GNU License for Hardware

John Cowan cowan at
Mon Oct 18 14:22:25 UTC 1999

Ben_Tilly at scripsit:

> For example the US Civil war was not fought
> over abolishing slavery, it was fought over whether states had the
> right to leave the Union.  Yet after years of fighting Lincoln proclaimed
> that under Union law, all slaves in the Confederacy were free.  This was
> a completely symbolic gesture given that the Union was doing very
> badly and looked to have little prospect of winning.

Yes, but!  The Emancipation Proclamation pretty much assured that
Britain, which had abolished slavery years before, wouldn't recognize
the Confederacy as a separate nation.  By seizing the moral high ground,
the Union ensured that Britain, the most powerful nation in the world
at the time, would not become its opponent --- and then it was just
a matter of time until the Confederacy was defeated.

Despite Napoleon's cynical question about how many legions the Pope has,
moral pressure can have amazing practical results.

John Cowan                                   cowan at
       I am a member of a civilization. --David Brin

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