Good political thinking made more compelling

From: Jacques Du Pasquier (
Date: Fri Jan 04 2002 - 03:14:07 MST

If, as I and many here think, the case for classical liberalism is
really strong, when not obvious, in many areas of society, one wonders
how come it is, especially in Europe, so marginally accepted.

Much of it is really not very complex, and libertarian authors seem to
keep repeating the same truths almost unchanged books after books. You
read Adam Smith, then you read Friedrich Hayek, then you read Ayn
Rand, then you read David Friedmann, and of course they have
disagreement on SOME issues, but on MANY issues, on which they
disagree with MOST people, they are really saying the exact SAME
things. (In fact, I sometimes get a bit frustrated that they don't at
least try to generalize that stuff to principles, and prefer to retell
all the details in all the particular cases.)

In France, you can now hear almost EVERY DAY of sallient problems
obviously caused by hazardous state intervention. On the ground that
it will make the situation more "fair", the state makes all sorts of
funny decisions, that quickly results in all sorts of problems, and
overall dissatisfaction and damage, to which it replies by more funny
decisions. Anyway, you get the picture, and that's not my point.

My point is, I am not happy repeating the same arguments over and over
to convince a few friends. I do repeat them, and I do convince them.
But I am not happy with it. And it seems that even writing a book
(something like the "The Machinery of Freedom", for example), and
having the good fortune of making a hit, doesn't result in very much.
Such books are published in continuation since the beginning of the
century. People may talk about them, but most people apparently still
fail to be convinced. One such book ("Libéralisme" by Pascal Salin)
was published in France by Odile Jacob in 2000, and hardly noticed.

So, as obviously some of the political directions we will take may be
very significant to many of our extropian preoccupations, and as we
are still a democracy, I am wondering about better ways to convince.

Two suggestions. First, insisting that freedom and responsability are
something nice to have on an individual basis strikes me as not the
right course (it may be the course taken by Ayn Rand's novels, but I
haven't read them so I don't know). It so happens that this only
appeals to very few people (the ones with high self-confidence), which
is probably the reason why libertarian ideas are still so marginally
accepted. But when people realize that personal freedom and
responsability must be protected for the society to flourish and solve
its problems, then, if the argument is convincing, it should appeal to

The other suggestion is that much of it should be modelable into a
computer simulation. Doing the modeling, then showing what happens
when you add a law, etc., should be enlightening. (One obvious
difficulty is that one of the main virtue of freedom is invention
brought by diversity, and invention doesn't seem very easy to model ;
but you could use genetical algorithms on a specific solution space for

Imagine that you make a big hit with such a game. Suddenly most young
people are equipped with the right concepts, and the habit to think
dynamically about these things.

Make it accessible on the Internet, as a Java application or as a
downloable software, so that anyone can play the legislator and have a
look at how things evolves. "Make social justice if you can !" Make it

Better yet make it a multiplayer game, replacing much of the simulated
decisions by decisions actually made by the human players in the given
context, and making the experience much more convincing. Any other
suggestion ?

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