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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The war on grammar

As the rape of science fiction was apparently not enough for the pinkshirts, some of them are now attempting to destroy programming in the name of sex equity as well:
One of the node.js core contributors, Ben Noordhuis, rejected a pull request that eliminated the use of a gendered pronoun in libuv. Now, this was quickly reversed by node.js project lead Isaac Schlueter (that is, Isaac accepted the patch eliminating the gendered pronoun), but because this is a Joyent-sponsored project, many made the reasonable inference that Ben is a Joyent employee—and have called Joyent to task for tolerating such poor behavior. (Especially when that poor behavior transcended into the gobsmackingly inappropriate as Ben tried to revert Isaac's commit.)

But while Isaac is a Joyent employee, Ben is not—and if he had been, he wouldn't be as of this morning: to reject a pull request that eliminates a gendered pronoun on the principle that pronouns should in fact be gendered would constitute a fireable offense for me and for Joyent. On the one hand, it seems ridiculous (absurd, perhaps) to fire someone over a pronoun -- but to characterize it that way would be a gross oversimplification: it's not the use of the gendered pronoun that's at issue (that's just sloppy), but rather the insistence that pronouns should in fact be gendered. To me, that insistence can only come from one place: that gender—specifically, masculinity—is inextricably linked to software, and that's not an attitude that Joyent tolerates. This isn't merely a legalistic concern (though that too, certainly), but also a technical one: we believe that empathy is a core engineering value—and that an engineer that has so little empathy as to not understand why the use of gendered pronouns is a concern almost certainly makes poor technical decisions as well....

But just so you heard it from us: if this were the act of a Joyent employee, we would—to deliberately use a gender-neutral pronoun—fire them.
I would avoid using any of Joyent's products, given that it is clear that as a company, they are far more concerned about ideological correctness than with working code or the abilities of their programmers. They are actually insisting upon the use of grammatically incorrect language and threatening to fire those who are unwilling to use the improper form. It would be fascinating to investigate their employment practices and determine if they have 50 percent female programmers, and if not, to learn why they are operating in such an overtly sexist manner.

As a game developer, I am a potential customer of "high-performance cloud infrastructure and big data analytics company". And I certainly will not be using, or recommending, Joyent.

It's also informative to learn it has now been established that the deliberate choice of pronouns is a fireable offense. This means those of us who speak proper English and understand, as Churchill used to say, that the masculine embraces the feminine in English grammar, are now free to fire anyone who deliberately uses a gender-neutral pronoun such as "he or she" or "them".

This gender-policing of the language is such a stupid, left-wing, and above all, parochial attitude. It should be amusing to see them clumsily attempt to covert all gendered articles to "das" in German and to attempt to impose gender neutrality upon la lingua bella and le français.

Labels:

436 Comments:

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Anonymous Peter Garstig December 10, 2013 6:10 AM  

I like nodejs quite a bit. Joyent offers excellent services. Worked with them on a large scale project and never had any problems with their services. I switched jobs since.

Anyhow, knowing quite a few talks and presentations of Bryan Cantrill, I'm a bit surprised he's in the White Knight category. He's quite explicit and unforgiving when it comes to judge things like quality or people. I can just assume that when he says 'such guys' he only refers to white men.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 10, 2013 6:12 AM  

Linguistic matricide - the cold, calculated, premeditated murder of one's mother tongue - ought be a crucifixion offense.

Anonymous VD December 10, 2013 6:18 AM  

He's quite explicit and unforgiving when it comes to judge things like quality or people.

Everyone has their priorities. Cantrill obviously puts the feminist imperative above code quality and programming talent. And he's set himself up rather nicely for a wrongful-termination lawsuit the next time he fires someone. If you think your job at Joyent is at risk, slip a few gendered pronouns into the code, sit back, wait to get fired, and then bring that quote to your lawyer.

Anonymous VD December 10, 2013 6:20 AM  

ought be a crucifixion offense.

Tom, I'm sort of curious, are there any offenses that you do not believe should result in crucifixion? But in that vein, you should enjoy Book Two....

Anonymous CrisisEraDynamo December 10, 2013 6:24 AM  

The most recent Return of Kings article talks about how women have "ruined gaming." While much of the games journalism has a tiresome feminist bent to it, would you say that women, as a whole, have ruined the games industry in any substantial way? Just how seriously are feminist concerns taken? The RoK article states that gamers are among the thirstiest men around, but at the same time, feminists complain that their comment threads fill up with men disagreeing with them.

Anonymous bw December 10, 2013 6:28 AM  

Humanity itself is lost through the corruption of language and words.
Yep, self-loathing for the win...

Anonymous VD December 10, 2013 6:33 AM  

While much of the games journalism has a tiresome feminist bent to it, would you say that women, as a whole, have ruined the games industry in any substantial way?

No, not at all. The games media is trying to do so, but no one pays any attention to them anyhow. There is a substantial girl-game industry; it is called casual gaming.

Anonymous VD December 10, 2013 6:37 AM  

I should also mention that gamur gurls are not the reason Call of Duty sells well. The problem of graphics over gameplay has always been a problem in the industry. Can't possibly blame that on women.

Blogger Brad Andrews December 10, 2013 6:49 AM  

I would question the technical chops and commitment of anyone who would put political correctness at the forefront like that.

I could be forced to use them in the future if my employer ever required that, but I would seek to not recommend them if I had the choice.

On the gender issue, I have noticed a few bloggers use "she" exclusively, as if that solves the problem.

Anonymous VryeDenker December 10, 2013 7:01 AM  

I will henceforth not use Microsoft's Entity Framework in my projectgs anymore. It sounds too much like "een tittie-framework", which is sloppy Dutch for "A Tittie-Framework". It doesn't get much more sexist than that.

Anonymous AnalogMan December 10, 2013 7:08 AM  

Thank you. That's a pet peeve of mine. I thought I was alone.

Words have gender. People have sex. Lucky people have sexual intercourse. Not the same thing.

Anonymous VryeDenker December 10, 2013 7:09 AM  

I just waded through that comment thread. It was epic.

Anonymous Porky? December 10, 2013 7:09 AM  

?? So what do they use instead of "he" and "she"? Is this sort of like a modern esperanto movement?

Anonymous Sun Xhu December 10, 2013 7:13 AM  

Address: Joyent
One Embarcadero Center, 9th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94111

That explains so much.

Anonymous Maximo Macaroni December 10, 2013 7:14 AM  

Of course, the grammar is wrong as well. "He" as traditionally used does NOT have gender and does not refer specifically to the male or female sex. It embraces (as Churchill lovingly said) both. So this fellow is threatening to fire men (would he fire a woman for using "he" as Ayn Rand and a thousand other authoresses did and do?) who use a clearly NON-gendered pronoun which has been converted by femiNazism into a solely male "tool of oppression".
The larger problem, as has been said ad nauseam, is that one should not be using a pronoun without a clear referent. That's bad writing. Add ignorance to incoherence and vicious power-tripping in the catalog of Joyent's sins. I have no idea how all this affects Joyent's code. I suspect hypocrisy is waiting in the wings, if not already on stage.

Anonymous AnalogMan December 10, 2013 7:20 AM  

VD @ 6:18: Everyone has their priorities.

Ouch.

Anonymous ODG December 10, 2013 7:20 AM  

"Empathy is a core engineering value."

Really? I'm sure our customers will be happy that we feel bad when our crappy products kill them.

Anonymous Apollo December 10, 2013 7:22 AM  

I've noticed a significant increase in this sort of gender equality nonsense in the IT field recently. This is the first time I've seen anyone attempt to construct a rational argument to support a pro "equality" position however, and as arguments go, its an incredibly stupid one.

Suggesting a lack of empathy would be correlated with poor technical decision making? Its like this guy hasn't met any really technically skilled people. A not insignificant proportion of them are considered by many to be anything but empathetic, and I'm sure people here are aware of the correlation between technical ability and aspergers. To these people, elegance and accuracy are more important than peoples feelings, and making a change to code solely for reasons of political correctness is an insult.

Anonymous Porky December 10, 2013 7:28 AM  

Oh God why did I click on that link and why did I click on another link within that link which led me to read...this...

"When I come across documentation with non-gendered pronouns, I think to myself "oh, nice, someone's thinking of social minority groups, these people are likely nice in general". When I come across gendered pronouns, I think to myself "oh, uh, I hope that's just an oversight and this project is not full of creepy douchebags like the above."

We are so doomed.

Anonymous Musashi December 10, 2013 7:34 AM  

Pitiful, middle-class whites at it again. Oh the sorrows of the warm and well-fed American are many.

The Chinese can't invade and kill us soon enough.

Anonymous zen0 December 10, 2013 7:35 AM  

It would be fascinating to investigate their employment practices and determine if they have 50 percent female programmers,

Out of the 7 people shown as the Management Team for Joyent, only one is female, but she is the lawyer. Of course, it does not tell you which of the others are homosexuals.

OpenID cailcorishev December 10, 2013 7:36 AM  

First World Problems.

Anonymous Salt December 10, 2013 7:43 AM  

Now it places the lotion in the basket.

Heh!

Anonymous MendoScot December 10, 2013 7:46 AM  

It should be amusing to see them clumsily attempt to covert all gendered articles to "das" in German and to attempt to impose gender neutrality upon la lingua bella and le français.

Y ni hablar de la idioma más común de latinoamerica.

OpenID cailcorishev December 10, 2013 7:48 AM  

This gender-policing of the language is such a stupid, left-wing, and above all, parochial attitude.

Yes, I assume this nonsense is only happening in English. In Latin, foot (pes) is masculine, hand (manus) is feminine, and head (caput) is neuter? Why? They just are. French and many other languages are similar. It'd be impossible to de-gender-fy them. And since the pronouns in Latin have different forms for each gender in the plural as well as the singular (at least in most cases), it wouldn't help to butcher the grammar by using plural pronouns with singular antecedents, as they've gotten nearly everyone to do in English.

If you don't want to use "he" to refer to a person of unknown gender, fine: rework the sentence so you don't have to. That's always possible. But I see sentences like, "Each member of the Yankees owns their own baseball glove." That should be "his own baseball glove," and since all Yankees are male, there's not even an "inclusive" reason to change it. But if you're allergic to "his," you could make it "All members of the Yankees own their own baseball gloves," and be both inclusive and grammatically correct. Pronoun number disagreement makes my teeth hurt.

Blogger IM2L844 December 10, 2013 7:52 AM  

Just when I think the pinkshirt ridiculousness has reached it's limits, the cherophobic drama addicts dig deep and create yet another avenue of vexation for themselves. These people are bound and determined to be miserable and make everyone else miserable too. Irritating fatuousness on display.

OpenID cailcorishev December 10, 2013 7:56 AM  

we believe that empathy is a core engineering value—and that an engineer that has so little empathy as to not understand why the use of gendered pronouns is a concern almost certainly makes poor technical decisions as well....

What utter bullshit. Any "engineer" worth the name would be more concerned about getting the grammar right than about whether it'll offend some professional offense-taker. Lack of empathy and an obsession for detail are pretty core to the engineer stereotype, in fact, and it's not inaccurate.

A sentence like, "If someone does this we'll fire them," is a "poor technical decision," and the person who wrote it is apt to make poor technical decisions in other areas as well.

Blogger Nate December 10, 2013 8:03 AM  

its so nice to live in the South were people don't even know that controversies like this even exist.

Anonymous Porky December 10, 2013 8:14 AM  

its so nice to live in the South were people don't even know that controversies like this even exist.

That's because you only have one pronoun. Y'all.

Anonymous Darth Toolpodicus December 10, 2013 8:16 AM  

""Empathy is a core engineering value.""

Then he's not a real engineer in any sense of the word.

Blogger Nate December 10, 2013 8:17 AM  

"That's because you only have one pronoun. Y'all."

Just remember... you can't complain about progressives while mocking us for being backward.

Anonymous Loki Sjalfsainn December 10, 2013 8:25 AM  

Brian Cantrell proves that many of your species would sooner be counted "it" than "he". And why not, when they are only "human resources" rather than "personnel"?

They cry out to be chattel, cry out for an owner. Mankind was made to be ruled, I tell you.

Blogger Random December 10, 2013 8:30 AM  

Isn't node.js and open-source project?

Someone could just fork it and fix the error, then keep pushing it up every time they put it back.

Blogger tz December 10, 2013 8:30 AM  

So,are theyngoing to ban ^ for being exclusive, requiring only | and & be used for logic?

Time to fork Node.js - Libre.js anyone ?

Grammar police are annoying, but the gamma grammar guestapo is worse.

Blogger Nate December 10, 2013 8:30 AM  

"Mankind was made to be ruled, I tell you."

out of curiosity... on the collective... does anyone really disagree with that claim? I mean I know I've said myself that people like to claim they love freedom and want freedom... but they really don't.

Anonymous Ten41 December 10, 2013 8:31 AM  

What gets me is that Ben didn't give a rat's tail about the change - he (oops, sorry about that) said that Issac could have his (dammit, there I go again) change - but obviously within the correct patch procedure in place

@isaacs may have his commit bit but that does not mean he is at liberty
to land patches at will. All patches have to be signed off by either
me or Bert...


So, Joyent's response is truly pink - it appears they were more concerned with appeasing the masses, than with educating them to what happened.

Anonymous Marc Pisco December 10, 2013 8:31 AM  

Empathy with the user, in his use of the software, is a core engineering value. I write code for a living. It's a fsct.

Empathy with your developers is a core management value, which this idiot spectacularly lacks. Good technical people have thick skins for technical disagreement - which is one reason why its so insane to pretend a meaningful number of them are women - but very little tolerance for lunatic managers barking crazy orders unrelated to product quality.

But progs are weird. I'm sure some programmers are progressive enough to enjoy this kind of proggie B&D management.

Anonymous Peter Garstig December 10, 2013 8:31 AM  

It should be amusing to see them clumsily attempt to covert all gendered articles to "das" in German

I think this transformation of the language is already quite far in German.

There is the Bible 'in gerechter Sprache' in German. It's kind of a politically correct bible. One goal of this translation is to transfer the Bible text from patriarchal times (Die Bibel entstammt einer massiv patriarchalischen Welt). They even take into account that God is never really referred to as being a man.

Does any such thing exist in other languages yet?

Anonymous Ten41 December 10, 2013 8:33 AM  

Nate

out of curiosity... on the collective... does anyone really disagree with that claim? I mean I know I've said myself that people like to claim they love freedom and want freedom... but they really don't.


Yes, I believe that man was made to be ruled; but not by man.

Blogger JDC December 10, 2013 8:35 AM  

In 2008 I was asked by my then bishop to sit on a Worship Committee - who's sole purpose was planning and coordinating our annual synod convention worship service (in the ELCA a synod is comparable to a district, region or a diocese). I find plugging over minutia to be as exciting as Lawrence Welk was for me as a kid...but, I serve.

Our first meeting went 3 hours. Three hours that I will never get back. Our agenda's first item was to choose a liturgical setting for the service (the ELCA hymnal has 10 different settings). The groups logic (minus my input) went something like this - since the worship attendee's are from N Wisconsin and the U.P of MI - we should go with the Latin American liturgical setting. Actually, what was stated was that these lily white worship attendee's needed to be culturally enriched. 4 Yeas', one nay.

Then - we needed to agree upon the proper Trinitarian formula to begin the service. You may think there is only one - but no! The ELCA's hymnal offers another - more inclusive and less patriarchal invocation - In the name of the Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer. Again, mine was the only no vote.

After the liturgical indoctrination (enrichment) was chosen, we then moved on to picking out scriptures. We spent a few minutes choosing relevant scriptures - and then the real work began - removing all the masculine pronouns and "Lords" (because Lord is patriarchal), from the texts. My lonely Nay failed once again to win the day.

The dominant mindset for the worship service was not meaningful music, relevant scriptures and strong preaching. It was "culturally rich" liturgy, non-threatening music (hymns that don't mention war, Lord or God as He), and scriptures that didn't offend because they used gender specific pronouns.

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord. And He will lift you up. (James 4:10)

Ooops...Humble yourselves in the sight of God. And God will lift you up. There, fixed it.


Blogger Random December 10, 2013 8:38 AM  

They even take into account that God is never really referred to as being a man.

I suppose they just missed all the references of God as 'Father'?

Idiots.

Anonymous Marc Pisco December 10, 2013 8:40 AM  

By the way, iirc, the guy who rejected the goofy check-in wrote 30% of node.js, all apparently without empathy for the downtrodden of the world.

So is he saying he thinks 30% of the technical decisions in the product he supports were made by an incompetent? No. He thinks it's a great product, written by smarter people than him, and he resents them for it.

If he cared primarily about technical skill, he wouldn't insist on measuring it only by crazy orthogonal proxies. People measures what they really care about. And then if they're progs, they start babbling insane lies and changing the subject.

Anonymous Peter Garstig December 10, 2013 8:42 AM  

I suppose they just missed all the references of God as 'Father'?

Idiots.


Maybe. But it's, and I quote, "liberating reading God referred to as feminine, even for men.", I kid you not.

Anonymous Rantor December 10, 2013 8:44 AM  

No, it is perverse reading God referred to as feminine.

Anonymous Loki Sjalfsainn December 10, 2013 8:44 AM  

out of curiosity... on the collective... does anyone really disagree with that claim?

Many do cling to the fantasy that mankind desires freedom. Among them are libertarians and abolitionists.

I mean I know I've said myself that people like to claim they love freedom and want freedom... but they really don't.

So you mean to say that men typically demand things they truly do not want, and it is up to the strong to give them what they really want despite their protests?

Blogger Tom Kratman December 10, 2013 8:45 AM  

Vox: Many offenses. Burglary and robbery clearly call for no more than hanging, along with murder II. Arson, burning at the stake. Rape seems to me to justify impalement, though, of course, proof beyond a reasonable doubt - which we don't, by the way, require for rape anymore - would be required. Counterfeifting? Pour molten gold down the culprit's throat; it can be recovered later. Only murder I - including linguistic matricide because it is, in fact, a crime against civilization as a whole - and treason seem to me to justify crucifixion.

Anonymous Darth Toolpodicus December 10, 2013 8:47 AM  

"Empathy with the user, in his use of the software, is a core programming value. I write code for a living. It's a fsct."

Fixed. Programming is not Engineering, regardless of how many software developers want to tell themselves that.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 10, 2013 8:50 AM  

Oh, and being Bernie Madoff, mustn't forget to nail that miscreant up.

Blogger Random December 10, 2013 8:51 AM  

Counterfeifting? Pour molten gold down the culprit's throat...

That would require a lot of gold to properly punish the counterfeiters at the Federal Reserve. So much that we could probably re-stabilize our entire currency with it.

Anonymous Loki Sjalfsainn December 10, 2013 8:51 AM  

Vox: Many offenses.

And may there be mercy for your soul should you steal a bicycle, for there shall be none in this realm.

Anonymous cherub's revenge December 10, 2013 8:52 AM  

"ought to be a crucifixion offense "

"Day of the Crucifixion" just doesn't have the same snappy sound to it. Plus it's kind of already taken.

Blogger Nate December 10, 2013 8:52 AM  

"So you mean to say that men typically demand things they truly do not want, and it is up to the strong to give them what they really want despite their protests?"

You're taking it a step to far. They don't need the strong to enslave them. They enslave themselves quite effectively.

There will always be a few outliers... and those outliers may even gather up and for small groups with different ideals... but over time those groups become watered down themselves by human nature. Its not necessary to put down such rebellions... one need only let them wander in the wilderness for a time. In a century or so... or in some cases mere decades... human nature wins out.

Its like plate tectonics. You couldn't stop it if you tried... and speeding it up isn't really worth the effort.

Blogger JDC December 10, 2013 8:55 AM  

Just remember... you can't complain about progressives while mocking us for being backward.

That sounds like a challenge! I love challenges.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 10, 2013 8:58 AM  

Loki, well sure if you steal the bike from someone, in their presence, by force, violence, threat or intmidation; that's robbery, a common law felony that calls for hanging, or if you break into their dwelling at night to steal it, which is burglary, ditto.

The world would be a much nicer place if we executed all common law felons, linguistic matricides, and Bernie Madoff.


Random: As mentioned, the gold can be recovered and reused.

Cherub: Appian Way Remembrance Day, perhaps? I think we could get most of the guilty along I-95 and I-5, though it may get crowded.

Blogger Booch Paradise December 10, 2013 9:01 AM  

out of curiosity... on the collective... does anyone really disagree with that claim? I mean I know I've said myself that people like to claim they love freedom and want freedom... but they really don't.

I believe that the Bible teaches that different forms of government are most appropriate for different populations over time. The informal rule of Judges was best for Israel in the time where it happened. In the time of Joshua and shortly after people did what is right of their own accord. But over time the nation degraded to the point of duplicating the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah: "In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit." At that point, they both needed and wanted to be ruled.

Blogger JDC December 10, 2013 9:03 AM  

A progressive walks into a dentist's office and notices that the magazines are all male related - Field and Stream, SI and GQ. She complains to the receptionist that the magazines in the waiting room do not properly represent the feminine, and are thereby sexist. The Southron responds, "What is a dentist?"

Blogger Nate December 10, 2013 9:04 AM  

" though it may get crowded."

The smell would also be problematic.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 10, 2013 9:05 AM  

Oh, I dunno. "Smells like...victory."

Blogger Nate December 10, 2013 9:06 AM  

"A progressive walks into a dentist's office and notices that the magazines are all male related - Field and Stream, SI and GQ. She complains to the receptionist that the magazines in the waiting room do not properly represent the feminine, and are thereby sexist. The Southron responds, "What is a dentist?""

So the receptionist at dentist office doesn't know what dentists are?

Look mate... I used to host Bad Joke Wednesday. I love bad jokes. But that doesn't work.

Try again.

Anonymous CunningDove December 10, 2013 9:07 AM  

Nate, I'm not sure if they don't want freedom as much as they don't want to be responsible for screwing up. Freedom requires you to be held accountable for your choices. Many, many people are just not prepared, equipped or strong enough to take the good & run with it. Or, if they make a poor decision to learn from it, dust themselves off & move forward from the lesson learned.

Blogger Nate December 10, 2013 9:07 AM  

"Oh, I dunno. "Smells like...victory."

Having actually lived within a couple blocks of the Body Farm in knoxville... let me tell ya... Victory stinks to all hell.

Anonymous Daniel December 10, 2013 9:08 AM  

"It puts the lotion on its skin or it gets the hose again."

Leftists are Buffalo Bill.

Unfortunately for them, we are Hannibal Lecter.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 10, 2013 9:09 AM  

A temporary problem, at worst, Nate.

Blogger Nate December 10, 2013 9:09 AM  

"Nate, I'm not sure if they don't want freedom as much as they don't want to be responsible for screwing up. "

Semantics. its all the same.

Anonymous Peter Garstig December 10, 2013 9:11 AM  

"Empathy with the user, in his use of the software, is a core programming value. I write code for a living. It's a fsct."

Fixed. Programming is not Engineering, regardless of how many software developers want to tell themselves that.


Ignoring the fact that the original statement is likely wrong for regardless if one is the other or not, I'd like to know what makes you think that programming is not engineering?

Blogger Nate December 10, 2013 9:15 AM  

"A temporary problem, at worst, Nate."

See this is the problem with the pro-mass execution types... they never take practical problems into consideration.

For example... Have you Tom considered the economic impact of crusifying 50 million people? Mate that's like 100 million 6 inch 8 foot poles... 4 hundred million spikes and who knows how many millions of man hours.

Ya know what that's gonna do to the price of a high quality 2X4?

I'm supposed to by 50 bucks for a box of 10 penny nails because you think a bullet ain't good enough? Really?

Blogger Tom Kratman December 10, 2013 9:24 AM  

Oh, surely not so many. Actual murderers, linguistic matricides, traitors, and Bernie Madoff? Not more than a couple of million. And they don't need to be done away with at once; surely we have some salt mines somewhere and lumber camps above the arctic circle where we can get a little use out of them before nailing some sense into them. And most of the actual work can be done by the condemned, before they take their turns providing a useful lesson in civic responsibility, proper grammar, the virtues of gender specific pronouns, the wickedness of gender neutral speech, and not being Bernie Madoff.


BTW, I probably cost myself about .3 on my GPA in law school by just flat refusing to employ gender neutral speech and saying I would not comply, in advance.

Anonymous Grrr December 10, 2013 9:28 AM  

"Empathy is a core engineering value."

I want the bridge to stay up.

I want the plane to fly safely to its destination.

I want the website to work.

I don't give a DAMN how anyone involved in making that happen feels about it.

Anonymous Grrrr December 10, 2013 9:34 AM  

Have you Tom considered the economic impact of crusifying 50 million people? Mate that's like 100 million 6 inch 8 foot poles... 4 hundred million spikes and who knows how many millions of man hours.

You don't need the crosspiece. You don't even need nails. Tie them to a telephone pole with their arms above their head. Cheap and effective use of pre-existing infrastructure!

If you're really strapped for cash, fling 'em off a cliff.

"The Tarpeian Rock (Latin, Rupes Tarpeia or Saxum Tarpeium) was a steep cliff of the southern summit of the Capitoline Hill, overlooking the Roman Forum in Ancient Rome. It was used during the Roman Republic as an execution site. Murderers, traitors, perjurors, and larcenous slaves, if convicted by the quaestores parricidii, were flung from the cliff to their deaths.... To be hurled off the Tarpeian Rock was, in some sense, a fate worse than death, because it carried with it a stigma of shame. "

Blogger Russell December 10, 2013 9:42 AM  

I like using s/h/it for all my pronouns when discussing the left.

Blogger Nate December 10, 2013 9:43 AM  

"If you're really strapped for cash, fling 'em off a cliff."

Yep. I've always thought the elaborate executions were just the result of people trying to hard. Gravity works just fine thanks.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 10, 2013 9:48 AM  

The thing about crucifixion is that dignity in death is impossible. Unlike hanging, the windpipe is left free, so everyone screams and everyone begs. And the torture, past nailing or tying them up, and breaking their legs near the end, is all done by the victim himself, thus preserving the dignity of the state, as well as the public fisc.

One notes that after Crassus nailed up 6400 or so rebellious slaves, Rome never again had a serious servile insurrection, either.

Anonymous Heh December 10, 2013 9:49 AM  

Empathy is not a core value of gravity...

Anonymous bob k. mando December 10, 2013 9:52 AM  

Nate December 10, 2013 9:15 AM
Ya know what that's gonna do to the price of a high quality 2X4?



sounds like economic stimulus to Paul Krugman.

see, if'n y'all would just learn how to phrase things properly you'd have leftists begging to help you accomplish your goals.

Blogger Nate December 10, 2013 10:01 AM  

"The thing about crucifixion is that dignity in death is impossible"

Ain't no dignity in being tossed off a cliff either. And my 2X4 prices are unaffected.

Anonymous Brother Thomas December 10, 2013 10:02 AM  

Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.
Euripides

Blogger Tom Kratman December 10, 2013 10:02 AM  

No, someone who's pretty stout can keep from screaming while falling. Nobody can keep from begging on the cross unless they, like Christ, manage to die fairly quickly.

Anonymous Loki Sjalfsainn December 10, 2013 10:03 AM  

linguistic matricides

By the bye, will this include every person who uses textspeak or writes the word "definately"?

Indeed, I should hope that the vast majority of your people would cease reading and writing, for fear that they might be slain.

Anonymous Darth Toolpodicus December 10, 2013 10:05 AM  

"Ignoring the fact that the original statement is likely wrong for regardless if one is the other or not, I'd like to know what makes you think that programming is not engineering?"

A couple decades of developing hardware and software.

While there is some overlap in the people that do those tasks, it is primarily one-sided, even taking into account breaking up software folks into developers/"software engineers"/computer scientists.

Being a code-monkey does not an Engineer make. That is not to say that any given individual is incapable of performing either taks, but the tasks and skills are not the same.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 10, 2013 10:05 AM  

Don't argue law with a lawyer, unless you are one. Intent is required, not a mere mistake.

Anonymous Alexander December 10, 2013 10:11 AM  

You'd want to do them in small groups and not all-at-once anyway: get the most out of admissions sales.

Anonymous Loki Sjalfsainn December 10, 2013 10:12 AM  

There will always be a few outliers... and those outliers may even gather up and for small groups with different ideals... but over time those groups become watered down themselves by human nature. Its not necessary to put down such rebellions... one need only let them wander in the wilderness for a time.

And in the meantime, they slaughter your peacekeepers, rob and execute their neighbors who remain loyal to you, ally with your enemies, and seize for themselves the resources that you once called your own.

What sort of protector permits this be done to his charges, I ask you?

Blogger Tom Kratman December 10, 2013 10:13 AM  

Good point, Alex.

Blogger Nate December 10, 2013 10:14 AM  

"No, someone who's pretty stout can keep from screaming while falling."

Perhaps but there is no dignity to be found in splattering all over the rocks and being eaten by buzzards. even you do manage to not scream you will tumble around. The whole thing is more dehumanizing.

Many martyrs were crucified. Its cost them no dignity at all. In fact I believe their deaths spawned more than one symbol didn't they?

Saint Andrew's Bloody Cross?

Anonymous Loki Sjalfsainn December 10, 2013 10:17 AM  

Don't argue law with a lawyer, unless you are one. Intent is required, not a mere mistake.

Well, as you are the expert here, do explain to me a thing I oft hear called the "chilling effect", and whether a government might not seize an opportunity to execute someone for "Wanton Cruelty to the Common Comma" should his political speech displease some bureaucrat.

Blogger Nate December 10, 2013 10:18 AM  

"And in the meantime, they slaughter your peacekeepers, rob and execute their neighbors who remain loyal to you, ally with your enemies, and seize for themselves the resources that you once called your own."

Actually no. Historically they've actually not done it that way at all. They've actually generally gone off by themselves and settled new lands... aquiring their own resources and building new civilizations.

in other words they provide a service.

The rebellions you would seek to put down... in your short sightedness... actually end up growing the Empire of Slavery in the long run.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 10, 2013 10:18 AM  

That may be true but it's also irrelvant; there's no dignity in decomposing in the grave, either, but nothing is lost by it.

Martyrs seem to fall into a different category than criminals. Can't imagine why that would be, but the perversity of Man knows no bounds.

More seriously, how can you, with a straight face, tacitly claim not to understand that screaming, begging, pleading, and torturing yourself (because the state's not doing it once your up there) is not as dignified as dying tight lipped and defiant? It really beggars belief.

OpenID cailcorishev December 10, 2013 10:21 AM  

By the bye, will this include every person who uses textspeak or writes the word "definately"?

Heh. At one point, there must have been a major spellchecker that preferred "defiantly" over "definitely" for misspellings like that one. For a couple years there, it seemed like I saw that mistake more often than its/it's. Had to be a spellchecker; how many people could spell "defiantly" correctly on purpose?

Blogger Tom Kratman December 10, 2013 10:21 AM  

Now you're talking about something different, Loki, the fact that anything that can be done for a good reason can be done for a bad. Know what? So what? We're so close to civilizational collapse that the niceties need to eb dispensed with and forgotten about. The issues have become existential. Forget "Chilling effect;" that's for people in secure societies to worry about. For us, we're more in danger of freezing and starving as things continue to rot away.

Anonymous Krul December 10, 2013 10:22 AM  

To me, that insistence can only come from one place: that gender—specifically, masculinity—is inextricably linked to software, and that's not an attitude that Joyent tolerates. This isn't merely a legalistic concern (though that too, certainly), but also a technical one: we believe that empathy is a core engineering value—and that an engineer that has so little empathy as to not understand why the use of gendered pronouns is a concern almost certainly makes poor technical decisions as well....

The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

Nate - its so nice to live in the South were people don't even know that controversies like this even exist.

You know, I once attended an Episcopal church in Ohio. After the service by the (female) priest, the parishioners were discussing among themselves whether they should have gay priests or not.

This, I thought, is just not the type of argument people would have in the Baptist church back home.

Anonymous dh December 10, 2013 10:22 AM  

Hey you should avoid using node.js because it's a total and utter piece of crap. And also the whole b.s. about this as well.

Anonymous Loki Sjalfsainn December 10, 2013 10:22 AM  

Historically they've actually not done it that way at all. They've actually generally gone off by themselves and settled new lands... aquiring their own resources and building new civilizations.

in other words they provide a service.


So, in fact, there was no such thing as the Russian Revolution? How curious.

Blogger Nate December 10, 2013 10:24 AM  

"So, in fact, there was no such thing as the Russian Revolution? How curious."

No. historically the russian revolution isn't relevant to the discussion because it was just folks trading one set of chains for another.

Blogger Nate December 10, 2013 10:26 AM  

"More seriously, how can you, with a straight face, tacitly claim not to understand that screaming, begging, pleading, and torturing yourself (because the state's not doing it once your up there) is not as dignified as dying tight lipped and defiant? It really beggars belief"

I don't deny it. I deny that it matters.

its not the dignity that matters... its the fear. And return on investment is better with falling and going splat.

Anonymous Loki Sjalfsainn December 10, 2013 10:26 AM  

Forget "Chilling effect;" that's for people in secure societies to worry about. For us, we're more in danger of freezing and starving as things continue to rot away.

I am glad that you agree with me that these things called "rights" are only pretty conceits of a decadent society, that a man's life should be forfeit when he acts or speaks in ways that the powerful call "dangerous" or "antisocial."

...For the good of all of you, except the ones who are dead.

Anonymous dh December 10, 2013 10:29 AM  

Fixed. Programming is not Engineering, regardless of how many software developers want to tell themselves that.
Good point. There are some systems projects that are engineering, that involve programming, but the programming is not the engineering anymore than selecting the right brand of asphalt is engineering a road project.

No free job title upgrades.

Anonymous Will Best December 10, 2013 10:30 AM  

Yep. I've always thought the elaborate executions were just the result of people trying to hard. Gravity works just fine thanks.

Well you do have to make sure they land on something hard, otherwise there is a decent chance of survival

Anonymous Loki Sjalfsainn December 10, 2013 10:31 AM  

No. historically the russian revolution isn't relevant to the discussion because it was just folks trading one set of chains for another.

It was a rebellion, however, and they hardly "went off by themselves and settled new lands... aquiring [sic] their own resources and building new civilizations."

Rebellion must not be countenanced if you value your prosperity and order.

Blogger Nate December 10, 2013 10:31 AM  

Tom... allow me to splain...

No matter how a great man dies... he will be remembered for how he lived. And as we think back to men like St Andrew... its impossible for us to even imagine that they screamed and pleaded and begged. Even if they did.

So ultimately it doesn't matter.

Tossing off the cliff terrifies people... and they go splat in a very nasty undigified way even if they are silent all the way down. And while worms have to eat just as buzzards... we don't actually watch the worms do their work. While the buzzards are quite public.

Blogger Nate December 10, 2013 10:31 AM  

"Rebellion must not be countenanced if you value your prosperity and order."

You always have been an insecure little thing.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 10, 2013 10:32 AM  

And there we have a basic disagreement. And I do disagree; dignity in death matters a great deal in terms of its impact on the rest of the populace. We can hang someone - which is almost painless, by the way - and he can make a great speech up on the gallows and incite the admiration of the kiddies even as he incites the local maidenhood to start lubricating. His execution represents a net societal loss and a net plus for the idea of villain as hero. Conversely, we nail the son of a bitch up. He screams when the nails go in. He screams again when he's raised verticle. His breathing gets difficult so he tortures himself to prolong life. His agony is so great he loses all control, begging for help, for aid, for something to drink. KIds look at that and go, "Oh, my, I sure don't want to be like that." Passing girls - instead of getting wet - avert their eyes and hold their noses because, sure as hell, he's shit himself, too. There is in no one a desire to emulate the crud and thus his death is societally useful.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 10, 2013 10:35 AM  

Oh, and there's no need to imagine anything like Saint Andrew in the distant past. The son of a bitch is up there right in front of the courthouse or on "execution hill" for everyone to see with their own eyes.

Anonymous Huckleberry - est. 1977 December 10, 2013 10:36 AM  

we believe that empathy is a core engineering value

That's adorable.
They must've found the six engineers in the history of the trade with demonstrable empathy.
It's not like autism and asperger's are over-represented in the engineering industry.

Anonymous Loki Sjalfsainn December 10, 2013 10:38 AM  

You always have been an insecure little thing.

And you are naive and ignorant. We can always count on you to elevate the conversation to new heights of emotionality.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 10, 2013 10:39 AM  

By the way, if you're going to execute all common law felons (and Bernie Madoiff), you're pretty much stuck with using more creative methods of execution to avoid or at least mitigate the sheep and lamb problem. Example, someone rapes a girl. He's facing impalement but (all Islamically) we might allow the girl to partially pardon him and simply hang the fuck. So he's facing a possibly merciful death. Conversely, if he kills her and she cannot forgive him then it's nails. But if nails are not on offer, then he's got nothing to lose by killing her, too.

Blogger Nate December 10, 2013 10:40 AM  

"We can hang someone - which is almost painless, by the way - and he can make a great speech up on the gallows and incite the admiration of the kiddies even as he incites the local maidenhood to start lubricating. His execution represents a net societal loss and a net plus for the idea of villain as hero."

You left out the part where the Hero shits himself.

Very dignified.

Anonymous gwood December 10, 2013 10:41 AM  

"If you're really strapped for cash, fling 'em off a cliff."
Those Punkin' Chunkin' guys would probably pay to handle it.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 10, 2013 10:42 AM  

Dead bodies do lose sphincter control. So? No one sees it, and he's in no worse position than someone else who died and lost sphincter control. Conversely, up on a cross, some of his shit sticks to has ass while some rolls down the Stirpes. Much less dignified.

Blogger Nate December 10, 2013 10:44 AM  

I mean mate I don't care how great a speech you make or what kind of brave face you put on. 15 seconds later you're swinging by your neck with poopy pants. It kind of makes everything you said appear a bit sarcastic.

Anonymous dh December 10, 2013 10:44 AM  

You left out the part where the Hero shits himself.

Do you have any comment about the hanging being painless? I think that this assumes a substantial drop and an intent to kill painlessly. There is nothing inherently painless about hanging about the neck until dead. Even the guillotine was known to malfunction from time to time.

Blogger Nate December 10, 2013 10:45 AM  

of course people see it. The body is left swinging there for who knows how long... stinking of piss and shit... with stains running down the pants legs.

Blogger Nate December 10, 2013 10:47 AM  

Look.. I admire a man that can stand on the gallows and say, "Lets move this along. I want to be in Hell in time for dinner."

But that doesn't change the fact that the same man was swinging there for a several hours with poopy pants.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 10, 2013 10:48 AM  

Actually no, DH. A no drop, thin cord hanging cuts off the blood supply to the brain, resulting in almost instantaneous unconsciousness, with death following in time. You can see it in sundry videotapes of hangings in Iran, where the victims go limp almost immediately or, indeed, immediately. There are two examples I am aware of where the victim struggled, one woman and one male rapist. In both cases, the noose ended up under one side of the chin, which apparently allowed blood to continue to pass for a while (about a minute to a miinute and a quarter). There is also a video of a Sudetenlander hanged using the Austro-Hungarian pole haning method, which uses a thin cord and pulls down on the body. No struggle, just quick unconsciousness.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 10, 2013 10:49 AM  

You are saying, Nate, that X = Y, where there's no real correlation, where ever factor is different. You can make the claim if you want, but you'll forgive me, I'm sure, for just ignoring it.

Anonymous patrick kelly December 10, 2013 10:50 AM  

"While there is some overlap in the people that do those tasks, it is primarily one-sided, even taking into account breaking up software folks into developers/"software engineers"/computer scientists."

I barely consider myself a developer. Implementer maybe. Usually implementing someone else's design.

There is some designing and engineering on a smaller scale going on in my code, but I work with real system engineers, and I know I ain't one. Don't really want to be either.



Blogger Nate December 10, 2013 10:50 AM  

Bah...

Kratman is as bad as Bane... Hopeless unrepentant romantics. No rehabilitating either damned one of them.

Blogger Nate December 10, 2013 10:51 AM  

"Actually no, DH. A no drop, thin cord hanging cuts off the blood supply to the brain, resulting in almost instantaneous unconsciousness, with death following in time"

Yep.

Krat is exactly correct here. Its a different mechanism than the neck breaking long drop.

Anonymous bob k. mando December 10, 2013 10:52 AM  

Nate December 10, 2013 10:31 AM
we don't actually watch the worms do their work. While the buzzards are quite public.



uh, if you leave the cross up for long enough, the carrion birds will be more than happy to do their work on the tree. they might not even wait for the poor schmuck to die before they start taking care of business. you see, apart from shaking his head, he's completely indefensible.



Nate December 10, 2013 10:31 AM
Tossing off the cliff terrifies people... and they go splat in a very nasty undigified way even if they are silent all the way down.


yeah, and it's over and done in <20 seconds.

a single crucifixion would be more efficacious than hundreds of cliff diving expeditions simply on the time basis.


someone above mentioned hanging perps on telco / power poles. please don't do that. there are perfectly innocent OSP utility techs who have to work up there.

Blogger Nate December 10, 2013 10:53 AM  

"You are saying, Nate, that X = Y, where there's no real correlation, where ever factor is different. "

No mate. I'm saying we both seek to achieve effect Z... and you are miss attributing the cause of Z.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 10, 2013 10:56 AM  

And I think you're wrong, and are claiming correlation that just don't stand up at all. Smashing = begging? No. Shitting once dead = shitting while alive? No. Painless = painful? No. Making an admirable speech = torturing oneself to hang onto life? No. Sorry, nothing you've yet said strikes me as sensible or defensible.

Anonymous Porky December 10, 2013 10:57 AM  

Just remember... you can't complain about progressives while mocking us for being backward.

Not backward - lazy.

Blogger tz December 10, 2013 10:59 AM  

Even worse. The patch was from someone who did not submit a CLA (giving copyright to the project), and it was "trivial", either of which would get the paatch rejected.

It is not as if most FLOSS projects couldn't use better, clearer, more concise documentation. Let the petty (in) pink pronoun prose police rewrite the documentation to make it clean, clear, and concise, as well as indexed, and few would care if the pronouns were generic-male or neuteral.

OpenID cailcorishev December 10, 2013 10:59 AM  

There are some systems projects that are engineering, that involve programming, but the programming is not the engineering anymore than selecting the right brand of asphalt is engineering a road project.

Selecting the brand of asphalt would be analogous to selecting the programming language. That's not programming or engineering; it's project management.

I wouldn't say all programmers are engineers. Writing code isn't engineering. But programmers on small projects, who decide what the software needs to do, then build the pieces to perform the functions and put them together into a working whole, kinda seem like engineers. Is there that much difference in the mentality involved between designing and building a database engine and designing and building a lawnmower engine?

Blogger Tom Kratman December 10, 2013 10:59 AM  

Oh, except for your argument about cost and effort, but, as demonstrated, the cost can be contained by reuse.

Anonymous J December 10, 2013 11:00 AM  

Tossing off the cliff terrifies people...

Erm, do you think people in Roman days weren't scared of crucifixion? Especially because they'd all seen it, and knew exactly what it meant? Remember what Tom said about "no more slave revolts after thousands of slaves were crucified"? Why do you think that was?

Blogger Nate December 10, 2013 11:05 AM  

In truth the human response to brutality is harder to pin down than either Tom or me is making it out to be.

history provides examples and counter-examples to each.

Anonymous Alexander December 10, 2013 11:07 AM  

Granted, I've never been in a position where I risked either crucifixion or being thrown from a cliff...

But it seems to me that one can follow a cause, and if the threat is being thrown off a cliff, it's scary, but one can accept that ending, in the abstract. Sure, come the day it might seem to stretch on, but you think "I'm doing X for the great cause, if I am caught I will die but it will be over quick."

I can't really see how a 20 second fall is a worse way to go than how reality went down for most of history's fallen soldiers - and yet they still marched forward under those conditions.

But if you think, "If I get caught I am going to spend days shitting myself while nailed to a stake"... that seems the greater deterrent.

The only thing that seems as unpleasant as crucifixion is scaphism.

Anonymous Giraffe December 10, 2013 11:09 AM  

Where's Josh? He was talking about guillotines the other day.

Bah, too French

Blogger Nate December 10, 2013 11:09 AM  

"And I think you're wrong, and are claiming correlation that just don't stand up at all. Smashing = begging? No. Shitting once dead = shitting while alive? No. Painless = painful? No. Making an admirable speech = torturing oneself to hang onto life?"

Torturing oneself to hang onto life is undignified? Really? Fighting for every last breath inspite of unspeakable pain is... undignified?

I will give you a chance to reword. For you didn't mean it that way.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 10, 2013 11:11 AM  

_That_ is defensible, though I don't think it's entirely correct. You'll find religious fanatics who will pray rather than scream and beg, and may indeed give a bad societal example, assuming their religion is something you're trying to suppress. But few of them are going to be murderers, linguistic matricides, or Bernie Madoff, few or none of whom can be expected to pray in lieu of begging and pleading. So, yeah, different results, but also different classes of people.

Blogger Nate December 10, 2013 11:13 AM  

I think your time spent in the military has made you focus to much on the eastern mind. After all its the easterners you faced.

The eastern mind responds so very well to brutality. Especially in the arab world. I've often said myself that the reason we fail there is that we don't understand how their minds work... that they are not us. What we view as strength they view as weakness. They have brutal governments because that's what they respect. That's what they want. This is hard for westerners to grasp.

Your mistake however is the assumption that the western mind would respond to the brutality the same way.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 10, 2013 11:13 AM  

No, I mean it exactly that way. They have no real choice in it, survival instinct takes over, and gives the lie to any brave speech they made before the nails went in.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 10, 2013 11:14 AM  

No, I think it works pretty well here, too, or would, as it did in the Empire.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 10, 2013 11:16 AM  

Remember, too, after the initial bout of massive executions, some by crucifixion but probably most by hanging, the number required ought to drop off enormously.

Anonymous Matt December 10, 2013 11:18 AM  

Remember what Tom said about "no more slave revolts after thousands of slaves were crucified"? Why do you think that was?

And yet, Rome fell. It wasn't the slaves that did it, to be sure, but it fell nonetheless. Draconian enforcement has its perks, but its track record with regard to long-term stability is dubious.

Blogger rycamor December 10, 2013 11:19 AM  

AnalogMan December 10, 2013 7:20 AM

VD @ 6:18: Everyone has their priorities.

Ouch.


It's telling that even someone as thoughtful and reactionary as Vox falls prey to this phrasing. This stuff has been so hammered into us since the 80s that unless you make a serious conscious effort, these things just slip out. The English written language would be completely unsufferable with the grammatically correct "his or her" scattered everywhere, so we fall back on the lesser evil, ungrammatical as it may be.

Blogger Nate December 10, 2013 11:20 AM  

"But it seems to me that one can follow a cause, and if the threat is being thrown off a cliff, it's scary, but one can accept that ending, in the abstract. Sure, come the day it might seem to stretch on, but you think "I'm doing X for the great cause, if I am caught I will die but it will be over quick."

I can't really see how a 20 second fall is a worse way to go than how reality went down for most of history's fallen soldiers - and yet they still marched forward under those conditions.

But if you think, "If I get caught I am going to spend days shitting myself while nailed to a stake"... that seems the greater deterrent."

Not really. Does it really depend on the end? or does it depend on how much you love The Great Cause?

And remember... we're talking about common criminals here.

So...

"If I get caught stealing this bread.. I'm gonna die... vs... if I get caught stealing this bread... I'm gonna get tortured and die horribly."

I just don't think the difference between those who are willing to die for that bread.. and those who are willing to die but not be tortured and die... is that great.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 10, 2013 11:21 AM  

That doesn't get you very far, Matt. Everything falls: "Scarsdale's turn will come." If eternity were the criterion nothing would matter, because it's impossible short of divinity.

Got a case to make that crucifixion, per se, shortened the life of the Empire? Got a case to make that crucifixion led to Adrianople and the crossing of the Rhine in 406? Got any case at all to make?

Blogger Tom Kratman December 10, 2013 11:22 AM  

False analogy, Nate.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 10, 2013 11:22 AM  

In fact, it's a real stinker.

Blogger Nate December 10, 2013 11:25 AM  

"No, I mean it exactly that way. They have no real choice in it, survival instinct takes over, and gives the lie to any brave speech they made before the nails went in."

K Tom.

But you're flat wrong. Someone fighting for every breath in defiance is not a deterrent. Its not undignified. Its inspiring. In fact... its bloody damned dangerous.

You nail the wrong guy to a tree... and you'll have a rebellion like you've never seen.

Where as you toss him off a cliff... and he never has a chance to fight for anything.

Blogger Nate December 10, 2013 11:26 AM  

"False analogy, Nate."

Ok. Correct it.

Anonymous TWS December 10, 2013 11:26 AM  

Only on VP can you find discussions like these. Tom, I agree on all details and would like to add any nation that rid itself of felons in such a manner would likely have little use for armed law enforcement. We couldn't catch all the felons but the majority of serious crime is commited by a minority of criminals. The rest would self select for more law abiding lifestyles.

I once knew a prisoner with over two dozen arrests for car theft. He had only one conviction despite being in the cars at the time (or fleeing the vehicle in plain view). He was in for less than two years.

Think of being able to leave the keys in your car or your doors unlocked. It would be a good place for all.

Anonymous Alexander December 10, 2013 11:27 AM  

Nate,

For stealing bread, probably not. Death alone is probably a sufficient deterrent.

For the bigger things, where death alone is provably *not* enough, I think it does.

Terror *works*.

Anonymous Matt December 10, 2013 11:28 AM  

Got a case to make that crucifixion, per se, shortened the life of the Empire? Got a case to make that crucifixion led to Adrianople and the crossing of the Rhine in 406? Got any case at all to make?

I doubt it made any difference at all in either direction. What kills empires is diminishing marginal returns on centralization. When it finally goes negative, poof.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 10, 2013 11:28 AM  

What's to correct? You just made crucifixion a choice where someone's going to die anyway almost as badly. But the parameters I gave were crucifixion for murder I, for treason, for linguistic matricide, which undermines civilization as a whole, and for being (really stealing like) Bernie Madoff which does the same thing. None of those latter choices are required in the same way that stealing bread to eat may be required. Hence, stinker.

Blogger Nate December 10, 2013 11:29 AM  

"Nate,

For stealing bread, probably not. Death alone is probably a sufficient deterrent.

For the bigger things, where death alone is provably *not* enough, I think it does.

Terror *works*."

It does?

Do explain Christianity then. I mean you realize how most of the apostles died right?

Blogger Tom Kratman December 10, 2013 11:32 AM  

For Rome, most legal action was pretty decentralized, Matt.

Anonymous Josh December 10, 2013 11:33 AM  

Can we also include lawyers on the lists of those to be crucified?

Blogger Tom Kratman December 10, 2013 11:34 AM  

Already explained it above, Nate. Different classes of people react differently and get different reactions from the general populace. Again, it's a stinker of an analogy to compare St Andrew and St Trayvon, say, or the Blessed Bernie Madoff.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 10, 2013 11:34 AM  

No.

Anonymous Alexander December 10, 2013 11:34 AM  

I think there's a pretty strong case to be made that Jesus was exceptional and we should not expect similar results from your average Bernie Madoff.

Blogger Nate December 10, 2013 11:35 AM  

"What's to correct? You just made crucifixion a choice where someone's going to die anyway almost as badly."

Oh! Its the hunger implication?

Honestly that was inadvertent. I should've put shoes or money or something else. Let me restate...

"If I get caught stealing these cool nikes... I'm gonna die... vs... if I get caught stealing these cool nikes... I'm gonna get tortured and die horribly."

Now again...

X = Those willing to die for Cool Nikes as long as it doesn't hurt to bad. Y = Those willing to die for cool Nikes... but not willing to be tortured for days and die horribly.

X - Y = ~0

Anonymous TWS December 10, 2013 11:35 AM  

I missed the part where the the Apostles were murdering rapists. Maybe there's something to the atheists' claims about cannibalism after all.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 10, 2013 11:35 AM  

By the way, you know which state has the highest per capita of lawyers? It's not the US.

Anonymous Alexander December 10, 2013 11:36 AM  

Or to put it another way - is it your belief that had Jesus been killed in some other way, Christianity would not have come to be? If only the Romans had had the sense to throw him off a cliff?

Blogger Tom Kratman December 10, 2013 11:37 AM  

Still a stinker of an analogy, Nate. As per the parameters given, stealing the nikes doesn't get you crucified. It probably doesn't even get you hanged, unless you take them from someone, personally, in their presence, by force threat or intimidation, or break into their house to get them.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 10, 2013 11:39 AM  

Yes, Alex, Jesus was able to escape his body and let it die, apparently by an act of sheer will, and before he had much time to present a bad spectacle. Indeed, it may well have been to avoid making an unfortunate spectacle.

Blogger Nate December 10, 2013 11:40 AM  

Here's the problem Tom... You're caught between two blades.

If you say the cause is just petty theft... then the number of people willing to risk death for it is TINY. So the gains you make by jumping to crucifiction are going to be TINY as well. Because 100% of 0 is still damned 0.

And if you ramp up the cause from trivial to Something Very Important.. then you run into the problem that once the Cause matters enough... people will simply decide its worth it no matter what you do to them... and the more you do... the more enemies you create.

That's why the cliff is the best compromise.

It hits the right spot on the bell curve.

Blogger Nate December 10, 2013 11:42 AM  

"Or to put it another way - is it your belief that had Jesus been killed in some other way, Christianity would not have come to be? If only the Romans had had the sense to throw him off a cliff?"

Nope. In some cases brutality... via cross or cliff... just doesn't work. The point is throwing them off the cliff is cheaper. And therefore the minimal gain is not justified.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 10, 2013 11:44 AM  

Not at all caught, since there is no absolute need to be a traitor, to murder, to try to murder civilization by murdering the language, or to steal at the Madoff level. Those are all optional. And what the cliff doesn't do is provide either a sufficiently shameful and deterring example for the kiddies, nor to persuade Rapist X that killing the girl is a bad idea. Again, once you go to mandatory death for common law felons, which every sensible civilization would have, you HAVE to provide degrees of dying to avoid or at least mitigate the lamb and sheep problem.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 10, 2013 11:46 AM  

ANd you are still stuck in the stinking analogy mode because the issue is not "something very important," hence rare, "but something very bad and all too common."

Anonymous Buhbye December 10, 2013 11:47 AM  

The ones willing to die for a Grand Cause get the Nacht und Nebel treatment. Fly them far out to sea and throw them out of a plane.

What happened to him?
What happened to who? Who are you talking about?

Anonymous Josh December 10, 2013 11:52 AM  

Again, once you go to mandatory death for common law felons, which every sensible civilization would have

Tom, you wouldn't happen to be a calvinist, would you?

Blogger Nate December 10, 2013 11:52 AM  

"Again, once you go to mandatory death for common law felons, which every sensible civilization would have, you HAVE to provide degrees of dying to avoid or at least mitigate the lamb and sheep problem."

No ya don't. Killing is killing. Dead is dead. And the lamb and sheep problem is mitigated by arming them.

OpenID cailcorishev December 10, 2013 11:53 AM  

It's telling that even someone as thoughtful and reactionary as Vox falls prey to this phrasing. This stuff has been so hammered into us since the 80s that unless you make a serious conscious effort, these things just slip out.

Yep. I make a serious effort to use masculine singular pronouns for unknown gender, but I still slip sometimes, especially when speaking. You just hear them/their used for the singular so often that it takes a conscious effort not to do it yourself.

I've wondered before what the schoolbooks teach kids to do. Our grammar books in the 1980s (probably printed in the '70s or earlier) still taught that the masculine singular prevails, but I can't imagine that anything printed since then does. Do they actually teach kids to use plural pronouns in singular context, or do they just leave that part out?

Blogger rycamor December 10, 2013 11:55 AM  

TWS December 10, 2013 11:26 AM

Only on VP can you find discussions like these. Tom, I agree on all details and would like to add any nation that rid itself of felons in such a manner would likely have little use for armed law enforcement. We couldn't catch all the felons but the majority of serious crime is commited by a minority of criminals. The rest would self select for more law abiding lifestyles.

I once knew a prisoner with over two dozen arrests for car theft. He had only one conviction despite being in the cars at the time (or fleeing the vehicle in plain view). He was in for less than two years.

Think of being able to leave the keys in your car or your doors unlocked. It would be a good place for all.


When I was a child in the town of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, this is exactly how we lived. And this was well into the 60s, when American culture was already on a serious downward swing. Sure, some crime happened, but neighbors looked out for neighbors, households had guns, and neighborhoods had some degree of social cohesion.

I'm sure the good people of cozy little Cuyahoga Falls would have been greatly encouraged if the occasional man who stole an apple from someone's tree were summarily executed.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 10, 2013 11:57 AM  

And, again, we simply disagree and in ways that I don't know how to get through to you on, Nate. The ways are not the same and, while dead may be dead, there are degrees of dying.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 10, 2013 11:59 AM  

No, I'm RC, Josh.

Anonymous Alexander December 10, 2013 12:00 PM  

2001 gave us a perfect example of that. People prefer being thrown from great heights - and will in fact throw themselves - if the alternative is to be burned alive.

Blogger Nate December 10, 2013 12:00 PM  

"Again, once you go to mandatory death for common law felons, which every sensible civilization would have"

actually... let's reword this so its more correct...

"Again, you go to civilization where no government has the authority to kill anyone ever, because governments are the most deadly murderers in the history of mankind, you finally achieve some kind of sensibility."

There.

Better.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 10, 2013 12:00 PM  

No, rycamor, the logic behind executing common law felons wouldn't generally permit executing someone for swiping an apple.

Blogger Nate December 10, 2013 12:01 PM  

" if the alternative is to be burned alive."

True.

Burning sucks.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 10, 2013 12:01 PM  

No, Nate, that's just fantasy.

Anonymous Josh December 10, 2013 12:04 PM  

No, I'm RC, Josh.

Gotcha.

I was wondering if your philosophy on capital punishment had grown out of the idea of predestined saved and damned.

Anonymous bob k. mando December 10, 2013 12:05 PM  

Josh December 10, 2013 11:33 AM
Can we also include lawyers on the lists of those to be crucified?



Tom Kratman December 10, 2013 11:34 AM
No.




welp. so much for Tom's integrity and commitment to Justice.

;-]


''The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers,''




Blogger Tom Kratman December 10, 2013 12:06 PM  

Have you ever read the actual passage, Bob? They were going to kill all the lawyers so they could get away with more crime.

Anonymous bob k. mando December 10, 2013 12:07 PM  

it's a joke, Tom. don't go all Nate on me.

Blogger Nate December 10, 2013 12:08 PM  

"And, again, we simply disagree and in ways that I don't know how to get through to you on, Nate. "

You're not going to get through to me mate because the whole thing is tongue and cheek on my end.

The idea that governments are allowed to kill their own citizens is kinda dumb to me.

its literally putting the wolves in charge of the sheep in the name of order.

Blogger Nate December 10, 2013 12:09 PM  

"No, Nate, that's just fantasy."

So it is your opinion that it is not possible to maintain a civilization without some kind of death penalty?

Blogger Tom Kratman December 10, 2013 12:10 PM  

Ah, but that's part of the logic of executing common law felons. By their actions, they have renounced citizenship and so may be and, since they've demonstrated they're dangerous, should be, killed in the most societsally useful ways that are still appropriate.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 10, 2013 12:13 PM  

My opinion is that giovernments are pretty good at using force. This includes foreign governments, which may prove hostile. Hence we must have a government to raise and employ force to defend us from the external enemy. Further, there are internal enemies - not merely those who disagree with us but those who are simply not in social comity with us, who reject the social contract to a degree and in a way that makes them dangerous. They should be killed. I am not averse to them being killed privately, so long as they die.

Anonymous TWS December 10, 2013 12:14 PM  

Killing lawyers to get away with crime is like killing strippers to see more peep shows. No one creates more crime than lawyers.

Blogger rycamor December 10, 2013 12:16 PM  

Nate December 10, 2013 12:08 PM

"And, again, we simply disagree and in ways that I don't know how to get through to you on, Nate. "

You're not going to get through to me mate because the whole thing is tongue and cheek on my end.

The idea that governments are allowed to kill their own citizens is kinda dumb to me.

its literally putting the wolves in charge of the sheep in the name of order.


Agreed. This is my problem with just about everyone who comes up with a "something should be done about X" argument. So, the answer is, we hand over more power to psychopaths?

The best answer to the problem of crime is, and always has been "a well-armed society is a polite society." Although, it is observed that this only really works with a culturally/racially homogenous society, which our elite have slaved for decades to erase.

The true fact is, mix up a society, and crime will result. The more mixed, the more crime.

Blogger Nate December 10, 2013 12:16 PM  

Also...

If you look you'll find that right now there are 100 countries that have abolished the death penalty for all crimes. Among them you will find uncivilized places like pretty much all of Europe.

Anonymous Oy December 10, 2013 12:18 PM  

The idea that governments are allowed to kill their own citizens is kinda dumb to me.

its literally putting the wolves in charge of the sheep in the name of order.


Oy.

The alternative to governments killing their citizens is not "nobody gets killed", dumbass.

The alternative is other citizens killing you, as well as taking your stuff, taking your woman, etc.

Yes most people are sheep, and that's why we need sheepdogs to protect against the wolves.

No doubt you will now thump your chest and proclaim you don't need no stinking gummint protection.

Anonymous Oy December 10, 2013 12:21 PM  

If you look you'll find that right now there are 100 countries that have abolished the death penalty for all crimes. Among them you will find uncivilized places like pretty much all of Europe.

They are living on a whiff from an empty bottle.

Because they have defanged the sheepdogs, the wolves are moving in.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2520719/Killer-Lee-Rigby-describes-moment-Woolwich-soldier-died-takes-witness-stand.html

I read that and wondered "WHY hasn't this scumbag been executed yet?"

Anonymous kfg December 10, 2013 12:22 PM  

In the last sentence of his spiel Mr. Cantrill, in order to maintain his gender neutral grammar butchers it by mixing the singular and the plural. "Das" and "it" are neutral, but have the negative consequence of objectifying and we know we can't do that.

I suggest the sex ambivalent term "worm" and shall henceforth refer to the programmar formerly known as Mr. Cantrill as Wm. Cantrill

Anonymous TWS December 10, 2013 12:24 PM  

The liberal take over of courts in the early 60's guarenteed the current lawlessness. If you catch a guy standing over his bleeding wife while sticking the knife in you might have a quick conviction. I am using hyperbole but not much. What we have is anarchy-tyrrany where criminals have free rein and citizens must toe the line. Killing robbers rapists and burglars sounds pretty sane to me compared to what we have.

Anonymous Alexander December 10, 2013 12:24 PM  

Nate, you are in agreement with Tom that a death penalty is necessary: you just favor a decentralized approach.

Europe, as a fine example of an anti-death penalty region, is moving rapidly towards barbarism.

Blogger Nate December 10, 2013 12:27 PM  

"Ah, but that's part of the logic of executing common law felons. By their actions, they have renounced citizenship and so may be and, since they've demonstrated they're dangerous, should be, killed in the most societsally useful ways that are still appropriate."

No.

if by committing a crime they are no longer citizens.. then the response is to kick them out of the country.

Giving the government the authority to kill is a dumb idea... its like giving crack to a coke head and saying, "here.. use this wisely."

Anonymous Josh December 10, 2013 12:29 PM  

The alternative to governments killing their citizens is not "nobody gets killed", dumbass.

The alternative is other citizens killing you, as well as taking your stuff, taking your woman, etc.


This is the same argument that William F Buckley made when he and the national review kicked out the noninterventionists and went full neocon. They argued that we needed a massive military and security state that bordered on totalitarian so that we could be defended from the totalitarianism of the soviets.

Anonymous Loki Sjalfsainn December 10, 2013 12:30 PM  

So it is your opinion that it is not possible to maintain a civilization without some kind of death penalty?

Why should a man determined to be wicked be permitted forever to take from his neighbours and prey upon those unable to defend themselves? Is not the true purpose of a king to do justice and shield the weak and helpless?

Anonymous Josh December 10, 2013 12:31 PM  

History shows that people are more likely to be murdered by their own government than by invading barbarians.

So the argument that we need to give the government power to kill its own citizens so that they are not killed by barbarians fails.

Blogger Nate December 10, 2013 12:32 PM  

"pe, as a fine example of an anti-death penalty region, is moving rapidly towards barbarism."

Very strange. What with the fact that the barbarians supposedly causing it are all coming from countries that execute folks brutally.

Anonymous Josh December 10, 2013 12:34 PM  

What we have is anarchy-tyrrany where criminals have free rein and citizens must toe the line. Killing robbers rapists and burglars sounds pretty sane to me compared to what we have.

You realize that the very cops who created the anarchotyranny you're railing against are the ones you're going to have killing robbers, rapists, and burglars?

Because women never lie about rape. And cops never plant evidence. What could go wrong?

Anonymous Benzen December 10, 2013 12:34 PM  

In English at least I can see some stringency between the real sex of something and its pronoun (i.e. tree is neuter, therefore "it"; boy is male, therefore "he"; "mother" female, therefore "she"; the only exceptions coming to my mind right now would be the referral to ships or countries as "shes").

But in German, Italian or French grammatical gender does not have to match the actual sex of something at all. L'albero, le coeur and der kamin aren't male in actuality, just grammatically so. Any ideological policing here would instantly seem nonsensical, but then maybe I'm just not in the proper left-wing mindset.

Blogger rycamor December 10, 2013 12:34 PM  

Oy December 10, 2013 12:18 PM

The alternative to governments killing their citizens is not "nobody gets killed", dumbass.

The alternative is other citizens killing you, as well as taking your stuff, taking your woman, etc.

Yes most people are sheep, and that's why we need sheepdogs to protect against the wolves.

No doubt you will now thump your chest and proclaim you don't need no stinking gummint protection.


Why exactly do people who won't lift a finger to protect themselves deserve protection at the cost of everyone else? And does it really work anyway? Right now in the USA, the cops are bigger, badder, and more heavily armed than they have ever been. Does this stop someone from breaking into your house, raping your wife and daughters, and making off with your silver stash? Not a chance. More likely, they will show up after the fact and shoot your dog, and perhaps even you.

Blogger Nate December 10, 2013 12:36 PM  

" Is not the true purpose of a king to do justice and shield the weak and helpless?"

the purpose of the king is irrelevant. Kings have proven to be more likely to kill the weak than the strong. Thus killing is a power the King shouldn't get to have anymore.

Blogger Nate December 10, 2013 12:39 PM  

"he alternative to governments killing their citizens is not "nobody gets killed", dumbass.

The alternative is other citizens killing you, as well as taking your stuff, taking your woman, etc.

Yes most people are sheep, and that's why we need sheepdogs to protect against the wolves.

No doubt you will now thump your chest and proclaim you don't need no stinking gummint protection."

And you suck at math.

For every criminal murder there have been thousands of incidents of governments murdering their own citizens.

So we are provably safer if we defang the government than we are if we employ the government to defang the criminal.

Now... go back to picking your nose in the corner while the grown ups are talking.

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