Richard Stallman Resigns from the FSF

11-03-2019

In a case of double irony, Richard Stallman (advocate for LGBTQ elitism and believer in the pseudoscience of transgender politics) has been thrown under the bus as a sexist, racist, homophobe-- just like the rest of us men (you can find a typical article about this here). And me (advocate for equal rights and repeater of statistics demonstrating reduced mental health among "transgendered" individuals)-- here I am to defend his comments. The goal of this article is to demonstrate that none of the comments Stallman made in a recent CSAIL post should disqualify him from working at MIT or as president of the Free Software Foundation (a foundation Stallman himself started).

In the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) email, Stallman professed he believed an upcoming protest event would serve as an injustice to Marvin Minsky (co-founder of the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory). Stallman's main complaint was that protesters planned to portray Minsky as someone who sexually assaulted a young lady. The reason Stallman had a problem with this is because the protest was organized in response to a specific accusation (discussed in this article on the Verge): https://www.theverge.com/2019/8/9/20798900/marvin-minsky-jeffrey-epstein-sex-trafficking-island-court-records-unsealed.

Nowhere in the article is it claimed that Minsky was accused of sexual assault. Therefore, Stallman requested that the word "assault" not be used during the protest. Now-- in the email, Stallman also acknowledged that protesters had inside information that the alleged victim was 17 years old at the time of the alleged attack. In the specific location (where Minsky was accused of having sex with a sex trafficking victim), the age of consent (by law) was 18 at the time of the alleged assault. This was the basis for use of the word "assault" during the planned protest. Stallman stated that it was absurd to label a person as a "rapist" or someone who sexually assaulted someone based on (as Stallman put it) "minor details such as which country it was in or whether the victim was 18 years old or 17."

So basically, Richard Stallman was saying what many have been saying for some time now: think first, protest later. The facts of the Marvin Minsky case were not clear enough to warrant MIT alumni labeling the man as someone who committed sexual assault or as a "rapist". A protest against sex trafficking might have been warranted. But, allegations that Minsky was a rapist or assaulted someone were (at the time) unfounded.

Allowing alumni to make such claims is not only morally irresponsible. It's against the law. After all, there are laws (in the United States) against libel and slander. Therefore, Richard Stallman's recommendation that MIT ban use of the words "assault" and "rape" during the planned protest (when referring to Minsky) was well founded. This recommendation was certainly in the best interest of MIT.

Richard Stallman should (at least) be allowed to work for the Free Software Foundation. MIT and the FSF's blatantly political reactions to an obviously biased blog post are completely ridiculous. And-- they are another example of oppressive elitism in 21st century America. Richard Stallman was not asked to resign because he said something controversial. He was asked to resign because he refused to make a claim that had no factual basis. Stallman's refusal to make a non-factual claim reinforces my belief in his integrity and his humility. I applaud the man for risking it all and standing against fascist oppression-- yet again.

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html revised 01-16-2020 by Michael Atkins.

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