Re: Extropian Party Platform

Waldemar Ingdahl (
Fri, 15 Oct 1999 14:59:35 CEST

> > 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
> > 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.

No, compulsory schooling hasn't "just been given a bad name". Its problems are implicit in its philosophical foundations. If transhumanists think the can use the same method they will make the same mistakes.

> > 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.

What is "good-old fashioned critical thinking"? And why should this be MANDATORY?

> > 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.

Transhumanist should not "set" norms for all people. Convince, not rule. And what if someone thinks that people are "fooled" by transhumanism. You have sanctioned that forcing people to accept ideas is OK, and then it will be used against transhumanism.

> > 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

You can not make it "neutral". That is why compulsory schooling is wrong and should be abolished. Parents should deceide what school their kids should attend to. If we don't allow this liberty to people, people wont allow us our liberty and they are definitely in place to oppress us.

>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).

But that optimum is individual and increadibly difficult to analyze properly. You will most certainly miss it. That's why we need diversity, if we have multiple agents will will find it easier than with central authority.

> > Hey, what if I am a pacifist and completely detest violence and weapons.
> > 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?)

It would still be better to have multiple school systems.

>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).

Why not encourage love ins in class? It could be an option in an uncentralized voluntary school system?

> > >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).

But not mine. Let people decide this for themselves.

>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).

Does it? Many like their sexual persona (some have even worked hard to construct one for themselves).

> > 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)

It would be a very libertarian upbringing.

> > Once again there is a danger in limiting education, it closes
> > 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.

It sounds good for YOU, but not for everyone. This is the problem, many of our opponents try to force people to do things that sound good for THEM (transhumanism sounds bad to them, so ban it!). This is reducing transhumanism to a special interest group fighting for the resources of the government (transhumanist lobby vs. the farmer's lobby). Transhumanism should be harmonical in its view of society, breaking up the legalized civil war between the interest groups.

> > 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?

You really only speak of a new system that will do basically the same thing as the old. Command people.

> > JYMDPJOJEKT! Why these space programs? Either they are profitable and
> > 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.

But some think that the ecosystem is more dire matter of survival and that the government should step in to control so everything is ecologically sustainable. Again, a non-harmonic society will only devolve into a civil war between interest groups (and I will put my money on the greens in that fight, because then we are fighting on THEIR terms)

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

"Profit is just a side issue"? So nanotech doesn't have to be profitable, well why the heck should we have it then? And no technology ever will abolish work, work will only be changed (and perhaps made more pleasant) instead of building the car you can think more about the design. But the economical problem is still their, resources are scant and nanotech will not solve that. Once again you are also getting into that what you like should be what everybody likes. And then, if nanotech abolishes taxes why should we pay them, as you imply everywhere else in your letter?

> > >Manhattan project for human uploading.
> >
> > Would really everybody be interested in financing this through
> > 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?

I am not paying any taxes "anyway", they are being stolen from me. Money I would have liked to use for things I prefer, not what the powers-that-be like. And if we wont take us the time to convince the "ignorant" that uploading is good they will surely revolt against their masters (and I say they are right to do so). Well, at least an elitist transhumanism will never have the chance to get into power anyway, because it lacks the ability to convince anybody.

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

Nope, they wont be interested in it. Because the elitist transhumanism that lacks a fundamental grasp about economics, cultural sciences, history, sociology and philosophy wont be able to explain it to them.

> > 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 some-
>thing goes wrong in a space station/surface colony.

There are no moral imperatives! No one can tell another what is "right". Each man has the right to choose his own destiny, we are at difficulty at judging various choices of lifestyle. Therefor they should be allowed as long as they dont hurt anybody else. Cryo prisons could be inhuman to some. Allow multiple prison systems.

> > >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).

I think our present Roman legal system of "the punsihment should fit the crime" is very, very good and that's a long way from "an eye for an eye".

> > >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.

But who is a "parasite", who is a "criminal"? And who should decide it? The governments? they think its criminal if the immigrants work for their livning.

> > Illegal immigration in most rich countries
> > today is: people that will have to compensate their lower skills with
> > pay in order to compete. And really if I'm just a hobo but still would
> > to hike around in the U.S., Sweden, Japan or Cameroon "just because I
> > it" I should be able to do so.
>Sure, as long as you a) don't commit any crimes (rob, steal, rape, kill
>b) have means to support yourself (until upload/nanotopia comes, that

OK, we seem to agree. I think that the way to go is completely open borders but you cannot depend on government welfare. You have to support yourself, like anybody else (and that wont be changed by upload/nanotopia)

> > 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,
>no human will have to work to support himself, or even lead a
>luscious lifestyle that even today's ultra-rich could hardly imagine.

Once again the basics of economics will stand, it is the dismal science. The shortages will come in other areas, it will be more pleasant to work with immaterial creation instead of manual labor, but you'll still have to work. Notice who economy has progressed. The work that took trained manual labor is now done by machines. But this means that people have to move to the service sector or intellectual occupations instead. Better technology will cause similar shifts, but it wont abolish work.

> > 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

That time will not come. Humans will always have the comparative advantage to even the most advanced machine. Sure you can make a super-AI waste some memory to do a trivial task, but it could use it better for the REALLY advanced tasks. So it turns it over to humans. This is why all manual labor hasn't been replaced (take a look at your local restaurants kitchen). I think transhumanists in general should read up on the 19th century economist Ricardo.

> > 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.

Really, this is wishful thinking. As an economist I don't take this very seriously. Advancing technology dont make taxes drop, look at how we have seen an enormous increase in the tax rates the past 40 years, and technology hasn't exactly gone backwards. Instead politician have become more and more concerned to rule people's lives and then they need more money (and tax, and tax, and tax...).

>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.

Duuh, that is still taxation, a consumption tax. And yes, economists have shown that they are very harmful to the economy since they create inflation. And I still don't understand why the government should pay for automation. It is a very ineffectual way of doing it, especially obvious in large infrastructure investments.

> > But diseconomies of scale are shown in the health care sector! Who is
> > 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.

It does not always do it. Diseconomies of scale! This means that organizations can become too large and have too big tasks. Again diversity is to prefer since multiple systems can be used. This is especially true in the service sector where automatition is very much more difficult than in production.

> > >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

No, that is a general discussion because I don't agree with the basic premise. This system wont solve the main structural problems of today's system, the outside changes form cosmetically but the real problems remain.

> > 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.

What I am asking is: why should I pay for so many things I don't want? And if I say that people should be forced to pay for things I like, how can I complain when they force me to do so for their interests?

> > 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...

The 20th century is over. It was a very anti-transhumanist century, and its main questions where formulated from very anti-transhumanist points of view. Transhumanists should think about what systems could be viable for tomorrow, in the 21th century. Trying to answer the new problems with old answers will fail.

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

... and that isn't a good thing. The cultural paradigm that made it so wasn't a good thing.

> > 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?

Intellectual promiscuity:-)

> > 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).

And the idea of a political hegemonical party with views of everything is dead.



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