August 27th, 2005


Morning thoughts

Firstly, a quote: "Nothing is impossible for a man, so long as the thought that precedes it is "This would probably annoy my girlfriend."

I sent off a suggestion yesterday to allow filtering by tags, and got it rejected with the reason "This is already possible with S2".

Which is just great - I want to be able to click on a tag and say "Don't ever show me things marked 'Pony Porn' again."  Fiddling about with LJ styles does _not_ sound like the most efficient way to do that.  Reminds me, in fact, far too much of the responses people have on Slashdot to the question "I don't like open-source product X because it doesn't do Y", which is usually "It's open source - make the change yourself."  Life is sometimes just too short.

And a quiz - Nerd, Geek or Dork?
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Just for the record, I really don't care about inequality.

I care about absolute poverty - about people who don't have food to eat, or a place to live.
And that's why I support the benefits system.

I care about lack of education - and people who are left with nothing after 12 years of sitting in a classroom being derided rather than helped.
And that's why I support free education, and why I think it needs to be constantly researched and improved.

I care about the impossibility of improvement - that some people are stuck in a situation which they cannot get out of, and that their children will be stuck there too.
And that's why I support life-long learning initiatives, training and government initiatives to help deprived areas.

I care about stratification - that people can have potential, but not be able to and encouraged to improve themselves, because success isn't for the likes of them.
And that's why I support equal opportunities, progressive taxation and inheritance tax.

But once people have 'the basics', can improve both themselves and their situation, and aren't locked out by virtue of the colour of their skin, their accent, their gender, sexuality or place of birth - I really, really don't care about inequality.  More stuff for me would always be nice, but I don't care that some people have a thousand times what I do - I turned down various opportunities to do things that would have earned me more money, because I found something that I enjoyed that paid well enough. 

Inequality tells you what is valued by society - whether it's that doctors are hard to come by or that people love football.  It's what happens when you give people the freedom to spend their money any way they like - not everyone spends wisely, but that's our choice.  You can't take that choice away from us without taking away (for most of us) our reason for working in the first place.  I deplore unnecessary suffering - and that's why I believe in a measure of redistribution, to allow the poorest to improve themselves, and help the helpless. And I see no reason why the richest can't help more than the poorest - and that's why I'm happy with the current situation in the UK, where around 50% of money that the rich earn goes to that end.  But I wouldn't go any further than that, because some people feel that the world is unfair - fairness isn't built into the universe, and they can deal with their jealousy on their own time.