Re: Anti-Capitalism

From: Chris Rasch (
Date: Sat Apr 21 2001 - 03:00:17 MDT


> I participated in the extropy list back in 1993-1994 as an out democratic
> socialist, and eventually got flamed off. I've come back since the founding
> of the World Transhumanist Association, whose founding documents were
> significantly less doctrinaire, both politically and in technophilia. I
> think the space for a more diverse politics with >human circles appears to
> be getting broader as the ideas spread beyond the core demographic of
> affluent, white American males aged 25-40 (within which I also fit), who
> have a weakness for the politics of selfishness, and a studied ignorance of
> inequality and oppression.

There seem to be more social-democratic/left-leaning extropians on the list now
than when I last subscribed (sometime around 1993-1994 as well.) An issue that
has always interested me is the question: why do reasonable people of good
intent often arrive at sharply differing political philosophies? In my own
case, I was raised in a Republican household in southern Idaho. No doubt some
of my antipathy toward governmental solutions to social problems originated in
my parent's political philosophy, though I would now label myself an
anarchocapitalist of the David Friedman/Murray Rothbard variety. (See below
for a few of the reasons behind my dislike for government and many left-leaning

I often wonder however, if I had been born in a intellectual Jewish household
in Brooklyn of 1900, instead of a Mormon household in rural Idaho in the
1970's, would I now be an ardent Marxist, instead of an anarchocapitalist?

If James, and the other social-democrat/left-oriented individuals are willing,
I would be grateful if you took a little time to explain how you arrived at
your political beliefs. Why do you think that your beliefs diverge sharply
from the majority of people on this list? Were your parents of a similar
political persuasion? Were there any defining events that shaped your
beliefs--a book you read, a job experience? How have your beliefs changed over
time? Please note that I realize it would take a great deal of time to
answer these questions in detail--thanks for any response you may wish to give.


Why I'm Not a Social-Democrat

Governments and left-leaning organizations, with a few exceptions, often seem
to behave in a way hostile to my other "transhumanist" goals--vastly increasing
human lifespan, increasing material wealth, space exploration, etc.

Please note that I don't expect the examples that follow to change anyone's
mind--obviously, it would take more to change a lifetime of belief. I include
these simply to show that, at least in my case, my opposition to
government/leftists is more than "...just have a weakness for the politics of
selfishness, and a studied ignorance of
inequality and oppression..."

* the FDA blocks the development/use of drugs and other medical advances
* CFTC hinders the development of idea futures
* NASA wastes money on economically pointless, but photogenic space missions
* the British government will likely ban human cloning
* the median families with two incomes pays 40% of their income in taxes
* Organizations with left-leaning political views seem to be the most
vociferous opponents of animal research, gene therapy, cloning. * Baseless
scares, often promoted by left-leaning organizations, (think Alar, breast
implants) cost the companies involved billions of dollars, and stunt the
development of new technologies. (For a time, Dow would not sell many medical
products containing silicone, for fear that those patient populations would
later sue.)
* Zero population growth advocates, labor unions (until recently) fought
against free immigration, thereby hindering people like Max, Eugene, Sasha and
other extropians who happened to be born outside the U.S., from moving to a
location where their skills could find the best use. Anti-immigration laws
also sharply limited the opportunities for illegal aliens, thereby reducing
their wages and ability to decline work under sweatshop conditions.
* Nominally socialist governments (Soviet Union, China, Cambodia) have been
responsible for many more deaths (Stalinist pogroms, mass starvation during the
Great Leap Forward, killing fields) than a certain German political party
well-known for its bad behavior. I know that these governments aren't
considered "real" socialism by modern leftists, but whatever the name, I'm
still very wary of groups that call for large increases in government power in
order to curb the alleged deficiencies in capitalism.
* The first minimum wage laws in the U.S. were passed after the Civil War in
the South because white workers did not want to have to compete with the newly
freed slaves, who were willing to work for less money. These laws have the
same practical effect today, even though those pushing for them now may not be
overtly racist.
* Drug war (pushed by the DEA, as well as state local law enforcement
agencies) has resulted in more people (most of them black or other minorities).
imprisoned in the U.S. than any other country

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