Re: Compulsory service

Phil Goetz (goetz@cs.Buffalo.EDU)
Sun, 20 Apr 1997 16:49:28 -0400 (EDT)

Steve Witham ( wrote:

> Phil Goetz wrote (on Exi-East):
> >I believe the Extropians, on the whole, seriously lack an appreciation
> >for the importance of an individual's obligation to the community.
> Those libertarians among us (probably the ones you're thinking of)
> have a *very* serious idea of an individual's obligation to the community,
> and where that obligation ends. I'm obliged to peacefully coexist with
> others, and that is it, period.

You are speaking from theory. In reality, I don't think anyone has yet
shown that a society without compulsion can compete with other societies
in the real world. I am aware that there are some good ideas floating
around about how to provide for common defense without military
conscription, create an educated electorate and a healthy
information-service-based economy without compulsory schooling, provide a
stable money supply without a government monopoly on coinage, etc. But
until they have been proven to work, it's silly to get indignant about it.

Maybe you have a "right" to absolute freedom from the interference of
others. So what? It's irrelevant if it's impractical. It's childish
to get upset because you don't have something that you can't have.
Maybe we can build these Utopias, but only with a complete restructuring
of our society and culture. Just grabbing at "rights" willy-nilly will
probably not do it.

And it seems to me you should allow, in your broad formulation of rights,
that people have the right to build communities as they see fit, including
ones that use compulsion, as long as they allow people to leave those
communities. If there are no non-compulsory communities out there for you
to go to, well, that's too bad, but maybe it's evolution in action.


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