June 16, 2007

Thought For The Day

When I was small, I heard on the television that the richest men in the world were arms dealers. That made me sad.

Now that I'm grown, I can read on the Internet that the richest men in the world are geeks. That gives me hope.

When I'm old and gray, I may learn via my implanted, world wide net personal communications node that some of the richest men in the world are in fact women. Maybe someone like Oprah. That will keep me smiling for days.

Posted by natasha at June 16, 2007 08:12 PM | Random Mumblings | Technorati links |

Lest the rich geeks give you hope, read their mailing lists and Usenet groups, and realize that they are something between sociophobes and sociopaths. If the geeks shall inherit the earth, we're screwed.

Posted by: sean at June 16, 2007 09:42 PM

same for Oprah. Do you think any decent people can become rich?

Posted by: rich at June 16, 2007 09:48 PM

sean - Are you positing that there's some moral equivalence between someone who's arrogant in their command of technology and someone who sells weapons into impoverished conflict zones? Seriously?

rich - Funny you should say that, because the popular narrative suggests that being poor is a sure sign of bad character.

But you completely miss the point, anyway.

Posted by: natasha at June 16, 2007 10:09 PM

Natasha: I agree with you that technological arrogance is less harmful than selling arms to poor African kids. But my point is that the stereotypical (or archetypical?) geek is a high-functioning autistic -- effective, but unable to consider others as human beings. This is the kind of person who can be extremely offensive in an obscure technical argument without understanding that winning the debate is less important than being considerate to others. This is a better role than "arms dealer" for these naturally amoral people to play in the world, but it's hard for me to feel hopeful about it.

Posted by: sean at June 17, 2007 01:23 PM

sean - The high-functioning autistic you're having this conversation with urges you to consider that you may have proffered some understandable though mistaken assumptions in your argument.

And I'd submit to you that there are times when the conclusion of a debate has to be based on the facts, and when the outcome has to be getting things done and done right. For example, I don't feel the need to consider the feelings of global warming deniers. There's simply no polite way to say that they're directly threatening my future quality of life and that I want them to cut it the frak out. Your argument isn't substantively different than the mainstream media criticism of bloggers that, well, the bloggers were right about the war, but couldn't we just have been more polite about objecting to the deaths of thousands?

So long as the mass of neurotypicals insist on style over substance, they will continue to be prey to bs artists who can simultaneously do Miss Manners proud and slip you the shiv at the same time. I've no patience at all for such things and I'd urge you to consider that a person who will rudely blurt out the truth is more your friend than someone who will smilingly lie to you when it really matters.

Further, Bill Gates is likely a HFA (he displays many of the telltale signs), and no arms dealer has ever set up anything like the Gates Foundation. I defy you to portray him as someone who's unable to consider others as human beings.

Posted by: natasha at June 18, 2007 11:09 AM