[FoRK] Stephen's almost perfect ideas. (No, really. No flame.)

Jeff Bone jbone at place.org
Tue Jun 29 07:53:30 PDT 2010


Stephen,

Since beating you over the head with a stick seems to be doing nothing but addling you, let me try a more gentle and direct approach to helping you find that satori you *already have.* I don't want to simply *hand* you the next-to-last answer, though I've more or less attempted to do that obliquely on numerous occasions.  If you don't take the final step yourself, I've robbed you of something that is rightfully yours, that you will not value appropriately unless you claim it for yourself.

Believe it or not, seeing you get there on your own has been a major preoccupation of mine and has motivated a large part of my engagement here since my last sabbatical from FoRK, the occasional amusing tech and general smack-down diversions and digressions aside. 

Despite all appearances, I do not despise the various "communitarian" (or whatever term you prefer) ideas that you occasionally lay out.  They are almost perfect in construction (though your arguments for them, less so) --- marred only by a single, fatal flaw:  a single requirement that you sometimes assert that is unfortunately their undoing.  They contain a self-defeating internal contradiction in the presence of this requirement.  But for that flaw, they are achievable and unquestionably an improvement over the status quo.  You are SO close.  My arguments against them have been motivated primarily by wanting to help you improve your arguments FOR them.  

I would love to see you lead this fine collection of minds to the logical conclusion;  my own self-assigned role here plus a missing piece of the puzzle preclude me from doing so myself.  It's yours to do.

The pictures you have painted are fine tactical pictures with only a single strategic flaw that I can identify.  I would love to see the experiment attempted, but that strategic flaw, intimately related to your one erroneous requirement or assumption, more than anything else, is what makes that attempt impractical in practice, impossible in the limit.

The contradiction *is* resolvable.  (In the interest of public discussion, I would simply short-circuit this bizarre Yoda-esque exercise, but I am missing the last piece of the puzzle myself.  I could demonstrate that the contradiction is resolvable in principle, but have no practical solutions to offer - despite decades of wrestling with it.  Arguably I have repeatedly demonstrated the in-principle part of this, though obviously inadequately.)

And just to be a bit more clear, we are in the intersection of the domains of social systems, economics, and a minimum of moral philosophy, here; no future technology assumed or required.

Identify the contradiction, and work out how to resolve it practically, and you will hold in your hands the keys to the kingdom.   

Literally.

jb




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