Re: Final draft of my philosophical platform now on line

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Mon Aug 16 2004 - 07:00:05 MDT

At 04:50 PM 15/08/04 -0700, Samantha Atkins wrote:


> > My sympathies are with you, but I don't think you can make a logical
> > connection between Transhumanism and Libertarianism.
> >
> > Transhumanism is a view of a future with lots of technologically derived
> > changes in it, up to and including fundamental changes in humans. It is
> > rooted in reasonable extrapolations of technical progress. I was at least
> > an observer as the aspects of the transhumanism view of our future
> developed.
> >
> > Libertarianism is a political philosophy about proper/ideal relation of
> > humans to each other. Heinlein was the biggest political/philosophical
> > influence in my formative years so you have to rate me as at least as a
> > lower case libertarian.
> >
>As you know, the central tenet of libertarianism is the non-initiation
>of force as a succinct guide to proper human relationships. While I
>admit it is free-floating it has much to recommend it.

True, but it does not make the evolutionary psychology reality test. It is
also only one side of the behavior switch for war built into humans by
evolution. Such a meme could only arise during times of increasing wealth
per capita.

> > Unfortunately, libertarianism, especially "Libertarianism" is rooted in
> > air--as are all political philosophies. Infection with the Libertarianism
> > meme set too often results in uncompromising people with very poor
> > political skills. The only people worse off are the
> > Objectivists/Randroids. I think I know why if you are interested.
>It is not part of rational discourse or even very civilized imho to
>indulge in such verbal putdowns as "randroids". While I find many
>utter fools participating in objectivists circles including some
>highly placed ones, use of this term tend to deny importance to the
>entire idea space. That is a mistake and an injustice.

This is a matter of humor. The entire libertarian spectrum has a lot of
cult flavor, including the lack of humor that reaches an amazing extreme in
scientology. Heinlein and Rand were the memetic source of much of
libertarianism. So in the inevitable infighting they describe or deride
each other as "space cadets" and Randroids. Personally I think the motto
of the Church of the SubGenious is appropriate. (My connection to *them*
goes back to the days of the Bavarian Fire Drills.)

> > I remember years and years ago hearing an Objectivist rant that if offered
> > such a choice, a person should choose to save their life over that of the
> > rest of humanity. It felt really wrong but it was a number of years before
> > I understood Hamilton's inclusive fitness and was able to say *why* it felt
> > wrong.
>It is certainly not a logical argument based on objectivist ideas per
>se. Claiming such a universal should is itself not terribly logical.
>But it depends on the context. The proper answer to an assumption of
>would be enslavers that one's life belongs to humanity (whatever that
>comes out to be in practice) is to hold one's life more valuable than
>such a collective parasitic view of humanity.

This was about the correct *free choice* not enslaved. It is the hyper
rational choice. But humans were not shaped by evolution to be hyper
rational or even *rational* at times.

> > The most accepted transhumanist meme set includes evolutionary
> > psychology. If someone wants a political philosophy to go along with
> > transhumanism, they really should think about basing it on EP at least up
> > to the point we abandon human mental configuration.
> >
>I would be very interested in a sketch of what you (or others) believe
>this would look like.

It would certainly include women having the power to limit family size, and
a recognition that humans have psychological behavior switches that we want
to keep out of certain modes. I don't even know how many behavior switches
humans have, but the one set off by anticipated privation (falling income
per capita) that turns up the gain on xenophobic memes and leads to wars or
related social disruptions is certainly one you *don't* want to switch
on. Understanding that war mode considerably reduces humans capacity for
rational thinking would be an important factor.

> > Memetics is really rooted in EP and transhumans tend to be up on memetics
> > as well. You might be amused that the "meme about memes" set off a major
> > allergic reaction among Libertarians back in the 80s.
>I don't really see why it should

It did--to my surprise, but thinking about it and the cultish nature of the
whole libertarian spectrum it is obvious why in retrospect.

>or how these are connected

Because, although memes are not central, they are in the causal chain that
leads to wars. (Ultimately genes are central.)

>or why this is amusing

Irony, denial of the cult like aspects of whatever people are intensely
involved in.

>or what your purpose is in relating it in this context.

See Minsky on the function of humor.

Keith henson

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