Re: Extropian Party Platform

D.den Otter (
Wed, 13 Oct 1999 22:09:30 +0100

> From: Waldemar Ingdahl <>

> SIGH!:-(

And hello to you too sir! :-)

> One of the main problems of modernity has been in my opinion the lust of
> modernist ideologies to conduct a "coup d'école" through the means of
> compulsory schooling, were entire generations have been forced to learn the
> same thing and NO place was given for diversity or alternal forms of
> education.

IMO the basic idea is sound, but just happens to be abused by some rather unpleasant characters, which has given it a bad name. Same with eugenics etc. See also below.

> >Teach rationalism in school (arguments against religion etc.
> >should be mandatory classes). If parents try to sabotage this,
> >they should receive a stern warning, after which their ass
> >would be kicked with appropriate force.
> Why rationalism? Do you mean a strict Carthesian rationalism (there are
> various kinds of rationalism too, you see)?

I mean goold old-fashioned critical thinking. The rationalism of "look both ways before crossing the street" & "apply Occams Razor to problems", not exotic pseudo-rationalist theories developed in ivory towers.

> If so I'm going to have my kid
> kicked out of school quickly. Why arguments AGAINST religion, is atheism
> mandatory in civilized countries?

If not mandatory, it should certainly be the norm (and this is achieved best by educating those whose minds are still flexible, i.e. the young). People are prone to be fooled (or conform to) stupid religious/political philosophies, and must thus be inoculated with liberal doses of rationalism at an early age.

> If a compulsury schooling is to be upheld
> (I abhor it) it really, really has to be neutral on all these matters
> because it has to give the same education to ALL kids- but kids are
> different and come from different environments (and their parents have
> different demands).

How could you make education truly "neutral"; you can't teach people the scientific method while at the same time pretending that religious doctrine etc. is of equal value (like creationism is equal to the evolution theory)? By trying to please everyone, you'll end up with a profoundly irrational system (that pleases no-one).

Also, I belief that there is a kind of "optimum" (being free of suffering etc.) for human beings, and obviously not all systems are equally good at achieving that optimum. Instead of tolerating/ encouraging diversity for its own sake, as you seem to be doing, we should try to design a system to reach the human optimum, and favor that system over all others. Diversity and tolerance are just tools in this context, as are intolerance and coercion. All are neutral until placed in the context of a greater goal -- in this case the "optimal state", or "better way" as Eliezer would say (and no, this doesn't mean that we are now in full agreement; I still see "staying alive" as a basic prerequisite for everything else, for example).

> >Self-defense/mental empowerment classes for everyone, from
> >a very early age (so that by the time you graduate, you're
> >practically a Jedi Master). Teach responsible use of firearms
> >as well as martial arts.
> Hey, what if I am a pacifist and completely detest violence and weapons. Do
> I have to let my kid learn about it?

Pacifism that rejects even responsible, defensive use of weapons or martial arts is profoundly irrational (=not practical, harmful to the individual). IMHO it should be the kid's decision whether or not to participate in these classes. Of course, this opens up a can of worms regarding children's vs parent's rights, and the question of the parent's influence on the child's decision (has s/he been brainwashed, or is it his/her own free choice?)

> >Proper, hands-on sex education.
> Ditto

(and what about this hands-on thing?)

Hmm, this leaves quite some room for the imagination, doesn't it? :-) Well, let's just say that the kids would be Jedi Masters in the art of sweet love by the time they'd graduate (no, I wouldn't go as far as encouring sex during classes, if that's what you mean, but apart from that, pretty much anything goes).

> >Gender stereotypes should be avoided as much as possible;
> >the aim is to create a more androgyne society.
> WHOSE aim is it to create a more androgyne society?

My aim (and incidentally of many others on this list too).

And why?

Because it helps to create a more pleasant society for both sexes. More relaxed, friendlier and with genuine equality (not the fake kind imposed by the politically correct).

> I personally
> will give my kid a masculine education if its a boy and a feminine if its a
> girl (but then what I mean with those terms might be slightly deviant
> the norm)


> Once again there is a danger in limiting education, it closes opportunities
> for students to get into the areas of their choice.

I don't see how rationalism, proper sex education/self-defense classes and a more relaxed, "androgyne" atmosphere would "close opportunities to students". If anything, it would open up entirely new opportunities for them, and help them to make sound choices.

> Education today is aimed to create people for the system. Opening up the
> compulsory schools will create a system for the people.

Isn't a "system for the people" exactly what we want?

> > > Science/Space:
> > >
> > > A Manned/Womaned landing on Mars by 2010.
> >
> >Self-sustained colonies on the Moon, Mars and/or
> >in "free space" by 2020-30.
> JYMDPJOJEKT! Why these space programs? Either they are profitable and then
> they are not the government's (or a party's) concern or they are not and
> then they should be stopped.

It isn't a matter of profit, but of survival (you know: nukes, meteores, grey goo & friends). If the private sector can provide sustainable space colonies (in a max 30 yr time frame), fine, but if it can't the state should step in.

> >Increase funding for nanotech, genetic engineering
> >and other (potentially) transhuman technologies.
> If nanotech is going to be so profitable, private investers could invest in
> it

Again, "profit" is just a side-issue; what counts are the massive benefits that nanotech could bring civilization, like the abolishment of work, death and taxes. Getting to this state asap is a moral imperative, and of course the rational thing to do. Fortunately, there's plenty of funding already, but it never hurts to stimulate things a bit more.

> >Manhattan project for human uploading.
> Would really everybody be interested in financing this through his/hers/vers
> tax bill.

The only reason why people wouldn't be interested is ignorance; instead of wasting precious years (in which millions die and suffer) on convincing the ignorant that uploading is good, why not use the tax money they're paying *anyway* to go ahead with the project?

> >Intelligence augmentation & life extension to become
> >national priorities.
> Another set of national priorities, but would people really be interested in
> it.

See above.

> >Cryonics to receive X billion research budget and
> >full legal status (recognized as a potentially life-saving
> >procedure, so no more autopsies, delays in hospitals
> >or other bureaucratic, deathist nonsense).
> Ouch, that X billion has been proven to be VERY, VERY costly to the
> taxpayers. And there is a limit to even my disposition to pay for cryonics.
> Cryonics are not a matter for the government.

Yes, they most certainly are! Apart from the moral imperative to abolish death & suffering, there is the matter of prisons (cryo prisons would be a supremely humane & practical alternative to both capital punishment and incarceration) and space travel/ colonization (with reversible suspended animation long voyages are a snap, and lives can be saved/energy conserved if something goes wrong in a space station/surface colony.

> >Justice:
> >
> >Automate the legal system & prisons as much as possible.
> >No more physical contact between inmates, only minimal
> >and heavily supervised contact between inmates and guards.
> >Standard senstences, no juries, binding precedent, no public
> >trials etc. (see previous posts on this topic).
> Why not allow several legal systems?

Because only one can be the best? But ok, I'm not against contract-based private legal systems.

> >Legalize all victimless crime.
> OK, I'm right with you on this one.

Yes, this one is always a big hit. ;-)

> >Get tough on real crime (an eye for an eye).
> OK, but why "eye for an eye"?

Because that is the "just" way to do it; you don't cause any more or less suffering than has been caused during the crime (theoretically, anyway). It is the least arbitrary form of justice. But ok, "life in prison" instead of "capital punishment" (etc.) would be acceptable, I guess (certainly as long as we haven't got reversible cryonics).

> >Curb unwanted (illegal) immigration, while attracting people
> >who are willing and able to contribute to the economy, and
> >don't cause trouble.
> What is unwanted immigration?

The immigration of parasites and criminals.

> Illegal immigration in most rich countries
> today is: people that will have to compensate their lower skills with lower
> pay in order to compete. And really if I'm just a hobo but still would like
> to hike around in the U.S., Sweden, Japan or Cameroon "just because I like
> it" I should be able to do so.

Sure, as long as you a) don't commit any crimes (rob, steal, rape, kill etc.)
b) have means to support yourself (until upload/nanotopia comes, that is)

> >Economy:
> >
> >Abolition of work through extensive automation. The aim is
> >to have generous standard welfare for everyone, while those
> >who want more can have their own (liberal) sub-economy.
> Work will never be abolished.

Unless we destroy ourselves, it most certainly will. Read my lips (well, sort of): there will be a time, in the not-so-distant future, that
no human will have to work to support himself, or even lead a luscious lifestyle that even today's ultra-rich could hardly imagine.

> It is economically impossible (well, you could
> be dead...).

Or, machines could do all the work. Ok, so maybe you'll still have to think about what kind of pleasure should be next, but I'd hardly call that work. And of course, even *that* can be automated.

> Who is going to pay for the standard welfare and what is
> generous?

In the beginning, people payed taxes and the state did all kinds of things to earn some extra income (lotteries, exploitation of previously illegal activities, cutting back bureaucracy etc. and...automating anything and everything to the limit of contemporary technology). As technology advanced, taxes dropped while increasing numbers of people didn't have to work anymore, those in the most easily automated jobs first, and enjoyed and ever more generous welfare system, until, one day (due to the miracles of full nanotech & ("weak") AI), there wasn't any job left that machines couldn't do just as well, or (much) better, than humans, and everyone could just sit back and take it easy.

> What if I'd like my own socialist sub-economy?

Then go right ahead (as long as you observe the Golden Rule).

> >Taxes are gradually abolished as level of automation increases.
> >State plays (responsible) pimp and dope dealer (etc.) to
> >partially finance the transition from wage slave society to
> >automated welfare society.
> I don't understand. Clarify, please.

The state needs income to finance all the automation (a significant part may come from the private sector, but the state fills in the gaps). What better way to increase your budget (without raising taxes) then letting people pay voluntarily by buying products such as drugs, tickets in lotteries, services of prostitutes etc. Now that you've legalized them, might as well put them to good use.

> >Healthcare:
> >
> >Free, high-quality healthcare for everyone through automation
> >and economies of scale.
> But diseconomies of scale are shown in the health care sector! Who is going
> to pay for it, automation doesn't solve the problem of costs, it just
> changes it?

When done correctly, automation saves money (certainly in the long run), and incidentally improves the quality of service and frees people from dull jobs. See also above.

> >General:
> >
> >Make tiered voting system; the more tax you pay (or in some
> >other way contribute to society), the more voting points you
> >get. Actually you'd want to create a kind of meritocracy/
> >technocracy. The right to vote is something that has to be
> >earned, just like a driver's license.
> What is the standard, why that specific standard?

That's open for more detailed discussion (I'm not suggesting we should do that, as there are more important things to discuss).

> Why should I contribute to
> society?

Enlightened self-interest? Well, stricly speaking it can be very rational to screw society and be a big egoist, but this only works if only a minority thinks this way.

The problem is still with this system that some people will have
> the political power to force others. I'd rather prefer to be a consumer. The
> citizen votes every four years, the consumer votes every minute.
> OK, I hope that you understand that I not out here to smack you on your head
> but to construct a fruitful discussion and to point out some dangers in your
> replies.

No problemo.

> My main criticism is that your response feels so (don't get insulted)
> dated... so very much 20th century.

20th century answers to 20th century questions...

> It is inherent of course in discussing a
> political party's program.


> But the feeling that I've gotten in discussing
> these things on the Extropy and Omega lists

Btw, how do you prevent memtic inbreeding on the Omega list?

> is that we really have more
> aptly answers for the future, a future that will be very diverse. In fact I
> think we should be talking about the futures of the menkinds.

We do, most of the time, but this particular issue happens to relate to the present and near future (all just theoretical, of course, as there is probably never going to be an "Extropian Party"; we're too few and too -- there you have it -- diverse).