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[at-l] Anti ATC/at-l editorial by Wingfoot



At 08:47 PM 10/19/2002 -0400, you wrote:
--
At 05:35 PM 10/19/2002 -0400, sAunTerer wrote:

 >>And... It was the list members who volunteered to chip in.  Ryan wasn't
 >>"bribing" us.  He was trying to get our attention in the midst of verbal
 >>battles and challenging us to focus on what AT-L was intended to be.  Many
 >>of us not only accepted the challenge but chose to raise the ante.  It's
 >>interesting that by describing what happened using the word "bribe" he put
 >>a negative spin on a positive act.  Ryan wanted to return the list to a
 >>'campfire' level of conversation.  He succeeded.  Many AT-Lers saw it as an
 >>opportunity to do a good thing for the trail.  They succeeded.  How can
 >>that be a bad thing?

 >Any time money changes hands to effect a change of
 >behavior, that's a bribe, IMHO.  We've been around this
 >block before, Jim.

"Any time money changes hands to effect a change of behavior, that's a
bribe" you say.  Let me see now.  I go to work every day because my
employer pays me.  If he didn't, there's no way in hell I'd spend my time
that way.  So is that bribery?  No, it's an exchange.  I want (need) money,
my employer wants (needs) work done.  We both get what we want.

According to my dictionary bribery is a form of corruption.  It is
inducement to act in a corrupt manner for the benefit of the person
offering the bribe.  So where was the corrupt behavior Rafe?  Was toning
down the level of rancor on the list  corrupt?  Was raising money to help
the ATC corrupt?  How did Ryan benefit?  We have offered on various
occasions to raise money to help offset the expense of maintaining this
list and Ryan has repeatedly refused to accept so much as a dime. If only
everyone was that corrupt.  He could have simply followed WF's precedent,
booted the offenders and gotten the same result but he chose to take a
positive approach.  You (and WF) slander our benefactor by characterizing
his offer as a bribe.  I think you owe Ryan an apology.  That's my humble
opinion.

 >It's too bad WF is such a vengeful, egotistical fellow.
 >It's too bad someone here had to make an issue of
 >WF's anti-AT-L rant.  It's too bad, I suppose, that
 >ATN magazine had to write that story so as to hand
 >WF one more thing to be pissed off about.

 >I'm no big fan of WF -- and quite proud to have been
 >booted from his precious list -- but even a stopped clock
 >is right twice a day, and on this one (very narrow) point,
 >I think WF is dead on.

 >Ryan took a very creative approach to calming down
 >the list.  It worked, sort of.  The numerous follow-on pledges
 >weren't Ryan's idea.  I'm certain they were offered with the
 >best of intentions, but I was, frankly, aghast at the whole
 >affair.

 >The whole time, I was amazed that nobody spoke a word
 >about the Orwellian nature of the thing.  To use money to
 >steer a discussion is not a good thing -- even if the
 >intention was good.  Nothing's quite as precious as free
 >speech.

You (and a good many others these days) are confused about the meaning of
"free speech".  When the Bill of Rights says that the freedom of speech
will not be restricted it does not mean that you are guaranteed the right
to say anything you want, anywhere you want, anytime you want.  It means
that the government cannot restrict your right to criticize the
government.  That clause in the Constitution grew directly out of the
attempt by the British to squelch criticism of the Crown in the colonies by
restricting what could be said or written.  It was included in the Bill of
Rights to insure that discussion of public policy could not be restricted
to what those currently in power in the government wanted said .

Aside from the government, when someone creates a forum for discussion,
they have the right to guide the discussion in that forum to the topics the
forum was intended for.  Churches do it all the time (and collect money) as
do colleges and universities (who charge large sums of money to guide
discussion in class to the topics being studied).  If Ryan wishes to guide
the discussion to a less contentious vein, that's his privilege as owner of
this forum.  What he did was certainly less Orwellian than booting the
offending parties.  As I remember my Orwell, his vision of the future was
conformity through enforcement, not through appeals to people's better natures.

 >Speaking for myself, I never saw the mission of this list
 >(AT-L) as raising money for ATC.  I've given plenty of my
 >own money to ATC over the years, but I resented the
 >pressure to restrict my public expression for the sake of
 >a well-intentioned, but utterly spurious charity drive.

I agree that the mission of AT-L is not to raise money but we do it from
time-to-time (despite the claims of some that no one here really cares
about the AT) and again you choose to characterize what happened with a
negative term, "spurious".  The proper meaning of that word is fake or
false.  If I remember correctly that "fake" fund raiser raised well over
$2K in very non-fake dollars that were given to a very non-fake ATC which
coordinates maintenance of the very non-fake AT.  Hardly what I would call
"spurious".  If you didn't want to give money based on the challenge,
fine.  That's your choice, but why knock those of us who did?  Why knock
Ryan for moderating the list in a positive way?

sAunTerer (who's had enough of this topic)