Re: Is rational patriotism anti-extropian? I don't think so...

From: James Wetterau (
Date: Wed Apr 19 2000 - 09:29:51 MDT

"Michael S. Lorrey" says:
> > I didn't sign it, anybody claiming to have seen me sign it is a damn
> > liar, and you can't make me sign it! :-) See Lysander Spooner on this
> > topic.
> True, but have you ever voted?

Yes, I have voted in my younger, more naive days, but I've kicked the
habit. At any event, I'm not about to feel guilty about placing my
allegiance with my rational self-interest and with the good, rather
than with the U.S. government, just because I may have participated in
its ceremonies, exercises, and privileges in the past. I've learned a
hell of a lot since then, and what I've learned directs my commitments
now. Moreover, the bounds of honor and integrity don't constrain one
fighting off a thief or murderer.

> Served on a jury?

They wouldn't let me. All because I told the prosecutor during jury
selection that I was dead opposed to drug laws (in New York City these
would be the notorious Rockefeller laws) and it would violate my
conscience to find the poor guy before us (they kindly told us it was
a "buy-and-bust" case -- their very words -- prior to selection)
guilty, and that I agitated for and spent my money trying to get the
drug laws changed. After a brief lecture from the judge on the rule
of law, I was sent over to civil, where I also didn't get on a jury.
I did spend a mostly pleasant week reading a technical book I'd meant
to get around to forever.

> Held public office or been employed by the government?


> Served in the military?


> Said the pledge of allegiance?

Yes, along with all the other kids in my elementary school. I
particularly enjoyed the spectacle of one kid's being shouted at by a
teacher in front of the whole group that it didn't matter that his
mother wanted him excused from the pledge for religious reasons -- he
was going to join in with everyone else, dammit! which he sullenly
did, IIRC. Well, they sure won a patriot over there! A whole
roomful, in fact.

We were minors and we were ordered to pledge allegiance. That has as
much validity as a contract as the implicit contract between the sheep
and the man with the shears.

> Verbal contracts are binding on the integrity of the
> individual. That being said,
> any man who won't sign a written contract can't be trusted on his word
> either...IMHO

Contracts require some kind of rational parameters to be meaningful.
Just what kind of open-ended commitment is this "social contract" or
even the (at least written) "pledge of allegiance"? Imagine the
uproar if any other entity tried to get schoolchildren to take a
verbal pledge and then adduced the children's performance as a sign of
a legitimate verbal "contract" with specific binding requirements!
Sheer nonsense. And, like the earlier poster (Charles Stross? My
apologies if misattributed) I find it Orwellian.

> > > is going to be used for unjust aggression. Kicking over Saddam Hussein's
> > > Omar Quadaffi's pile of blocks is no problem to me.
> >
> > That Omar -- such a naughty boy! Omar Quadaffi? Oh well, whoever he
> > is, he probably has a good block kicking coming, right? Or else why
> > would the U.S. be kicking his blocks? Must be his fault.
> Anyone who orders the bombing of a plane carrying hundreds of innocent people
> deserves to get his own house targeted by laser guided bombs...

I don't follow. How does this relate to this mysterious individual
"Omar Quadaffi"?

Now I, like you, would waste no tears over Moammar Quadaffi's
hypothetical demise, because I give some skeptical credence to the
news sources that report that he is responsible for various terrorist
attacks. But I would think twice about holding such an opinion if I
were not even sure of his name. And since I know how convenient the
U.S. State Dept. finds it to demonize pariah states, I read any news
of Quadaffi and Libya with skepticism and eyes wide open for
distortion or manipulation.

All the best,
James Wetterau

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