Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Re: Eric Raymond

Author:Ken Hagler
Posted:6/28/1999; 7:35:25 PM
Topic:Eric Raymond
Msg #:7890 (In response to 7876)
Prev/Next:7889 / 7891

I usually think of "purpose" as being associated with intelligent thought. If machines can have a purpose, the purpose of a car would be to propel itself from place to place, as directed by the operator, and the purpose of a gun is to propel a small piece of metal very fast in a straight line.

"Transporting people" is the most common use of a car, but the most common use of a gun is putting holes into pieces of paper (at least in America, some countries are rather more violent). A very small number of cars in America are used to kill, just as a very small number of guns in America are used to kill.

Mr. Raymond makes an excellent point in his essay:

To believe one is incompetent to bear arms is, therefore, to live in corroding and almost always needless fear of the self -- in fact, to affirm oneself a moral coward. A state further from ``the dignity of a free man'' would be rather hard to imagine. It is as a way of exorcising this demon, of reclaiming for ourselves the dignity and courage and ethical self-confidence of free (wo)men that the bearing of personal arms, is, ultimately, most important.

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