Re: Public Relations (and the Extropian Elite)

M. E. Smith (
Thu, 22 Jan 1998 12:37:19 -0800 (PST)

Concerning this from Yak Wax...

"Why does it repel you? Extropy is about rational
thought, so what rational reason have you got against
human culling, genocide or general murder? Of
course, you could argue that culling people is a bad
idea because maybe you'll accidentally kill someone
who would have been useful, etc. But I'm talking
about the act, what I want to know is for what
rational reason does this *idea* repel you?

I ask this not just because it's a difficult
question, but because Extropy has rationality at its
core. Now it's possible to think of rational reasons
for war, genocide, culling or anything else you care
to mention, but when a reason against it is called
for we tend to fall back on morality, ethics, and
right and wrong. These IMHO are weak arguments
against raw and unrelenting rationality, so what
defenses do we have against someone who's taken a
very different slant on Extropy?"

There have been many attempts by philosophers to come
up with RATIONALLY reasons to oppose war, genocide,
murder, etc. I'm not expert enough in the subject of
philosophy (or maybe I just don't want to spend a
long time typing just now) to judge their success or
lack of success.

However, I will say that even if one of them was
successful in coming up with RATIONAL reasons for
behaving "morally", their reasons have so far failed
to be as widely disemminated as the reasons
associated with religious belief systems.

The old standby of "what you sow, so shall you reap",
can and has been restated less poetically along the
lines "Humans tend to imitate one other. Your actions
therefore influence the behavior of others. When you
behave violently, you make people angry and influence
them to do the same. In this way, violent behavior on
your part adds to a violent atmosphere in society
which injures you by making mutually-beneficial
cooperation less likely and could even ultimately
result in direct physical injury to yourself."
However, people can always find enough squirming room
in this sort of argument to rationalize major acts of
violence, basically arguing that they can commit an
act of violence and escape the negative consequences.
A lot of people find this to be a major failure on
the part of pure rationalism.

As for this from den Otter...

"Seriously...Wax has a point. Why are Star Trek (or
My Little Pony) ethics so popular with this allegedly
rational crowd? It does not compute."

I suspect that many in this crowd supplement their
extropianism with ethics from other sources.
Extropianism is probably not their whole life.

As for the use of tactics such as genocide for the
furtherance of the interests of extropians, I also am
repelled by such notions, and if they ever become
even close to commonplace in extropianism, you can
count me out.

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M. E. Smith
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