Re: EXTROPIAN MORALITY: A necessary debate (was: Attack on CivilizedWorld...)

From: Technotranscendence (
Date: Wed Sep 12 2001 - 09:03:22 MDT

On Tuesday, September 11, 2001 10:09 PM Robert J. Bradbury wrote:
> Daniel Ust, recently made several statements to the general
> effect that "the U.S. goverment should stop acting in international
> arenas".

Or stop acting the way it does. The US should just promote freedom by
reducing its government to a bare minimum -- not acting as a tool for world
government and propping up unpopular governments worldwide.

> Now, Daniel is someone whom I have an immense amount of respect for
> because he has a much better education in areas in which I wish that
> my education were as deep as his.

The respect is mutual, though I feel you compliment me too much.

> However, *purely* from an Extropic perspective, I am going to
> take my glove and slap him across the face, and say "I challenge
> you -- for YOU are not an Extropian". The essence of an extropian
> perspective is the desire to combat entropy -- the diminishment
> of information. What we witnessed recently was a classic example
> of the destruction of information, both in the minds of individuals
> now dead and in the knowledge bases of commercial enterprises that
> are unlikely to survive this incident. This is an extropic loss on a
> scale that has probably not been witnessed in the last 45+ years.

I agree and said elsewhere this crime must be punished, but governments, in
general, increase entropy -- social disorder -- by intervening domestically
as well as outside their borders. (Socialism doesn't work at home and it
sure does not work abroad.)

> What we have witnessed over the last decade or so in the Balkans
> and in Kuwait were similar massive extropic losses (more difficult
> to quantify because of the difficulties of equating loss-of-life
> with loss-of-economic-activity). Furthermore, had we not acted
> in those situations they ran the risk of those conflicts expanding
> into situations that could have significantly impacted the economic
> health of the USA (resulting in decreased economic growth and a
> diminishment in the production of information and/or complexity).

Not exactly. The Balkans conflict had been going on for many years without
boiling over. Also, when the US intervened, it mainly intervened against
Serbia ignoring the atrocities of others, such as Croatia and now the
various Albanian groups throughout the region. Granted, Serbia is not an
angelic, peaceloving society, but the creation of an artificial nation
[Bosnia] and invading another [Serbia] on a pretext (the actual level of
killings was in the scores before NATO started bombing, it was 100 of 1000s

It's also notable that the Israelis and the Palestinians really began
negotiating in earnest when the first Bush (1989-1993) basically kept his
main attention off the Israeli-Arab conflict. (Compare G. H. Bush to his
predecessors [Nixon, Carter, Reagen] and his successor [Clinton] in terms of
the level of involvement with Israel.) My contention is that the
militants -- typically a very small faction anyhow -- on both sides need or
want a big power to intervene since it keeps the pot boiling. Most people
just can't continue fighting for too long without such support. Their
societies can't be in a constant state of war. Only by outside forces
supplying money and materiel can this state go on.

> As I've stated before, and I'll state again -- the greatest stain
> on past/current governments in terms of "extropic sin" was/is the lack
> of intervention in the previous and continuing Central African genocides.

I recall US intervention in Somalia not working.

> Now, if I look back over the last 10-15 years of my life, and
> how I've allocated my resources, I can make a reasonable case
> that the U.S. Government has done a better job of allocating
> my tax dollars for extropic purposes than I have done with
> my non-tax dollars.

By what measure? Spending on welfare -- corporate or individual? Spending
on the war on drugs? Spending on the FDA which spends a lot of time trying
to keep working chemicals off the market, especially supplements, while
basically being a tool for the big drug companies? Keeping import quotas
and high tarrifs on cars and trucks so that the American auto industry can
keep chugging along despite its economic and technological inefficiency? I
could go on...

> So when I recently discovered that I may
> have significantly overpaid my income taxes and may not be able
> to recover those funds, I could rationalize it without too much
> difficulty. For Daniel to be able to support his position, I believe
> he has to make a *strong* case, not only *he*, but a significant
> majority of Americans must be better at allocating their resources
> for extropic purposes than the American government is. I challenge
> him to make that case!

That's a pretty tall order.

The case is made by economics alone. The current US government thwarts
economic growth through inflationary policies (since the government here
basically controls the banking system through and through), antitrust
legislation (compare what happened to IBM and the computer industry when the
US DoJ dropped its antitrust case versus what's happening now to Microsoft
and ditto), and myriad other regulations made specifically to benefit some
powerful, vocal group at the expense of everyone else.

All these policies create a social context where predation not cooperation
becomes profitable, since it becomes clear to mainly that it's easier to
take wealth (direct subsidies, restrictions on competitors, or others forced
to buy your product or service) from the government than to try to create

> Not that I think the American government is *trying* to allocate
> its resources extropically. I just think for some reason it
> seems to naturally be able to do so. It may be some emergent
> property of democratic governments. This may be related to the
> fact that individuals can experience "self-gratification" while
> governments cannot. Governments can only experience self-preservation.
> So perhaps self-preservational behaviors have a much greater multiplier
> effect for extropic production than self-gratification behaviors.

I don't think so. Self-preservation _and_ expansion seem to dominate
political behavior. Political power has a tendency to add to itself. The
President today has much much more power -- not just in terms of how to deal
with foreign powers but against citizens domestically -- than did George
Washington. This seems true when one looks at any other society.
Governments grow and grow and grow and grow -- with few exceptions. And
they grow not to increase extropy, but for the sake of increasing the
control and power of people inside them.

> So, I challenge Daniel and other extropians to set aside their
> personal beliefs (or agendas?) and ask themselves what will maximize
> the production of extropic bits? If you want to stick with your
> personal agendas, you are going to have to "prove" their worth
> extropically to me.

See above.

The same applies to you, of course. Prove your views are valid by any

I'm also shocked that you would ask for this while disregarding what I've
been posting on this list for the last four years or so. I've given long
arguments on a lot of the above issues. I didn't just wake up yesterday,
see the World Trade Center crumble, worry about my friends who live and work
in NYC, and decide to argue for a free society. I'm not saying I'm the best
at making this argument, but I've not only presented my views, but also told
people where to find more information.

As a side note, how many on this list are emotionally devastated by this
attack? I know I am. I was last in the WTC on September 2nd. I spent most
of yesterday in a state of utter disbelief and shock -- though happily I've
accounted for all my friends and loved ones who lived or worked in the area.


Daniel Ust
    See "Macroeconomics for the Real World" at:

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