Re: Property Rights

Anders Sandberg (
27 May 1999 12:29:36 +0200

Darin Sunley <> writes:

> Anders Sandberg wrote:
> > Hmm, an Objectivist borg? "We are Ayn of Rand, resistance is futile..." :-)
> 2 things:
> 1) Seems to me I recall Hofstadter doing a whole dialog on the very subject in
> Godel, Escher, Bach. An ant colony that, when communicated with as a whole, was a
> rabid free-market libertarian, even though it was composed of utterly selfless
> collectivists (ants). Hofstadter was making an obvious parallel to us being
> composed completely of cells that, before they mutated to adapt to this
> collection they find themselves within, were quite separate individual creatures.

Good point. Of course, the idea that ants live in some kind of socialist utopia is a popular myth, in reality ant societies are very nice examples of spontaneous orders: put together many elements with carefully selected simple behaviors and you get a very adaptive, resilient system. There is no central planning in an anthill, just huge numbers of individuals with programming based on collective reproductive success.

> 2) If one were to view the former Soviet Union as a (very nasty) (proto)
> borganism, didn't they argue exactly this, that individual rights (national
> soverignity) at the level of the borganism was very important? That was the
> rhetoric anyways, as I recall.

That was the rhetoric, although the original goals were borganisation on the global scale too (it ended for purely practical reasons; it was more economical for the "borganism" and especially its leaders just to have an empire than spend huge resources and take big risks on internationalization). In the end, the SU ended up like any other individual nation.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y