Anthony Garcia (agarcia@Starbase.NeoSoft.COM)
Wed, 3 Mar 1999 04:19:11 -0600 (CST)

Max More writes:

"[The belief that force should not be used except

     in self-defense is] *compatible* with extropianism. 
     But it is not *required* by extropianism."

Perhaps upon reaching the decrepit old age of 30, my mind is beginning to fail me. But I *was* under the impression that "extropianism" was explicitly voluntarist/an-Archist/anarchocapitalist, completely rejecting any political/social systems which sanction any type of initiation of force or other transgression against the individual.

I don't recall how I formed this apparently incorrect association. Perhaps from reading articles such as "Deep Anarchy", published in EXTROPY No. 5 nearly a decade ago, where Max wrote:

"Two of the fundamental extropian values are
responsibility for one's own life and actions, and the determination to do away with constraints on one's rational will. I believe that the institutions of religion and ``the State`` are antithetical to these values."

"We already live in an anarchy. There is no
``State``. There are only individuals acting in a statist manner..."

"Let us not be deterred from seeking a
spontaneous voluntarist society by cynics who stand for stagnation. Freedom is our evolutionary future."

Yet now I see Max stating in his 2/21/99 govt.html:

"Extropians _generally favor_ market mechanisms...
Extropians _generally prefer_ market approaches... [but] we may differ among ourselves about the extent of the proper role of government.

And just what sorts of roles for government might this new, improved extropianism support?

"Some [extropians] may favor government subsidy of basic
scientific research, or certain regulations [to maintain] a maximally open society, or the provision of services they think will be poorly provided without state intervention."

Oh, really now?

Exactly how long has this congenial attitude towards the State been a part of the accepted definition of "extropian"? In other words, exactly at what point within the last 7 or 8 years did I unknowingly cease to be an extropian? I suppose I have to seek the company of "Voluntarist Transhumanists" now that Max has seen fit to extend his definition of "extropianism" to include sanction of the extortionist practices of nation-state criminal gangs?

My fault for not paying attention, of course. I've been ignoring the Extropy Institute for some time now, basically ever since EXTROPY ceased publication. I didn't particularly dig the shallow fluffiness creeping in towards the end. I've been busy with other things going on in my life, and haven't had time to closely follow the Extropians mailing list or make frequent visits to infrequently updated websites. I've been receiving and archiving the mailing list, and only glancing into my archives on rare occasions. Nonetheless, during all this time, I've continued to consider myself "extropian".

I suppose my big mistake was failing to pay attention when EP 3.0 was released. I now go check it out and find that the principle of valuing "Spontaneous Order" has spontaneously mutated itself into "Open Society" and "Self-Direction". Not quite the same thing. "Yes, Citizen-unit", {thump baton into open palm}, "you can have all the Open Society and criticism you want. Just as long as you keep directing yourself to make those tax payments on time."

I *was* under the impression that, with "extropianism", I had found the company of like-minded voluntarist transhumanists. But now Max has apparently expanded the "tent" to include the potentially larger set of non-voluntarist transhumanists. And in doing so, he has transformed the place where voluntarist transhumans stand under this tent. We once could roam the entire floor; now we are shunted off to a small corner where we can be safely ignored:

"_Some_ [extropians] would like to experiment with
entirely novel [voluntarist] social orders..."

Wow. Smooth.

I can see why Max might want to do this: voluntarism, even in it's watered-down form as minarchist libertarianism, is unpopular with the masses. They appear to like slavery and socialism and being governed. Or at least they don't mind it very much, and they tend to resent anyone who questions their complacency. And perhaps Max, acting in his role as "spokesperson for Extropianism" would like to see big-E Extropianism popularised among and adopted by these same masses, incidentally leading to better chances for speaking gigs and book deals and talking head TV appearances for himself. Thus, the abandonment or at least shoving-aside of inconvenient voluntarism.

I'm disgusted.

-Anthony Garcia
voluntarist transhumanist