Re: Extropian Party Platform

D.den Otter (
Wed, 13 Oct 1999 23:09:04 +0100

> From: Steve Butts <>

> "D.den Otter" wrote:
> > Teach rationalism in school (arguments against religion etc.
> > should be mandatory classes). If parents try to sabotage this,
> > they should receive a stern warning, after which their ass
> > would be kicked with appropriate force.
> This is a great idea, up until the arguments against religion. First
> of all, parents have every right to have a say in their child's
> education even if you think it's the wrong ideas.

There's a difference between "having a say" and outright brainwashing that will have permanent negative effects on the childs psyche. Those kids will later become disturbed adults who will pass their irrational and dangerous ideas on to future generations. If you want to break the vicious circle, you must (temporarily) curb the parent's influence. Think of religious indoctrination as child abuse, which is exactly what it is (not the body, but the mind is raped). Should society tolerate child abuse?

> Although I'm just as
> against religion as most people on the list I don't think even
> rationally bashing religion is called for. We have a separation of
> church and state, and teaching or bashing religion has no place in a
> publicly funded school.

We both agree that teaching rationality *should* have a place in public schools. This will automatically lead to religion-bashing, unless you enforce an awkward form of political correctness (i.e. irrationality). Anyway, non-religious persons have been forced to fund religious activities for ages, so it wouldn't hurt to have it the other way for a while. It's for their own good, after all ;)

> > Increase funding for nanotech, genetic engineering
> > and other (potentially) transhuman technologies.
> Who's funding this money? I certainly hope it's not the government.

Unless the private sector can generate enough funding for the proper projects, the state should certainly get involved, IMHO. You'd be helping to finance Utopia (ok, or Hades, depending on how things turn out), so what better way to spend your tax dollars.

> > Cryonics to receive X billion research budget and
> > full legal status (recognized as a potentially life-saving
> > procedure, so no more autopsies, delays in hospitals
> > or other bureaucratic, deathist nonsense).
> Again, who's funding the money? I'd love to see the cryonics field
> get the billions of dollars it so deserves, but I'd rather do it without
> a huge tax increase.

No, you'd keep the taxes the same, and generate the money by spending less on non-essential government activities, eliminating other fund-draines (like the war on drugs for example) alltogether, fighting corruption, stimulating the economy, down-sizing the bureaucracy [etc.] and wide-spread automation.

> And I'd rather do it without stealing the money
> from the religious devote who want nothing to do with cryonics.

Don't think of it as stealing, but of getting some of the money back that they have stolen from you when you were forced to support a system where church and state weren't quite that separated.

> > Taxes are gradually abolished as level of automation increases.
> > State plays (responsible) pimp and dope dealer (etc.) to
> > partially finance the transition from wage slave society to
> > automated welfare society.
> Where's the money gonna come from to fix or upgrade the automations
> over time since there are no taxes?

You start out with normal taxes, and lower them gradually as automation makes life increasingly cheaper. By the time taxes would be abolished, everything would be run by weak AI (not conscious) using nanotech etc., and money would no longer have any significance.

> You want to make victimless crimes legal, yet you want to strong-arm
> them into paying for a national economy overhaul. Some how I don't
> think people that are currently evading taxes are gonna want to start
> coughing up all the money that is needed.

No, that's why the state itself should become the main provider of quality dope, ho's, gambling and other such stuff. Affordable prices and high quality services would make the whole business less attractive to criminals, who are only after a fast buck. Tax evasion would of course still be illegal, and due to the elimination of victimless crime, the police/justice system could now spend a lot more time tracking down the evaders.

> Not to mention that fact that
> you're building a nation of the backs of the addicted, exploited, and
> poor.

So what else is new? ;) No, actually you've missed the point by a couple of miles; I wrote that the state should play the *responsible* pimp and dope dealer. This means prime working conditions for prostitutes (it becomes a "regular" job, with all related rights and benefits). Clean, safe cat houses, preferably run by women etc.

Likewise, dope would be of prime quality (many ODs are due to polluted dope, significantly varying concentrations of active substances. etc.), with full instructions and health warnings on the package, research would be done to develop new, safer drugs, work would be done to eliminate the social stigma, cheap and "rational" rehab programs etc., etc. Nice, clean and socially acceptable. This would incidentally put off people who only take drugs because it's illegal and hence '"tough".

> > Make tiered voting system; the more tax you pay (or in some
> > other way contribute to society), the more voting points you
> > get. Actually you'd want to create a kind of meritocracy/
> > technocracy. The right to vote is something that has to be
> > earned, just like a driver's license.
> This idea is just plain crazy. What happens to the great tiered voting
> system when there aren't any more taxes like you said above?

As I've said above, by the time there are no more taxes, society has become fully automated. Most people live in full VR, Matrix style (but minus the battery crap, obviously). Uploading is just around the corner. As anyone can be the god of his own virtual universe, voting has become somewhat redundant.

> Who gets
> to decide who's ideas or whatnot "contributes" the most to society, how
> to do you in tier when the tier's haven't been defined yet.

Well, obviously the tier system would have to be carefully designed, but shouldn't be too much of a problem. For example, this list could no doubt come up with a pretty sophisticated system if you gave it a couple of weeks. However, and that's the point, the basic idea of a tiered voting system is sound.

> -- How about instead we teach children critical rationalism, self
> worth, and rewarding them for their hard work.

My system would provide all of the above.

> -- We try to get the government out of the funding business as much as
> possible and instead promote special interest organizations that we can
> freely choose to donate our money to.

Sometimes vision that goes beyond the mere economical is needed to accomplish great (necessary) things. Sure, the free market should be given a chance, but if/when it fails the gov. should step in and set things straight.

> -- I'm sure a lot of other Extropian's will disagree with me here but I
> don't agree with an eye for an eye punishment. I whole heartily agree
> with self-defense. If a person is met with force and if they choose
> they have every right to respond by force. Don't Extropian's champion
> self transformation? Wouldn't it be denying that person's right to
> change by killing them after the crime?

That person has already denied someone else the "right" to change. Isn't it only fair that exactly the same is done to them in return?

> Sure the money has to be
> accounted for to pay for all this, but I'd rather be a cheap person
> financially than a cheap and hypocritical person ethically by condoning
> death sentencing.

Money is merely a side-issue (to me, anyway). I see capital punishment for murder as a moral imperative. Don't want to be a hypocrite, after all.

> -- I'm quite skeptical about the whole "abolishment of work".
> Personally I think a world without work would be pretty boring,

Speak for yourself!

> I seem
> to get a lot of fulfillment and fun out of working. I also think a good
> deal of work needs some type of consciousness. Something that can
> create, explore possible solutions, and employ creativity to solving
> them.

Sure, but the point is that this should be done voluntarily, for fun, not to "earn a living".

> And if you got a group of conscious machines

I'm no advocate of conscious machines. Not at all.

> that aren't getting
> paid you got a race of slaves.

Even worse: if they'de be smarter than us, and this would soon be the case, you'd be getting a race of *masters*.

> Abolishment of work is just a warm fuzzy
> utopian idea that will never probably work.

Oh, it would certainly work if it weren't for the Singularity. And trough
the miracle of sustained mood enhancement even people like you could be made to like it.

> Your whole plan is really just a debate about right vs left politics.
> But all I wanted to do is respond to your rather poorly thought out
> ideas.

Dude, this wasn't exactly a call for rigorous scientific papers. I was shooting from the hip, just like the originator of this thread (and yourself, btw), so don't expect miracles. It's all fun and games, there's never going to be an "ExI party", for obvious reasons. The basic ideas, roughly outlined as they may be, are sound though (IMHO).