[Noisebridge-discuss] Sigh -- I'm not helping with Maker Faires this year.

Seth David Schoen schoen at loyalty.org
Tue Apr 3 15:01:28 PDT 2012

bandit writes:

> An absolute refusal to associate oneself with anything tainted by
> the military also leads to the refusal to have anything to do with
> technology transfer from military use to civilian use. The medical
> advances alone are reason enough for tech transfer - think of the
> blood clotting bandages as a zen-like example.

We could also distinguish between "working on things that are receiving
military funding (now)" and "using knowledge or technology that were
developed with military funding".  I think people in this thread haven't
made this distinction this way when they've referred to things like the
Internet that were created through military funding.

Here's one way this distinction could be useful: someone with a lot of
colleagues or customers who object to military involvement could
plausibly be influenced to decline it because of their objections, but
someone doing research with a lot of future applications can't really
hear from prospective users who object to the military role, nor can
those prospective users make a very credible commitment as a group
today to boycott the applications in the future.

If the Maker Faire organizers hear "hey, a couple of awesome hackers
who were great contributors to the Faire, and some attendees, have a
problem with this thing", that's a clear, immediate concern for them.
By contrast, if someone hears "hey, a couple of awesome hackers are
boycotting GPS, the Internet, and cyanoacrylate glues because they
have a problem with where they came from", it creates a pretty diffuse
concern that some unidentified people _might_ also boycott the
still-unknown fruits of some current research far in the future.

One way of summing this up is that boycotts are probably more
effective and credible when they target ongoing behaviors that the
boycott participants object to, rather than trying to punish past
objectionable behavior in terrorem.  But I'm not claiming a general
theory of what makes boycotts tactically or ethically appropriate.

Seth David Schoen <schoen at loyalty.org>      |  No haiku patents
     http://www.loyalty.org/~schoen/        |  means I've no incentive to
  FD9A6AA28193A9F03D4BF4ADC11B36DC9C7DD150  |        -- Don Marti

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