if we never sanction the use of force, why aren't we libertarian?

Tim Bates (tbates@karri.bhs.mq.edu.au)
Mon, 22 Feb 1999 18:17:49 +1100

Nick Bostrom pointed us to

which contains these words in part

>Clearly some political views will be incompatible with extropian
>thinking. That is one way in which extropianism may differ from
>other forms of transhumanism. For instance, technocratic
>transhumanists may favor setting up an elite group to determine
>which genetic modifications are allowed or which are compulsory
>for the general population. [but Extropianism is
>incompatible with this]

OK. So Stalin is out. So far so good, as Bryan Adams would say.

Max then gives some examples of the market-government mix etc. (quoted below for reference).

I note that all of these are based on the freely given consent of their participants. ie., some extropians may want to waive their rights freely and they can still call themselves extropians. I sort of grok that, though i would argue that someone who wants to be coerced into doing things they think are wrong is not extropian. Of course no one wants a society for the purpose of coercing themselves, they want it to coerce others ...

Anyhow, all of this seems to me to still be compatible with saying we are all libertarians with one exception. The overlap is as follows

  1. All extropians oppose the use of force (Stalin is out).
  2. Because of that, we all "allow" anyone else to do whatever the heck they want.
  3. We may organise ourselves how we choose (including voluntarily behaving as if our government had a right to enforce its dictates upon us.
  4. But we do not believe that a communitarian society no matter how voluntary its members may be has any right to enforce its wishes on nonmembers.

thus libertarian and max-more extropia will differ in only one respect: A libertarian could not recognise a person who voluntarily entered Stalinist Russia in the 1930s as being a libertarian: they would see that person as signing on as labor for a non-transhuman cause.

Can Extropians view as extropian, emitters of behavior which actively opposes the goals of extropia?


>Extropians generally favor market mechanisms over centralized government
>control. But the boundaries between market and government, especially when
>it comes to determining the legal rules according to which the market
>functions, are not always clear. Some Extropians, for example, favor the
>idea of private communities in which something that looks much like a
>government exists (but with univeral consent of initial entrants).
>While all Extropians will generally prefer market approaches to economic
>issues, we may differ among ourselves about the extent of the proper role
>of government. Some may favor government subsidy of basic scientific
>research, or certain regulations they believe necessary to maintaining a
>maximally open society, or the provision of services they think will be
>poorly provided without state intervention. Others may favor a minimal
>government that does little or nothing other than maintain the legal order
>of the marketplace. And some would like to experiment with entirely novel
>social orders using "polycentric law", which turns law-making itself into
>a market function.