Social justice and technology

Recently I attended the Atlanta Linux Fest where a keynote (deceptively entitled “Standing Out in the Crowd“) was given, and I still don’t understand why they felt the need to make this a keynote when there was already a workshop scheduled on the same subject. I, and others at the conference, tweeted and tried to make known that we didn’t appreciate the importation of social justice concerns into an area that, by all rights and purposes, ought to be coldly logical.

At first I thought this was merely a fluke. That some random feminist organization managed to persuade the organizers of the event into allowing them to come and try and persuade us that we are somehow all intolerant and misogynistic simply because fewer1 women are members. However, after seeing an article to the same effect on Slashdot recently I started looking into the so-called feminist open-source movement and found it to be neither new nor isolated.

Now while I have no problem with people pursuing their own agendas per se I do have a big problem when it comes to pursuing an agenda that is purely fabricated and detrimental to what it is purporting to help. Feminism, for example, has been a corrosive cancer to every single thing it has touched and I hold no illusions to what sort of effects it will have in the realm of science and technology. I also have a big problem when, in the name of tolerance and equality, feminism manages to wield a giant club beating down any dissenters in an effort to make everyone get in line. Get in line with what, though? The isolated incidents of sexism and questionable jokes/comments are not enough to convince me that the issues that need to be address fall primarily within the domain of gender-equality. As one attendee of the Atlanta Linux Fest so poignantly put it: “Aren’t these problems really human problems as opposed to problems that only women face?”

Social justice seems to be a pretty effective means of “turning the tables” by being just as biased as those you are decrying without fear of reprisal. After all, who’s going to dare speak out against the supposed victims? Interestingly enough, this whole movement has also found it’s way into the current US administration’s agenda.

When they said they were going to champion science and technology they failed to mention they were only interested in the social aspect, as if that is what is harming the competitiveness of the US tech industry.

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  1. Which is still more than none. []

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