RE: One humanity, all in the same boat --> death of the American Dream

From: Reason (
Date: Tue Dec 25 2001 - 02:11:32 MST

> I read Eliezer's eloquent post after I wrote mine about dumping, now
> I'm afraid some may think I advocate Social Darwinism, I certainly don't.
> I should have said I like to take advantage of the stupid and powerful but
> not the stupid and weak. Evolution is a horrible process, to
> structure human
> society along those line would make it as cruel as nature itself,
> or God if
> there is one. It's a nightmare, a downright evil philosophy.

Well now hold hard here. As a possible social darwinist myself (depending on
which definition you want to use), I have to try and argue the other point
of view. Isn't it more cruel and evil to put structures in place or leave
existing structures in place that guide people towards living suboptimally
by protecting their suboptimal lifestyles, or otherwise making it easier for
them to live suboptimally than to strive and become better? The candlemaker
fallacy writ large and all that. It seems that there's a thousand different
types of candlemaker these days.

Most classically socialist ideas on redistribution of wealth are cruel in
this way. As are the welter of laws and cultural bias towards a lack of
personal responsibility and honesty in modern society. It's a terrible thing
to have a system of laws in place that present the opportunity of enormous
financial rewards to those who can convincing push responsibility for their
own actions onto third parties.

We're going to end up with an ugly, ugly society before too long if we're
not careful.

I was rereading Gravity Dreams [Moddesitt] (basically an extended essay on
the necessity for honesty in a technological society] the other day, and
looking around I see that modern Western society seems to be sliding down a
slope built on dishonesty of all sorts. Our laws are built on lies, and
justified with more lies. There is the way you should act and behave in
order to receive the reward of societal approval, and then there is what
everyone really thinks.

I'm becoming somewhat disillusioned with the American Dream of late. I came
to the states because I viewed it as the land of opportunity, where --
unlike the UK at the time -- opportunities abounded for turning talent into
money. Of course, you can't escape yourself and you can't escape humanity.
There's really little difference between the sides of the Altantic these
days. A lot of opportunity in the UK now. But the same stupid laws, the same
stupid lies, the same stupid politicians. The same monsterous hypocrisy that
smothers every human interaction. Conform, conform, lack of freedom. Idiot
regulators in Brussels on one side, idiot regulators in Washington on the
other. All the same.

You know, freedom of speech and privacy rights are a big deal. Were a big
deal. Yet another thing, these days, that's really no different in practice
in the UK and the USA. That really shouldn't bother me, but it does.

I guess that those of us who came to the US were starry-eyed. Then we got
hit over the head, slowly over the course of a couple of years. I'm just
disappointed. I'm disappointed that America turned out to me just as mired
in dishonesty and self-delusion as the UK; I'm disappointed that living in
the US and watching the evolution of laws and culture turns out to be just
like living in the UK and watching the stultifying hand of Brussels slowly
choking the desire for innovation, change, new things and freedom in a sea
of red tape.

Sadly, I'll bitch, but that's all I'll do. It's a problem, but so is aging.
That one comes first, and an ugly, dishonest society is no impediment
developing the necessary technologies.


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