Are guns extropian?

Harvey Newstrom (
Thu, 9 Jul 1998 18:45:22 -0400

I didn't want to get into the gun debate, but here goes...

I don't want to say guns are bad, or argue about guns per se. I agree that it is extropian to be self-reliant and to protect oneself. And I certainly can see why many people would turn to guns for that purpose. In that case, guns *might* be a useful tool. But hammers, pencils, and shoes are also useful... But are they extropian?

When I think of extropianism, transhumanism, or futurism, I think of science and technology. I want to gain life-extension through advanced biochemistry. I want to gain exploration through spaceships. I want to gain processing power through nanocomputers.

I don't think of gunpowder, explosives, and projectiles. I don't think of killing people. As I plan my extended life, I like to list all the things that I want to make occur in the future. Blowing someone's brains out is not one of them. I have no desire to pack a weapon and kill people who get in my way. If my plans would run into the point that I think I will have to become a killer, I think I would try to reshape my plans. If my plans get to the point, that I think that there is no way to avoid an unpleasant situation and that I am stuck with the situation that the universe has handed me, I think I would try to change the universe.

When somebody comes into my office and lab to see the neat stuff that I want to demonstrate for the future. I want to show them my computers and state that those who can keep up with the technology will rule the future. I don't want to unlock my gun cabinet and explain that those who are better armed will rule the future.

I am so sick of hearing Heinlein's quote that "an armed society is a polite society." Frankly, I don't want to live in a society where I am afraid to call someone an asshole because they might blow me away. If politeness is based on fear of retribution, that's coersion. If I am that afraid to be rude to someone, why would I be any less afraid to speak out against someone, or to scientifically refute someone's ideas when they are wrong. I want future conversations based on rational debate, and not on retaliatory advantage. If I wanted that, I would just start e-mail-bombing anyone here who disagreed with me. In a war of network security, I think I would win. But that's not what I want. If I use a weapon to make someone act polite toward me, no respect has been gained.

Harvey Newstrom                                   <>
Author, Engineer, Entrepreneur,              <>
Consultant, Researcher, Scientist.           <ldap://>