Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Doomsday machine

These are some comments I made at Facebook discussions. 

There's always a problem when a policy is quoted to defend the policy. If the rationality of the policy (e.g. no anonymous comments) is, itself, the very thing in dispute, then defending the policy to quote the policy is circular. Moreover, there's a problem when we absolutize our little manmade rules, as if we're suddenly handcuffed by the rules we make. Once we make them, we're bound to follow them without exception. But the handcuffs are imaginary.

There can be value in having a general policy, like "Don't drive on the wrong side of the road."

If, however, a hurricane is heading your way, it makes sense for authorities to suspend the policy and open all lanes to outbound traffic.

Even if it's a good general policy to forbid anonymous comments to weed out irresponsible commenters who hide behind anonymity to take potshots, TFan is a known quantity. It's unintelligent to treat all anonymous (or pseudonymous) commenters alike when, in fact, they are known to be unalike.

Moral and rational discrimination requires discretion. Treating everyone alike without regard to the fact that individuals are unalike is morally and intellectually lazy. Why punish smart people for the misdeeds of dumb people?

Some people allow themselves to be trapped inside their made-up rules. The rule becomes a doomsday machine. It has an on-switch, but no off-switch. Once the doomsday machine goes online, you can't shut if off. You're now at the mercy of the machine you made. 

The rule becomes the master. The rule tells the rulemaker what he's allowed to do or not to do. I don't understand people who permit themselves to be dictated to by their made-up rules. Rules that aren't moral imperatives. Rules that outlive their usefulness. 

1 comment:

  1. It's like all the laws on the books that no one even knows about, what if they were all suddenly enforced with extreme prejudice?