Mac Musings

Macs, Politics, Religion, and Rights

Dan Knight - 2002.07.01 - Tip Jar

It happens every time I post a link to an article dealing with politics or religion - someone writes to complain that such links have no place on the Mac Web. It's even more interesting when we actually publish an article dealing with religion or politics - a few people threaten to boycott Low End Mac.

It's that predictable, and so are the sometimes greater number of emails thanking us for sharing our thoughts. We really appreciate them.

The ones who complain always seem to be the ones who disagree with the writer's position. In other words, it's not so much that Mac users have and share their opinion on politics and religion, but that we think differently from those who email their complaints.

I guess they're insecure enough that they can't celebrate diversity, applaud free speech, and engage with a free press. Instead they try to tell me how to run my business by stating "religion and politics have no place on your site."

Sorry, but this isn't Macworld; this is the Internet. Web publishers with tech sites have a long tradition of dealing with topics other than Macs. Some examples:

  • We appreciated learning about the September 11 attack through a link on the Mac Observer home page, and very few questioned our inclusion of 9-11 links on the LEM home page in the days following the attacks.
  • Pledge of Allegiance Ruled Unconstitutional, Slashdot, 06.26. "News for nerds. Stuff that matters." 2,652 self-professed nerds took time to comment on the issue.
  • Damien Barrett has been sharing his thoughts on MrBarrett.com. Damien Barrett also runs the AppleTechs website.
  • David K. Every has a whole section on MacKiDo marked politics. He also shares his political views on his new iGeek site.
  • There's been a good dialogue about religion on the Mac Web on Applelinks over the past week or two.
  • There's no question at all about Steve Jobs and politics. He's even had the Clintons over to his place.
  • When we posted a link to the Fox News article about the 9th Circuit Court's decision, 205 Low End Mac visitors followed the link. That's a very good click-through rate for an external link.
  • When I published a link on LEM to my analysis on my Cobweb Publishing site, 173 visitors followed that link.
  • When we published Moore's article on Thursday morning, it became our most read article of the day and has accumulated over 1,100 hits. That's a decent level for an article, Mac-related or not.

It's evident to us that Mac users are interested in politics, despite a vocal minority who says it has no place on the Mac Web. (A few took the time to respond to our articles rather than decry them. That's the whole purpose of free speech - dialogue. We appreciate thoughtful feedback.)

Humans have been called political animals, and this is no less true of humans who use computers. We have political views, and they don't go away when we use our Macs.

In the United States we the First Amendment. It promises freedom of speech and freedom to publish our ideas. These rights are based on the idea that public discussion of issues and airing of our differences is a good thing. We agree with that, and we post pieces on our site that reflect our differences.

If we believe an issue is important enough that it should be addressed even though it isn't directly related to Macs or even computers, we don't say, "But it's not Mac related." We exercise our right to share our opinions - and none of us like being told that it's somehow wrong or sinister to do so.

As Bryan Chaffin of the Mac Observer noted, "The one thing you must not ever do is tell us not to express our own opinions just because you don't agree with it. When you try to limit discussion, you become a force for repression, not freedom."

We try to make sure that our column titles and the descriptive sentences with our links let you know what to expect when you click, whether it's issues of spam, censorship, racism, politics, Microsoft, religion, and so forth. If you don't want to be exposed to our ideas on these issues, don't follow the links.

Instead, the politically correct thought Nazis email us, telling us it's somehow "wrong" to share views on things unrelated to the Mac - and that they're going to boycott an excellent site (they usually profess great appreciation for everything else on Low End Mac) because they hold a different opinion in some area.

I wonder, do they ask the waiter at their favorite restaurant about their religion, political leanings, or choice of computing platform? Do they boycott a local grocery store because the owner lets it be known that he supports candidates of the "wrong" political party?

Or have they learned to live and let live - except when a Mac user has the audacity to share opinions that diverge from their own on the Mac Web?

Take off the blinders, folks. It's not one world, and the United States is not one culture. We have people from a multitude of ethnic backgrounds, a great variety of religious traditions, and different preferences in areas as diverse as politics, computer platform, and favorite flavor of ice cream.

Why should we have to hide that diversity at Low End Mac? Remember, ours is the platform that used Big Brotherthe slogan "Think Different." We are the anti-Big Brother contingent, to use an image from the famous 1984 ad. We are not lemmings (1985); we are individuals.

We celebrate individuality in the Mac community and at Low End Mac, whether in the face of the Windows Collective or the close mindedness of political correctness.

We will continue to share our opinions on issues that are important to us, both Mac-related and otherwise.

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Dan Knight has been using Macs since 1986, sold Macs for several years, supported them for many more years, and has been publishing Low End Mac since April 1997. If you find Dan's articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.

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