Re: History of Transhumanism and Extropy

Tony Hollick (
Mon, 3 Nov 97 06:43 GMT0

Max More writes:

> No, not even the belief that libertarianism is a good thing. Libertarianism
> is quite strictly defined (even though there are different ways of defining
? it). I don't think it would be accurate to call any view that allows *any*
> taxation to be libertarian. Any form of taxation seems to violate
> libertarian principles. Even minimal statists (like Rand) try to find
> non-coercive (by the libertarian standard) methods of financing their
> minimal state -- user fees directly for services, lotteries, etc.

A preliminary note: Popper makes the point that the value of any
discussion is inversely proportional to the time spent on discussing
definitions (one Popperian writes to another... >:-} ). Nothing
much hinges on words and definitions, although some words are worth
fighting for (a Goldwater Liberal writes... >:-} ). Good
definitions read 'from right to left' anyway.

For me, libertarianism _is_ a mindset or world-view or value system
that places great (even oparamount) importance on maximizing
self-liberation, autonomy and a maximally (positively and
negatively) free and open society. Bryan Magee emphasized to me from
our first correspondence in 1977, that he was _above all things a
libertarian_. As Milton friedman says, there is no ascertainable
and unambiguous ontological basis to property rights. Property
rights are ineluctably consensual social constructs.

As Robert LeFevre pointed out, to assert an exclusive claim to a
territory or piece of property (other than one's own body) is one
thing (hand-waving or argument). To initiate aggression or violence
to enforce the claim against another is _wrong_.

At Geelong Grammar School in Australia, kids used to tell me of
their parents going on Aborigine hunts at week-ends, because the
'Abos' wouldn't respect (settler) property demarcations (fences) and
ownership of animals (sheep). So their parents shot and poisoned
the 'Abos'... For _recreation_ and for _social control_...

Australia was declared -- dishonestly -- 'Terra Nullius' (unoccupied
territory) by the British colonial authorities. The Aboriginal
occupants had no concept or convention of personally owned real
estate or livestock. They roamed over vast territories (roaming
rights which the present Courts are increasingly recognizing).

What rational objection can you have to people negotiating
agreements to the _particular_ 'Wertfrei' catallaxy or economic
system they will consent to participating in, with (something like)
taxes constituting their fee for participation in a
(Pareto-optimal?) catallaxy?

> I think this is a really important issue for the propagation of
> transhumanism. I think you may be right about standard Christians, Muslims,
> and Mormons. After all, Muslims believe fundamentally in submission to
> Allah. That and typical Christian beliefs in an active God whose plan for
> us must be followed clearly does conflict with transhumanism. Your citation
> of my passage suggests that.

Popper contrasts two views of religion:

[A] "Dominate, or prostrate yourself." -- _Rationally and morally

Compare and contrast with:

[B] Always remember that -- while men are not gods -- each of us has
a divine spark." -- Acceptable. Viz: 'The God of Spinoza.'

------------------- * * * * * ---------------

Judaism doesn't involve faith -- Judaism is a matter of
_observances_ and _practices_. Interestingly, a great many
libertarian writers come from a Jewish background, or so Chris Tame
tells me. Barry Goldwater, ferinstance... >:-}

"Freedom means doing whatever you damn well please." -- Barry Goldwater.

> I'd be interested in what others think of this. Are there
> other practices counted as religious that might not conflict with
> transhumanism?

Jewish Cabbalistic doctrine holds that Nature, the Universe and God
are all the same. Even the gematria matches this, oddly enough.


How about Classical Greek mythology? (Read 'Practical Greek Magic"
by Murry Hope (Aquarian, [1985]). It's brilliant, quite rational,
witty and profoundly inspirational. "The Heroic Path!"

> Onward!

And Upward! >:-}

/ /\ \