Re: Gingrich, Moynihan step down

Timothy Bates (
Thu, 12 Nov 1998 11:23:08 +1100

Hi Scott and list,

I take back my initial posting: this is an exciting list. thanks for all your thoughts, on and off list.

Mike Lorrey said
>>Brin [is], like ... many
>>social engineers today, trying to push a change of behavior which is
>>totally contrary to human nature. ignoring the fact that most
>>people LIKE their privacy

Scott replied
>Really? A desire for privacy is part of human nature? Are there any
>studies that support that hypothesis? Do you mean to say that there was
>some evolutionary advantage available to those who preferred to be alone?
>Any other advantages come to mind that might have resulted in a
>preference for privacy being hard-wired into our circuitry?

Wow! a scientific attitude to human nature!

I am not aware of studies which demonstrate that, to paraphrase and extend this logic, libertarian values were selected for. Robert Ardrey argued that territoriality (property) was innate. He also argued that enmity and amity are innate and result in human cooperative systems. He, like Desmond Morris after him, popularised the notion that large corporations with their concentration of alpha-positions to a privileged few lead to increased suicide and depression (there is good scientific evidence that major depression is (in part) an adaptation to lower-than-desired social status.

Humans want to be part of a group and some of them want to dominate the group.

My hypothesis is that libertarians are partly the confluence of extreme scores on some independent underlying shared dimensions such as hi openness, low agreeableness, low Neuroticism and empathy, and hi intelligence. We have a study investigating this at present, examining the relationship between the major dimensions of personality, libertarian views, and susceptibility to superstition.

Partly, though, I think that libertarians are trans-human. That they have genes which are at very low levels outside the libertarian population, partly because without technological augmentation, we are at greatly increased risk of being hung, shot, tortured to death, and being burned at the stake ;-)

I think these are genes for not acknowledging the legitimacy of the will of the band or tribe. It seems likely that the tribe genes are still present but are overridden. I say this because I am sure we all get lonely and wish to have close friends etc. However some intellectual vision, commonly found in hackers, keeps us from being able to be close simply for closeness' sake: there has to be a logic to a view before we will subscribe.

Just as 92% of computer users are too stupid/indifferent to change their default Internet browser, and have no idea of the critical importance of crypto, privacy is not an innate demand because most people have no philosophy other than "maximise the difference between my stuff and your stuff, at any cost". Do not get between these people and stuff unless you have a gun.


Todays definition:Curiosity

Richard Feynmann, suffering terminal cancer, made the doctor promise to take away the anesthetic before he dies because "I want to feel what it's like to turn off."