Re: New X-humanist forums (was/is: Not all >H's areExtropians(

Date: Fri Jun 23 2000 - 17:04:12 MDT

In a message dated 6/23/00 5:37:20 PM Central Daylight Time, writes:

> Lee, I'm, quite frankly, exhausted by this discussion. So I'm
> not going to respond to your points below.


I don't subscribe to the transhumanist list, so I missed much of the
discussion that I deduce must have preceded the post that Max made to the
extropians list this morning. I'm sorry you're retiring from the fray here,
because I was only just beginning to get a grip on whatever observations
about extropianism you had made on the other list. For now, I'll just make
this parting observation regarding some of the discussion you had with Max;
that is regarding your use of the term "right wing" to describe
"extropianism" or "extropians", or "most extropians", or "many extropians" or
whatever you meant as the object of that description.

I'm not one of those extropians who has only a shallow familiarity with the
humanities: I can hardly add two numbers and get the same answer twice, but I
spent a lot of time in school, so I must have studied the humanities. In
fact, I've not only studied quite a bit of history and political science, but
I've been involved in politics and know many active politicians, and I work
in a field that can be fairly called "applied ethics" every day. With that
said, I'll note that I am one of a growing number of people who find the
terms "left" and "right" to be almost completely drained of meaning.

To me, "left" and "right" were terms with some significant current content at
the beginning of the 20th century. By the middle of the 20th century, the
expereince of totalitarianism had shown people with eyes to see that the
reality of politics and ideological conflict in particular societies was far
more complex than such simplistic terms could meaningfully capture.
Unfortunately, by then popular media, academia and even most working
politicians had come to accept that this simplistic unidimensional spectrum
was the totality of analysis. Thus the absurd inconsistency of most modern
politics and governance, when analyzed in ideological terms.

Thus you'll understand when, with all due respect, I say that use of the
terms "right wing" or "left wing" is often a marker to me of people who are
mired in what to me is a bankrupt system of political philosophy. Should we
call Pat Buchanan "right wing" when he shares an enthusiasm for protectionist
policies with organized labor? Should we call Ralph Nader "left wing" when
he shares technophobia with Ralph Reed? When Castro's police state supresses
dissent in exactly the same way as any United Fruit tin-pot dictator from the
1940s or 50s, how can we meaningfully call one "left" and the other "right"?
Do we call Castro "left" because he wears the little badge of free
healthcare? If that's a meaningful distinction, then I suppose the best way
to classify automobiles is by their color.

        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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