Re: true abundance?

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Tue Jan 30 2001 - 11:30:37 MST

Charlie Stross wrote:
> On Tue, Jan 30, 2001 at 01:44:06AM -0800, Samantha Atkins wrote:
> >
> > This is a popular socialist argument. It assumes that all of us, every
> > single humans somehow contributed something to everything we have and
> > therefore we all have an equal right to the fruits of human progress.
> > But
> > this argument is quite questionable. The majority of human progress
> > comes from a relative handful of creative and energetic people, not from
> > the masses of humankind.
> Depends how you define 'progress'. And on the ability to selectively
> ignore the necessary prerequisites for those 'creative and energetic
> people' to do their things. Behind every aerospace engineer or chip
> designer there's a small army of people working supermarket checkouts and
> farms and food factories (so the engineers don't have to hunt their food

Yes, and each and everyone one of them is paid the market value of their
contribution already. So exactly why do they deserve a cut of someone
else's contribution?

> >From this viewpoint, being creative and innovative is merely a
> specialisation, of no more importance to the running of things than
> being paid to clean toilets for a living.
> I've noticed a tendency of people on this list -- and of libertarians
> in general -- to flatter themselves with the idea that they belong to
> some tiny elite, buried in the seething masses, who actually make
> things work and civlization progress. Well, it might be true -- and
> that might be a pig I see through my study window, on final approach
> into Turnhouse airport. Folks, we *are* those masses. Doesn't matter
> if most of them are dumb as a plank; we're still related.

Actually I belong to several "elites". So what? I don't believe in of
them are utterly responsible for all progress. I also don't believe any
of them ride on the backs of the masses unfairly and therefore owe the
masses more than they already give. And I certainly understand my
relationship and samenesses and differences with other people. Not of
that changes the argument.

> I figure that if you want to set ethical goals for extropians, taking
> those dumb-as-a-plank people and helping them learn to *think* would
> be a good starting point for activism. Denying that they're *capable*
> of thought is actually a first step down another road -- one that leads
> to a hereditary aristocracy or a caste system.

Well, there is some actual evidence that beyond a certain point in life
the brain is not exactly very malleable to learning some foundational
things including formal operations. And there is the tiny problem that
no matter how patiently you lead the horse to water that you can't force
it to drink.

Thinking is not heriditary and introducing that here is a canard. It is
a matter of training and will and basic ability. Only a small part of
basic ability is arguably genetic.

- samantha

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon May 28 2001 - 09:56:26 MDT