Python training time (was)

Alex Martelli aleax at
Fri Feb 7 01:24:34 CET 2003

John Ochiltree wrote:

> Alex, Alex, Alex pouvre chien!

Have they revised the French language (yet again) since I last checked,
or are you mis-spelling "pauvre" as well as insulting me?

> Adam's "Invisible Hand" is merely the expression and justification of
> "those who have" exercising their power. The god like qualities of the
> market are a fiction. They are a product of concrete and physical
> activities by the economic elite.

Why, sure.  That's why the great Soviet Union has triumphed in its
economic growth and left the market-based economies of the West
in the dust, no doubt.  (Also look at what happened to China after
Deng finally introduced SOME market-based sectors -- roaring growth
where the market worked, i.e. in Guangdong and in some agriculture
sectors, enduring grey gloom where it didn't).

You can't outMarx me, John -- back in the early '70s, I was the one
who wrote the communiques, for I was the only one, out of all the
comrades in that particular set of leftists, who had gone to the trouble 
of actually *reading* all of Marx (boring) and Engels (less boring, 
although less profound).  My luck (or lack thereof, depending on your
politics) was a history teacher (a Marxist) who pushed me to study
those Marx _criticised_ too -- Smith, Ricardo, Mills, for example.  And
when, soon afterwards, I got enough maths to follow modern
economics, I was hooked (I then chose engineering, but I remain an
amateur economist).  I haven't forgotten Marx, but I know enough to
resent such drivel.  The economic elite fights hard AGAINST the
workings of the market (as Marx pointed out about the aristocrats
in his time), which threaten their privileges.  Truly free markets are
great equalizers -- sapping the elite and boosting that part of the
downtrodden who are willing to risk, and work hard.  So why would
elites NOT fight them?  And indeed they do, mostly.

> Theads like this prove python's superiority over C++ and anyone that can't
> see it, must be sad, lonely developers.

Badly put.  People who manage to delude themselves that their
preconceptions are right are rarely sad as a result, even if those
preconceptions are dead wrong.

> Can we have some comment on the discursive nature of truth?

I'll be glad to offer one, if you show us you've done your homework
by a short essay on truth and discourse in Heidegger, Wittgenstein,
Kant and a fourth epistemologist of your choice, with comparisons
and contrasts.  (Borges counts.  Or Santayana.  I'm not picky; I'll
accept Emily Dickinson as epistemically interesting too, if you can
make half a case based on primary sources.  The point is ensuring
we don't waste effort in debating the fine points if you're missing
the very fundamentals).


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