Re: Perceptions of discrimination and the beast within.

Eric Watt Forste (
Sat, 02 Aug 1997 12:38:58 -0700

den Otter writes:
> Discrimination 2---comparing looks and memes and concluding that
> they're different, and depending on the standards you use, that
> some are better than others (superior/inferior if you will). It
> can sometimes be observed that a certain meme occurs more frequently
> in (a) certain group(s) of people who clearly (looks, geography
> etc) share the same genetic background. Now if this meme happens
> to be bad by the particular standards that you use this means that
> in this field at least certain (genetic) groups as a whole will
> rank lower on your scale than certain other (genetic) groups. This
> could be called "scientifically based racism".

No, it could not. There's nothing even remotely scientific about
pretending to be able to "measure" the quality of a meme or a
meme-complex. You think people are getting angry with you because
you are espousing unpopular political opinions, but what's making
me angry with you is that you are dressing up your political opinions
as if they were somehow "scientific". If you start talking about
"if this meme happens to be bad by the particular standards that
you use", then you are no longer talking about science. Heck, just
talking about correlations between meme-tag Y and gene-tag X is
getting you into shaky territory as far as statistical methodology
is concerned. These are fertile fields for personal opinion and
individual action, but to pretend that this is presently a domain
of science is just symptomatic of your attempt to hitch your memes
onto the coattails of science, the better to market them to others.
I'm not buying.

> Of course, in everyday interaction each person should be judged
> seperately, and not be unduely stereotyped, yet this is exactly
> what those (alledgedly) well-meaning anti-racists ("equalists")
> are doing; if you're branded a racist (iow *dared* to say something
> negative about a race (other than Caucasians) and negroes in
> particular than automatically everything you say (on whatever topic)
> will be deemed crap and those kind, peaceful and tolerant people
> all of a sudden turn out to be not-so-kind, tolerant & peaceful at
> all. It appears they have plenty of exceptions to their general
> "humanistic" rule...

People get to use their own filters on what other people have to
say. Why you think that this is somehow "unhumanist" I don't know.
Do you think we should each keep our ears constantly tuned to the
voices of all six billion human beings? (Not as if this is possible
or anything.) You're peddling a simplified meme-filter, and yet
you whine and complain about how other people are filtering out
*your* memes in a simplified fashion.

Kindness is necessarily limited: you can't be kind to six billion
people at once (most of the time). There's nothing unpeaceful about
people not wanting to listen to what you have to say. There's
nothing intolerant about it either. No one here is trying to shut
you up, so stop trying to present yourself as more persecuted than
you are. This is exactly the sort of self-presentation as a "victim"
that I'd expect someone espousing the views you are espousing to

> All very understandable of course. Man, having evolved from an
> upright killer ape, couldn't have lost his violent primal urges
> overnight (on an evolutionary timescale). They're still in there,
> often well hidden and carefully suppressed, but there nonetheless.
> The "peaceful" hippy/liberal/humanist way is probably a very
> unnatural state of being for an originally agressive and opportu-
> nistic creature like man. That's why communes etc. seldom work.

Communes seldom work because communes frequently attempt to do
away with private property, an institution which is far more
useful as a means of social organization than most people
realize. I'm skeptical of your claim that "peacefulness" is one
of the *reasons* why communes seldom work.

> Btw, you should see the movie "The Forbidden Planet" (60's I reckon).
> It shows what could happen to a (extropian-esque) society when it
> loses touch with (or: denies) it's more primitive side. Although
> the movie isn't much as a whole (though mildly entertaining), the
> point is clear for those who want to see it. Denial killed the
> cat.

Yes, yes, collectivism was at one point in human cultural
evolution a good computational shortcut. That's why there is so
much collectivism to be found in many of the older cultures. But
I just don't think you're going to have much success peddling
your updated "scientific" groupthink on this list. And I'm not
sure why you're trying. What exactly are you trying to
accomplish with this line of argument? What changes would you
like to bring about by presenting this information?

> Your black neigbor may very well be your mental equal/superior,
> but the culture linked to his forefathers is inferior to the culture
> linked to *your* forefathers if you measure by things like
> technological advancement, personal safety and possibilities for
> growth (although *both* sets of cultures were and are highly
> inadequate by transhuman standards).

Interesting: here we have an individual ape presuming to pass
judgement on the relative quality of vast collections of millions
of apes lasting over centuries or millenia. I wonder how he manages
such a feat? Of course, we each have to do the best we can in this
department to make choices for our own self-education, but surely
it's a mistake to think that such judgements are even remotely

> rationality). Every person should only be accountable for eir
> actions unless party in an "agreement" that states otherwise. Right?

In general, yes. "Possession is nine-tenths of the law" is
economically efficient, to be sure, but I'm not quite sure yet
if economic efficiency means the same thing as justice. Perhaps
our perceptions of instances of justice is just our cultural
"first-take" on the spontaneous emergence of structures that
promote economic efficiency, and that later we find out that
what we had thought was justice was just the invisible hand at
work, and that there is no justice. Perhaps you are right about
this. I don't know.

Eric Watt Forste ++ ++ expectation foils perception -pcd