Re: Polemics for longevity

From: Technotranscendence (
Date: Sat Jan 22 2000 - 13:14:44 MST

On Saturday, January 22, 2000 8:11 AM Joao Pedro de Magalhaes
> I think that the present human species' members are
> evil, destructive, stupid and selfish creatures (and I'm not claiming
> as an exception).

Why is "selfishness" in that list? I tend toward Rand's view of
selfishness, which is not to say that selfishness is good per se, but
selfishness can be good. I also agree with her that selflessness is always
bad. Ergo, one can have both good and bad forms of selfishness, but
selflessness is not so divisible.

Anyway, that's a debate for another time, though others have already raised
the question of "self" a few months ago on this list.:)

> I have one word for you: demagogy. I believe it's because of writing
> like this that, as you wrote, 'there is apparently a common caricature of
> extropians as "selfish, greedy despoilers of the environment"'.
> Look, I'm not an environmentalist. My views are basically the same as the
> ones Robert expressed in his response to me (although, and as I mentioned,
> our "thresdhold" views might diverge). But I do think the extropian
> philosophy is a anti-environmentalist. It's the old American view of
> free-market and anarcho-capitalism -- bound to generate huge wealth but
> enormous social problems (as the US have) and ecological disruption (as
> US have and are causing on other countries such as Nigeria, Angola, the
> Middle East, Indonesia, etc.).

Many of the problems Joao Pedro lists are not caused by the free market or
the non-existent anarchocapitalism (what part of this planet is
anarchocapitalist in any sense of the word?:). A lof of social problems in
the US are caused directly by government intervention in the market. Rent
control, e.g., creates a housing shortages and exhorbitant rents for new
dwellings in NYC, near where I live. (It also causes more people to move
from the city to the countryside, creating commuting and environmental
problems. This is also aided and abetted by former government development
plans which sought and still seek to cram all humans into ideal suburban or
rural communities.)

Ecological disruption is, to a large extent, caused by government
protections and subsidization of unprofitable economic development. Face
it, the free market on its own would not invest in the Amazon, the American
Southwest, or Nigeria. Those places are either unsafe, don't provide
skilled labor, don't have the infrastructure (roads, housing, etc.), or
lacking in resources. Also, what resources there are are already owned --
in the Lockean sense of the world, even if the local governments don't
recognize such ownership -- by the locals.

I'm not saying the cure to all these problems is a free market, but a free
market is not the cause of them. Nor would not having a free market help.

Argh! I've violated my own maxim not to get into political debates on this

Best regards!

Daniel Ust

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