Re: Libertarian Economics

Kennita Watson (
Mon, 22 Sep 1997 13:10:17 -0700

>> Lee Daniel Crocker wrote:
>> > Joao deserves insults. He is not merely ignorant, he is willfully
>> > ignorant; he /has/ been pointed to sources of information (I pointed
>> > to some myself), and he chose to waste our time instead. That's not
>> > just ignorant, that's rude....
>Of what value is praise if one never uses insult? It's like the
>visitor who tells you your house looks nice every time ey visits;
>you know ey says it every time, no matter what, so it is utterly
>meaningless. I much prefer a real friend who says "your house is
>a mess, Lee", in a friendly--but honest--way. That can be done in
>a jovial, loving way, but it also conveys useful information in
>a way that perfunctory courtesy does not.

Calm down, Kennita....

In the context I intend, the opposite of praise is not insult, but
criticism. (By the same token, I think the opposite of insult
would be flattery.) "Your house is a mess, Lee." sounds to me like
criticism. Insult would sound more like "You're a worthless slob,

Also, speaking for myself, I'd take such a statement much better from
a friend than from someone who didn't know me well. I've known my
friend Valerie for fifteen years; I can tell her what a disaster her
house is with impunity now. (**Note that I also make a point to tell
her how nice it looks when she cleans up!**) And even after all these
years I don't insult her by saying something like "you're really rude
to keep your house like this and expect people to come over". If I
felt that way, I just wouldn't come over (read, I'd press Delete).

Actually, I like the housekeeping analogy, so I'll stick with it for
a while -- if anybody requires a translation, let me know....

I wouldn't tell someone I liked their housekeeping if I didn't -- that
would be flattery (as I see it). However, I would be very politic in
how I approached the issue of housekeeping with a stranger, if I felt
it was necessary to approach it at all, and if I felt that I could do
some good rather than just spouting my feelings, which often turns out
to be counterproductive. Personally, I'd probably start with something
safe on the fringes, like "I bet you've been pretty busy, huh?". This
would allow me to gauge the response from a relatively safe distance:
Possible responses could include "Yeah, sorry about the mess.", or "Yeah,
[unrelated topic indicating that the person is unaware of or doesn't care
about the mess].", or "If you don't like the mess, you can lump it!", or
"No, I just haven't been able to get moving lately.". There are others,
of course....

Each response would give me a different understanding of the reasons
behind the messy house, helping me to decide over time whether I would
prefer to help clean up (there are a number of ways to do this,
certainly), to ignore the mess, or to stay away.

Enough analogy for now....

I see an insult as a form of attack. Attack tends to provoke either
entrenchment or counterattack or both. Since I don't like being
surrounded by bunkers or bristling weapons, I tend to avoid attack,
and to discourage it. To a first approximation, I think a fact becomes
an attack when it gets personal. "You are rude.", "You are ignorant.",
"You deserve insults." are all personal, and in my estimation all attacks
-- changing "you" to "he" doesn't change that.


Kennita Watson | The bond that links your true family is not one of blood,| but of respect and joy in each other's life. Rarely do
| members of the same family grow up under the same roof.
| -- Richard Bach, _Illusions_