Extropian DOES NOT EQUAL Libertarianism! [was RE: Gore Shocks

Robert J. Bradbury (bradbury@www.aeiveos.com)
Mon, 30 Aug 1999 19:57:36 -0700 (PDT)

In reviewing some of the interaction between Terry & Joao, it is clear to me that there are some interesting distinctions between the perspectives, some of which may be due to the lack of background knowledge.

First, I should say that Joao may be visiting this list perhaps in part because *I* suggested it. Of course, that was months before got seriously involved in it and found out what a bunch of reactionaries we all are... :-;?

Second, I should say that Joao is working in the biology of aging, so, this is one of the few lists he can converse in and discuss his ideas and hopefully be reinforced that the directions he has chosen in life are good.

Third, if I were in his shoes, I would wonder if extending the human lifespan made much sense if it all it would do is promote the survival of people who feel the promotion of stupidity and irrational thinking is a necessary evil that goes hand-in-hand with the promotion of liberty!

Fourth, as a general STOP-sign to others (and myself), we need to spend more time getting to know people and their perspectives, before we fire-bomb them with our philosophies. After all, the libertarians have no way of knowing whether or not Joao would be the one to produce the breakthrough that would significantly extend their lives. It would be unfortunate if they were to sacrifice that benefit due to unthinking comments in something as small as this list.

Now, onto Extropian vs. libertarianism.

Terry said:
> This list is, to a certain extent about libertarianism.

I strongly urge all of the libertarians reading this to go re-read Max's principles again. Max is a very deep thinker and is careful not to step into many of the pits the rest of us too easily fall in.

There is *no* mention of "libertarianism" in the Extropian Principles.

In fact it explicitly states:

> "This document deliberately does not specify particular beliefs,
> technologies, or conclusions."

So, I will jump on people (again and again until you say uncle) if you say *this* list is about *any* "*ism". You may think that, but that is not the way it has been defined. If you want a list defined that way go start one (that is, in part, what Extropian beliefs is about).

> Not necessarily the politcal movement, but the ideas of personal freedom,
> spontaneous order and dynamic societies.

> Since you seem to reject most of the Extropian principles, ...

I don't see *anything* which seems to me to be a significant "rejection" of Extropian principles. On the other hand, I think Joao, may have stumbled over the "libertarian*ism*" trip wire of -- everyone should be free to do whatever they want, including building a particle beam accelerator that can produce a black hole that will swallow the planet.

Freedom Rocks! Yes! Lets all go down in flames... :-(

To point out what the Extropian principles *actually say*:

> Extropians value open societies that protect the free exchange of ideas,
> the freedom to criticize, and the liberty to experiment. More dangerous
> than bad ideas is the coercive suppression of bad ideas. Better ideas must
> be allowed to emerge in our institutions through an evolutionary process
> of creation, mutation, and critical selection.

So, disallowing the teaching of *either* "evolution" or "creationism" would be inherently "un-extropian".

The *key* point in the above statement is "critical selection". Children are not informed enough or experienced enough to make "critical selection". So, perhaps teaching *either* philosophy to children is un-extropian *until* they have demonstrated the ability to select "critically" (not just parroting someone they know or trust).

As, I believe Max has pointed out, the fundamental problem is people are spoon-fed "beliefs" before they learn to think "critically".

> I agree that most of us Extropians would favor educating children about
> evolution. However, I don't think favoring oppresive governments fit
> in well with Extropian beliefs.

I don't think anyone advocated "oppressive government". The question comes down to which is worse: oppressive government, oppressive education, or oppressive parenthood? I would argue that none are *inherently* oppressive, that the oppression comes when you fail to present everything equally. I.e. when you promote one and only one (private) agenda. How you resolve the paradox that promoting agenda diversity is in fact promoting an agenda, I have no idea.

> As for your ideas, I'm more interested in hearing you support them
> in light of Extropianism, or at least telling us why you're bothering
> to post extremely non-Extropian ideas on our list than I am in attacking
> them. As extropians most of us already realize the ideas you have posted
> are nonsense.

Not! I consider the concept that the widespread dissemination of *any* means of destruction (whether it be of diversity, ideas or of physical entities), *inherently* un-extropian. So the desire to eliminate perceived "non-Extropian ideas" would be inherently "non-Extropian".

> Extropians value open societies that protect the free exchange of ideas,
> the freedom to criticize, and the liberty to experiment.

Extropians are free to critisize, non-extropian libertarianists, and extropian libertarianists are free to critisize extropian wanna-bes.

But here is the *KEY POINT* for me:
> Healthy societies require a combination of liberty and *responsibility*.
> For open societies to exist, individuals must be free to pursue their own
> interests in their
own way. But for individuals and societies to flourish,
> liberty must come with personal responsibility. The demand for freedom
> without responsibility is an adolescent's demand for license.

Are you being *responsible*, if you demand "liberty" for ill-informed parents to teach a poorly justified perspective to children *without* a balanced offsetting presentation?


So, that being said, I don't find Joao's perspective too disconcerting. Certainly we need to develop societies in which "informed consent" gives you the ability to assume the risks of entering such societies. [Such as societies where everyone is free to carry a handgun and shoot you if you "accidentally" insult them. But to let people (such as children) enter such societies having no comprehension of the risks, contract obligations, handicaps, etc. seems to me to be the height of irresponsibility.

Be free *responsibly*!

My thanks to Max for providing the material from which swords may be constructed.