”

It is hardly evil to observe that most people historically pay far less than the flagship price for a CPU, and that if a company tries to charge far more than those historical prices, they may well end up with very expensive unsold goods.

After all, how much money can you make from an unsold product?

Being In The Middle, A Two=Front War

People ask me, “How can you consistently defend the RIAA, then turn around and call AMD is greedy?”

It says much about our society that they can’t see the answer to that.

The answer is very simple, yet it seems to be beyond a pretty good chunk of society these days (this is not just a matter of a few dumb bulbs writing me, I see this wherever I go).

I’m very consistent: I’m consistently in the middle between the extremes. That means I’ve got two sets of wackos to deal with. When I point out RIAA’s legitimacies, I’m going after one set. When I point out AMD’s greed (actually, just their nonsensical PR), I’m going after the other set.

When I do that, people just automatically assume I’m all the way over in the other camp, and that is almost never the case. The music industry has many faults, but expecting to get paid a reasonable amount for their services is not one of them.

Nor do I think CPUs should just cost $50. However, because I think that doesn’t mean I think $400 is better, either. Again, there is no need to be on one extreme or the other. There’s plenty of middle ground.


A Two-Bit Processor

Forgive me this sounds conceited, but if the piece of dumb sand I use to write this can use at least 32-bit, I think I can afford to arrange my brain to operate in more than two-bit mode.

Because, when you get to the heart of the matter, that’s what many people do on many issues in life. They run in two-bit mode, rejecting anything other than A or B. Why do they do that? Why would people want to go through life on so many issues (many far more important than CPUs or music) with one eye permanently shut?

The answer is the same as the sole advantage of a two-bit processor. It takes less processing power; it’s simpler.

You see, if you’re in the middle, you have to think more. You can’t just read in the data from someone else; you have to process data from multiple sources and determine which is right and best for you, item by item. Sometimes, that takes a lot of decrypting.

Walking around with just one eye open is simpler. You have less data to process. However, it’s not better. The data you don’t process is still there, and if that data happens to be a car coming straight towards you, it’s still going to hit you and it’s still going to hurt.

Sounds pretty elemental, doesn’t it? Yet so many people do just that in much, even most of their lives.

No conceit intended, but we don’t. We have both eyes open, we like it that way, and we think you’ll like it better, too.

We know that there’s a middle, and even though it’s downright weed-infested due to neglect, we’ll continue to live here, keep both eyes open, and keep swatting away on the blind side of the voluntarily one-eyed ogres.

If you don’t like it, there’s a simple solution. Open your eyes. Or at least look in the mirror to see if you are holding one shut.