Gary Lloyd (
Sat, 4 Oct 1997 18:25:14 -0400 (EDT)

At 11:10 AM 10/4/97 -0400, Greg Burch wrote:
>In a message dated 97-10-02 18:54:26 EDT, Delmar England writes about
>morality, and says:

>> Thus
>> one must claim personal values as the basis for "morality" or
>> concede a "superior being" as source. I know of none who claim
>> the former. Although not named and often vehemently denied, this
>> leaves the latter, i.e, the concept, superior being, as the root
>> of "morality." From the concept, superior being, comes the
>> concept, inferior being. This is inevitably followed by
>> subordination and rule. Since history books and daily newspapers
>> tell of the horrendous consequences, I need not elaborate here.
>So it seems that, having assumed only two possible sources of morality and
>failing to find them, you reject the possibility of an objective morality.
>In his post, Gary Lloyd points to another possibility; that moral principles
>arise naturally from the interaction of beings capable of moral choice:
>In a message dated 97-10-02 22:25:49 EDT, Gary writes:
>> As I see it, morality is a strong individual statement of universal intent,
>> by which others are able to, with reasonable accuracy, predict our future
>> behavior.
>> If, for example, I state that theft is morally wrong, you can be
>> reasonably
>> sure that I will not steal from you, or anyone else, even if the
>> circumstances were such that I would probably not get caught.
>> If you make the same moral commitment, this moves us in the direction of
>> being able to peacefully coexist, making both of us safer. Such a
>> commitment, being universal (I will not steal from *anyone*), is a
>> unilateral offer to all others to join in peaceful coexistance, making all
>> safer. It is in our individual interests to make such commitments. And it
>> very well may be instinctive to do so, as well.
>This is neither morality from authority, nor is it the non-morality of
>complete relativism. Interestingly for extropians, it is the morality of an
>agoric system of freely interacting moral agents, a spontaneously developed
>"natural morality." One CAN rationally derive real moral principles simply
>from the way volitional agents interact over time. It is "objective" in the
>sense that the moral principles that spontaneously arise from a "moral
>marketplace" of free actors are independent of the actors themselves: The
>principles are "true" apart from which particular actor we may consider,
>subject or object. Such principles do not fall prey to the metaphysical
>fallacy, because they are not "real" in the sense that they have some
>existence apart from the process of interaction itself. But, even though
>they aren't "real" in a metaphysical sense, they are capable of objective
>verification because we can test the propriety of any particular principle
>without regard to viewpoint.
>Extropian transhumanism brings an important new element to a view of "natural
>morality" thus derived from the principles of free interaction of moral
>agents. Once one rejects the notion of an immutable ceiling on human nature,
>the possibility that the analysis can be short circuited by actors in a
>permanently "superior" position disappears. If one accepts that not all
>humans are created equal and that the span of a human life is ultimately
>limited, then one can say that principles of moral interaction can be deduced
>from a system of freely interacting moral agents, but that ultimately the
>humans with the most power will be able to dictate final goals or first
>principles (depending on how you look at it) of the system. In other words,
>one can end such an analysis in the conclusion that what is best for the
>strongest is "right". Thus one can conceivably derive fascism from, for
>instance, the ideas of Nietzsche. But when the "moral interaction game"
>becomes effectively eternal and unlimited, the system becomes, in a sense,
>"morally closed", because no moral actor can be assured of a permanently
>superior power position. Thus one rationally derives basic moral values of
>tolerance and reciprocity from the very nature of the world of interacting
>volitional beings.

Yes!!! Finally, someone who "gets it."

These spontaneously arising moral principles, not authority/submission, are
what separates us from Hobbes' state of warre of all against all.

They are the very essence of the primethic decision (primethic instinct?),
providing the foundation upon which to build social systems.

An objective analysis of the aggression/defense phenomenon reveals that the
distinction between the two are clear at the extremes and ambiguous in the

Between those who have made the primethic decision, i.e. defense against
aggression is moral and aggression is immoral, contention can only arise in
the areas of ambiguity. Spontaneously arising social systems can be viewed
as attempts to reconcile those ambiguities. The initiation of force corrupts
and perverts those systems.

When the boot of government is on your neck,
it doesn't matter if it's left or right.