Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Caroline said - "I can't wait till the day someone figures out a social ideology that can be applied to and benefited by everyone on this planet. I mean, it should be universally divine and scalar to a technologically advanced nation such as Japan, to an extremely complex and non-heterogenous nation such as America, and to the indigenous tribes of the Amazon--ALL THE SAME, without bending the rules"

Roy said - "Let's not allow ourselves to be wiped out because blind idealism assumes that other countries in the world share our cultural experiences. Tyranny should be stopped, and tyrants must not be allowed to have the weapons to extend the reach of their terror."

Caroline, I think we all ready have found such a system. It's the wests concept of free speech, human rights, democracy, and market based systems. As one of my favorite pages outlines, and I think Roy would find interesting...

-----

My world view - Western values are the best

I believe in the western Enlightenment model of free speech, human rights, democracy and capitalism. These ideas are universal, and they will work for every country that adopts them. Every country in the world should adopt these ideas. They will be much freer, much happier, and incidentally much richer, if they do.

If the whole world adopts these ideas it will mean the end of war forever. This isn't an opinion. This is statistical fact.

My world view might be shocking if you were brought up in the polite left-liberal consensus in Europe. My view is that there is something basically wrong with the non-westernised world. My view is that humanity has discovered the correct way to live - the so-called western way - and any country in the world that doesn't adopt it is simply backward. Other races aren't backward. Other cultures are. Western values - reason, science, democracy, free speech, freedom of religion, free press, a secular state, private property, free enterprise, and so on - are not the property of one racial group (as America itself shows). They belong to all races, and these values should be adopted by the whole world.

-----

from - http://humphrys.humanists.net/world.html


The key point that needs emphasizing here is that some cultures are in fact superior to others, depending on your definitions of course. But the West's embracing of reason, democracy, human rights, free speech, and trade clearly produce lives that are longer and of superior quality than cultures that embrace oppression, mysticism, subjugation and slavery. This author rightly points out in other pages that this is not about race, it is about culture, much to the the dismay of many people that teach that no culture is superior to any others. Hogwash, a cultural that murders and enslaves is certainly inferior to one that does not, even if it is part of their traditions.

Roy said - "There will always be wars, every where there are people. "

Roy, I must disagree, and point out that the evidence suggests otherwise. Another favorite site of mine is R.J. Rummel's 'Power Kills' site

http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/welcome.html

Rummel argues quite convincingly and empirically that promoting democracy will result in far fewer wars, if any at all.

For instance, he notes, between 1816 and 1991 there has not been a single war between any two democracies. 0. There have been 155 wars between democracies and non-democracies, and 198 between non-democracies vs. non-democracies. No democratic nation has ever been at war with another, and no democratic nation has ever started a war. Democracies end up competing non-violently, with trade competition and the like. Democracies do not make war on each other and have the least severe foreign violence and domestic violence. Conversely, tyrannies and totalitarian regimes make the most severe wars on each and have the most severe foreign violence, domestic violence, and foreign and domestic democide.

The answer is clear, support the spreading of western democracies and human rights around the world and end war forever.

Regards,

Michael D

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Values in pursuit of Happiness
By Michael Dickey
V 1.0

Aristotle teaches us, and common sense would dictate that our ultimate goal in life is happiness. Most of what we do is done for the sake of happiness, but there is nothing else for its sake we choose happiness. Be it seeking a particular career, learning to play an instrument, or simply going down to the store to buy some milk.

Who we love and who we are sexually attracted to is a representation of our values, if you value little more than attractiveness, then you'll like, and be attracted to, anyone who is merely physically attractive. If you value honesty and kindness, you'll seldom be attracted to dishonest and rude people. If you have no clearly defined values or principles, you run the risk of submitting your emotions and sexual attractions to nearly random causes, and you may end up with someone you despise.

But just as love and sexual attraction are physical expressions of our values, so are all emotions and happiness. Indeed, as Ayn Rand argues, our emotions are 'lighting quick calculators estimating the profit or loss associated with an action based on our values' If you feel good about something you are going to do, its because you value the what is likely the result of that action, and your mind, the great pattern recognition machine that it is, predicts that outcome. Conversely, having no clear principles or defining values will make your emotions change with the slightest whim, your mind never having an algorithm to base estimations of outcomes on.

Depending on our values, different things may make you happy as many people find happiness in many different things. As a personal philosophy, I see no reason why we can not find happiness in anything that people tend to find happiness in. After all, if someone else finds happiness in doing something, and I do not, then I am missing out (this necessarily excludes anything that involves assaulting a person or property). As a Eudaemonist I try to immerse myself in all the things that make life wonderful and worth living. As an atheist and an extropian I also want to live as long as possible, if not indefinitely. Here is where we find it so important to understand what happiness is and how to achieve it. Many people I associate with know much about particular subjects, say a particular genre of film, music, or art. It seems common in many people that the more we know about a subject the less about it makes us happy. Combining this with the idea of living indefinitely, eventually you'll know everything and nothing will make you happy (admittedly, a logical extreme, but the point is made)

Happiness is not some subject of trite concern, and it is not some random supernatural enigma removed from our material existence, What makes us happy is result of our choice, that choice being what we choose to value. In friends that know much about a subject I notice they tend to end up disliking much more of it that subject matter because the bar has been raised, so to speak. If you are a fan of great classical music, you may end up not finding happiness in whatever pop engineered song is played on the radio. But if you familiarize yourself more with classical music, then even that will be separated into high brow and low brow classical music, making the subset of what you enjoy even smaller. This is not an argument to keep you ignorant and not to specialized in subject matter, but instead an argument to change your focus on what you value. If you value ONLY the best in all things you know well, then the more you know the smaller that subset becomes, whether it be acting, music, cooking, or whatever, and the less in life will contribute to your happiness.

While we should certainly hold special praise for the truly greatest works of art (according to our values) we should not embrace as a value only enjoying the greatest of all things. Instead focus on enjoying things of their own accord, and not as much on comparing the other things. Every piece of art had someone pour a great deal of effort into, many of them poured their hearts and souls into. To dislike them because they were not the best seems to be a waste. If everyone disliked what everyone else did that was not the best, so little would be created that it's hard to imagine such a life would be enjoyable.

This leads me to implications of finding happiness only in the best things; we then find unhappiness in very nearly everything. To lead a long, healthy, and happy life, we should find value in all things that make life worth living, from majestic landscapes to monumental achievements of human effort, from the deepest canyon to the tallest skyscraper.

Living a life full of happiness makes life more enjoyable and worthwhile and contributes to our health and well being. Choosing to base our values on the productive result of human effort, weather it be aesthetic or practical, instead of only on the absolute but arbitrary and wholly subjective status of any effort compared to all others will create a life full of happiness, where we can readily immerse ourselves in all the things that make life wonderfull and worth living.

Values in pursuit of Happiness
By Michael Dickey
V 1.0

Aristotle teaches us, and common sense would dictate that our ultimate goal in life is happiness. Most of what we do is done for the sake of happiness, but there is nothing else for its sake we choose happiness. Be it seeking a particular career, learning to play an instrument, or simply going down to the store to buy some milk.

Who we love and who we are sexually attracted to is a representation of our values, if you value little more than attractiveness, then you'll like, and be attracted to, anyone who is merely physically attractive. If you value honesty and kindness, you'll seldom be attracted to dishonest and rude people. If you have no clearly defined values or principles, you run the risk of submitting your emotions and sexual attractions to nearly random causes, and you may end up with someone you despise.

But just as love and sexual attraction are physical expressions of our values, so are all emotions and happiness. Indeed, as Ayn Rand argues, our emotions are 'lighting quick calculators estimating the profit or loss associated with an action based on our values' If you feel good about something you are going to do, its because you value the what is likely the result of that action, and your mind, the great pattern recognition machine that it is, predicts that outcome. Conversely, having no clear principles or defining values will make your emotions change with the slightest whim, your mind never having an algorithm to base estimations of outcomes on.

Depending on our values, different things may make you happy as many people find happiness in many different things. As a personal philosophy, I see no reason why we can not find happiness in anything that people tend to find happiness in. After all, if someone else finds happiness in doing something, and I do not, then I am missing out (this necessarily excludes anything that involves assaulting a person or property). As a Eudaemonist I try to immerse myself in all the things that make life wonderful and worth living. As an atheist and an extropian I also want to live as long as possible, if not indefinitely. Here is where we find it so important to understand what happiness is and how to achieve it. Many people I associate with know much about particular subjects, say a particular genre of film, music, or art. It seems common in many people that the more we know about a subject the less about it makes us happy. Combining this with the idea of living indefinitely, eventually you'll know everything and nothing will make you happy (admittedly, a logical extreme, but the point is made)

Happiness is not some subject of trite concern, and it is not some random supernatural enigma removed from our material existence, What makes us happy is result of our choice, that choice being what we choose to value. In friends that know much about a subject I notice they tend to end up disliking much more of it that subject matter because the bar has been raised, so to speak. If you are a fan of great classical music, you may end up not finding happiness in whatever pop engineered song is played on the radio. But if you familiarize yourself more with classical music, then even that will be separated into high brow and low brow classical music, making the subset of what you enjoy even smaller. This is not an argument to keep you ignorant and not to specialized in subject matter, but instead an argument to change your focus on what you value. If you value ONLY the best in all things you know well, then the more you know the smaller that subset becomes, whether it be acting, music, cooking, or whatever, and the less in life will contribute to your happiness.

While we should certainly hold special praise for the truly greatest works of art (according to our values) we should not embrace as a value only enjoying the greatest of all things. Instead focus on enjoying things of their own accord, and not as much on comparing the other things. Every piece of art had someone pour a great deal of effort into, many of them poured their hearts and souls into. To dislike them because they were not the best seems to be a waste. If everyone disliked what everyone else did that was not the best, so little would be created that it's hard to imagine such a life would be enjoyable.

This leads me to implications of finding happiness only in the best things; we then find unhappiness in very nearly everything. To lead a long, healthy, and happy life, we should find value in all things that make life worth living, from majestic landscapes to monumental achievements of human effort, from the deepest canyon to the tallest skyscraper.

Living a life full of happiness makes life more enjoyable and worthwhile and contributes to our health and well being. Choosing to base our values on the productive result of human effort, weather it be aesthetic or practical, instead of only on the absolute but arbitrary and wholly subjective status of any effort compared to all others will create a life full of happiness, where we can readily immerse ourselves in all the things that make life wonderfull and worth living.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

> -----Original Message-----
> From: extropy-chat-bounces@lists.extropy.org [mailto:extropy-chat-
> bounces@lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Paul Grant
> > The Palestinians, having been deprived of statehood by force, are not
> > and cannot be a "high contracting party".
> >
>
> When did the Palestinians ever have a state to begin with? Egypt nor
> any other Arab country didn't see fit to give em one.
>
> => Why not have the US open its borders and give them New Jersey, while
> you're at it, if you are so eager to condemn Arab nations for refusing
> to take in an ENTIRE populace (I would have said country, but i had a
> feeling you would object) of refugees. Incidentally, they were living
> SOMEWHERE prior to the formation and establishment of Israel as it
> currently stands.

Yes, in Egypt, where there were no cries for a 'Palestinian state' Apparently they were perfectly content to live in a corrupt Arab sate. Had the Arab nations not tried to 'Drive the jews into the sea' the Palestinian people would still be living in Egypt

>
> Lets not forget to add to this discussion that Arafat wants to be an
> Arab dictator of his own (why not, all other Arab countries are ruled by
> oppressive theocrats and dictators, obvious exception of Iraq now, why
> cant he have one!)
>
> => Last I checked, when the US attempted to have him replaced, they
> found him to be impossible to remove because of popular support for him.

Sure, and saddam had popular support amongst the Baath party. Its easy to have popular support when you drill into everyone's head that the problem lies with someone else, and not your own corrupt murderous leadership. Anytime any peace plan mentions 'democracy' along with a Palestinian state Arafat will have nothing to do with it.

> Incidentally, both Iraq and Egypt (both US-backed) have presidents who
> are "elected" but
> DO NOT have popular support. I might even go further to add that
> Israel, a US-backed "democracy" currently has a
> large population that is living in the equivalent of interment camps.

Yet Arabs living in Israel enjoy more rights than they do in any Arab state. Which is no doubt why there is a movement among Palestinians to simply be part of the state of Israel.

>
> That Arafat and the PA enforce by brutal methods that no Muslim should
> ever live under the rule of a Jew,
> => I agree with his assement. It should be a true democracy comprised
> of both Jews and Palestinians.

Certainly! And many jews and people from Israel would agree with that as well. Its Arafat and the PA that would rather die than live under Jewish rule, and they’ll enforce that with whatever violence is necessary on the people they control. But again, Arafat will have nothing to do with democracy.

>
> and use brainwashing children to turn them into bombs to accomplish this
> goal.
> =>Ah the marvels of propoganda :) Denigrate the oppositions
> thinking-capability.
> Perhaps the children are seeing more clearly what is occurring than the
> eyes
> of the west? I mean, they do live in that situation 24-7; its not like
> the media
> has a chance to squash the stories that comprise their lives.

Again, Arafat and the PA oppose in plan to live peacefully under Jewish rule, leaders who try to compromise get no co-operation from Arafat. Propoganda? The facts speak for themselves, Arafat will see no arab live under jewish rule, and would rather seem them dead.

>
> Witness the Palestinian people who desire to live under Israel but are
> attacked by the PA.
> => Provide some links please :) I'm always willing to learn something
> new in the course of a discussion.

As am I.

Israel or the Palestinians? Making the moral Choice - http://www.rationalview.homestead.com/files/Choosing_Life_or_Death_in_the_Middle_East.htm

Libertarians who Loathe Isreal -
http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=34057
"The PA, on the other hand – with no economy, no free speech and press, no independent courts, no sound contract laws, and no individual or property rights – wins the sympathies of legions of freedom lovers hands down. That hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign aid have done nothing to change this bleak reality bothers anti-Israel libertarians only in so far as to point out that Israel is to blame."

Why Arabs Love Israel -
http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=31947
"...If conditions for Arabs are so bad in Israel, why is the Arab population exploding -- and I don't mean because of suicide bombers? Why do Arabs continue to flock to the tiny Jewish state from virtually every Arab and Muslim land in the world? In 1949, the Arab population of Israel was about 160,000. Today, it is over 1.2 million."

Be sure to check out Mark Humprhy's excellent page
http://humphrys.humanists.net/judaism.html#israel

The most criticized societies in the world will be the least criminal societies -
http://humphrys.humanists.net/laws.html#no.1
Something some extropians could do well to read.

Palestinians are still brainwashed and coerced by Arafat and his despotic PLO regime into blaming Israel for everything and convincing them to kill as many Israel children as possible. Arafat is the dictator of the Palestinian Authority in everyway but in official title, Palestinians live in constant fear of Arafat's corrupt 'police' force, laws prohibiting free speech are enforced brutally.

For example, Mayor Zuhir Hamden publicly stated his villagers live not under Arafat but Under Israel, he was subsequently shot five times. Do you think he was shot by Israel troops?

"Zuhair Hamdan, founder of the Movement for Coexistence in Jerusalem, was sitting on a chair outside his corner shop near Bethlehem in November when an official Palestinian Authority car drew up with a squeal of brakes. From the back window a gunman, who Mr. Hamdan says was a member of the gang, emptied 12 bullets from a M-16 rifle, hitting him five times in the abdomen, legs and neck."

from - http://www.likud.nl/extr200.html

see also - http://www.likud.nl/extr.html
Palestinian and Arab extremism

>
> "End the unjust Jewish occupation of Arab land!"
> http://www.protestwarrior.com/images/tshirts/muslim_land.jpg
> => Hmm.. Unjust, Jewish-occupied, Arab land... hmmmm. Where's the
> problem with that statement?

The irony is in the picture. The Jewish state and its 'illegal occupation' are not even visible in the sea of corrupt murderous Arab states.

>
> The worst villain in the Palestine Israel conflict is the noble peace
> prize winning murderous terrorist Arafat.
> => I note, Sharon "the Butcher" hasn't gotten any kudos over his reign.
>

The irony is again lost on you. Arafat, as a known murderous terrorist, received a noble peace prize. So did a murderous North Vietnamese communist general. The noble peace prize is dolled out by leftist west hating intellectuals.

"The Nobel Peace Prize Should Go To Those Who Really Support Peace"
http://www.aynrand.org/medialink/nobelpeaceprize.shtml

Michael Dickey

Monday, January 12, 2004

> -----Original Message-----
> From: extropy-chat-bounces@lists.extropy.org [mailto:extropy-chat-
> bounces@lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Major
>
>
> The Palestinians, having been deprived of statehood by force, are not
> and cannot be a "high contracting party".
>

When did the Palestinians ever have a state to begin with? Egypt nor any other Arab country didn’t see fit to give em one.

Lets not forget to add to this discussion that Arafat wants to be an Arab dictator of his own (why not, all other Arab countries are ruled by oppressive theocrats and dictators, obvious exception of Iraq now, why cant he have one!)

That Arafat and the PA enforce by brutal methods that no Muslim should ever live under the rule of a Jew, and use brainwashing children to turn them into bombs to accomplish this goal. Witness the Palestinian people who desire to live under Israel but are attacked by the PA.

"End the unjust Jewish occupation of Arab land!" http://www.protestwarrior.com/images/tshirts/muslim_land.jpg

The worst villain in the Palestine Israel conflict is the noble peace prize winning murderous terrorist Arafat.

Michael Dickey

Saturday, January 10, 2004

http://www.frontpagemag.com/articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=3735

Environmental Pol Pots
By Walter Williams
FrontPageMagazine.com | October 9, 2002


Activists in the environmentalist movement have a callous disregard for people. You say: "What do you mean, Williams? We can't think of a more caring people." First, I'm not talking about sensible people who're concerned about clean air and water. I'm talking about the movement leaders and the politicians they have under their thumbs. Let's look at it.
This is one of the most superb sites I have found on the web detailing ideals similar to those shared by many members of this mailing list. I highly recommend checking it out if you are not all ready familiar with it.

Michael

--------------

Atheism and Politics pages of Mark Humphrys

Pro-free private life: Atheist. Pro-science. Pro-reason. Pro-free speech. Pro-liberal democracy.
Pro-free economic life: Pro-capitalist. Pro-West.
Pro-interventionist: Anti-isolationist. End tyranny everywhere. End communism. End Islamic law

From - http://humphrys.humanists.net/index.html
These guys have crashed some of the recent peace protest and infiltrated ANSWER. They have a good number of photos and videos from the experience, definitely worth a look to those pro-freedom and pro-reason.

Michael

From www.protestwarrior.com

"War is an ugly thing but not the ugliest of things; the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feelings which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."

-- John Stuart Mill

War IS an ugly thing, but as long as nations and leaders exist that detest freedom, sometimes it is the only way to secure a lasting peace. Most leftist anti-war protesters and pundits don't understand this. They state that this use of force is always unnecessary -- that war, ANY war, is never good. Some of them, born into the luxury of American freedom, believe that liberty can exist passively, that somehow the world's natural state will always settle into utopian harmony. Others, in an attempt to absolve themselves from the unearned guilt they harbor living in a nation of prosperity and wealth, try to buy morality on the cheap by pronouncing themselves for the 'good'. To them, the derivation of the 'good' is based on a simple, yet peculiar standard: the powerful and competent are wicked, while the feeble and impotent are innocent - regardless of the context. That is why they defend Iraq instead of America, and the Palestinian "resistance" instead of Israel.

These leftists usually carry the loudest megaphones. And left unchallenged, their voices are heard disproportionately, demoralizing our troops, and emboldening dictators around the world - dictators who dream of the day the "Great Satan" disappears from the face of the earth.

However, their self-righteous messages go silent quickly when the truth of history and reality is thrown back in their face. It's time to turn up the juice on OUR megaphones, as we will never keep our supreme values of liberty and justice without the will to fight for them.

Friday, January 09, 2004

> -----Original Message-----
> From: extropy-chat-bounces@lists.extropy.org [mailto:extropy-chat-
> bounces@lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Harvey Newstrom
>
> Michael Dickey wrote,
> > My statement that sometimes war may be extropic is a strong
> > assertion? How so? Seems like that absolute that war is
> > *always* anti-extropic is the strong assertion, since it
> > requires not only a clear definition of extropic but one of
> > war as well.
>
> People who have been on this list generally know what the Extropian
> Principles are. You can nit-pick on particular interpretations if you
> want,
> but you can't assume that nobody has defined them yet.
>

Nor did I say they were not defined, but checking out the extropian principles reveals many not accurately defined statements.

From - http://www.extropy.org/principles.htm

Extropy ? The extent of a living or organizational system?s intelligence, functional order, vitality, and capacity and drive for improvement

Extropic ? Actions, qualities, or outcomes that embody or further extropy

So we have the extent of a systems intelligence, its order, its 'vitality', capacity for improvement, and its drive for improvement.

Are these 'clearly' defined?

E.g. what is the 'extent of a systems intelligence' the # of intelligent beings? (think of billions of couch potatoes or peasant agrarian farmers, not very extropian) The speed of information storage and retrieval (books vs computer databases) Speed of information exchange between intelligent systems? (snail mail vs. email) etc. etc. etc.

"Extropy? is not meant as a real entity or force, but only as a metaphor representing all that contributes to our flourishing"

Ah, is it then a clearly defined metaphor?

Of course, I think it would be extraordinarily difficult to define 'extropic' since extropic progress requires intelligence, freedom to act on intelligence, motivation to do something with intelligence, science to collect knowledge, technology do extend and better our lives, etc. etc.

Which is of these is most important? Which is least important? Do you care to quantify them? Without having to, I will make the assertion that a society which is statist (denies progress) luddite (despises technology) oppressive (denies freedom) and mystic (denies science) is far less extropic than one that embraces all those things. And as such, I would further assert that a war between these two societies, of similar populations, where one person was killed on the less free society (Brother number 1 say) and none were killed in the freer society, and as a result the oppressive luddite mystic society was turned into a dynamic, open, and technological progressive society.

Such a 'war' I would certainly call extropic. However, it would not be as extropic as merely convincing Brother # 1 over a cup of tea that this is what he should do, and him agreeing.

Even though, yeah, it would be pretty if the brother #1 decided to resign and enact the changes himself, and it was 'bad' to have to resort to a 'war', but the world is imperfect. Lets add that brother # 1 was killing 1,000 people per year in gulags for owning computers, thinking independent thoughts, or writing poetry. But, 10 people were killed in the war, and 1 person on the freer side was killed. Still extropic? Make that 100 people, and 10 people, respectively, etc. etc. Lets add that Brother # 1 was funding revolutions in neighboring territories, demanding killing quotas, and was intent on attacking said free nation.

Suffice to say, your idealistic extropic paradise where everyone eventually sees reason and the bad guys are only people vilified by the good guys is absurd in a world where 170 million people were killed by very regressive, very mystic, and very oppressive societies.

Additionally, as I have been arguing *some* wars may be considered extropic, certainly not ALL WARS. But various methods of attaining goals differ in levels of extropy, ranging from very extropic (merely changing opponents mind with discussion) to very anti-extropic.

> People also generally know what war means. You made your assertions about
> war without having to create a more rigorous definition of the term. If
> the
> term is generally good enough for you, it is generally good enough for
> other
> people. You seem to be requiring a higher burden of proof for other
> people
> than for yourself.

Because other people are making absolutist statements, statement that have no single fact that suggests they are wrong. Saying 'ALL WARS ARE ANTI-EXTROPIC' is absolute and definite. *ALL WARS* (no doubt there) *ARE* (again, pretty clear) *ANTI-EXTROPIC (again, no room for doubt is left). To make such a sweeping absolutist statement, one must be clear about what we are talking about.

I am not making an absolute assertion; I merely assert that surely, in some cases, given specific circumstances, SOME wars (maybe only one, maybe four) could be considered extropic. As an example, I present the case above.

>
> > "To positively assert whether something was extropic or not,
> > you will have to define what criteria makes something
> > extropic, and how much of it was present before and how much
> > present afterward. This would probably be quite an
> > undertaking, yet you are all ready absolutely positive that
> > *all* wars are anti-extropic."
>
> That is like saying that to avoid a car crash, you have to define exactly
> what "avoidance" means, exactly what a "car crash" is,

No, its likes saying 'All car crashes are bad' I don?t know what you area talking about.

Car crash = two cars unintentionally run into each other, or a car unintentionally hits a fixed object

Bad = Someone is hurt

There, as simple as that, I proved my assertion that all car crashes are bad. Of course, one could imagine getting hit by some wealthy negligent fello who needed to be taught a life lesson about responsibility, and victim, getting minor injuries, receives monetary compensation from negligent rich fella, and rich fella learns valuable lesson. Or Habitual drunken driver hits fixed object, a rock say, receives minor injuries, but realizes he could have killed someone, and changes his ways. Might either of these crashes be considered good? Good to whom? Good as a net whole for everyone? Or good for the victim or perpetrator?

> We do NOT need exact quantitative analysis to make a qualitative judgment.
> I think there is more evidence and experience showing that "war is bad"
> than
> "war is good". Only warmongers and terrorists think that we should
> inflict
> some war on "them" to get greater results for "us".

I did not disagree that all war is bad, I disagreed that all war is absolutely anti-extropic. If you fail to see the difference we are certainly having a problem communicating. All war is bad, make no mistake, I believe as much, all killing is bad as well. But just as the car crash examples above, some good can come of 'bad' things. I am hesitant to repeat such phrases as all encompassing and as sweeping generalizations as 'war is bad' because that statement implies too many different things to too many different people.

Harvey, do you consider me a warmonger or a terrorist?

>
> > What do we do when their proponents will not listen to reason?
>
> This is a key requirement for war. You must dehumanize your enemy to the
> point that it is not possible to negotiate or reason with them.

You did not answer the question. What do we do when they do not listen to reason? When they insist on continuing to kill vast portions of their populations, when they insist on remaining closed, oppressive and totalitarian. Shall we just keep hoping they see reason? For how long? How many people must die before you give up your idealistic fancifull pacifist utopia and realize that there are some people who are bad. Maybe an OPT god can convince them to see the light, but how many people must we watch them murder while debate rages on?

They will
> never agree to anything else, so we must kill them. We have to eliminate
> all other possible options before the "final solution" becomes the only
> one
> left.
>

And what if the 'final solution' is the only one left?

> As Extropians, we should be seeing more and more options all the time, not
> less and less. War should be less likely and less useful as we progress
> into the future.

And it has become less and less likely, and less and less needed, thankfully.

> War is the opposite of extropy. War means that there
> are
> no possible solutions, we give up, we can't oppose the other side, so we
> will just kill them.

Or we are sick of seeing them killing other people, or it becomes clear that they threaten our way of life, or they are crazy and just want to kill as many people as possible, or they want to thrust all of humanity into darker ages then we have ever known. Again, I feel you simplify complex subjects too much.

>
> > To suggest, as I did, that
> > maybe some wars are indeed extropic requires me to present
> > merely one single example of a war that would reasonably be
> > considered extropic. To do this, and prove it to you,
> > Charlie, and Paul would likely require a lengthy discussion
> > just to define extropic and to define war. But are you so
> > sure that ANY possible war is definitely NOT extropic?
>
> Typical losing-position approach. You want to assert it, but it would
> take
> too long to explain why.

Its an unproductive waste of time.

You want to push the burden of proof to the
> other
> side. You want them to prove a negative (that no war could ever be
> extropic),

Proving all wars are anti-extropic is proving a positive.

> while you refuse to prove a positive (just give one example).

Or you could be asking me to prove a negative (all wars are not anti-extropic)

Of course, I never said "ALL" you conveniently added that, I said "some" All is absolute and all inclusive, some is not. I need only make a reasonable case the some hypothetical example exists that is counter to whatever all encompassing statement is made. All red heads are male is absolute. Some redheads are female is not, I need only demonstrate one female red head to prove my point, you need to prove that all read heads are male.

> You also claim that your position hasn't been disproved yet, nobody has
> proved that all war is always entropic and never can be, so your argument
> still stands undefeated. A lack of defeat (yet) does not equal proof.

Again, Harvey, I never said "ALL" you added that. Charlie et al however, did say "ALL" Oddly enough, the fact that he and Paul Grant said "ALL" is the primary point I hold in contention, yet it is the single thing you get wrong in my argument.

>
> > If you wanted to try to
> > convince Hitler and Stalin that War was bad, I'm all for it,
> > but once tanks start rolling over us, I'm defending myself.
> > We could say that 'killing is bad' as well, but in saying
> > that am I giving up my right to self defense?
>
> There is a big difference between defending yourself from violence and
> initiating violence. The libertarians and older extropians on this board
> used to understand that. This idea of pre-emptive strikes and initiating
> force on people who haven't attacked us is definitely not extropian. It
> never has been and never will be.

So says you. I guess everyone who disagrees with you isn?t extropian!

I would ask you to answer the ethical questions I have proposed before on this list then

You are standing in line, side by side, with ten other people. A man is walking down the line shooting each person in the head, starting at the other end of the line. BAM BAM BAM BAM hes coming closer to you, BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM ..... What can you do? You have a gun. He has not threatened you yet, he has not pointed the gun at your head, or even in your general direction.

Your society is a progressive, open, technology friendly society. On the other side of the world, is a closed, repressive, totalitarian society. Your two countries are of equal power, the repressive society begins an active campaign of expansion. Turning all neighboring societies, one by one, into societies ruled by proxy just like the parent country. Eventually, half of the worlds countries are consumed, and the power of that country has quadrupled. Reports of mass democide and horrific conditions are prevalent. The leaders of that country insist they will not bother you. The NCP Libertarians, pacifists, and idealists in your society insist that if you leave them alone, they wont bother you. That it is wrong to initiate force unless you are attacked directly. The hawks and warmongers insist that this country is bent on taking over the entire world, and that if you wait too long, you will not even be able to oppose them.

>
> (And for the record, no I don't believe that Iraq was part of the 9/11
> attacks or had weapons of mass destruction. I do believe that we
> pre-emptively attacked a country that neither attacked us nor were capable
> of attacking us. No, I don't think the Iraq war is extropic.)

For the record, I, tentatively, do think it was extropic. But whatever we think will not change whether it ends up being extropic or not.

>
> > > > A more reasonable question (if one can call such questions
> > > > reasonable) would be how many lives are worth an increase in
> > > > extropy, and how much of an increase?
> > >
> > > No we can not call such questions reasonable. I don't know why it
> > > keeps coming up on this list.
> >
> > Yet if one is to assert that all wars are anti-extropic, then
> > this is a question that MUST be answered before making that
> > determination. All wars include loss of life. How extropic
> > is a single life? What do we mean when we say 'extropic' in
> > the first place?
>
> Sorry if I haven't made myself clear. ZERO LOSS OF LIFE is extropic. ANY
> LOSS OF LIFE is entropic.

Ah, so Pol Pots death was entropic? Is # of lives the only thing with which you gauge extropy on? For the record, I agree with you, I think any loss of life is entropic as well, but there are many components to extropy, # of lives only being one of them. Also, all my ethical judgments are NOT based solely on what is extropic and entropic, as I have argued, many freedoms I love and enjoy (and still others I value but do not partake in) could probably not be considered extropic.

> Now I know that the world isn't perfect, and we
> can't prevent all loss of life. But I certainly don't want anybody
> planning
> loss of life as part of their master plan. Especially any final solution
> where the loss of life is directed at one group while a different group
> benefits.

Nor do I, is that what you think I am doing? I fear your impression of me is prejudiced by what you think I am trying to say, instead of what I am actually saying. Merely that some wars, under some conditions (note, 'SOME' not 'ALL) could be considered extropic (that is, creating a more progressive, open, technological and science friendly world)

>
> > > It almost seems as if there is a subgroup of people who
> > > keep trying to justify committing violence as part of
> > > the extropian agenda.
> >
> > And it seems that there is a subgroup of people content to
> > let us be overrun by murderous oppressive regimes for fear of
> > taking a single like to defend our very extropic (thought not
> > extropic enough) society.
>
> Only people who cannot conceive of any answer besides murder, terrorism
> and
> war would make such a statement.

Ah, so if I made such a statement, than I can not conceive of any answer besides murder, terrorism, and war. What was that you were saying about vilifying the enemy?

'Only a murderer would say such a thing!!!'

Can we keep this discussion a little more intelligent? Its one thing to disagree with me, its another entirely to call me a warmongering murdering terrorist. And I of course disagree with your premise that 'only people who can not conceive...would make such a statement'

If there are other options, then it is
> perfectly possible to pursue them without resorting to murder, terrorism
> and
> war.

Of course!!! But what if there ARE NO OTHER OPTIONS!! This is a point I have yet to see you address.

> The refusal to initiate force does not equal a lack of self-defense.
> Every libertarian knows that.

Do they? I think they confuse the NCP sometimes and self defense. I have had some discussions on my mailing list about that very subject. For example, what is self defense? Does someone merely need to wave a gun at you in a threatening manner (what is a threatening manner?) do they actually need to shoot at you (after all, maybe they never intended on shooting you or even pulling the trigger) What if they shoot everyone in a line (consider my above ethical question) There are many scenarios where self defense and the NCP have no clear answers.

>
> > Yes, War is bad, and killing is also bad. So is lying,
> > stealing, cheating, etc. But the real world is cold,
> > complex, and unforgiving, and sometimes things must be done
> > that we prefer not to do in order to ensure the continuation
> > of the things we value. I may steal bread to feed my
> > starving self or family, I may lie to protect the feelings of
> > someone I care about, I may kill someone in self defense, and
> > my country may go to war when threatened by a clearly and
> > significantly less extropic, less free, murderous and
> > oppressive government.
>
> This is my point exactly. As extropians, we are supposed to be
> intelligent
> people with optimism, smart technology and future solutions. Can't we
> think
> up something besides guns, murder, lying and war?

Of course, but what if...

As long as you think
> these things are bad and work to avoid them, then we are in agreement.
> But

They are unavoidable?

Regards

Michael Dickey
> -----Original Message-----
> From: extropy-chat-bounces@lists.extropy.org [mailto:extropy-chat-
> bounces@lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Paul Grant
>
>
> > As u can see, I have to agree with Charlie :)
> >
>
> >I think you should refer to the rest of the discussion. Are you
> claiming, absolutely, that not only have all wars that have ever
> occurred but all wars that could possibly occur are definitely
> anti-extropic? Quite a strong assertion. This of course requires you
> to define extropic exactly, and war exactly. My point, as was evident
> from the discussion was that whether war is extropic is a much more
> complicated question. In that discussion Charlie even presented an
> example of overthrowing the US government to get rid of the drug laws.
>
> -To me, war is a question of relevance; are they (whoever) really
> relevant to your own extropic efforts?

So, do you disagree with the statement then that in all possible cases all wars are definitely anti-extropic? And would you thus agree that under certain relevant circumstances some may be?

>
> Besides, really, think about it... wouldn't you rather bring your
> aggressor to your viewpoints of things
> and have him join his resources to yours, as opposed to beating him,

Those who do not subscribe to reason can not be conquered by it, as I said to Charlie when he made this same point. What do you do when your enemy can not be enlightened? What would you do when you can not convince an armed assailant that he shouldn’t be holding you up or about to murder a loved one? Of course I would prefer my enemy to 'see the light' but I am not so na├»ve to think that everyone always will. There is way too much pain and suffering all ready occurring to believe as such.

and
> then spending all that effort
> to keep "unruly" portions of your population in line? And no matter
> what anyone says, if extropians succeed
> in their quest, it will be something worth its weight in gold (read: of
> intrinsic value to anyone alive)

If one person stood in the way of a singularity, and you could not convince him through reason to let a singularity occur, what would you do?

When members of this list continue to extol the virtues of extropianism while at the same time deriding violence or spreading extropy through any means other than polite conversation, it should come of no surprise that the logical conclusions of these two statements occur as difficult ethical questions.

>
> >My example of a less extropic government being overthrown by a more
> extropic one was merely a quick example, it was not meant to imply that
> ANY more extropic government had the right to overthrow any less
> extropic one no matter the cost in lives or property. That is of course
> ridiculous.
>
> Well it's a direct consequence of your statement :) I only extended it
> to illustrate it.

I hoped that the apparent relevance of 'less extropic' and 'more extropic' would be obvious, and that the statement would not be taken so literally. I would not endorse one society that merely taxes computer purchases being overthrown, quite violently, by a nearly identical group whose only difference is that they would not tax computers.

> >A more reasonable question (if one can call such questions
> reasonable) would be how many lives are worth an increase in extropy,
> and how much of an increase? Debates of that sort have been tossed
> around on this list all ready.
>
> No doubt. I dunno, what do you think? Do you think extropy is measured
> in number of human lives?
> Personally I tend to think of it as a codified survivor instinct without
> regard to any of the current
> mental/spiritual/economic/political blocks in place :)
>

Certainly not, as I said in the discussion with Charlie, I attempted to start a thread suggesting we clearly define extropic goals, of course many are all ready listed on extropy sites principles page. A million survivor watching automaton couch potatoes are not extropic at all compared to a handful of productive motivated scientists, so # of lives is not the only extropic consideration.


> >I also noted in that discussion that freedoms are not directly
> synonymous with extropy, as the freedom to sit on ones ass all day and
> watch TV isn't gonna bring about a singularity, nor would being stoned,
> drunk, or visiting strip clubs all day, nor chattering on discussion
> board for that matter. In fact a paternalistic big brother esque
> society where each person was assigned an area of technological pursuit
> and had immortality and extropianism drilled into their head from the
> time they were children would probably be the most 'extropic' yet it
> would not be very free.
>
> I would agree with that sentiment (not the big brother), but that
> freedom and extropy need not be irrevocably related... I would suggest
> though, that life without freedom (and health) would lose its flavor
> rather quickly,
> so perhaps it is highly correlated...

Certainly, and I highly value both freedom AND extropy!

Michael Dickey
> -----Original Message-----
> From: extropy-chat-bounces@lists.extropy.org [mailto:extropy-chat-
> bounces@lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Harvey Newstrom
>
> Matus wrote,
> > Are you claiming, absolutely, that not only have all wars
> > that have ever occurred but all wars that could possibly
> > occur are definitely anti-extropic? Quite a strong assertion.
>
> Actually, your argument against this statement seems to be the strong
> assertion.

My statement that sometimes war may be extropic is a strong assertion? How so? Seems like that absolute that war is *always* anti-extropic is the strong assertion, since it requires not only a clear definition of extropic but one of war as well.

Referring back to my discussion with Charlie, I said as much

"To positively assert whether something was extropic or not, you will have to define what criteria makes something extropic, and how much of it was present before and how much present afterward. This would probably be quite an undertaking, yet you are all ready absolutely positive that *all* wars are anti-extropic."

In that same conversation, Charlie said:

> I'll grant you that it's necessary to address the problem of
> anti-extropic ideologies, and in some cases their proponents will not
> listen to reason. But ...

What do we do when their proponents will not listen to reason?

To suggest that war is *always* anti-extropic requires one to prove that each and every possible war scenario definitely results in a net decrease in extropic memes (net? Perhaps not, since one small pocket of extropic thought might bring about a singularity, yet another question the arises when making such sweeping absolutes) To suggest, as I did, that maybe some wars are indeed extropic requires me to present merely one single example of a war that would reasonably be considered extropic. To do this, and prove it to you, Charlie, and Paul would likely require a lengthy discussion just to define extropic and to define war. But are you so sure that ANY possible war is definitely NOT extropic?

>
> Why can't we just allow the general statement that "war is bad"? It does
> not seem to be such an unreasonable assertion.

Because some statements can be so general that they are meaningless. Why not run around with a 'make love not war' shirt while were at it. The real world is not simple and general, it is complex and violent. If you wanted to try to convince Hitler and Stalin that War was bad, I'm all for it, but once tanks start rolling over us, I'm defending myself. We could say that 'killing is bad' as well, but in saying that am I giving up my right to self defense?

>
> > A more reasonable question (if one can call such questions
> > reasonable) would be how many lives are worth an increase in
> > extropy, and how much of an increase?
>
> No we can not call such questions reasonable. I don't know why it keeps
> coming up on this list.

Yet if one is to assert that all wars are anti-extropic, then this is a question that MUST be answered before making that determination. All wars include loss of life. How extropic is a single life? What do we mean when we say 'extropic' in the first place?

>
> > Debates of that sort have been tossed around on this list
> > all ready.
>
> It almost seems as if there is a subgroup of people who keep trying to
> justify committing violence as part of the extropian agenda.
>

And it seems that there is a subgroup of people content to let us be overrun by murderous oppressive regimes for fear of taking a single like to defend our very extropic (thought not extropic enough) society.

Would you assert that in absolutely *NO* cases would committing violence be extropian?

Yes, War is bad, and killing is also bad. So is lying, stealing, cheating, etc. But the real world is cold, complex, and unforgiving, and sometimes things must be done that we prefer not to do in order to ensure the continuation of the things we value. I may steal bread to feed my starving self or family, I may lie to protect the feelings of someone I care about, I may kill someone in self defense, and my country may go to war when threatened by a clearly and significantly less extropic, less free, murderous and oppressive government.

Michael Dickey
> -----Original Message-----
> From: extropy-chat-bounces@lists.extropy.org [mailto:extropy-chat-
> bounces@lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Paul Grant
>
> Charlie Stross said:
>
> > I'd like to add to that: war seems to me to be about as anti-extropic
> > as you can get. The triumph of brute force over enlightenment,
> > destruction, death and despair on a massive scale. An excuse for the
> > enemies of freedom on every side to chip away at civil rights. The
> > ascendency of dehumanization is the *opposite* of transhumanism.
>
> I would like to disagree with that. War is neither intrinsically
> extropic nor anti-extropic. If one of the parties at war is less
> extropic, and it wins, then war is anti-extropic.
>
> - careful their kimo sabe, thats a dangerous line your walking;
> put another way, if you will grant me, a small society that is
> "extropic".. which by definition, leads a less "extropic" society
> comprised of the majority. So when does the bloody revolution start,
> comrade? :) Direct consequence of your statements, you understand.
>
> As u can see, I have to agree with Charlie :)
>

I think you should refer to the rest of the discussion. Are you claiming, absolutely, that not only have all wars that have ever occurred but all wars that could possibly occur are definitely anti-extropic? Quite a strong assertion. This of course requires you to define extropic exactly, and war exactly. My point, as was evident from the discussion was that whether war is extropic is a much more complicated question. In that discussion Charlie even presented an example of overthrowing the US government to get rid of the drug laws.

My example of a less extropic government being overthrown by a more extropic one was merely a quick example, it was not meant to imply that ANY more extropic government had the right to overthrow any less extropic one no matter the cost in lives or property. That is of course ridiculous. A more reasonable question (if one can call such questions reasonable) would be how many lives are worth an increase in extropy, and how much of an increase? Debates of that sort have been tossed around on this list all ready.

I also noted in that discussion that freedoms are not directly synonymous with extropy, as the freedom to sit on ones ass all day and watch TV isn't gonna bring about a singularity, nor would being stoned, drunk, or visiting strip clubs all day, nor chattering on discussion board for that matter. In fact a paternalistic big brother esque society where each person was assigned an area of technological pursuit and had immortality and extropianism drilled into their head from the time they were children would probably be the most 'extropic' yet it would not be very free.

Michael Dickey