Re: Compulsory service

Anders Sandberg (
Wed, 23 Apr 1997 17:45:59 +0200 (MET DST)

On Tue, 22 Apr 1997, Lee Daniel Crocker wrote:

> > Hmm, my bovo-sacrimeter gives clear indications that sacred cows are
> > present in this debate. Please take the proper precautions and especially
> > avoid rhetoric (it feeds them).
> Rhetoric is a wonderful art in its own right. That many use it as a
> substitute for reason is unfortunate, but that doesn't imply that one
> can't use it in addition to reason. Tools are just tools, neither
> good nor evil; it is the mind wielding them that determines that.

I'm personally quite fond of good rhetoric, and agree that it is an
useful tool. In a way it is a way of enhancing one's communication with a
person (not just for persuasion). But this is also its main danger: it is
the perfect tool for memes too, since they thrive on powerful
communication and persuasion between people. So sacred cows (memes that
secretly link to strong emotions for selfish reasons) of course thrive on
and use rhetoric a lot.

> > I hope we will be able to remedy that in the near future. People are
> > already doing alife simulations of simple societies (usually rather
> > ant-like) and of course the evolution of cooperation. It would be
> > interesting (and probably only a matter of time) to study a more
> > realistic model where different social structures could be tested.
> > Simulations support reason, at least when everyone is allowed to test
> > them and their basic assumptions are known.
> That would be marvellous. Axelrod's original result was quite stirring,
> and more complex ones would be a great accomplishment.

I found one interesting article in Technology Review about current
research in this direction, with applications in sociology and economics.

> > Suggestion: why not explain this clearly and logically in a way (say) a
> > ten-year old could understand, and then let your opponent put forth his
> > model in the same simple way. Then we can start analyzing what reason
> > tells us (but don't forget history; reason isn't always right).
> Many others have done a far better job of that than I, and I have
> little patience to debate what I consider "basics" of libertarian
> thought. I'm more interested in the contentious fringes: intellectual
> property law, origination of rights, perpetuities and covenants,
> and so on. Debating whether schools should be private or public is
> about as interesting to me as it would be for a physics professor to
> debating whether heavy things fall faster than light things.

I see your point. But if no physics professors show people that heavy and
light things fall at the same acceleration, then misunderstandings will
flourish and the gulf between the people who know and the people who
doesn't know will widen. I have the feeling this occurs a lot when it
comes to libertarian politics: the people who understand it take it for
granted, and can't understand why so many other people regard it as
lunatic fringe.

Of course, this list is not intended for discussions of the basics
either, but I really think it would be helpful if somebody could create
clear and logical explanations of the basics (say as a website).

Anders Sandberg Towards Ascension!
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y