Don't outsource your thinking process. Think for yourself!

Written on 10:54:00 PM by S. Potter

In the wirlwind of political turmoil and occasional nuance of late with the upcoming primary elections almost upon us, I realized just how offensive the two-party primary elections ought to be to a "free" country. Why isn't everyone else as outraged as I am? Traversing various circles I see Democrats hashing out their own political differences on foreign policy, social security and the overloaded and antiquated driver's license system to create a unified platform for the general election. As if *ALL* Democrats think the exact same way. Republicans on the other hand are dumb-founded and depressed by the lack of quality mainstream and viable candidate(s), not to mention trying to figure out what on earth their united platform is after a president that has probably done more to harm their party than any other individual in the last 25 years (hey, don't look at me or the Democrats, neither of us voted for him in the first place!:)). Oh, I do enjoy being smug! Being a foreigner I always found it odd that Americans (generally) seem more willing to outsource their political reasoning to one of two political parties (at least in contrast with my European experiences). I have witnessed the deferral of political reasoning to their parties without thinking on so many occasions I have lost count. If their *party* is anti-war, then they need to be too, no questions asked. Alternatively if they are with the *other party* they need to buy into the whole Cheney-masterminded war on terror doctrine, where we must "take the war to the enemy", whatever that means. Now back to the technical world (and this transcends borders). I see the same type of decision/reasoning outsourcing. In 1997, Apple coined the slogan "Think Different". Fast forward 10 years and you have an ever growing Apple fan base that doesn't question (at least not Apple or Jobs), it just doesn't "think". I am not saying Apple hasn't done anything good, but all you Apple fan boys (and girls) just think for yourselves once in a while, puh-lease! To be fair and candid, it is not limited to the Apple fan base. The Linux community (of which I am party) has been a huge propaganda machine for just as long. A friend of mine who is primarily a Windoze user (sorry, I just couldn't resist) suggests that the Linux community has been pushing Linux (or at least certain distributions of it) as "just as usable out of the box as Windows", which he thinks is a sad and pathetic misrepresentation. To be honest, I agree with him. I don't think any Linux distribution is quite as end-user friendly as Windows out of the box and to me Linux is definitely NOT about that. The Ubuntu weekender geeks that desperately try to be the geekiest person in the room should take note (among others). Forget pushing Linux propaganda on others (remember we don't like Jobs-indoctrinated fan boys/girls selling us the Apple way either). Accept Linux for what it is: a more exclusive club that sets the bar higher than the others! Why should we be trying to lower the bar or grade? Let the newbies reach for the higher bar to get started, so we can attract a higher quality user base than the other two options. The BSD community is a great example! I also feel this way on the Ruby front. I do wish all those nuts-oh "Rails rulz" propagandists would steer clear of all the PHP and Java bashing and Rails hyping. Do you really want all the subpar PHP and Java people (the ones that need hype so they can outsource their decision making to move over) in our world? I personally only want to cherry pick the Java, PHP, Python, etc. developers that actually think for themselves and willingly and enthusiastically step over to the Ruby side. In summary, if you want someone else to think on your behalf go ahead it is a "free" country in that respect (if you aren't in a free country remember nobody owns your internal thoughts so you may as well abuse that freedom as much as you can:)!). However, you should also realize that it is only the free-thinkers that don't conform to mass expectations and opinions that are the ones changing things (mostly for the better, but feel free to disagree with me and form your own opinion:)).

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1 Comment

  1. Ben O. |

    Interesting comments.

    America's two-party system and the general traditionalism found within our population is certainly well-entrenched. However, don't fall into the trap of assuming those two parties will never get along, or that adherents of the two will never switch sides or vote for the other half. For example, Obama seems to be garnering a fair share of support from independents and Republicans, not just his native Democrats. If he loses the primaries, he may well be able to win the presidency on an independent ticket...solely because of the unity he seems apt to inspire.

    Also, with the average American so heavily specialized in his or her own field, sometimes it is too much to expect that they will be able to understand a simple, basic truth of politics: politicians, at their core, are managers. Nothing more. They are the division chiefs of the political world, and their function is supposed to be purely one of streamlining American society to operate at optimum.

    Of course, in practice, it seems that many politicians fail to realize this themselves...let alone the general public. They turn it into some kind of idealized Quest for Truth and Justice.

    As for Ruby, PHP, Java, and the the end, they're all just ways of facilitating a discussion with the end user. The details don't really matter, and neither does the choice of language. This is not to say that one can write a Web 2.0 app in GWBASIC, but the ire that exists between language zealots seems to be greatly misplaced.

    Similarly, Linux/Windows/Amiga/Mac junkies have always amused me greatly. The choice of operating system doesn't and shouldn't matter. The end purpose of any computer is simply to facilitate the aforementioned discussion between people. Whether that's playing a game, writing a book, or managing a company, the purpose of the activity remains the same - at the lowest level, it's all about human interaction.

    Also, long live the bicycle, the most energy-efficient machine in all of recorded history.


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