Joel hasn't been doing as well as usual in his words of wisdom, but he picked things back up with his lastest post, A Field Guide to Developers - Joel on Software:

Programmers have very well-honed senses of justice. Code either works, or it doesn't. There's no sense in arguing whether a bug exists, since you can test the code and find out. The world of programming is very just and very strictly ordered and a heck of a lot of people go into programming in the first place because they prefer to spend their time in a just, orderly place, a strict meritocracy where you can win any debate simply by being right.
...
When a programmer complains about “politics,” they mean—very precisely—any situation in which personal considerations outweigh technical considerations.


"Well-honed" seems to be a simple obfuscation of "idealistic," but I like the way he's thinking. Joel was a programmer, I believe, still does some hacking, and managed at Microsoft "back when." Now he owns a company. It's interesting to see how a once-programmer handles management issues where most companies seem to have the attitude, "Why couldn't I bring in a successful manager in any field and have them get my programming staff on track?" Better anything is better than crappy when it comes to managers (forgive my impressive word choice), but I know I prefered a manager to "got" programming, and they are few and far between.