Subject: Re: Giving Richard His Due
From: "Tony Stanco" <Tony@FreeDevelopers.net>
Date: Fri, 15 Feb 2002 10:23:29 -0500

Before people start responding to just the title, please read at least the
article and preferrably the book. The end of history refers to what Hegel
and Marx called the end of history -- that is the end of looking for the
best political system. It's not the end of time or the end of human activity
or anything like that. The argument is that liberal democracies, for all
their problems, are the best we can do about controlling political power.
(Churchill said it much more eloquently when he said that democracy is the
worst system imaginable until you look at the others.)

What the world is doing now, arguably, is going down the food chain and
rethinking the economic ideology to control abuses of economic power (e.g.,
the GPL in controlling Microsoft; demonstrations against the World Bank,
IMF, etc.)

People are actively looking at new organizational structures that are fairer
than the traditional ones of the last few centuries, now that the debate
over the right political organization is mostly over. There are an number of
Government workshops and other groups, like NSF and National Reesearch
Council, looking at how the Internet allows new flatter, non-heirarchical,
collaborative organizations, which can provide more freedom and equality to
the participants. Open Source/Free Software is seen at the poster child of
the new way, given its demonstrable successes against traditionally
organized proprietary software.

Just so people remember how we got to Fukuyama -- people were saying that
the ideas of ethical people like Richard didn't matter. To which I responded
that the ideas of ethical people, especially notions of freedom and equality
dating back to Jesus and Socrates  have been the motivating factor of all
political history that gave us liberal democracies. Richard's insistence on
freedom is a contination of that ancient heritage applied to economic
activity (software production). How Richard got there 20 years ago, ahead of
everyone else, is the reason he is special and will be remembered by
history. He is part of history marching to greater human freedoms.


-----Original Message-----
From: Chris Devers <cdevers@tsunami.cis.usouthal.edu>
To: Tony Stanco <Tony@FreeDevelopers.net>
Cc: Michael Tiemann <tiemann@redhat.com>; Federico Lucifredi
<flucifredi@acm.org>; fsb@crynwr.com <fsb@crynwr.com>
Date: Friday, February 15, 2002 9:36 AM
Subject: Re: Giving Richard His Due


>On Fri, 15 Feb 2002, Tony Stanco wrote:
>
>> See The End of History? The National Interest, Summer 1989 Francis
Fukuyama
>> [http://www.wku.edu/~sullib/history.htm] and also his book of the same
name
>> (which makes the case even stronger a couple of years later):
>>
>> +What we may be witnessing in not just the end of the Cold War, or the
>> +passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of
>> +history as such: that is, the end point of mankind's ideological
>> +evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as
>> +the final form of human government.
>
>Can't you see that that's just a tad naive? Don't you see any problems
>with almost any argument that begins with "The End Of...", when referring
>to processes that have beeen underway for centuries or longer?
>
>It seems to me that, just 100 years ago, people in Europe were saying:
>
> * "our scientists are within reach of the true, fundamental conclusions
>    to their studies, and our understanding of the physical world around
>    us is nearly complete; from here on we will only see refinement of
>    this worldview, and no more fundamental breakthroughs"
> * "we are entering a period of perpetual peace & prosperity, with
>    our mores & norms spreading around the world, and with our
>    nations getting along better than ever before"
>
>And yet within a handful of years, Einstein published his papers on the
>theory of relativity, shattering the "end of science" assumptions, and a
>handful of years later World War I was underway, ending the "end of
>politics" assumptions.
>
>It was a plateau then, and it's a plateau now. Seriously arguing that
>something as big as "history" could just *end* because some people knocked
>down a wall in Germany is just silly.
>
>
>
>--
>Chris Devers
>
>"Okay, Gene... so, -1 x -1 should equal what?" "A South American!"
>[....] "no human can understand the Timecube" and Gene responded
> without missing a beat "Yeah.  I'm not human."
>
>
>