Re: Transhuman fascists?

From: Technotranscendence (
Date: Wed Mar 29 2000 - 08:35:24 MST

On Tuesday, March 28, 2000 2:23 PM Zero Powers
> >How would economic equality be brought about and maintained? (I'm not
> >advocating this -- only trying to see how Zero will answer this.)
> I'm not sure why you're asking this question or what it has to do with
> thread. But since you asked, here goes: First off, I never called for
> immediate "economic equality." But if you want my guess as to how it will
> eventually come about, I think that once we all have access to
> near-anything boxes, you will ipso facto have substantial "economic
> equality" since anybody will be able to make near-anything at almost no
> cost.

Then we don't need that equality to be enforced by law? Nanotech will only
bring about equality of certain stuff. Information will still not be equal.
It mgiht be easier to get and use, but even a slight advantage in it will
result in one person having better stuff than another. I'm willing to
living with that, provided the other person is not out to kill or control

> >I have problems with ubiquitous surveillance too. Transparency might
> >like a solution to all sorts of problems, but... I do think that in the
> >short run, any moves in that direction, will only benefit the elites and
> >the long run, if it doesn't, it will make the majority nearly omnipotent.
> >Inescapable majority rule is not my idea of social paradise. It's
> >basically
> >what Bruce Sterling would call an "enforcement technology."
> Well that, of course, is the call to arms to make sure that the "elites"
> not the sole (or even primary) beneficiaries of transparency. I don't
> follow how you equate transparency with an "omnipotent" majority.
> Regardless of the existence of transparency freedom will always depend
> an open society with sufficient checks and balances to insure that one
> person or group does not have the ability to take control to the
> disadvantage of another individual or group. The way I see it
> helps to further this goal, not to inhibit it, particularly where
> transparency if two-way and power equivolent.

And I do not. Imagine this. You live in a society where most people find
gays repulsive and quite a few are willing to kill gays. The majority,
let's say, doesn't care about gays dying per se, especially if they see
certain gays having lots of mind blowing anal sex many times a week or
night. Let's say you are one of those gays and your neighbor is one of
those people who hates gays and is willing to kick your ass when he sees you
coming from some sexual encounter. For some reason or other, let's also
suppose he is bigger than you and has more computer power, etc. You are too
busy having a good time to notice him -- among the myriad of other data your
surveillance provides you with. Everyone sees him kicking your ass, but
most people tune to another channel. Some people even watch with glee. He
kills you. Some people, defending him, might point to his bad childhood
experiences with gays and so on -- all of this is in some database too.
Those who should be against him -- the Law -- only make a halfhearted
defense, because, hey, almost everyone knows gays are disgusting and evil
and you are only just another dead fag. How has ubiquitous surveillance
benefited you?

More likely, what would happen, is you would be just like a gay man in the
1950s -- in the closet very deep. That is a nearly omnipotent majority in
action. Just the notion that others are watching prevents you from doing
things which harm no one, but might lead to social ostracism or even violent
reprisals. It's nice to think a future society with ubiquitous surveillance
would not have all these flaws, BUT how can Zero guarantee that -- or even
present what will most likely happen? If human history is any guide, the
more people are watched, the less freedom they have. In puritan New
England, e.g., people who lived alone were often thought to be witches
because monitoring each other's behavior was the thing to do. In modern
dictatorships, as others and myself have pointed out, surveillance often
goes overboard. (Argentina under the Junta in the 1970s and 1980s (by no
means the most repressive government of that time) had people -- actual
people -- listen in on overseas phone calls. All such phone conversations
has to be conducted in Spanish so that the monitors could understand what
was being said. They would even cut in when they couldn't understand.)

> >I think what we might say is Zero supports many planks which would lead
> >a
> >totalitarian society -- rather than that it/she/he is a totalitarian per
> >se.
> >This, sadly, is what too many people support.
> This is the usual knee-jerk reaction. But if you stop and think about it,
> power equivolent ubiquitous transparency can not possibly lead to a
> totalitarian society. To the contrary it will help to assure that
> totalitarianism is never able to take hold.

I did think about it. As I've said elsewhere, I trust some of my immediate
reactions. Pulling my hand away from flames is a good thing. After
thinking more about this issue, I'm even more confirmed in my above

Of course, if Zero can prove me wrong, that would be great. (Not that I
want to spend all of my waking hours arguing about this.:)


Daniel Ust

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