Monday, September 7, 2009

NIPY as an explicit society

When I started writing this blog I didn't know what I would write, but I found myself writing about politics.

I'm interested in politics for many reasons, but there have certainly been politics in the distributed society of NIPY.

I notice, that, one strong opinion that comes up, expressed in various ways is:
  • We should not discuss politics in public
I suppose the reasons that might be given for this are:
  1. it looks bad to outsiders
  2. it's irrelevant to the problem we have
It is dangerous not to discuss politics. Open discussion is a defense against many forms of political game. When there are power games in play, the essential mechanism for keeping them in play, is to prevent them from being discussed. I leave the proof as an exercise for the reader.

The strong pressure not to discuss politics usually makes it impossible to discuss the fact that we are not discussing politics. Expressed with more poetry, the language of irrationality is silence.

In the spirit of free discussion then:
  • it looks bad to outsiders
This is an interesting point of view. There are two branches to go down, depending on whether the proposer agrees that there is a political problem. Imagine the proposer does think that the society suffers from political divisions and that this is a problem. Then the assertion that 'it looks bad to outsiders' is an expression of the hope that the outsiders will not notice the problem, and that the problem will go away if we don't talk about it. It contains an implicit judgment that outsiders will be alarmed by, and intolerant of, open discussion of politics. I am reminded of the famous parable of the grand inquisitor. The alternative point of view is that good citizens are drawn to honest and open discussion.

Taking the second branch means that there is in fact no political problem, and, by implication, the person who thinks there is a problem, is either oddly mistaken or possibly up to no good. This soon leads to the classic 'no man, no problem' fallacy.
  • it's irrelevant to the problem we have
This leads back to the first objection ('I don't want to discuss it'). Of course, it might be irrelevant to the problem we have, but how will we know, if we don't discuss it? Back then, to Python, because we know that:
in the realm of society as for code.

Next - navigating towards a healthy society.

No comments:

Post a Comment