Re: Personal responsibility [was Re: Genderless societies]

Kathryn Aegis (
Thu, 16 Sep 1999 17:09:20

At 11:13 AM 9/16/99 -0700, Robert Bradbury wrote:
>Now, this of course raises an interesting issue. Since extropians
>would like to operate in a highly free society, exactly *when*
>is it permissible for a society to force/coerce/punish an individual
>who violates the generally accepted norms for "personal responsibility".

I would first ask who would establish the generally accepted norms, due to the seemimgly wide range of opinion among extropians. But, moving on:

This question relates to one of the 'tough' questions that I proposed and Greg Burch tackled to some degree. I am genuinely curious as to whether an extropian polity, enclave or other type of community might involve in any degree what we currently know as 'the rule of law' which derives its origins from the Napoleonic Code and the Code of Hammurabi. (Both autocratic rulers, and yet they delegated some responsibility for rule to the people in the form of courts and juries.) If an individual exhibits a lack of self-control or a lack of personal responsibility that harms another individual in some way, what mechanisms would exist to reduce the harm or prevent further harm?

We can see this very question at work in the present-day American judicial system, in the realm of mediation within the court system. As cases get moved into the mediatio process first, prior to ever going to trial, the opportunity is provided for the persons involved to take responsibility for the outcome, to craft their own solution to the problem. The actual court trial is the fallback for a failure of the parties to come to agreement, but in many cases the issues are more clearly understood by all involved.

Many codes of mediator ethics, however, restrict mediators from taking on any case in which the power imbalance between the parties is severe, generally child abuse, spousal abuse, and physical assault cases. Sexual harassment cases are riding a fine line in this arena, because in some cases the parties respond quite well to mediation and in other cases the abuse level is simply too high. Victim-offender mediation is a new area of mediation practice in which someone who has inflicted harm on another meets with them to formulate ways of paying some sort of reparation.

Kathryn Aegis