Re: sentient rights (was RE: Battleground God)

From: Mike Lorrey (
Date: Thu Feb 21 2002 - 18:26:53 MST wrote:
> Anders writes:
> > The principles do not seem to be enough to constrain an ethical system;
> > they do not form a set of ethical axioms or constrain the basis for
> > extropian ethics. They certainly have ethical content, but this content
> > deals more with desirability of different things than the core
> > "mechanics" of an ethical system.
> But doesn't Extropianism give us a handle by which to judge the
> desirability of different world outcomes? And doesn't this, in itself,
> constitute an ethical framework?
> It is true that it does tell us how to get there. Even if we agree that
> extropy is a desirable goal, we may not agree about what are the best
> practical decisions on a day to day basis.

True, but the fact is that the extropian principles DO, in fact
recognise that there are physical limits on the human animal, imposed by
evolution, gravity, and other physical laws. We just believe that our
intelligence gives us the ability to exceed or overcome them as we see

The fact that the principles recognise the existence of limits to break
implies that extropy recognises the existence of these objective limits.

> > Personally I would say that this is not a flaw. Extropianism rather
> > inherits the ethical underpinnings of its parent philosophies of
> > libertarianism and humanism (a kind of philosophical object
> > inheritance); it is compatible with most versions of them, and does not
> > as expressed in the principles have to redo all the immense work that
> > has been done on expressing ethics and politics elsewhere. It is a bit
> > like how Robert Nozick simply starts _Anarchy, State, Utopia_ by simply
> > assuming certain rights - the book is not about deriving them, it is
> > what conclusions can be made *after* they have been derived.
> I am not so comfortable thinking that we can graft conventional
> libertarianism onto Extropianism, or that we can start with libertarian
> ethics as a foundation for our Extropian ethical system. Haven't Max
> and others attempted to distance themselves from a strict libertarianism
> in order to open the movement to a wider range of political philosophies?

Max and others have distanced themselves from big L libertarianism in
relation to ExI, but looking at the ExI reading list reflects how
significant small l libertarian thinkers have been on the formation of
the principles.

> Even in the early days of this list, when most contributors were staunch
> Libertarians, we explored outside the libertarian box. We talked about
> private law systems where communists who shared everything could live
> and work side by side with capitalists who paid a fine for breathing
> the other guy's air. We looked at forms of anarchy which were well
> beyond the libertarian mainstream. All this was an attempt to further
> Extropian goals of self transformation and expansion by giving people
> maximum freedom to experiment with interpersonal relations and agreements.

Well, yes, but allowing communists to play their games in a commie
enclave within a greater libertarian plenum is not bending over to or
subsuming an overall libertarian perspective in the name of
multiculturalism. Tolerance is not the same as moral equivalence.

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