Jack Baruth addresses the ongoing cultural defenestration of Richard Stallman:
The idea of truly free software given to the world for humanitarian purposes would not exist without Stallman. He was the only person who ever had the thought. Which means it is more radical than calculus, heavier-than-air flight, the theory of relativity, or the atomic bomb. It took someone with Stallman’s particular blend of Promethean IQ and mentally handicapped social skills to push it all the way to reality. You live in Richard Stallman’s world, whether you like it or not. He has had more influence on how we communicate in 2019 than any other single human being currently living. Any sane society would consider him a national treasure of greater importance than Fort Knox, to be cherished and protected accordingly.
Naturally, our society has decided to crucify him. A young woman with an axe to grind has instigated a lynch mob through an astoundingly ill-conceived and illogical bit of emotionally dependent rhetoric:
There are so many things wrong with what Richard Stallman said I hardly know where to begin…
She totally can’t even!
There is nothing I have seen a man in tech do that a woman could not. What’s more, the woman would probably be less egotistical and more team-oriented about it.
This is how you know the author is a mental child. Any of us “could do” many things. I could have written any song, novel, or movie screenplay that has appeared between 1982 and now. Except I didn’t. The Egyptians could have invented the airplane and the laser and the K-cup coffee maker, but they didn’t. Only children deal in potential. Adults deal in reality.
Also, I hate to tell her this, and its embarrassing that I should be the one to lecture an MIT graduate on this, but teams are for normies, for neurotypicals, for trash people who can’t retain multiple levels of variable dereferencing in their heads while coding. Teams do not accomplish, and have never accomplished, anything of genuine intellectual value.
The history of scientific progress is a history of individuals. Yes, you need a “team” to actually assemble the atomic bomb or the Intel Itanium or a commercial software product. You don’t need a team to conceive it and do the mental heavy lifting. The effective IQ of a team is the same as the lowest IQ in the team; the productivity of the team is a minor percentage of the productivity you could get from its smartest member working alone. Every once in a while you will see one brilliant person be inspired by another brilliant person in the near vicinity. This happens once for every hundred million times a “team” crushes the abilities of its members.
Richard Stallman is, by all normal human standards, a complete lunatic. He also happens to be a genuine genius. And more to the point, by every sane human standard, Richard Stallman has done nothing wrong. While I think his postulations concerning possible defenses of Marvin Minsky’s alleged behavior are both a) incorrect and b) irrelevant, there is nothing remotely questionable or surprising about his formulating and expressing them.
Can you even imagine Richard Stallman being courted and corrupted by Jeffrey Epstein? That not only stretches the bounds of credibility, it’s got the potential to be a hilarious comedy sketch.
Epstein: Hey, Richard, do you like to party? I know some nice girls who would like to meet you.
Stallman: I would not be happy at a party. Especially not if it’s raining. You have a big face. Do you have a parrot?
Epstein: Um, no….
Stallman: Go away! Go away now!
But this isn’t a comedy sketch, it is today’s ugly reality.
On September 16, 2019, Richard M. Stallman, founder and president of the Free Software Foundation, resigned as president and from its board of directors.