[Freedombox-discuss] Fwd: Translating expressions...

Sandy Harris sandyinchina at gmail.com
Thu May 26 03:45:21 UTC 2011

On Wed, May 25, 2011 at 9:45 PM, Ted Smith <tedks at riseup.net> wrote:

>> > When Eben speaks of the "Free World", I take him to mean "the community
>> > of people who so love freedom that they love free software and the
>> > culture of sharing".
>> If this is what he means, he must realize that he's making an allusion
>> (probably humorous) to the concept the OP refers to.  I can see why such
>> an allusion wouldn't translate or internationalize well, unfortunately.
>> There's a lot of political and cultural baggage in the phrase "the free
>> world", even within the USA (it evokes Ronald Reagan for me; not exactly
>> a non-polarizing figure).  It's probably a good idea to think through
>> how this sort of language would play out globally before deciding that
>> we really want to commit to using it.
>>       --dkg
> I think Richard Stallman was the first person to use it like that (and
> while I never understood it as such, it does seem to fit his sense of
> humor for it to be a twist off of a Reaganism).

The phrase is much older than Reagan's prominence. I first heard
it early 60s and I doubt it was new then.

> I think it's a powerful phrase that shouldn't be lightly discarded,
> though -- I know I've been inspired by viewing the fight for free
> software as a battle to maintain and grow the Free World.

Sure, but it also a loaded phrase that can only be used with
considerable care.

> I also don't
> know how relevant this discussion is to people who grew up after the
> Cold War.

What about people whose countries were on the other side of
the Cold War?

Or who consider the West talking about the "Free World" while
supporting various dictatorships (Diem, Chiang Kai Shek,
several in Latin America & Africa) the height of hipocrisy?
I would not claim they are right in all cases, but I am quite
certain some people who want the Box will feel that way.

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