Re: Got a question mr. retired civil servant.

Abraham Moses Genen (
Sun, 31 Aug 1997 21:31:08 -0400

Abraham Moses Genen
Being dedicated to the future progress of humankind
should be the prime concern of all civilized beings.

From: Eric Watt Forste <>
Subject: Re: Got a question mr. retired civil servant.
Date: Saturday, August 30, 1997 9:14 PM

Abraham Moses Genen writes:
> It is the problem of opinion based on superficialities. Discussing
> public policy on the basis of an individual's personality and/or
> ideosyncrasies rather than the cumulative thought processes,
> constraints and contingencies that go into value determinations is
> simplistic.

Interesting. So are you saying that it simply doesn't matter if
a politician is (or all politicians are) lacking in character?
Or if a political system reliably produces (rewards, whatever)
only politicians who are lacking in character?

Dear Eric and other fellow Extropians,
Although I did not mention constructive ethical and moral behavior in my
comments relating to the formation of public policy, I thought that it
would be understood that a strong ethical and moral foundation is apriori
in this regard.
An error in judgement is the assumption that politicians make policy.
Actually, mostly they primarily make a great deal of flatulating noises
which the media dutifully reports as policy statements. The reality of the
siuation is that numerous analysts collect as many facts as possible prior
to a policy proposal and jointly present a summary and analysis to those
who make the ultimate determination. It should be pointed out that most
policy is initiated and instituted within the various agencies of
government. Only where enabling legislation and appropriations are
required does the legislative branch become involved. Most policy
determinations (either domestic or foreign) are never noticed by the
general public.

Also, I am interested to hear your theory of how a participant in
the democratic process should go about following "the cumulative
thought processes, constraints, and contingencies" when deciding
how to vote. Most of the methods I have run across for attempting
to keep track of these things either seem unreliable (I had thought
that character was a good guide, but now you seem to be telling us
that it is not) or else to take up so much of my time in researching
my vote that I have no time left in which to earn taxes for the

Dear Eric et al,
This is a major part of the problem. Since the time of George Washington
most people have been to preoccupied with their basic survival to pay much
attention to the complexity inherant in the administration of a democracy.
As with most professions, administration of government is an area of
academic specialization. Initially, the profession of law was broad enough
to include the social philosophies of the 18th and 19th centurys. As our
society has evolved and become more complex, the arts and sciences have
had to become more complex as well. There is now simply to much
information for the "average" individual to absorb and convert to
knowledge and, ultimately, wisdom.
Possibly, through collective knowledge of the Extropians can we evolve
further so that a greater percentage of our citizenry can develop the
capacity to function on the broad and interdisciplinary level required for
participation in the further evolution of humankind and its social and
cultural structures.
This is especially the case where I live, in California, because
we have an extensive system of initiative and referendum which
requires a great deal of research to participate in in a meaningful
way. Of course, research is not literally *required*, so the
results of the elections are sometimes a bit surrealistic. I
suppose that's why I like living in California. I've always been
fond of surrealism, and I find the political environment here
to be quite Daliesque.

(Oh, dear, I shouldn't have said that last. It's clearly
evidence that I need to get my head shrunk by professional
help. State-licensed, of course.)

Dear Eric et al,
I think you just stated my point from a different perspective in a far
more succinct manner than I did. Obviously, I suspect that the research
that is required to understand the long effects of any referendum or
initiative is beyond the desire of most members of the public and the


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