Re: Moo/Boo! Was: Agricultural Skyscrapers
Wed, 28 Jan 1998 13:12:10 -0800 (PST)

On Wed, 28 Jan 1998, Michael Lorrey wrote:

> > away in your tummy. Concerns on the list about how sentient machines will
> > be treated in the future are well justified by awareness of the ways in
> > which sentient machines like nonhuman animals (not to mention most human
> > ones) are treated in the present. Uh, the vegetarian meme marches on.
> Thus spake under the greatest rhetorical error/intentional fraud the liberal
> nuts can muster: that animals are sentient. If something cannot come up to me
> and discuss the weather, its not sentient.

I may be in error, but I certainly intend no fraud. Look, my impression
is that while nonhuman animals cannot compose a sonnet on the subject of
their suffering, they manage to communicate pain and distress quite
compellingly. One of the reasons that the industrial "processing" of
animal bodies into "food" takes place behind such insistently closed
doors. From the point of view of a Power, it may well be that the noises
we make on the subject of, say, "the weather" do not qualify us as
sentient either.

> humans I've met who are dumber than a side of beef). Since your typical vegan
> is also an atheist, or at best, a rational non-dietical buddhist, they cannot
> claim the protections of the Natural Law doctrine, so they must then agree
> that rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness only applies to
> individuals who are willing to use force, or employ others to use force, to
> attain and protect those rights for themselves, i.e. the Force Doctrine.

Rights culture seems to me to be a spontaneous order which emerged over
history to secure better societies than existed under other ways of doing
justice. I see them underwritten by traditions, or fuzzy consensus more
like, rather than God or nature or foundations or what have you. The leap
from this to your force doctrine seems suspiciously wide to me. I can
easily imagine a rights culture held together by little more than the
sense that inflicting pain unecessarily is a bad thing. As I said before,
I don't know how coherent it is to demand that we extend formal "rights"
to nonhuman animals, but I am quite convinced that there should be
*ethical* injunctions against treating animals like objects.

> I dunno. Given the possibilities for the singularity, I would daresay that a
> large percentage of the human race will soom become a literal evolutionary
> dead end. WOuld they prefer a quick end, or to live on as the pawns and
> playthings of greater beings?

I have a stake in a future politics that tries to ensure that the pawns
have a voice in that particular decision. I am not quite as confident as
you seem to be about judging everyday people or nonhuman animals as
dispensible. Oh, and since all this really is veering quickly away from the proper
extropian purview, how about this:
1. Vegetarianism is extropian because it is a healthy lifestyle.
2. Vegetarianism is extropian because it broadens and complicates our
ethical perception of the world.
3. Vegetarianism is extropian because it is an ethical laboratory in which
we can think about proper political and ethical relations between
radically different kinds of beings *before* a singularity-like-event
forces us to do so.
Best, Dale Carrico