Re: Privacy and freedom

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Tue Oct 30 2001 - 00:02:05 MST

"Robert J. Bradbury" wrote:
> Daniel wrote:
> > So why trust it with ever more power?
> Because it would appear that increasing our own morality
> (or freedom) in a world where others lack such morality
> (or freedom) recently killed 5000 people.

Do you think that the attacks occurred primarily because we
were "increasing our own morality (or freedom).."? I don't see
how this conclusion is at all obvious.

> History clearly shows how we have botched the job (forgetting
> about Afghanistan as soon as the Soviets pulled out and focusing
> instead on Iraq). So I'm pessimistic that *anything* we do now
> will turn out well. However living in a democratic society
> you have to realize the fate of politicians who argue that
> we should take the hit on withdrawal from our oil addiction.
> Its political suicide. The bottom line is that one can only
> "manage" the disaster as best you can and hope technology will
> dig us out of our hole before it all goes to hell.

I would humbly suggest that business as usual of simply managing
the problem will not necessarily work now and is increasingly
less likely to work as the world gets more complex while
shrinking in the speed at which effects propagate. It is time
to take some hits imho in order to do things a bit differently.

> > Does anyone seriously think it will not abuse these new powers?
> No, a better question is, will such abuses extend the
> longevity of the average law-abiding citizen?

That may not be the best question to ask since no true
extropians are "average law-abiding citizen" types. Two out of
three perhaps. A better question is to what extent such abuses
are likely to make transcendence of this mess through extropian
means even more difficult than the relatively small probability
of being offed by some terrorist. Given that the extended
powers make the governments knowledge of what we all do and its
ability to do something about it without as much judicial
oversight and review, I find it quite likely that some of what
at least some of us belief is utterly necessary for getting to
Singularity in one piece will be ruled illegal and vigourously
suppressed and now, much more effectively, suppressed.
> We are holding ~1000 people now on various minor charges associated
> with the WTC attacks. Most of those people, I would believe, are not
> citizens (or perhaps recent citizens, perhaps here under false
> pretenses). At least some of those individuals are taking the 5th

Some of them are plan citizens. Many of them say they know
nothing. Many refuse to give in to such (as they and I see it)
bullying by government officials. That is their right. The day
it isn't we all should worry a lot more.

> and refusing to talk. While I'm not an expert on any
> possible side effects of drugs inducing individuals to
> be more cooperative, it seems likely that they are less
> damaging than the torture that arrested suspects endure in most
> countries. I am not opposed to the use of will-diminishing

I am very saddened to see you take such a line. Is your
paranoia so great, your fear so high, that you would resort to
the use of force on the minds of mere suspects many of which
have no charges of any real significance filed against them? Do
your really think it is justifiable to do such a thing in
defiance of international laws over so relatively little? If
so, then what methods do you think should be used against folks
such as Eliezer who might just be designing something that takes
over control (however benignly) of the entire local space-time?
I would think many, many people would be a great deal more
fearful of such than of terrorism. If only fear counts and the
avoidance of danger, then what will keep the Eliezers of this
world safe?

> non-violent methods in cases where there is reasonable evidence
> that such individuals intend to use their resources or knowledge
> to conduct "acts" of war (i.e. where they may be willing to sacrifice
> themselves to kill or harm a large number of non-involved parties).
> Knowledge that such methods might be used would prompt terrorists
> to provide their agents with suicide pills in the event the police
> show up at their door. From my perspective allowing them to exit
> stage left of their own free will could be the best solution for
> everyone.

There are many, many things that many of us seriously consider
doing that have huge potential to seriously effect and even
kill-off many non-involved parties. Should we reexamine our
thinking on these things? Are we someone else's "terrorist"?

> This article, that was previously posted warrants reading
> if readers have not done so:
> Bottom line -- dead people don't care about their privacy *or*
> their freedom.

But we are alive and we must care not just about continuing to
be alive but what type of lives we live and inflict on others.
Else, what the hell is the point of living forever?

- samantha

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