RE: PHIL: The extropian principles

Billy Brown (
Fri, 5 Mar 1999 09:13:24 -0600 wrote:
> 1) When I mentioned extropianism's "rejection" of libertarianism, I did
> not seek to imply that libertarianism had been declared to be
> incompatible with extropianism, but was merely acknowledging the fact
> that it had been rejected as an intrinsic component of the philosophy
> and is now on an equal footing with statist philosophies that advocate
> the initiation of force by the government.

I think you take an excessively narrow-minded view here. IMHO, what Max is trying to do is define extropianism as a process, rather than a specific set of goals. Extropianism is supposed to be about making life better - for as many people as possible, by as much as possible. It is not about telling people what kind of life they should want.

This is simply a recognition that our current knowledge is limited. We don't know, in any provable sense, exactly what form of government would be best for humans (let alone transhumans, or posthumans). Intelligent people with very similar values will disagree about whether our goal should be pure anarchism, a minarchy, or even (shudder) simply a return to Constitutional government. But we can all agree on what direction we should move in, and most of us will even agree on how we should judge success.

If we agree that our goal (in the political arena) is simply to maximize personal freedom, that leaves considerable room for disagreement about what methods would best achieve that goal.

> My question is: what enables you
> to lump together "intelligence, information, order, vitality, and
> capacity for improvement"? What do these concepts have in common- i.e.
> where does their "extropiness" lie?

Here I think you have a valid point, if a bit overstated. If we are going to have any common purpose, we have to be able to say what that purpose is. Otherwise we are simply a group of people who enjoy arguing with each other.

However, I think you are looking for the wrong kind of definition. We aren't going to be able to construct a perfect logical edifice defining for all time what is and is not "extropian". What we need is simply a unifying principle that can be applied to judge specific cases as they arise.

Billy Brown, MCSE+I