Re: Evolution and stuff (was: Re: HTML: woes)

Erik Moeller (
Sun, 15 Mar 1998 19:47:10 +0100

>> "My socialist buddies in China"? I don't know anyone there except one
>> who asked me if he could have the source code of my text2html converter.
>> description 'socialist' hardly fits here, though. It's a capitalist
>> dictatorship with a red flag.

>So it isn't free enterprise, right? Its an oligopoly. They claim to be
>socialists as a general matter of propaganda, but so did the communists...
>Nothing is really different with the minor exception that they don't shoot
>foreign reporters as spies anymore.

Free enterprise in the way you define it cannot exist. When liberating an
economy, existing economic power structures will try to manifestate their
powers in other forms of government or the same form as before, because they
need a tool to exploit the majority of the population. One of the other
forms of government is a dictatorship like that in China.

>Freedom, in the words of a former US President, is "The right to choose
>working and starving."

Not even this very castrated form of freedom always exists in a "free
market". Take a look at Germany, about 5 million people, if you believe the
government statistics, are without work. If you don't believe them and do
more precise calculations which implement temporary government work
measures, you get about 7 millions. The US employment statistics often work
with the number of jobs, not the number of employees. You got a poverty rate
of 15 %, and 20 % for youths. Your president cuts new holes into the social
"net" each year in order to assure that freedom is really only the freedom
to choose between working and living badly and starving. Sometimes, you
should take look at the real world, besides your great leisure activities
and high income.

>Take Cuba for example. Its economy is now open to most of Europe and
Canada, and
>all the rest of the world who doesn't necessarily cowtow to US policies.
Yet it
>is still a shithole. The claims of high life expectancy are totally false,
>the government continues to repress and mismanage the economy which is now
>dollar driven, not peso driven, and malnutirtion is still rampant, as the
>pathetic agricultural sector has all but collapsed (with absolutely no help
>hindrance from the US), for it is still centrally driven by a bureaucracy
>still thinks along the lines of producing the maximum amount of sugar for
>to a now non-existent Soviet Union.

Cuba, besides Chile, is still one of the healthiest nations in Latin
America. I have posted statistics on this before, but you have rejected them
because they were obviously from too "liberal" sources (United Nations and
such). By saying that something is "totally false", however, and thereby
making yourself the source for your claims, you don't do much to refute my
statements. Actually, you, John Clark and others have not posted a single
source, a single document to support your claims. True believers, as John
said (referring to me).

>> The best definition of freedom probably comes from the
>> Not being oppressed by power structures while, at the same time, helping
>> advance evolution. Such a freedom is entirely impossible in a "free

>Evolution of what? And how?

Evolution of humanity. Through progress. By spreading information.

>You cannot create change without force and the use
>of power. Human nature is wired against change, for the most part.

Your main problem is that you don't have much fantasy. Your worldview is
much too limited. I have said it about 283475 times: You can only advance
evolution if you bring the necessary information to those who are "in
command" or will be someday. It's absolutely irrelevant whether these people
are economic or political leaders, it's just important that they have the
power to change things and the intelligence to understand what you tell

>ROTFL to you. Having 30% of the population in slavery is NOT 'more social
>economic freedom' (although to an avowed socialist, I can see why one might
>think so).

You're talking about the time of the Republic. This time was, in some ways,
as bad as the Dark Ages. But there was much slavery in the Middle Ages, too.

And in the Empire, conditions for slaves got much better. Tiberius made
slave participation in arena battles with wild animals dependant on
permision by the authorities. Claudius equated the killing of weak or sick
slaves to murder. Domitian disallowed to castrate slaves in order to sell
them as eunuchs. Hadrian prohibited selling slaves to brothels. Diocletia
put the abandonment of slave children under punishment. [1] It was not even
allowed to take slaves from within the empire.

It was still slavery, but the Middle Ages were much worse. When you were a
slave of a land-owner there, you didn't have any rights. Life or death
didn't matter to the slightest degree. If you're a slave to a major bank
today, your situation is not much better either. Or you work in a privatized
prison. Possibly for taking drugs -- I know that you would like to remove
such legislation, but as a matter of fact, it exists.

>The Roman ships were decidedly NOT better built than the Caravels and
>Galleons of the Middle ages, or of even the Viking ships. A Roman boat was
>barely able to navigate the Mediterranean, and piracy was a scourge
>the empire that little was done to suppress, as pirates provided the main

This is utter nonsense.

Pirates: Not in the Empire. Caesar and Pompeiius eliminated them completely.

Ships: One of the largest Roman wheat cargo ships, the "ISIS", had a tonnage
of 1200 tons. The largest known Middle Ages ship had a tonnage of 150 tons.
The big Roman harbours had restrictions that disallowed the entry of ships
under a tonnage of 150 tons. That means that the largest MA ship wasn't even
big enough to dock at a major Roman harbour. Actually, you managed to build
in more than one mistake into each sentence. Great effort!

The numbers above are from memory. We (meaning an expert on the subject and
myself) will put up a temporary page about the Roman ships on my homepage.
There's already a Rome page at, it deals
mainly with Roman harnessing, which was, contrary to claims by famous MA
researchers, not inferior to the MA, but actually superior.

>In the empire, 'bread and cicuses' were the only thing that kept the plebes
>check from revolting against the government.

Utter nonsense, too. This started only with the decline of the Empire.
"Bread and circuses" were, in the beginning, more a recruitment mass media
for the legion. Later, the population was held under control with
religion -- that's why the Jesus story was created. Indeed, the tax
structure led to the impoverishment of the majority of the population. These
taxes were not really used for investments by the state -- it was just like
today: A small minority exploited the majority.

>On the contrary, the Church was the only thing that preserved the knowledge
>the Romans.

99 % of all books and important information from the Empire were destroyed
later. Of the aquaeducts, they built houses and bridges. Of the chalk
remains in them, they built altars. The Roman water tanks were more
impressive than any MA cathedral. If we would get another decline like this
today, that would mean building habitats out of cars, altars of computers.
Really clever guys, your MA "buddies".

> While the Empire was stagnant, the middle ages was not caused by
>the church, but by the pillaging and destruction of the Mongol Hordes, the
>Viking incursions, and the general migratory habits of the various tribes

>'barbarians' such as the Vandals, the Visigoths, the Angles, the Franks,

Without the money concentration that occurred in the empire, they would have
had no problems in assimilating these tribes. They have managed to defeat
stronger enemies than these. The Middle Ages were caused by the hierarchical
religous mysticism that followed the Roman Empire. Millions of pagans were
murdered after the downfall of Rome. Millions were killed in the crusades,
too. Because they didn't manage the logicistics, they even had to eat their
enemies on the way. And because of the same failure, the crusader state was
lost. Stupidity is not a good prerequisite for a war.

>And who is gonna do that distributing, you?

Some intelligent, educated individuals who have the power to do so. Doesn't
matter if it's me or you. It just has to be done, that's all. As long as the
Roman emperors did some kind of correct redistribution through just tax
systems, everything worked fine. But then, the minority had to pay less and
less, the majority more and more, and everything collapsed. Pyramid systems
don't hold very long.

>Sorry, in order for the transhuman to become reality, it is gonna take
individuals who amass sufficient wealth to
>pay for the research for themselves, for the operations on themselves.
>Redistributing hard earned wealth to people who didnt earn it is driving us
>the same 'bread and cicuses' path that the Roman Empire took.

You and your definitions. Here you say that a transhuman is not reality yet.
In the next paragraph:

>Oh, so you are a spiritualist. Sorry, wrong list for you. A Transhuman is
>individual who decides to and undertakes the individual work necessary to
>beyond the common human state. There are already such transhumans around,
>most don't know that the label applies to them. People like Hawking,
>Dyson, Feynman, etc.

Ah, so transhumans already exist.

You see, there was a reason why we decided to call "Homo Excelsior" "The
Transhumanist's Magazine". A transhumanist is someone who strives to become
transhuman. A transhuman is someone who has managed to transcend human
conditions. A posthuman is someone whose conditions are so entirely
different from that of a biological human or transhuman that it cannot
really be called human anymore. Are these definitions OK for you?

But for the content of the first paragraph: It doesn't really matter who
pays for it. If you have an economy based on money, you need people who have
wealth, right, but this wealth doesn't need to be accumulated. It can be
pooled by people with the same interests -- this doesn't contradict with
equal distribution of wealth. Redistributing the "hard earned" (you? earning
your money hard? hardly.) money to people who didn't "earn" it avoids
driving us down the money concentration path the Roman Empire took.

>There is no fixed 'goalpost' to define a human vs. transhuman state.

Ah, first, they don't exist. Then they do. Then, nobody can say. You're a
bit moody, wouldn't you say?

>The human race 100 years from now will consist mostly of people who we
would today regard
>as 'transhumans', but they would merely regard as 'human'. We would be
seen as

More you than me.

>> That's the failure, you know. The Americans didn't become a superpower
>> because they were so clever. They've earned a golden nose with both World
>> Wars, whereas the British Empire was eliminated as a superpower already
>> after WW I. The German economy didn't fare so well after WW II because
>> politicians were so intelligent, but because it was greatly funded by the
>> US.
>Which, you must admit, is a far far different thing than winning a war,
>pas? When ever in human history has a victor so completely rebuilt a former
>enemy (nay, three former enemies, Germany, Italy, and Japan) so that they
>less than 40 years after the war, economic rivals once again? This is the
>of the generosity and magnanimity of what you call 'selfish, greedy,
>Amerika'. Winning a mere war was not the trick. Winning the peace was.

You aren't employed by the NSA propaganda section, are you? You should write
reports about the gulf war, too.

Of course, it was the same selfish attitude that made the Americans fund the
biggest losers of the war that made them also fund the two wars themselves.
Any credits given by the US to Japan and Germany could not be paid back in
hard currency, because these countries were practically ruined. That's why
they were paid in naturals. Buildings, companies, the whole infrastructure.
But what's this worth if the country is ruined? But if it gets big again, it
can earn you lots of money. Which was why it happened. Another crackpot
theory? Sure.

>> History could also look completely different, if, after WW I, Germany had
>> decided to cooperate with Russia. Such a plan was made, by Weimar state
>> secretary Rathenau. Remember the contract of Rapallo? It allowed the
>> to quit reparation payments and to build and test weapons in the SU.
>> Unfortunately (probably), Rathenau was assassinated in 1922.

>All that would have meant would be that the US would have come into the war
>earlier on the side of Britain, and when we won, we would have also been
able to
>get the damn Soviet Union out of the way then rather than 50 years later.

No, there would have been no war. *If* there would have been a war in
Europe, it would not have lasted long. (Germany and the Soviet Union
combined, without the stupidity of Hitler and his followers -- good night).
Actually, the power would probably be much more distributed: Still a British
empire, a powerful Soviet Union, a rising Germany and an increasingly less
relevant America.

>> Unfortunately, Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC.
>> Unfortunately, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in 1865.
>> Unfortunately, John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963.
>> Unfortunately, Lee Harvey Oswald was assassinated two days later.
>> Unfortunately, Martin Luther King was assassinated in 1968.
>> Unfortunately, Robert Kennedy was assassinated in 1968.

>Who was saying something about crackpots..?

No comment.

>So you admit that cultural evolution is "a long row of bad coincidences,
>backstabbings, and battle for power"? If this is so, why do you say that
>structures need to end" for human evolution to occur?

When did I say that power structures need to end? That's just your wild
interpretation, because you would like to stamp me as a socialist or crazy
anarchist or something like this. As an Extropian, you need to make reality
as simple as possible in order to avoid stumbling over contradictions in
your worldview.

[1] Pleticha/Schoenberger: "Die Roemer. Ein enzyklopaedisches Sachbuch zur
fruehen Geschichte Europas.", Bindlach 1992. p. 404