Re: Extropian Standpoint on Capital Punishment?

Max More (
Mon, 9 Sep 1996 13:05:16 -0700 (MST)

At 10:32 PM 9/8/96 -0400, wrote:
>In a message dated 96-09-08 01:52:06 EDT, you write:
><< Well isn't libertarian centralist itself? I mean, we mix together both
> for unlimited personal freedom and capitalism as opposed to socialism. So to
> be put bluntly, we are a bunch of strong-voiced centrists. >>
>I once described libertarian principals to someone at a party. His comment
>when I finished was: "You guys are so far left, you are almost right."

Ah, that tired old left-right dimension again. Let's get away from this
one-dimensional view of political views. If you haven't seen the Nolan
Chart, which makes progress by mapping views into two dimensions, I
recommend taking a look. I believe there's a link to it somewhere on Eric
Watt Forste's Extropians web site in one of the sections dealing with politics.

Left vs. right is quite unhelpful, and those of us who are libertarian, or
otherwise strongly and consistently individualist, do ourselves a disservice
trying to place ourselves on that axis. "Left" used to mean the
revolutionaries who sat on the left of the assembly during the time of the
French Revolution. The "right" were the monarchists. Individualists have a
quite different set of values, although we at least have in common with the
old left the desire to change the existing order. However, most of us would
not choose to use the slogan "liberty, equality, fraternity" since this has
meant, in practice, freedom from choice, compulsory and fake equality, and
forced fraternity.

Since then, the terms "left" and "right" have mutated in meaning so much
that they are worthless. When I was a libertarian student activist in
England, "right" could mean (a) an old Tory conservative, protective of the
existing order, not wanting to change much at all; (b) a fascist; (c) a
mildly progressive conservative who wanted to slightly roll back government
only in the social sphere; (c) a libertarian who wanted to vastly increase
liberty in both economic and social spheres.

Sometime libertarians got described as the "new right". (Due to one of my
teenage essays for the Libertarian Alliance, a newspaper once described me a
"the precocious guru of the New Right" -- a title that still makes me
chuckle. They also called me a "morally deformed exhibitionist". Hmmm, maybe
Nick Nicholas was a newspaper writer in England in those days....) But "New
Right" was also used to refer to the very opposite of libertarian -- those
who wanted the government to control all aspects of individuals' lives for
the sake of the nation.

Upward and Outward!


Max More, Ph.D.
President: Extropy Institute (ExI)
Editor: Extropy