On Friday, November 09, 2001 9:02 AM Steve Nichols email@example.com
>> Maybe because it's against my principles. I believe in freedom, the
>> construction of the absence of coercion, I believe too in the change,
>> reprogramming, or if really necessary punitive destruction of coercive
> By "punitive destruction" do you mean "coercion?"
I don't think coercion per se is the problem. It's initiation of coercion.
Coercion in reaction to such initiations -- as retaliation or
self-defense -- will probably always be needed, but the thing to rule out is
its initiation [in society] as much as possible. This way, people can deal
with each other through reason or not at all. The person who first resorts
to coercion is the threat to such a society -- in fact, to civilized
relations in general.
>> Politicians are playing inside a coercive system by definition
>> and it's very unlikely they will change its coercive aspects.
> But it is open to you to be a politician .... if you don't like
> the current ones, why not compete for their positions?
This is kind of like saying if you don't like the way the slaves are
treated, don't free them, just become a slave master yourself and treat them
better. If you're trying to eliminate slavery, this is probably not the way
to go about it.
Also, the problem with democratic governments -- and I mean "republics" too,
since their ultimate power rests in the democratic election of their key
leaders -- is that the overall systematic tendency is to promote politicians
who cater to whatever the majority or powerful minorities want. This is why
libertarians, in general, have failed to capture those offices. (Of course,
this is part of a deeper problem. The culture itself in democracies
generally is antifreedom and antireason. This, in part, causes the kind of
statism we see and is caused by it -- e.g., through public schooling,
corporate and individual welfare, regulation of social relations, taxation
and other property seizures.)
Economically, this creates a culture where people see politicians as
offering wealth to them. The politicians which maximize shortrun wealth
transfer generally get the most votes. (Why short run? Well, since
democratically elected officials are generally in office only for a short
period and do not own their office or the government, they have little
incentive to think beyond their term AND a very strong incentive to maximize
current transfers lest another politician push them out and do it for them.)
Finally, in most democratic systems, it's very hard to change the whole
system by being elected to one office. Unlike a monarchy, e.g., there are
usually many key positions of power, none of which by itself can do a whole
lot. Thus, the Prime Minister in Britain can always be thrown out if
Parliament doesn't agree with him or her. You'd have to control a big
portion of Parliament too. In the US, the same thing applies. You need
sizeable portions of both Houses of Congress to really control the Federal
government -- plus probably friends in the Supreme Court so as not to have
any legislative actions annulled. (This should not be taken to mean running
for office or even using the courts can't be seen as a self-defense action,
BUT we must realize the limitations of using the system against itself. It
doesn't stay in place because it has no "immune" system.)
If you want a culture based on reason and freedom -- they go together --
then you have to work on ways to change this. I think this will be the best
way to insure technological progress and to make sure such progress is in
directions that are productive. This means I think this will be the best
way to assure an Extropian future.
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