Re: [sl4] Re: Property rights

From: Lee Corbin (
Date: Mon Jul 07 2008 - 23:49:08 MDT

Stuart, Bryan, and Stathis and probably others earlier write like this:

> 2008/7/8 Stuart Armstrong <>:
>> So, despite the arguments here, a society of humans able to modify
>> their minds at will is probably not going to gravitate to something
>> pleasant. On the other hand, it might not take much in terms of
>> coercive interventions to allow such things to happen. In fact, it may
>> be enough for the AI to gift humans with many technologies, push them
>> in certain self-modifying directions, and then turn itself off, to
>> create a positive dynamic equilibrium.
> We can't know exactly how the availability of self-modification would
> change society without doing the experiment, but I believe that even
> without direction from above it would be for the better. I base this
> on the assumption that there are more bad people who wish they were
> good than good people who wish they were bad.

and it seems to me a very crucial point is going unaddressed:

Surely, you must admit, it depends on the capabilities of the individuals
who emerge from the history at a particular point. Probably even
cultural aspects of their historical situation determine just as much.

I posit that in many cases the people simply are not capable of self-rule
or are absolutely too unprepared for it by their own cultural history.
We also can surely judge that this was the case in many historical societies
we're aware of.

Even today in the United States, I see many shortcomings on the part
of so many individuals that it precludes a completely libertarian form
of government from functioning here. Americans (and many other
descendants of western civilization around the globe) are indeed capable
of quite a bit, but a strict anarchy, minarchy, or perhaps even mild libertarian
society is presently beyond them, I sadly conclude.

For in too many cases in such a completely free society, collectives
would simply naturally evolve, and pretty soon any prudent person
would find it necessary to suck up to the local gang lord or protector.
In America, we saw exactly what happens in large cities filled with
recent immigrants (e.g. Chicago in the 1920s) or with people whose
small town experiences of democracy were insufficient to meet the
challenges of urban life. It became very easy for criminal elements to
infiltrate the local law establishment, and even coerce newspapers
and others into seeing things their way. And today in Los Angeles,
if you want to really know who controls a neighborhood or controls
the streets, very often it's by no means the police or any lawfully set up


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