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    I have to admit, I was very much in agreement with the author while reading the article. I thought the quoted email about the examples being so distracting that nothing could be learned from the book was simply melodramatic. But on finishing the article I realized my politics align with the author’s on every point.

    Based on the up votes it seems this article was well received. A challenge to readers who responded positively to this article: imagine Feuerstein had picked a different set of targets, say he derided victims of police brutality as criminals deserving what they got or accused unions of massive corruption and suggested they ought to be illegal. Would you still support his choice of examples under the same principle? I don’t find the examples nearly as cute when they don’t affirm my opinions, and would be tempted to say they don’t belong in a technical book.

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      Indeed. I also found the OP’s take on “Americans not wanting to talk politics” to be quite a bit off, at least for me. It’s not really that I don’t want to talk politics. I used to do it a lot. But I got sick of the consequences of voicing my opinions. My own particular views tend to disagree with just about everyone else’s, so it just winds up creating a ton of friction and I end up losing a ton of time to it. One day, I realized that I didn’t want to spend my life that way (I’m certainly not going to change anyone’s mind) so I just mostly shut up about it. Things have been much better.

      If I had read the OP’s book, I don’t think I would have been so distracted as to be incapable of learning from them. But I certainly would be skeptical of any future work put out by the OP. The views themselves wouldn’t really bother me, even though I probably disagree with many of them in various ways. (If they did, I’d have a really hard time living in Massachusetts and working in Cambridge.) What would bother me is the fact that the author was so confident in their own opinions, that they would use them in a descriptive context as if they were facts.

      N.B. I use the word “politics” here to loosely mean “the discussion of current events in the context of government behavior” or “a controversial topic that divides political party lines” or something like that. I don’t use in the sense of “literally any action, including inaction.” (The latter interpretation exposes a trivial contradiction in the claim that I “mostly shut up about politics.”)

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        Note that this was written in 2000, before a lot of the trends that have lead people in Anglophone countries to be more vocally political started happening.

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        I don’t like unions and I do like guns and I’m very uninterested in being preached to about these things by tech people via a medium that doesn’t allow discussion. I don’t think I’d literally be unable to learn from reading the examples, I just think I would get a different book after a few of them or avoid this book if I knew about them going into things.

        I’m inclined to upvote things like this that I think are likely to provoke interesting conversations though for the record.

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          via a medium that doesn’t allow discussion

          Well put. I don’t object to writing that mixes up politics and technology, as such. But smuggling in factoids without bothering to set up an argument is just poor form. It cheapens or even precludes the debate. I don’t care what the issue is or what side you’re on: if you care enough to write about it, you should care enough to write directly, show evidence, and build an argument. Little potshots crammed into code examples don’t help make a case; it merely shows a casual disrespect for the reader.

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          My politics, too, align with those of the author.

          imagine Feuerstein had picked a different set of targets, say he derided victims of police brutality as criminals deserving what they got […] Would you still support his choice of examples under the same principle?

          Same as with when encountering any political speech: support everyone’s freedom to choose their political viewpoints and promote them [1], but only actually support politics that make the world better. Argue and rebut where you think it’s important to and/or effective. A.k.a. don’t ban the book, but that doesn’t mean you have to buy it or like it.

          AFAICT that’s what most people who disagreed with the actual book did, too.

          [1] With the usual dishonourable exception for politics intolerant of other viewpoints, or even entire peoples’ rights. I don’t advocate repressing their speech at every turn, simply because that is not the most effective way to suppress the school of thought, but a tolerant society must reserve that right to prevent the intolerant from abusing it and taking over. See the Paradox of tolerance.