Recent Development on the Use-LIst

John Vokey vokey at
Tue Dec 13 22:55:34 EST 2005

   What a fascinating discussion, and a perfect, if ironic, example  
of why the question being debated has been resolved (in favour of one  
list) in practise.

   For the record, I agree with Dan (which happens less often than I  
routinely think it should given I own most of his books, but I  
digress).  One feature of the discussion that has fascinated me most  
(and should have led me to put [OT] in the Subject, but again, I  
digress, and, at any rate, this subject line is by definition OT) is  
the confusion between freedoms and rights.  We (well most of us,  
anyway, given our current countries of residence) are *free* to think  
and espouse any damn thing we want, but in none of these countries do  
we have a *right* to do so. The distinction is this: rights entail  
commitments and obligations on the state and the citizens of that  
state to *ensure* those rights.  So, a state (and its citizens) are  
obligated by law to ensure your rights to, for example, privacy,  
property, personhood, and so on.  Freedoms are different.  You are  
free to exercise these ``free'' acts, but the state (and its  
citizens) are not obligated in any way to ensure that you can do so.   
They cannot, as a rule, actively prevent such action, but, again, are  
not required, either, to facilitate them.  Free speech is one such  
freedom.  Free thought is another.  You are free to think any damn  
fool thing you can mentally entertain, but there is no incumbent  
obligation on the state, the citizens of that state, the internet,  
and the citizens of the internet, or, the point and most important  
for current purposes, use-revolution at to provide a  
vehicle for you to express those thoughts.  It (and we) may tolerate  
them, even ``respect'' them (I use scare quotes because I really  
don't know what respecting a thought or belief actually means), but  
we do not have to provide an avenue for them:  We are, of course,  
free to do so, but we are under no obligation to do so.

Now, back to our usual philosophical wrangling, bantering, and code  

On 13-Dec-05, at 6:38 PM, Dan Shafer wrote:

> Fair enough, Mark. Where should they be, then?
> On 12/11/05, Mark Smith <mark at> wrote:
>> These discussions are quite interesting, but IMHO this is not the
>> place for them, since they do interfere with the actual utility of
>> the list.

Please avoid sending me Word or PowerPoint attachments.
See <>

-Dr. John R. Vokey

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