Max clarifies the FAQ (was Re: The FAQ is (not) completed! ;-)

Tim Bates (
Mon, 22 Feb 1999 18:41:26 +1100

Max More said

>Tim: You raise some interesting points...
thank you kind sir.

>Many of us may well agree that affirming the principles of Open Society and
>Self-Direction means in practice something like a libertarian view.
yes. so let's see if it does so in theory as well.

tim proposed the following codicil:
>>"Transhumans do not view any larger organisation which they may join from
>>time to time as being in any way transcendent of their individual selves.
>>Their politics are constrained by this principle.

and Max said
>I don't see how this can be justified as a requirement for transhumanists
>in general, though I think it does fit the Self-Direction principle of
>Extropianism. Why can't there be collectivist transhumanists? (Call them
>The Borgists.) Or socialist transhumanists? Or technocratic socialists
>(H.G. Wells?) Or even racist transhumanists who put the transcendence of
>some group first?

Oh boy. I made big semantic mistake. There certainly can be all of these, as you describe in your FAQ. I made the mistake of saying "transhumanist" when i was thinking "extropian". Now that I understand that some transhumanists believe in involuntary sterilisation and genetic reprogramming, i will not make this mistake again.

So, wherever i have said "transhumanists" i must now say "extropian-transhumanist"

Now, You [Max] then says something that really clarifies the whole issue for me (but will probably upset Damien B?)

>If someone wants to be known as a transhumanist who
>rejects the idea of subordination to the collective, they can call
>themselves an Extropian transhumanist

OK. I am an extropian transhumanist. I am really happy about that but Joe dees and Spike and maybe Natasha, as well as Damien Broderick are not going to be.

Max also noted that
>Some [transhumanists wanting to be called extropian] may favor
>government subsidies for basic research.
>Personally, I do not, but if someone favored that because they believed in
>"market failure" for basic research, I would not see this as incompatible
>with being extropian.

Trouble is (apart from contradicting your statement cited above), that the government is not a person. If these would-be extropian-transhumanists favour government subsidies for university professors like myself, they are really either:

  1. Making the redundant claim that they themselves favour spending their own money on research.

or else

2. Making the non redundant but also non-extropian claim that they favour spending other people's money on research.

Position 2 is not compatible with self-direction.