Re: Where we lost America

From: Robert J. Bradbury (
Date: Sat Oct 27 2001 - 16:28:54 MDT

Oh great. Lets kick the big corporations and big government again.

How many corporations do you think there are that could afford to
spend $100 Million on the development of an entirely new computer
architecture such as Blue Gene. How many governments are farsighted
enough to spend $75 Million constructing a Terascale/TeraGrid
supercomputer and make it available to academics? How many
*individuals* are sufficently educated in the United States that
they would be able to effectively or optimally allocate their tax
dollars between the NIH and the DoD??? You are an Extropian (presumably)
and that means you want to optimize the production of complexity.
Extending lives does that -- but you have to do that by balancing
the allocation of resources against resisting those unthinking
microbes trying to rob you for reproductive materials with the thinking
efforts of people who are trying to destroy you because you disagree
with their fundamental philosophies.

*HOW* do you expect the average American to be able to make informed
decisions with regard to that? Can you make the case that an
"uninformed" decision is optimially extropic?

Now, I've voted for term limits in the past and have been frustrated
that they have been reversed by the courts. At the same time, I am
beginning to realize the value of having politicians with many years
of experience in Congress so that they can rise to chairpersonships
of committees and provide an educated perspective on decisions.
(I note the anti-terrorist laws did have limits on how long they
remain in effect -- extreme responses by less experienced individuals
might not have included such provisions -- balanced responses argue
that we should go back and reexamine whether the costs of freedom
limiting choices to preserve our security outweigh the benefits of
our possible losses of freedom).

I'm going to cite one of the Islamic cleric's, I think from the U.K.,
who in the light the recent attacks realized that his positions were
unjustifiable. Blanket criticisms of the U.S. were potentially
inflamatory and therefore likely to be counterproductive. The
same could be said for criticisms of multi-national corporations
or "big" government.

State *precisely* what you think is wrong.
State *precisely* what you think might be a solution.

I suspect there are many more construction workers than molecular
biologists or military officers in the U.S.A. [This is not intended
as any comment towards construction workers on the list]. Will
someone here who is in the anti-corporate, anti-government camp
*please* explain to me how having the construction workers vote on
how much of their tax dollars get collected or where those tax dollars
get spent (if they get collected and spent at all) is going to result
in a greater extropic vector in health care *or* defense than the
current system?

This, to me, is the fundamental problem with libertarianism is that
there is an *implicit* assumption that a free market economy is
optimal. But a free market economy is one that is primarily in ones
own self-interest -- and *most* peoples' own "self-interest" (predisposed
by genes, warped by social experiences) *DOES NOT* remotely resemble
an extropic idea platform. Lets be realistic -- humans are programmed
for survival, sex and fun -- not complexification.

Note -- I am not arguing the current system is "optimal". I *am*
arguing that the current system is better than a 1 person = 1 vote
system where the average person gets to vote on things they are
ill-qualified to evaluate.

In preparation for the criticisms -- yes, scientists could spend
more time educating people so they want to support their efforts.
But there is only so much time in a day and the time one spends
educating individuals uneducated in ones area of expertise is time
that cannot be spent exercising that expertise productively.

I believe I've stated it before, perhaps in alternate forms, and
I'll state it again. If you want to vote on it you have to be able
to demonstrate sufficient knowledge to cast such votes in a considered
and rational manner. *THAT* is what extropianism is about.

Just because your atoms happen to be organized in the form of a
"human being" doesn't inherently give you extropic voting rights
in my book (and Anders can come down on me all he wants for this
statement). One has to demonstrate that one isn't inherently
un-extropic (e.g. bin Laden) and then further demonstrate an
extropic behavior history before one gets to cast votes in an
extropic allocation of resources (at least IMO).

(I will add that there are many people on this list that I would
willingly defer to with regard to an extropic allocation of some of
the resources I might contribute to the pool. As I've suggested
in other threads it all goes back to trust relationships -- who
do you trust to allocate your resources responsibly? Speaking
honestly -- I do not have the knowledge of, or interest in, many
areas to know how to optimally allocate resources for those areas.
I would much rather delegate this responsibility to someone with
the expertise who can be trusted to handle the job responsibly.)



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