Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1999/05/31

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Subject: [Leica] Freedom of expression and responsibility
From: Erwin Puts <>
Date: Mon, 31 May 1999 10:44:14 +0200

Recently one contributor to this list seems to be under the impression that
some members of this list are opposed to expression of opinions or
presenatation of factual  information that are critical or negative about
Leica manufacturing quality,  current management practices, future product
strategy or you name it. And feel the need to invoke the first amandment to
defend the right to say whatever they deem necessary.
I feel inclined to propose that any person on this list who thinks (s)he
needs any defense to express any view about any topic that even slightly
tangents the Leica world, has not grasped the essence of this list and/or
the fabric between its many contributors.
On the other hand freedom of speech has a necessary corollary and that is
responsibility for what is being stated or opiniated.
In the scientific/technical/journalistic world where I roam about, anybody
can express any thought, even the wildest guess is acceptable and
tolerated. But if some person makes erroneous or unproven
statements,produces illogical reasoning or draws conclusions based on shaky
evidence, then anybody can question these opinions or statements.
In fact one can ignore the disputed statements ( a most sensible stance) or
one can bring evidence or reasoning to the contrary.
If on this list somebody's statements or views are questioned or challenged
or ignored, then this is not an act of repression by the socalled "board"
(a non-entity in fact), it is just the logical and entirely natural
consequence of the free speech principle. Anyone may formulate wrong or
illresearched statements/opinions, but anyone else may say that this or
that opinion/fact is wrong or illresearched or just plain stupid. That is
also part of the free speech principle.
I am a very firm believer in that most elegant procedure called scientific
reasoning, where content prevails above the individual person who made
available the content. Solid fact finding by  methodological inquiry,
subsequent reasoning by logical laws and carefully formulated conclusions
based on accepted facts are the basis of progress and insight.
Science and technology do progress because there is a common body of
knowledge that all practitioners adhere to.
To assume that because of a faulty pressure plate Leica quality in general
has withered away, that the current Leica management consists of bean
counters throwing away the quality standards established by the Leitz
family (if that would be a true fact) is a shaky if not wrong conclusion.
One is entitled to have this view. One is also entitled to dismiss it. Be
careful: the view is dismissed, not the person who has this opinion.