Re: `capitalist' character values

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Sat Jul 28 2001 - 20:29:00 MDT

Damien Broderick wrote:
> At 07:46 PM 7/28/01 -0400, Eliezer, a sentient being, wrote (perhaps a tad
> patronisingly):
> >
> >Olga Bourlin wrote:
> >> I also call racist the tendency of white people not to want to take any
> >> responsibility for the egregious crimes against blacks in the USA.
> >Olga... take a look at my email address.
> >Think about what it means.
> >Sincerely,
> >

> This is cryptic to the point of opacity.

Evidently so. Very well, I'll amplify. You can call me "white", but if
you do, I reserve the right to tell you to take a hike. I'm a sentient
being. If you want to lump me in with any smaller group than that, you do
so at your own risk and without my consent.

I see no reason why I should identify more with slaveowners who happen to
be white more than I should identify with slaves who happen to be back.
They're both humans, they're both sentients, and they're both a part of
Earth's history. Why should I identify with one group above the other?
Why should I accept "responsibility" for acts committed to people
belonging to a group I never identified myself with? Because I have the
same skin color? Now *that's* racist.

If a modern-day German chooses to reject the name of German and say "I am
sentient", then they have no more cause to identify with the people who
happened to be German and who caused the Holocaust than they have to
identify with the people who happened to be German and hid refugees in the
cellar. For that matter, they have equal cause to identify with the
refugees. All humans, all sentients, all a part of Earth's history.

Now, if somebody wants to voluntarily say "I am American", then there
might be cause to ask them to be proud or ashamed of things that Americans
have done. But my email address is, not

-- -- -- -- --
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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