TERRORISM: Is genocide the logical solution?

From: Robert J. Bradbury (bradbury@aeiveos.com)
Date: Sun Sep 16 2001 - 23:27:14 MDT

Well, first off, I want to apologize to the people who I may
have unduly upset by my post. Some of you may be newer to
the list and may not realize that one of my fundamental
motivations revolves around the question of the reduction
of "Years of Potential Life Lost". Previous posts are motivated
from that perspective.

Why is this important to discuss? -- because it is precisely
the issue facing U.S. politicians today. Whether to execute
rapid indiscriminante strikes that may satisfy a need for
revenge or whether to proceed so carefully that individuals
who have an "irrational" agenda against the United States or
its citizens are able to execute further actions resulting in
a not insignificant loss of life (current news reports seem
to suggest that there are still undiscovered "cells" in the

First I will respond to Anders:
> The ethical is most serious: you assume that human lives can have
> negative value, and do an essentially utilitarian calculation not
> of happiness, but simply of utility towards a certain goal.

Anders, first, can you make a reasonable case that lives that
have as a fundamental raison d'etre the elimination of other
lives do not have a "negative value"? Second, can you make the
case that individuals who openly support or fund individuals who
have as their raison d'etre the elimination of other *innocent*
individuals from the planet is not of "negative value"?

Bottom line for me -- lives dedicated to the destruction of
other lives (or supporting the destruction of other lives)
are clearly unextropic. So my previous post on face value
is clearly unextropic. [NOTE THIS QUITE CAREFULLY -- I

Anders continues:
> The core idea of transhumanism is human development, so that we
> can extend our potential immensely and become something new. This
> is based on the assumption that human life in whatever form it may
> be (including potential successor beings) is valuable and worth
> something in itself. It must not be destroyed, because that
> destroys what transhumanism strives to preserve and enhance.

Yes, of course, and if my previous note is read carefully, it
should seem apparent that my desire is to maximize "life".
Whether the proposed strategy to maximize this is *really*
optimal is certainly open to significant attack.

However, the discussion of the fastest path to transhumanism
or the broadest path to transhumanism is not something that
should be cast aside due to some unsavory bumps along the road.

> Even if some humans are not helpful in achieving transhumanity doesn't
> mean their existence is worthless, and if they are an active
> hindrance to your (or anybody elses) plans destroying their lives
> is always wrong as long as they do not initiate force against you.

Ah, but the key perspective is "as long as they do not initiiate
force against you". We are past that point. They are initiatiating
force against us in an unextropic perspective that seems to involve
the support of brain-washed individuals in Afganistan and Pakistan.

> The logical mistake is to ignore the full consequences of your
> idea, and just look at the "desirable" first-order consequences.
> What you miss is that if this form of "practical genocide" is
> used, then the likeliehood of other forms of "practical genocide"
> are becoming far higher and harder to ethically suppress, as well
> as resistance to the US or other genocidal group is likely to
> become *far* more violent.

Anders, *I* did not, and it would appear the U.S. military
officials (at least currently) are not, ignoring the potential
consequences of bombing Islamic states. My statements were
carefully made based on estimates that (a) a backlash would
develop; (b) a response to such a backlash would be moderately
effective; (c) technologies would develop that would make the
entire response vs. counter-response irrelevant)

Statements like "or other genocidal group is likely to become *far*
more violent" ignores the fact that *we* too can become *far* more

> This post is going to haunt us all - it is in the archives, it has
> been sent to hundreds of list participants. Be assured that in a
> few years, when the current uproar has settled down, somebody is
> going to drag it out and use it against extropianism in the media.

I've heard this from Anders, and I've heard it from Eliezer
(as well as the not small number of messages filling my personal

I must only say that I am shocked and amazed. If one cannot voice
on the extropian list thoughts, ideas and opinions that one has
for the maximization of the evolution of our society -- then we
are doomed. We are implicitly stating that ideas exist that are
not fit for public consumption or that we would prefer the veneer
of public approval rather than the debate of rigorous, rational

Strike me down, tear me to shreads, rip me into tiny pieces --
but never, never, never argue that my voice should not be heard.

It is worth noting that Eliezer has written a very detailed response
to some of my perspectives. I do not agree with all of his
perspectives, but recognize their importance to the discussions
and would encourage all list readers to peruse them. I hope
that I will have the opportunity to respond to them within the
next few days.

Robert J. Bradbury

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