Personal responsibility [was Re: Genderless societies]

Robert J. Bradbury (
Thu, 16 Sep 1999 11:13:16 -0700 (PDT)

On Thu, 16 Sep 1999, J. R. Molloy wrote:

> From: Edgar W Swank <>
> >Women can have sex, get pregnant, and have three months to change
> >their minds and get an abortion. Men, even those raped or tricked
> >into fatherhood, do not have a choice about responsibility for
> >any resulting children. See
> >
> >
> >
> >Men, not women are told, "you play you pay." And persecution of
> >"deadbeat dads" a national mania. "Neutrality," my ass!

I will simply note, that the term "responsibility" is used a dozen or more times in the Extropian Principles, in particular:

| Extropians seek neither to rule nor to be ruled. We hold that individuals

| should be in charge of their own lives. Healthy societies require a 
| combination of liberty and responsibility. For open societies to exist,
| individuals must be free to pursue their own interests in their own way. | But for individuals and societies to flourish, liberty must come with

| personal responsibility. The demand for freedom without responsibility

| is an adolescent's demand for license.

I doubt very much that any court would ever hold a man responsible for the support of a child produced in a situation where he was raped. If he was "tricked", then as Forrest Gump observed -- Stupid is as stupid does.

There are any number of options a man can chose that would prevent him from being entrapped by these "wiley women" from condoms to vasectomies to forthcoming male pills. If they chose not to exercise them and society chooses to balance the books, then good for society!

Now, this of course raises an interesting issue. Since extropians would like to operate in a highly free society, exactly *when* is it permissible for a society to force/coerce/punish an individual who violates the generally accepted norms for "personal responsibility".

Take something as simple as how annoyed I get at neighbors pets depositing their business on my property. Given the current legal situation in Seattle, there is little or nothing I can do about this (other than put a very high fence around my property). [Let's not have this decay into suggestions about how to solve this problem, believe me I've thought long and hard and know most of the possibilities.]

I think anyone looking at this would argue that these pet owners are not being "personally responsible" for their property. In an extropian world, would we pass a law demanding that people keep their pets on their own property (or always under direct management)?

[One can obviously draw interesting comparisons between pets and adolescent teenagers with raging hormones or even fully grown adults in the heat of passion...]