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It's best to look at it through the prism of game theory.

Moral outrage as a language game, especially where certain hot button issues are concerned, like anything involving sexuality, bears a striking resemblance with the language game that unfolds umong children when it is alleged that someone has the cooties.

When such an allegation is made there are three possible plays. Agree, disagree, or stay quiet. In my opinion, the best play is to vocally agree with the allegation when it is made by at least one popular kid or when a critical mass of kids agreeing with the allegation has already been reached. When a critical mass has not yet been reached and the allegation is backed by only a small number of kids and kids who are unpopular or of undetermined popularity status, the best play is to stay quiet while waiting to see if a popular kid joins the allegation or if a critical mass is reached, at which point you should start to also voice your agreement. Something you never ever want to do is to speak up to disagree.

This is because the claim "you've got the cooties", despite being by definition false, draws credibility from how many people agree with it. If someone finds themselves on the receiving end of the allegation, the only possible response is to go "no you've got the cooties" and try to build consensus around that.

So, Kid A goes "Kid B's got the cooties", Kid C goes "No he doesn't". That would be a very stupid play if Kid C is an unpopular Kid, because it would be likely to make Kid A pivot into expressing the view "Kid C's got the cooties", putting Kid C into a strategically worse position than he started out in.

Now, choosing between the vocally-agree versus stay-quiet plays: Vocally-agree is usually a better play. Because Kid B could respond by turning around and saying "no, Kid C's got the cooties!" That is unlikely, but the probability is greater than zero.

If, on the other hand, Kid C goes "Haha! It's true! Kid B's got the cooties" that makes Kids A and C allies, so it advances Kid C's position by getting it into the safety of the herd, so to speak. Because now, if Kid B goes "no, Kid C's got the cooties" you will find that Kid A will voice disagreement. So between Kid B having the cooties and Kid C having the cooties, the greater consensus is around Kid B having the cooties.

It quickly becomes apparent that the game unfolds around popularity and conformism as a self-fulfilling prophecy and that, at the end of the day, popular kid always wins, unpopular kid always loses.

So, about Stallman. Popular kids win. Yet again. Who would have thought that. Stallman's got the cooties.

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