Re: PHIL: Extropianism: A Philosophy Without a Foundation

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Fri, 5 Mar 1999 10:31:18 -0800 (PST)

> Thanks for your thoughts, Eliezer. As someone with a strong
> predilection for organizing ideas, it's tempting to try to derive
> everything that falls under "extropy" from a smaller number of
> "first principles". Overall, though, I share your misgivings and
> I'm glad to hear some reinforcement of these misgivings to
> counterbalance those who want to make extropianism more exclusionary.

Don't confuse a desire to exclude bad ideas from the Extropian label with a desire to exclude people. We all want more people to call themselves extropians, but there are two competing ways of achieving that: reduce the criteria for inclusion to the point where people find themselves included with no work, or work to change the minds of people to adopt extropian ideals defined more precisely and meaningfully.

The "big tent" inclusiveness of the Republican party may be good for getting yourself elected, but if you're trying to spread ideas, you have to have ideas that actually mean something or else you just get a mass of people as philosophically irrelevant as, well, the Republican party.

> *Let* the ideologues and dogmatists rail against this looseness.
> I think it's clear which approach is the more extropian, both in
> principle and in result.

A dogmatist is one who holds some idea beyond criticism, and we have not hesitated to reject that, just as we have not hesitated to reject deathism. Critical rationalism does not exclude the possibility of rejecting ideas--indeed, that is precisely its purpose. It only insists that every idea be honestly evaluated, and that none be immune from examination. Ideas can still be evaluated, the bad ones rejected, and the good ones held as ideals. Idealism and rationalism are entirely compatible.

Our failure to explicitly reject statism just as we explicitly reject deathism and luddism is not justified by a desire to remain non-dogmatic. If it is due to genuine philosphical doubt about what the ideal should be, then say so. That's a valid reason to remain open on the issue, but it should encourage us to evaluate the differing ideas more vigorously so that we can reject some and move forward. What we idealogues fear is that some may value the lack of principle itself for political reasons rather than honest philosophical ones, and may actively work against finding a resolution in the matter.

Lee Daniel Crocker <> <>
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