Objections

How to object to things

In the early twentieth century, the classicist Francis Cornford published Microcosmographia Academica, a short work about the University of Cambridge. MA enumerates reasons for not doing things. I am working on an annotated version of this booklet for when it comes out of copyright in January 2014, to be included in my broader anthology of vicious English political satire.

The work should be read in its entirety, but for the benefit of the terminally lazy, here are the arguments Cornford gives. They are so useful for preventing other people's bad ideas (and, indeed, good ideas) from getting anywhere that I think it's useful just to list them alone, for easy reference.

  • Thin End of The Wedge
  • Dangerous Precedent
  • The Time is Not Yet Ripe
  • Give the Existing System a Fair Trial
  • Machinery for Effecting the Proposed Objects Already Exists
  • Same Argument Rejected in the Past
  • Proposal Would Block Way for A Far More Sweeping Reform

Denizens of Cambridge's online discussion groups have proposed an analogous list of objections to technological proposals, sometimes referred to as the Four Horsemen of the Computing Service. As follows:

  • Technically Impossible
  • Security Risk
  • Insufficient Resources
  • Not Invented Here