Re: Clinton's National Nanotechnology Initiative

Date: Sat Mar 04 2000 - 07:28:24 MST

In a message dated 2/28/00 10:33:49 AM Central Standard Time, writes:

> You have to realize that *most* people in government, research, etc.
> are *highly* conservative. I suspect their mental mindsets do not
> let them entertain paradigms that would grossly upset their world-view.
> Really now, do you think the government would actually fund a technology
> that would eliminate revenue sources for the government and perhaps the
> government itself (if all the people "leave") if it knew that would be
> the ultimate result?!?
> A few people may be clued in but I have to believe most are pretty

These observations are consistent with my own. Although the word "visionary"
gets bandied about from time to time by historians and even contemporary
political spin-doctors, the political process is pretty ruthless in weeding
out imagination. In fact, the almost-universal career pattern for both
elected politicians and government bureaucrats selects very heavily for
conventional thinking. Since success in these fields is almost entirely a
function of being allowed access to existing power structures by incumbents,
any sign of non-conformity is suppressed at a very early stage. By the time
someone has achieved a position of real power and influence, they have
learned well the lesson that only small, incremental change is "possible".
People who succeed in the political world over the span of a typical career
have almost always internalized the pattern of suspicion of innovation.

On top of this is the fact that the democratic process makes maintaining
power a full-time job. People in positions of power in most institutions
don't have the time or energy to really study new ideas. They depend on
summaries and sound-bite outlines for "mastery" of even the most complex
policy issues, with most of their personal resources being devoted to
constantly "working the system" to stay in power.

These factors make looking to the political process for leadership in the
transhumanist agenda essentially hopeless. As a result, I've come to
conclude that successful strategies for truly rapid progress toward
transhumanist goals must look to means for cleverly side-stepping the current
power structure.

      Greg Burch <>----<>
      Attorney ::: Vice President, Extropy Institute ::: Wilderness Guide -or-
                                           ICQ # 61112550
        "We never stop investigating. We are never satisfied that we know
        enough to get by. Every question we answer leads on to another
       question. This has become the greatest survival trick of our species."
                                          -- Desmond Morris

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