Re: NEWS: Genoa riots

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Tue Jul 24 2001 - 06:40:59 MDT

On Mon, Jul 23, 2001 at 11:19:57PM -0700, Samantha Atkins wrote:
> Anders Sandberg wrote:
> >
> > * Discredit the self-interested groups. Since their positions are actually
> > based to a large extent on their own gain rather than (say) a concern for
> > others, demonstrating this and the hollowness of their arguments can do a
> > lot of good. But this becomes much easier if the counter-arguments are
> > understandable.
> Doesn't this play into the dangerous meme that only those who
> have no personal or group stake in a situation should have any
> say in it?

If done wrong, yes. Sometimes valid arguments are raised for selfish or
incorrect reasons. But given that most of the anti globalisation arguments
used by (say) unions and xenophobes are hollow and in themselves possible
to disprove, the selfishness of their arguing helps undermine them.
> > * For arguments to work, they must be understandable. Expressing the
> > benefits of free trade, free movement of people, open societies and so on
> > in a way that *anyone* can understand is a huge challenge that should be
> > met. Well crafted arguments may of course cut through a lot of rigid belief
> > systems, but they are hard to create. It is better to aim at "the middle
> > ground", the large population of people not strongly polarized but not very
> > knowledgeable and get them to learn about these ideas. That can help create
> > a culture that can absorb more advanced arguments.
> Free trade and free movement are fine and good. Being convicted
> here for breaking a law passed by a government on the other side
> of the world that I have no representation within and which
> might run on totally different principles than any I have agreed
> to is not at all fine. Yet such things have been proposed as
> part of "globalization".

Which only goes to show that the word is being used for far too much. A lot
of the treaties being made by WTO and G8 are far too mercantilistic or
threatens the open society. No need to be on just one side of the current
polarization, as long as we have a self-consistent view of what we are
trying to achieve.

> > * Aim at the intellectuals. As Hayek pointed out (I know Waldemar and I are
> > starting to sound like a broken record about this) in _The Intellectuals
> > and Socialism_, if you can get the memes into the intellectual strata of
> > society, they they will spread much more efficiently and affect other parts
> > of society. This requires a lot of dedicated work, but eventually it will
> > be worth it (as socialism demonstrated).
> >
> To be cynical, I think it was Lenin who was happy to have the
> intellectuals make the space for the revolution but promplty
> suggested they be done away with as soon thereafter as
> possible.

Not just him. But if you look at how socialism and other ideologies with
pervasiveness have spread, it is due to the intellectuals. We have a far
different view of how useful they are in the long run, though.

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

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