Re: What is the Extropian answer to war? (was: Raisin Bombers over Afghanistan)

From: Bryan Moss (
Date: Wed Sep 26 2001 - 17:44:55 MDT

Anders Sandberg wrote:

> > Drop genetically engineered fast-spreading fungi that
> > release highly-addictive pacifying narcotics into the
> > countries water supply. Go in, (re-)establish democracy.
> > Begin immunization. [...]
> The fun part with this unethical and dangerous "solution" is
> of course when some friendly person drops them in the US
> water supply too - after all, isn't the US in dire need of
> becoming a more compliant and dependent society? The
> suggestible part might be fixed already.

The US will be already immunized, of course. And it'll be
ahead of the curve technologically compared to more closed
societies (of the type that would want to do such a thing)
because open societies engender technological progress. "It
can be used against us," is an often heard dismissal.
Consider the enemy equivalent of a recently suggested idea:
airdropping copies of the Koran into the US! Imagine the
sudden conversions! The word of Allah would spread like
wildfire! (Of course, that would never happen; the US is
chock full of rational thinkers, good Christians every one.)
Any idea *that will work* can be used against us, most won't
for practical reasons (lack of resources, for example).

> Seriously, I can't see what makes this "solution" extropian.

Gusto! (Note: humour.)

> It is not based on any consideration of the rights of other
> people or their self-direction,

It's clearing mental logjam. As I mentioned previously I'm in
the process of reconsidering the degree to which "individual
rights" and "self-direction" make sense with regard to humans
and their many foibles. I'm sure you'd agree that many of us
occasionally need a shove in the right direction to break out
of whatever psychological rut is holding us back, it's just a
question of how big a shove is too big a shove. (I should
note that I consider even simple, naive ideas like airdropping
"How to be a Rational Thinker" pamphlets somewhat of a shove
located *somewhere* on the same continuum as doping them up.)
I *do* think that there's a fundamental - even physical -
difference between the blind, irrationally held beliefs of the
religious zealot on the one hand and me, you, and the rest of
us highly-rational extropians, on the other. However, I
think - as far as human minds go - one belief system is at
least as good as another. The benefits of being a critical
thinker, especially, can only be appreciated in retrospect.

> trust in open societies (last I checked, mind control did
> not produce democracy, but maybe the Ministry of Truth has
> changed that in the meantime)

If we're going to "democratize" these countries as many have
suggested it's not going to be through democratic process
because such a thing has yet to be established. It will most
likely be through the support of violent issurection. It
seems to me that how an open society should treat the members
of a closed society is ill defined. How we - the rational
ones - should treat those muddle-headed irrational types when
we *finally* wake up and realise that exposure to The Truth is
met with yawns is similarly ill defined. These are, to me,
the same problem and the (provisional) solution in both cases
as best as I can ascertain is: however we like.

> or rational thinking (it clouds rational thinking together
> with badthink). ...

I'm not entirely sure what you mean here.

> OK, I guess it was a joke anyway ...

Semi-satirical and subtly so. My fault.


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