Freedom

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Today is July 4. For those in the United States, it is the day commemorated as of declared independence.

Yet for both the United States and the world, it’s more than that. It commemorates not only a declaration of independence, but one of freedom. For the world, it simply is one of the major fathers of freedom.

For the United States, both back then and today, freedom has meant a society in which a people are free to do what they like so long as they don’t infringe upon the rights of others nor the laws to which they as a people consent.

Unfortunately, this definition of freedom has been eroding as of late, especially the right half of the sentence.

Those rubbing against and wearing away the right side of the sentence don’t realize that if the right half collapses, so does the left.

You cannot have freedom without responsibility. As we’ve said before, that’s not freedom, that’s license. When every man becomes a law unto himself, you don’t have freedom, you have anarchy.

Unfettered anarchy never lasts very long in any society because people need order in their lives, and they invariably turn to anyone or anything that will provide that. Usually, such societies go from “my rights” to “might makes right.”

P2P And Gay Marriage: Taking The Law Into One’s Own Hands

A precursor and necessary condition for freedom and democracy is the rule of law. What that means is that society should be ruled by laws, not men. Put more simply, someone in power can’t do whatever they want to you juxt because they feel like it. You have to do something the society’s laws says is wrong before that happens.

This means that law counts, and it is one of the duties of people in a society to obey that law. If you don’t agree with the law, your recourse is to persuade the society through democratic means to change the law.

What disturbs me most about P2Ping is not the stealing itself, but the almost absolute ignorance and disdain for the law, and next to no desire even attempt to change it.

It’s a situation similiar to that the United States faces with gay marriage.

This is not the place to discuss the merits or demerits of gay marriage, and when you get down to it, that’s neither here nor there.

What is actually at stake is this: Does a society have the right, any right, to define terms like marriage?

Is marriage an inalienable personal right to happiness, or a societal privilege determined by law?

If gay couples are found to have an inalienable personal right to marry, what if I’m bisexual? If I need both sexes to be happy, why can’t I have it?

What if the female in this trio happens to be bisexual, too? Do we have a right to a foursome? If you say the first instance is true due to “equal protection under the law,” I don’t see how you can logically deny the others.

Let’s assume one or more of us die. Do we get Social Security survivor checks? If two of us die, do we get two checks?

Do we want to do this? Do we even have any say in this matter?

Let’s take this a bit further (and no doubt someone would if we’ve gotten this far).

I’m a senior citizen who is blind. I love my seeing eye dog (don’t worry, it’s strictly Platonic). He’s my only companion. I’m not going to be around forever, and I would hate to have my faithful dog be rewarded for his faithfulness and hard work by death just because no one else wants him and I don’t have the money to support him after I’m gone.

So why can’t I marry him so he can get a Social Security survivor’s check?

Since this is a geeky group, one perhaps less worthy scenario:

I love my server. Again, no kinkiness here. I love it because it gives me the means to provide a website which tells the world what a fine person I am, and what a shame it is that the world hasn’t caught on to this yet.

Why can’t I marry my computer so after my death, it can be my widow, and, financed by my survivors’ check, pay the ISP and upgrade bills to serve as a perpetual memorial to me?

The issue is not “Where do you draw the line?” The issue becomes “What basis do you have to draw any line, anywhere if marriage gets defined by the individual rather than by the society?”

Several European countries have handled this in a far more forthright and legitimate manner. They’ve legalized gay marriages. What they’ve essentially said is, “We have the right to draw the line, we’re just going to erase and redraw.”

Whether I agree or not with such a decision, it is one thing to know that my taxes are going to support gay or bisexual or canine or computer widows after most of the representatives of my country decided that was a good idea. It is quite another to know that my money is going to all the above just because someone decided all on their own that I have to pay for their self-proclaimed “right” and got a judge to agree.

Changing the law is the one and only legitimate way to address any injustice stemming from current law. Not breaking it. Not letting individuals lay down the law for everyone else.

What does this have with P2Ping? The P2Pers are essentially saying the same thing as the gay folk (and actually, the gay folk have a rather stronger argument). They say, “We have the right to do what we do no matter what the law or anyone or else says about it. You must accommodate us; we don’t have to pay any attention to you.”

Or, to tinker with a certain anthem, “We’re here, peer-to-peer, and now you’ll have to get used to it.”

No, we don’t. Unlike gays, there is no civil rights at stake here. Show me, “Rip, Mix, Burn” in the Constitution.

It is never good for people, any people, to think themselves above the law.

“Freedom Means I Can Do Anything I Want!…

“Freedom Means I Can Do Anything I Want”

We’ve already pointed out that this isn’t true when your thing interferes with other people’s things, but this isn’t true even when it pretty much applies only to yourself.

A few months ago, there was a trial involving cannibalism in Germany.

Cannibalism is not unheard of even in the “developed” world, but usually, dinner is not at all cooperative about it.

This case was different in that the cannibal wanted a Happy Meal; somebody who WANTED to be eaten.

And you thought getting a date with Britney was tough. 🙂

He went on the Internet asking, “Who wants to be my dinner?” Amazingly, he eventually found a volunteer, who signed papers saying “Sure,” and the whole event was videotaped.

Turns out the cannibalee wanted a piece of the action, too, before becoming sick puppy chow, and well, if the tale of Lorena Bobbitt turned your stomach, you definitely don’t want to read about the appetizer the two tried to make from the link above.

Eventually, this double fantasy was terminated, and somebody had someone for dinner for a while. This fellow only got caught when he went back on the Internet looking for a second helping, and police ended up finding leftovers in the freezer.

During his trial, there were actually those who said that this was no big deal because it was an act “between consenting adults,” a sort of culinary Kevorkian.

The court didn’t quite buy that, and sentenced him to eight-and-a-half years for manslaughter.

The law says there are some things you just can’t consent to, even if you want to, and you are no freedom fighter to say otherwise.

Imagine Thomas Jefferson being asked, “That ‘pursuit of happiness’ thing you were talking about? That includes the right to be eaten if that turns you on, right?”

Free Speech and Democracy…

Free Speech

Free speech is critical to a free society. If you can’t talk about something bad, you can hardly do anything constructive to change that.

However, “free speech” has been getting morphed into something perverted, too, lately.

A lot of “free speech” is really free these days. It’s free of thought, of logic, of truth, of reality.

For instance, one may certainly oppose the current President of the United States and his policies quite rationally, but to call George W. Bush a new fascist Hitler simply demonstrates that you know nothing about Bush or fascism or Hitler. If W really were Hitler 2.0, you’d get one chance to say that publicly and then you wouldn’t be part of the public anymore.

Anyone saying is not being historical, they’re being hysterical.

Freedom of speech, especially political speech, has always been close to an absolute in the United States, so this isn’t anything new nor too big a deal.

However, what is at least newish is the concept that freedom of speech also means freedom from criticism. In some eyes, Criticism = Repression = Denial of Free Speech.

This is the absolute opposite of what freedom of speech is all about.

The point of freedom of speech is to get as many ideas out as possible so that the best ones can be chosen. Criticism of ideas is as American as apple pie.

It’s just like freedom in general. There are both rights and responsibilities. You can’t have one without the other. Not for long, at least.

Democracy

Once the members of a nation are free to talk about matters, they tend to then want to do more than just talk about them. That’s why democracy tends to follow free speech in a society as invariably aw breathing out follows breathing in.

Perhaps it’s just because the Internet allows more ignorant people to display it, but a lot of people don’t seem to understand some of the facts of life about it.

Winston Churchill once said, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.” This captures the spirit of democracy quite well. It’s an imperfect system designed for imperfect people.

The hidden strength of democracy is not that it’s perfect or even necessarily good. The single greatest strength of democracy is not that it prevents governments that suck. It’s greatest strength is that it lets you get rid of governments that sucm, easily and without bloodshed.

Democracies are at best messy. They tend to be slow reacting to events, simply because no matter what the subject, odds are there will be two sides opposing each other. Sometimes they can be rotten to the core.

But they can fix themselves.

Your Personalized Presidency

In the United States (and I’m sure elsewhere), you will often hear people say something to the effect of “I’m not going to vote (or “I hate my choices”) because there’s no candidate I’m truly happy with.”

May I suggest that such people are simply thoughtless self-centered twits, for a very simple reason? George Bush and John Kerry, among others, are running for the Presidency of the United States of America. They are running for the Presidency of U.

How can anyone make fifty million or so very different people “truly happy?” How do you get that many people to completely agree with you on hundreds of issues? You can’t. You just can’t. You can make them happy enough (or mad enough at the other guys) to vote for you, but that’s about it.

If you want someone in the White House who agrees with you on everything, run.

A person is elected president or prime minister to lead a nation, not a bunch of individuals. You just can’t take a Bush or Kerry and customize either of them like your Windows settings.

This is the same problem a lot of P2Pers have (though on a bigger scale). They say in essence, “Government is supposed to represent the people. We are the people. They haven’t changed the laws to make us happy, therefore, they must be evil and corrupt.”

The P2Pers don’t realize that while they are people, they’re not the only people around, and if there were a referendum on the subject in just about any nation, they’d probably lose.

They also conveniently forget that they rather outnumber, both in votes and in sheer financial resources, all the record and movie companies along with their employees.

But even if they did organize and spent more than the RIAA and MPAA and the rest, they’d probably still lose in the long run because their uncompromised views are just too extremist for the mainstream.

Which brings us to our last point.

Good Versus Evil

Inherent in the concept of democracy is the notion of opposition. Different groups will have different views on how the world is, and how it should be, and they’ll always try to convince the majority of people that they’re right and the other guys are wrong.

However, having political opponents is one thing. Having political enemies is quite another.

An unspoken law of democracy is, “You can’t always get what you want.” Another is “You (or your party) doesn’t have a monopoly on good ideas.” Anyone who is actually a legislator is going to have to work with opponents and compromise to get things done, and do you know what? The final result is often better than if the originator had gotten it all his way.

Very often, it boils down to “Do you want to get some good done, or do you want to be pure and preen and pose and get nothing done?”

Over the past few decades, it seems like at least the main participants in American democracy are choosing door number two. The two political parties have tended to polarize away from each other, and much of that is due to what the party members think and whom they put into office.

It’s hard to talk or even think about compromise when your loudest supporters think your opposite counterpoint is absolutely insane on a good day, and absolutely evil on a bad one.

The constituents are probably crazier than the congressmen, but when you have some legislators calling the President anything and everything but Spawn of Satan (and they probably skipped that one just because they don’t believe in The Big Bad Dude), and you have the Vice-President of the United States telling one of those legislators to go “f*** himself,” things are getting out of hand. On both sides.

Democracies don’t fail because a bad bunch or two get elected. They fail when they get so paralyzed by hate that they can’t do anything constructive because they can only talk at each other, not to each other.

Conclusion: Extreme Doesn’t Work Here

In the computer world, “extreme” is used a lot, and usually used positively.

That may be fine or at least harmless when it comes to computers or sports, but if you want to watch “extreme politics” in action, just look at Iraq.

The people who are ambushing and bombing and beheading are really just campaigning. Extreme campaigning. They know they can’t really defeat the Americans army militarily, but since they believe Americans are essentially cowards afraid to die, they may be able to get the American electorate to do the job for them. Even if that doesn’t work, no matter when or how the Americans leave, they’re going to spin it into a national liberation and victory over the Americans, reality or not.

Remember, Saddam kept telling Iraqiz after the first Gulf War tbat he and they had won it, and many chose to believe that.

That’s what extreme politics eventually gets you.

Let us hope that in the long term, Western democracy in general and American democracy in particular is just going through a phase, and we keep “extreme” to video cards and snowboarding.

Email Ed

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Discussion
  1. I agree with you 100%.
    You can't overclock a marrige of any kind, so it has no place on any page associated with overclockers.com
    P2P is OK, b/c it deals with computers, but the rest of the stuff Ed rambles on about has no real bearing to the P2P debate, or it is uncessesary to the point he wishes to make.
    If Ed really wants to make some political stance, I would request that he do it elsewhere than my favorite computer related site.
    Look, read the piece about marriage in context. He doesn't take a stance on it one way or the other.
    I think the comparison he's trying to make is that both P2P'ers and local governments have something in common - as of late, they've been flagrantly, loudly, and very very openly defying the law, almost daring any authority to come after them. P2P'ers do this all the time for obvious reasons. The pro-gay-marriage people in city governments in California have done this in the past, issuing marriage licenses despite the fact that presently same-sex marriages are illegal in California.
    The comparison he's trying to make is that both groups are displaying utter disregard for the law and calling it "freedom." Ed's pointing out that the correct course of action for both groups is to try to change the law, not ignore it.
    Although I do agree that perhaps overclockers.com is not the best place to discuss politics. Frankly, I hate politics, and I try to be involved in political discussion as little as possible.
    Personally, I think a healthy dose of reality is good for everyone at times. Please take what I have to say into serious consideration.
    We have a lot of young people in our crowd, and a little allusion to whats goin on in the real world around us can't hurt... It's not like its something most teenagers sit around and talk with their friends about. If we are the medium that makes it okay to get serious at times, and hash out some of the tougher points in life for our crowd, I think that can be a truely great thing.
    I think Ed did a great job in expressing his thoughts on the matter... I can see how it would be difficult to communicate the point he wanted to make in a way that most people interpret it correctly - but he was right on. I honestly thought that was Ed at his finest.
    Of course, even the purest of statements can be twisted into a perspective which puts it into a bad light... And on such subjects which are as touchy as what he was dancing around, its not surprising to be able to poke some holes in the bottom of his boat - take the National Review reference for instance. But that was just a small part of what he was trying to get across, which could be thrown out without losing a touch of strength to his argument. To weigh the totality of his article on small deficiencies such as that would be a considerable injustice - one must weigh the entirety of his statements in order to take from it what was intended.
    IMO, gay marriage and the election would be great things to discuss around here. I'm not one to chase this information on current events down, but I wouldn't mind getting into a discussion on it here with our great members, and I'm sure I would learn a lot in the process. A little discussion on these real world topics couldn't hurt, they're just small deviations from the main point of this forum.
    Or are they deviations at all from our purpose here? After all, lets keep in mind what this forum, and the website which gave birth to it were founded on. Perhaps a reminder is in order...
    What is Overclockers.com?
    We are a team. We are a community. We are a fellowship made strong by mutual respect and shared dedication to the task of enriching all who come here. We are respectable, for we share our bounty. We will endure, for we continue to grow. We will continue to grow as long as those who come to us find what they need for their own betterment, and the betterment of those who follow after them.
    Joe Citarella, Skip MacWilliam, and Ed Stroligo.

    I see no reason why confronting real world issues serve these goals any less than the pursuit of further overclocking knowledge.
    I see no reason why confronting real world issues serve these goals any less than the pursuit of further overclocking knowledge.

    there are two problems here. One is that the moderators and administrators of this site (rightly in my opinion) decided that this is not the place for political (or other controversial non-computer related) subjects to be discussed when they ended the debates forum and outlawed such discussion elsewhere. Then when one of the leaders of the site posts or writes on such subjects (with what I thought to be a right wing stance) other members cannot post argumentative responses without being in violation of the rules of the forum. It is an example of the hypocrisy that Ed attacks in his article.
    Second, Ed's comments were, to this individual, biased towards the right. At the very least, they were in no way an attempt at even-handed reporting of only the facts. If education on real world issues is to take place then it must be in a manner that is fair to all sides of an issue or else it is no longer education but instead indoctrination.
    IMO, gay marriage and the election would be great things to discuss around here. I'm not one to chase this information on current events down, but I wouldn't mind getting into a discussion on it here with our great members, and I'm sure I would learn a lot in the process. A little discussion on these real world topics couldn't hurt, they're just small deviations from the main point of this forum.

    I do chase this information down, and would love to discuss any issue with you, but due to forum policy such discussion would have to take place via PM or another medium. This illustrates my first point, that not all of us can take to the bandbox, and thus cannot make appropriate counterpoints
    The comparison he's trying to make is that both groups are displaying utter disregard for the law and calling it "freedom." Ed's pointing out that the correct course of action for both groups is to try to change the law, not ignore it.

    So did civil rights activists in the 60s, does that make the current rights of minorities wrong or ill-gotten? Same goes for women's rights. This is why the comparison of gay marriage to P2P is ridiculously ill founded. The movement for gay marriage is not about stealing property from another, it is about gaining rights for a group that has been denied rights that they are entitled to according to the Constitution of the United States. Ed is completely wrong in comparing a search for equal rights to the desire for free music.
    Next, Ed showed complete and utter disrespect for gay and lesbian couples by comparing their relationships to his relationship to a computer. Those remarks are blatantly bigoted. The institution of marriage is based on mutual love for each other. Two people of the same sex can have the same amount of love for one another as a man and a woman can. The same cannot be said for a man and a dog or a man and a computer. Imagine for a moment that he made the same comments about a marriage between a man of color and a white woman. Would any of you be supporting him then? Now examine the two different situations and find a relevant difference between the two. There simply is none.
    Next, on the issue of receiving survivor benefits and other such things. Ed again shows no prima facie reason that sex should matter in the reception of such benefits. There is a reason against such things for a dog or a computer- they are not citizens of the US. If fact, if a man’s spouse is not a citizen of the US she is not eligible for the benefits either. Also, there is no relevant reason to think that the sex of one’s partner should change the calculus of handing out such benefits, both Ed’s wife and my same sex partner would have lost a loved one and a source of income. Does my partner’s possession of a penis have anything to do with that?
    All in all, I think that Ed should leave well enough alone, and stick to computers, at least he knows something about them.
    It may be best for the sake of objectivity if we do not take a personal perspective on this. Your own sexual orientation should have no bearing on the facts of the article, and if you allow it to hold bearing, it is going to scew your perception. For example, this quote displays a message that clearly ignores what ed was saying, and makes a combative statement:
    Also, there is no relevant reason to think that the sex of one’s partner should change the calculus of handing out such benefits, both Ed’s wife and my same sex partner would have lost a loved one and a source of income. Does my partner’s possession of a penis have anything to do with that?

    Clearly, Ed was talking about the problems when multiple spouses come into the picture. He said nothing to the effect of the sex of anyone's partner affecting benefits - this was very clear.
    Now, we are talking to different points here - perhaps you were aware of this, but I thought it worth reiterating so as to avoid any confusion on ours or anyone elses part. I was talking to whether or not there was any merit in confronting these topics on these forums, you are talking to the point of whether or not Ed should talk about such topics in light of our forum rules.
    The problem is, for all intents and purposes, Ed isn't a leader of this site at all - he is a leader of overclockers.com, but not a leader of ocforums.com. He had no say in how the rules were set here, and he likely is not even aware of how they were set. He has 100 posts in the last 4 years here, and hasn't posted in a considerable amount of time.
    So Ed doesn't come around much. I think you may possibly be over-rating Ed's awareness of the forums... I do not believe he is very concious of the state of events in our forums and the current rules as to discussion of these topics as they stand. You have to keep in mind that we are seperate entities, though tightly related... Ed doesn't have any reason to limit his topics in reflection of the rules we make up here. There is no reason why we must have a grounds of recourse through these forums, there are many other means as you know he reads a lot of email.
    Regardless, you can feel free to make any counterpoints you please here, if anything is a problem a moderator will take care of it. They have been letting these discussions go lately in GD as long as they remain level headed. If it is a problem they will make comment before just slamming anyone. :)
    So with that out of the way, to go further into what you are talking towards, I'd like to reiterate what Admiral said about Ed not taking a stance on it either way. It seems you may be reading between the lines an awful lot, which from the reading of Ed that I have done over the years, is likely reading too much into things. Ed isn't one to beat around the bush, and I have never thought there to be much need to read between the lines with him - he's a straight shooter and says what he means.
    I don't think he was making a mockery of gay marriages, I think he was making some logical extensions of the situation, and then taking it further to some far stretched possibilities. He was demonstrating the difficulty the state would have with drawing a line... Not actually any form of disrespect.
    He was displaying why it isn't as simple as just giving a group the rights they have been denied - if you give gays the rights under the constitution, how do you give bisexuals the rights, and if you give bisexuals the rights, then how do you deny mormons the rights, and if you allow all of these rights, then how does our entire official system need to adapt as its system is based almost completely upon single partner heterosexual relationships? This was the point of his survivor benefits, not so much single partner homosexual relationships, as that is simple to solve... But what do you do when you introduce multiple marriage partners?
    To me, the comparison with P2P was just a stretched attempt at drawing a connection between gay marriage and computers.
    What Ed essentially made, was a call for more effort in the movements to call for legislation instead of going to court, as that is the way things should be done to best honor our ideals of freedom.
    Sorry, its late and I'm tired, probably made no sense.
    Your points about the relationship between Ed and the forums are well taken. However, if he does not actively participate in the forums I see no reason that we should dedicate an entire section of our forum to Ed and his articles, IMHO of course.
    It may be best for the sake of objectivity if we do not take a personal perspective on this. Your own sexual orientation should have no bearing on the facts of the article, and if you allow it to hold bearing, it is going to scew your perception.

    As for the rest of the issues, first I would like to point out that I am a heterosexual male, and one who is in an active relationship with a female. However, your comments do point out an interesting dilemma with this debate. Since we all have a sexual orientation, how is it possible to not be biased in a discussion on the manner. I will assert here that all of my arguments are based on logic, and if you or anyone would like I will submit appropriate symbolic logic forms.
    Clearly, Ed was talking about the problems when multiple spouses come into the picture. He said nothing to the effect of the sex of anyone's partner affecting benefits - this was very clear.

    No, you are wrong here, he clearly said that it is a slippery slope from allowing gay marriage to those absurd consequences. However, the argument can be reversed to include heterosexual marriages. Say the current state of affairs banned all marriages, and people were lobbying for heterosexual marriage. Couldn't then Ed make the same argument that allowing heterosexual marriage would lead to human-canine marriage in the same way that he infers that gay marriage would. Unless Ed wants to ban heterosexual marriage he clearly must find that there is something relevantly different between gay and straight marriage for this line of argumentation to be valid. Thus, Ed must either support a ban on all marriage or be of the mind that gay marriage is somehow different (and inferior to) straight marriage, he is logically committed to this, it is not "reading between the lines." This is also clearly a "stance either way" as well.
    I don't think he was making a mockery of gay marriages, I think he was making some logical extensions of the situation, and then taking it further to some far stretched possibilities. He was demonstrating the difficulty the state would have with drawing a line... Not actually any form of disrespect.

    The only question I have here is: if he was saying that interracial marriages would cause this slippery slope would you still be defending it? If yes, then that is fine, but if no then you are clearly inconsistent.
    He was displaying why it isn't as simple as just giving a group the rights they have been denied - if you give gays the rights under the constitution, how do you give bisexuals the rights, and if you give bisexuals the rights, then how do you deny mormons the rights, and if you allow all of these rights, then how does our entire official system need to adapt as its system is based almost completely upon single partner heterosexual relationships? This was the point of his survivor benefits, not so much single partner homosexual relationships, as that is simple to solve... But what do you do when you introduce multiple marriage partners?

    see my above argument. Also, I would like to point out that the state already has drawn an arbitrary line at heterosexual marriage, why not have the line at homosexual marriage. I see no relevant reason for this.
    For example, this quote displays a message that clearly ignores what ed was saying, and makes a combative statement:

    That statement was absolutely in no way combative, it was a counterexample, which is one of the most effective and accepted ways of arguing. My closing statement was, on the other hand, directly combative.
    To me, the comparison with P2P was just a stretched attempt at drawing a connection between gay marriage and computers.

    To me it was an unnecessary attempt, and frankly, I think it was an attempt to voice an opinion on an issue that he clearly has feelings about. Also, why was such a reference needed? I see no reason for the comparison other than to get a reaction, which is fairly consistent with Ed's track record.
    Sorry for the confusion, on your orientation - I'm sure you can understand how I misinterpreted this comment:
    Also, there is no relevant reason to think that the sex of one’s partner should change the calculus of handing out such benefits, both Ed’s wife and my same sex partner would have lost a loved one and a source of income.

    You have some fairly strong points, as do I.
    No, you are wrong here, he clearly said that it is a slippery slope from allowing gay marriage to those absurd consequences. However, the argument can be reversed to include heterosexual marriages. Say the current state of affairs banned all marriages, and people were lobbying for heterosexual marriage. Couldn't then Ed make the same argument that allowing heterosexual marriage would lead to human-canine marriage in the same way that he infers that gay marriage would. Unless Ed wants to ban heterosexual marriage he clearly must find that there is something relevantly different between gay and straight marriage for this line of argumentation to be valid. Thus, Ed must either support a ban on all marriage or be of the mind that gay marriage is somehow different (and inferior to) straight marriage, he is logically committed to this, it is not "reading between the lines." This is also clearly a "stance either way" as well.

    Excellent job breaking that down. The only difference between hetero and homo marriage is that one is "traditional" and the other is not. Not relevant enough in my book, but I suppose that is a matter of perspective which many people would have differing views on.
    I thought the "slippery slope" thing was meant to imply something more subtle and less ridiculous than what was actually being said, which I interpreted as Ed trying to inject some ironic humor, but yet imply a trend that seemed fairly logical to me at first -> The extension from monogamous gay marriage to polygamy. However, I guess there must be some societally implied mindsets influencing this, because looking at it, you seem to be right in saying that there has already been an arbitrary line drawn on marriage now, so why couldn't it be redrawn for monogamous gay marriage.
    The only question I have here is: if he was saying that interracial marriages would cause this slippery slope would you still be defending it? If yes, then that is fine, but if no then you are clearly inconsistent.

    I don't follow your line of thought here, or see where this question could arise from what you quoted. It seems more like a generalization about my entire stance, than anything resulting from the comment you quoted.
    Anyways, I have a hard time seeing how marriage rights for people of different skin color would cause any problems with someone unless they are racist. Of course I have no problem there - however you are creating a false dichotomy here, by oversimlifying the implications of my response - it is not either consistent and agree with your, or disagree with you and be inconsistent. Yet you present it in such a way that seems to force only those options.
    He wasn't stating there would be a slippery slope - that implies that he thinks there will be a sliding downward trend if this is opened up. He was communicating the difficulty which could be had in redrawing the line appropriately.
    I think redrawing the line to allow gay marriage would be a step in the right direction, however I think it leaves the problem with bisexual marriage, and then polygamy one link further down the chain. I still see that as an improvement of course, but I think this is what Ed was talking towards - even once gay marriage is permitted by law, there will remain an inadequacy in the law. It is not as though permitting gay marriage ends this issue of defining marriage - I think he was speaking to the perpetual difficulty with this situation which seems to exist. Calling it a slippery slope perspective implies something so negative, when in fact I think he was talking about recognizing a problem which will not be fixed as quickly as some people may think - by legalizing gay marriage, this issue will not just go away.
    He was ultimately advocating the resolution of these issue through the proper use of our govenernment system - it has the facilities in place to correct wrongs by amending our laws, and that was what he said needed to be done to correct the inadequacies, which he recognized the denial of gay marriage rights as - an inadequacy in the law. He wants it to be a law that this is okay, not just for some cowboy judges to say its okay here and there while overstepping the boundaries of their positions.
    As for the combative point, I hold that both comments were clearly combative in context - the strong use of the word "penis" in your phrase, followed by the closing statement, reasonably imparts an understanding of combative nature in your expression. This is neither here nor there though really, as we are both reasonable enough to handle this discussion. I just wanted to shed light on this as these are the sorts of statements that so easily lead to problems.
    i dont know but if Ed lives in the usa or anywhere else he has the right to say what he wants does what he wants my views are this was blown up and someone took it personal and that should be made clear to (ed) not to eveyone else if ed wants to make a formal statment say that he was wrong or is right then that is his choice
    but that is my 2 cents on
    :)
    So in summary, I think it would be wise if the front page and the forums stayed away from politics. I come to the forums to discuss computers. A little politics is OK, I suppose, particularly when it's computer related like P2P. However, I would like to request that we stay away from Iraq, gay marriage, and the election. It's not going to get anyone anywhere other than angry--particularly as the US presidential campaign season approaches.

    Next time just turn the other cheek. I was actually completely turned off once I started reading Ed's article & couldn't bare to finish it.
    Seems like a bunch "what if's" & one sided point of views. Now I could write a two page long response & such in hopes to gain nobel gratification. But I can pretty much sum it up in a few sentences while getting my point across. :D
    Sorry for the confusion, on your orientation - I'm sure you can understand how I misinterpreted this comment:

    :) its no problem and I am not at all offenended. In fact I was kinda hoping for there to be some confusion caused by that line.
    Anyways, I have a hard time seeing how marriage rights for people of different skin color would cause any problems with someone unless they are racist. Of course I have no problem there - however you are creating a false dichotomy here, by oversimlifying the implications of my response - it is not either consistent and agree with your, or disagree with you and be inconsistent. Yet you present it in such a way that seems to force only those options.

    That is the point, only those who feel that it is wrong to mix races in a relationship would oppose interacial marrige in the same way that those who oppose homosexual marrige are implying that the relationship between two people of the same sex is not on equal ground with a relationship between a woman and a man, or there is something inappropriate about such a relationship. What I am saying is that opposing either interracial marrige or homosexual marrige is ethically similar. Sorry for the confusion :).
    He was ultimately advocating the resolution of these issue through the proper use of our govenernment system - it has the facilities in place to correct wrongs by amending our laws, and that was what he said needed to be done to correct the inadequacies, which he recognized the denial of gay marriage rights as - an inadequacy in the law. He wants it to be a law that this is okay, not just for some cowboy judges to say its okay here and there while overstepping the boundaries of their positions.

    This is covered by my first post. The fact is, whenever rights have been extended in this nation the courts have taken an active role. See Brown v. Board of Education for the most famous example. The civil rights movement and the women's movement both were started by a few people, towns, and judges challlenging the status quo, in the same way it is happening now with homosexual marrige.
    Per Cursor's comments:
    ---I don't think he does himself a favor by quoting the National Review as a source (a very partisan US right wing publication).
    I was not aware that cannibalism was a partisan issue. :)
    More to the point, if one is to criticize a link, one ought to criticize the CONTENTS, not the SOURCE. If the link were related to, say John Kerry, I would be more inclined to agree that the opinions expressed might be one-sided, but the link was related to cannibalism, which I would hope would be something people on both sides of the political spectrum could agree upon.
    In this particular case, I used it simply because it was the first item I thought good that came up on Google. If I had seen something similiar from the New Republic or Mother Jones, I would have used that instead.
    ---and then proceed to discuss the merits of gay marriage?
    I didn't. I simply didn't. What I did speak about was what happens when you remove terms like marriage from legal definition and leave it up to personal interpretation. This is much bigger than the subject of gay marriage. Marriage is like driving; it's not an unfettered right like freedom of speech. The state has the right to define and regulate it; and those definition restrict a lot more behavior than gays marrying. If you want to redefine the terms, fine, change the law.
    ---However, I would like to request that we stay away from Iraq, gay marriage, and the election. It's not going to get anyone anywhere other than angry--particularly as the US presidential campaign season approaches.
    I generally write articles like these on holidays, where I can broach subjects that are relevant to the audience from a broader perspective than computer geekdom. The article was about freedom and how people are abusing the terms; I just used these issues to illustrate the main point.
    I have no intention to write anything about any of the above subjects in the upcoming months. Something VERY VERY dramatic would have to happen for me to change my mind on that, certainly nothing reasonably foreseeable.
    Per IMOG's first statement:
    I think this pretty much summarizes why I write pieces like this every once in a while.
    Part of what the article is about is that it is a sign of civic decadence that it is very hard if not impossible these days to have a political disagreement that doesn't turn into a screaming match (and this extends well beyond this forum).
    I didn't. I simply didn't. What I did speak about was what happens when you remove terms like marriage from legal definition and leave it up to personal interpretation. This is much bigger than the subject of gay marriage. Marriage is like driving; it's not an unfettered right like freedom of speech. The state has the right to define and regulate it; and those definition restrict a lot more behavior than gays marrying. If you want to redefine the terms, fine, change the law.

    But you did, I reread the article and you were addressing the consequences of allowing or pushing for gay marrige, there is no way around that. The state does have a right to define terms like marriage, however, I will again use the example of the civil rights movement of the 60s. Do you disaprove of their methods? They are very similar in many relavent ways to the things going on in the debate on gay marrige. The state of the United States also has an obligation per the 13th amendment of the Constitution to extend state given priviliges to all who are relavently similar, and so it would appear that the State is required by its own enabling document to extend the rights of marraige to homosexuals. This is like denying gays the right to a drivers licence due to thier sexual orientation, which I would assume that you would not support.
    Second, why would you put such a controversial subject into an article about P2P and property rights if you were not looking for a reaction on that subject? My and Cusor's original request was that you refrain from using such subjects in computer articles, nothing more.
    Part of what the article is about is that it is a sign of civic decadence that it is very hard if not impossible these days to have a political disagreement that doesn't turn into a screaming match

    Who is screaming here?
    Per seamadan000's initial comments:
    Per moderators/administrators: Those who write for the front page no longer have even theoretical operational control of the forums. The owners of the forum don't control us and vice versa.
    ---Ed's comments were, to this individual, biased towards the right. At the very least, they were in no way an attempt at even-handed reporting of only the facts. If education on real world issues is to take place then it must be in a manner that is fair to all sides of an issue or else it is no longer education but instead indoctrination.
    In other words, I disagreed with you. Sorry, but saying that the proper reaction to a law perceived as being unjust is to seek redress through the law and/or by changing the law is a core mainstream view in America. There is nothing right-wing about that.
    ---So did civil rights activists in the 60s, does that make the current rights of minorities wrong or ill-gotten?
    No, but it should be noted that the primary gains of both movements were gained by working through the law and by changing it.
    ---The movement for gay marriage is not about stealing property from another, it is about gaining rights for a group that has been denied rights that they are entitled to according to the Constitution of the United States. Ed is completely wrong in comparing a search for equal rights to the desire for free music.
    Show me the word "marriage" in the Constitution. It's not there. Show me a U.S. Supreme Court decision that says that you said. You can't (yes, you can show a Massachusetts Supreme Court decision that does say that, and that's fine for Massachusetts). Marriage is simply not the kind of right freedom of speech is. It is a privilege that has always been restricted and regulated by the state. I cannot marry a twelve-year old girl. In most states, I cannot be considered married without a marriage certificate or ceremony.
    I think the comparison between P2Ping and some gay marriage actions (i.e., the marriages in California) is quite appropriate. Both groups try to take the law into their own hands. This is not how a democratic society ought to work.
    ---Ed showed complete and utter disrespect for gay and lesbian couples by comparing their relationships to his relationship to a computer. Those remarks are blatantly bigoted. The institution of marriage is based on mutual love for each other.
    I made no such comparison. I simply pointed out that if marriage cannot be restricted by the state due to claims of "equal protection under the law" the logic of such a decision has far broader ramifications than allowing gays to marry.
    ---Two people of the same sex can have the same amount of love for one another as a man and a woman can. The same cannot be said for a man and a dog or a man and a computer.
    I think a lot of dog-owners would call you a bigoted specist for that comment. :) The point I was trying to make is that if you remove the power of the state to draw a line (which an equal protection claim would do), they can't logically draw any line. For all the claims of bigotry be tossed about, you're being exclusionary, too. You still think a line should be drawn, just drawn in a different place. The way you do that in a democracy is through law. Then the issue is settled.
    ---Imagine for a moment that he made the same comments about a marriage between a man of color and a white woman. Would any of you be supporting him then? Now examine the two different situations and find a relevant difference between the two. There simply is none.
    There's quite a bit of difference in that the Supreme Court in 1967 ruled against bans on interracial marriage in Loving v. Virginia. In it, they cited the Fourteenth Amendment and said that this precluded racially restrictive laws. There has been no such court decision per gay marriages, in all likelihood, there will be one in a few years.
    Would the Supreme Court HAVE to rule that gay marriages were OK? Maybe, maybe not; the cases are not exactly similiar.
    ---Next, on the issue of receiving survivor benefits and other such things. Ed again shows no prima facie reason that sex should matter in the reception of such benefits.
    The issue is not whether or not it SHOULD matter; the issue is what DOES matter. The law says it does matter, and the redress for that is to change the law.
    ---There is a reason against such things for a dog or a computer- they are not citizens of the US. If fact, if a man’s spouse is not a citizen of the US she is not eligible for the benefits either.
    This is simply untrue; one need not be a citizen of the U.S. to claim social security benefits. It took me a minute to verify that that was the case. Why didn't you?
    Also, there is no relevant reason to think that the sex of one’s partner should change the calculus of handing out such benefits, both Ed’s wife and my same sex partner would have lost a loved one and a source of income. Does my partner’s possession of a penis have anything to do with that?
    ---Again, the issue is not "should be" but rather "is." You see, if you have a LAW saying gay couples can have social security survivorship benefits, that's fine by me.
    I just want a law to govern the situation; simply because that's the way you do things in America. I personally would have no problem with such a law, I just think there ought to be one.
    My arguments had nothing to do with whether or not gay marriages should or should not be legalized. I just said that this should be governed by law, not vigilantism.
    Per IMOG's second set of comments:
    ---The problem is, for all intents and purposes, Ed isn't a leader of this site at all - he is a leader of overclockers.com, but not a leader of ocforums.com. He had no say in how the rules were set here, and he likely is not even aware of how they were set. He has 100 posts in the last 4 years here, and hasn't posted in a considerable amount of time.
    --So Ed doesn't come around much. I think you may possibly be over-rating Ed's awareness of the forums... I do not believe he is very concious of the state of events in our forums and the current rules as to discussion of these topics as they stand. You have to keep in mind that we are seperate entities, though tightly related.
    Boy, you got all that right! :)
    Per seamadan000 second set of comments.
    ---Couldn't then Ed make the same argument that allowing heterosexual marriage would lead to human-canine marriage in the same way that he infers that gay marriage would.
    No, because the state has the right to define marriage. I did not say that gay marriages per se would lead to human-canine marriage. If a state passed a law allowing such, it certainly wouldn't. If you don't have such a law change, and instead you have a court pronouncing that gay marriages (or for that matter any other kind of marriage deemed illegal under law, like underage marriage or incestuous marriages) are OK under "equal protection of the law," THAT's what opens Pandora's Box. It's not that only gay marriages would do the trick.
    ---Unless Ed wants to ban heterosexual marriage he clearly must find that there is something relevantly different between gay and straight marriage for this line of argumentation to be valid.
    Yes, one is illegal, one isn't. That's relevant. If you want gay marriages, either go to court and argue that it really is legal right now, or change the law to make it legal.
    Thus, Ed must either support a ban on all marriage or be of the mind that gay marriage is somehow different (and inferior to) straight marriage
    ---It's not legal. If you want it, work to make it legal. What is this concept so hard to understand?
    ---Also, I would like to point out that the state already has drawn an arbitrary line at heterosexual marriage, why not have the line at homosexual marriage. I see no relevant reason for this.
    If you want to change the law and redraw the line there, that's fine by me. That's the way it should be done. Again, you think I've been arguing against "should," and I haven't. The issue is how to do it.
    But you did, I reread the article and you were addressing the consequences of allowing or pushing for gay marrige, there is no way around that.
    ---Wrong. I was addressing the consequences of allowing gay marriages WITHOUT a law change but rather by an "equal protection under the law" court decision like that of Massachusetts.
    ---The state does have a right to define terms like marriage.
    You can't have gay marriages without a law change AND preserve the state's right to define marriage. A court has to rip apart the second to get the first. That's the problem. You can't just rip it up a little and let just the gays through using "equal protection."
    , however, I will again use the example of the civil rights movement of the 60s. Do you disaprove of their methods?
    ---I've already discussed this.
    --The state of the United States also has an obligation per the 13th amendment of the Constitution
    You are referring to the "full faith and credit" clause in Article IV of the Constitution. The Thirteenth Amendment of the Constitution abolishes slavery.
    ---to extend state given priviliges to all who are relavently similar, and so it would appear that the State is required by its own enabling document to extend the rights of marraige to homosexuals.
    This interpretation is rather highly disputed and is not backed up by a Supreme Court case, quite a few state legislatures have said this would not be the case, and so did the Congress and President in the Defense of Marriage Act.
    ---This is like denying gays the right to a drivers licence due to thier sexual orientation, which I would assume that you would not support.
    Having one state determine the marital law of all the others is rather disputable and hardly democratic. At the least, this is hardly a legal slamdunk.
    Per seamadan000
    ---Who is screaming here?
    Well, tossing around terms like "bigotry" when someone disagrees with you does qualify, but I wasn't referring to you per that comment. I was speaking about political conversation today in general.
    I'm really enjoying this thread. I'd like to thank everyone for their thoughtful comments. I can honestly say that I am impressed with all of these posts.
    I'd particularly like to thank Ed for responding to my comments. I'll respond to them below:

    More to the point, if one is to criticize a link, one ought to criticize the CONTENTS, not the SOURCE.

    Point taken. And I kind of agree with you here. However I guess it is a sign of our times that people (me included) immediately look at a source and question the 'fringes' such as NRO, or the Nation. For that matter Fox News' "fair and balanced" approach or the "documentaries" of Michael Moore illicit much the same reaction.

    I didn't. I simply didn't . What I did speak about was what happens when you remove terms like marriage from legal definition and leave it up to personal interpretation. This is much bigger than the subject of gay marriage. Marriage is like driving; it's not an unfettered right like freedom of speech. The state has the right to define and regulate it; and those definition restrict a lot more behavior than gays marrying. If you want to redefine the terms, fine, change the law.

    Well, yes and no. You used an analogy based on a "slippery slope" argument often quoted in opposition to gay marriage. Then you went on to talk about beastiality and canibalism. When you talk about Bozo, Hitler, and Stalin doesn't that kind of condemn Bozo? I guess I see talking about gay marriage, beastiaility, and cannibalism as condemning the one by putting it in the company of the other two.
    I appreaciate the sentiment in your post, but I don't think the analogy is very effective. However, I understand what you're getting at with the underlying issue of constitutional rights and freedoms under the law vs. the wishes of the general public.

    I have no intention to write anything about any of the above subjects in the upcoming months. Something VERY VERY dramatic would have to happen for me to change my mind on that, certainly nothing reasonably foreseeable.

    Hey--that's great. I'm looking forward to your next piece. :beer: