On Bigotry

23 July, 2004 at 02:25 Leave a comment

Today, I happened to see a fellow PhD student put a poster near her cubicle, “Got Linux?”. This reminded me immediately of an article I read on ACM Queue recently, A Bigot by Any Other Name… by Josh Coates, Internet Archive. I would seriously recommend you to read that article but if I were you, I would be looking to see what one thought of an article than go and read it myself. So, here are my annotations for that article –

– Bigot: Middle French. A person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices. (I guess everyone is a bigot at some level – if not, I’d like to listen)

– The intellectually honest answer (question is the relative strengths of modern day OSes (Windows, *nix, Mac…)) is that they all suck more or less equally. Or, if you are a glass-half-full kind of people, they all rock. (I guess that is the case with everything in the world, really)

– Everything we see on our computers is a tool. Yep, just tools. They are all tools. They aren’t religious icons or some karma-affecting stream of bits. (great point – I wrote something similar before and will search/post it)

– The 19th-century American author Josh Billings put it best: “Wisdom has never made a bigot, but learning has”. (now where did I read this before?)

– Interestingly enough, some of the most educated people in modern history have been incredibly bigoted (or what I like to call “suffering from a delusional perception of reality”). Charles Darwin was a brilliant scientist, yet he maintained that women simply had a less-evolved intellect then men not to mention his elaborate explanation for the “savage races.” William Shockley won the Nobel Prize for inventing the transistor, but went on to promote genetic theories of the intellectual inferiority of blacks. (no kidding, this is as true as truth can be true)

– Alexander Pope, an English satirist, wrote “A little learning is a dangerous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, And drinking largely sobers us again”. (glad to know the full quote)

– So this is an unfortunate circumstance and I’d say the Achilles heel of the open source movement is hubris, which breeds bigotry. It’s sadly ironic that one of the poster boys for open source is Linus Torvalds, who suffers from chronic hubris. (hmmm… I never liked that Trovalds guy – maybe it is just malice on my part)

– At the end of the day, it’s OK to be passionate and opinionated about whatever you’re into but it’s not OK to be a bigot. (err, why is this guy preaching?)

I would have liked to give more commentary on this article but I was stopped by a Sriksism-2: Can anyone criticize a critique on a critical article on critics and criticism?

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Entry filed under: Life-Theories, WebXP.

Sriksisms – My Own Quotes RISC Architecture – Deesha

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