Re: Rights and isms

Eric Watt Forste (
Tue, 19 Aug 1997 12:37:37 -0700

Wax writes:
> It's time we stopped granting rights and started taking them away.
> Such as the right to discriminate, something society and government
> passed out many years ago.

To discriminate is to distinguish, and the right to
discriminate arises in the ability to discriminate, which does
not originate with the government.

The right to discriminate is the right to choose your associates.
Free association is the ability to control (in the long term) your
own future development... it is part and parcel of the task of

It seems to me that you are preaching universal love. Now, the
older I get, the fonder I become of the old ideal of universal
love. But we are born lions, one and all, and it's always
struck me as pointless and obtuse to quack about universal love
to fourteen-year-old boys who will *mostly* have no idea what the
heck you're talking about no matter how long you quack. I know
that I certainly wouldn't have. Perhaps in the era of uploads,
we'll be able to start hacking up our legacy code, and it will
be interesting to see what the old ideal of universal love
grows into in *that* environment. (Note: I'm not accusing you
of quacking, just pointing out that universal love is one of
those things that is much quacked about.)

But you can't enforce universal love through legislation, which
is what anti-discrimination legislation attempts to do. Forcing
people to do what you are telling them is good for them arouses
tremendous amounts of resentment, and rightly so. Morality and
legislation should be firewalled apart, IMHO.

Personally, what I feel toward those people who have for decades
shaped their own personal development by filtering out all information
that was not offered by people of their own race, class, and
gender... is pity. And I'm really not very fond of feeling pitying.
(Read too much Nietzsche, heh heh.) Wisdom is funny stuff, and I
suspect that it, too, is still tinted and tinged with the colors
of race, class, and gender. Personally I have tremendously benefited
from paying attention to and trying to absorb some women's wisdom,
black people's wisdom, stuff that is invaluable to me and very
difficult to find when I go browsing among white men's wisdom. But
I was initially programmed as a white man, and so I think it's
perfectly okay for me to have a taste for white men's wisdom. But
I think I'm much stronger and much happier now for having sought
out the wisdom of the women and the black people that I have been
lucky enough to meet.

(Class is much harder for me to think about because I completely
bought into the standard American brainwashing about the unreality
of class until just a few years ago. As a result, I have only a
hazy idea of what class I belong to... which is probably the sort
of thing that motivated the people who initiated and propagated
the standard American ideology about class.)

Eric Watt Forste ++ ++ expectation foils perception -pcd