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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Will You Go Galt With Me?

1 comment:

jimf said...

In a comment thread to Dale's blog post
"Problematical Posthumanistical"
Saturday, June 02, 2007

Michael Anissimov complained:

"Out of a couple hundred singularitarians, there are only three I
know of that are libertarians. . . Many, many are Democrats.

So as we can see, your associating singularitarianism with right-wing
politics is obviously wrong. I would like to ask you to please stop
doing it."

To which Dale replied:

"Fat chance."

So, should "libertarianism" be lumped together with "right-wing politics"?

Well, George Lakoff, in _Moral Politics
seems to think so:

"Libertarians see themselves as forming a separate political category,
neither liberal nor conservative, but something unto itself.
An analysis. . . suggests that their view of themselves is not
entirely accurate. . .

Consider a variant on [the "central conservative model"] that is
pragmatic in the extreme, that is, think of a conservative who sees
the pursuit of self-interest as the principal end, and conservative
morality (self-discipline, self-reliance, etc.) as a means to
that end. Someone who is extremely pragmatic will be willing
to sacrifice aspects of conservative morality if it interferes
with the pursuit of self-interest. Now imagine such a pragmatic
conservative having the moral focus: noninterference by the
government. So far as I can tell, this is what a "libertarian" is,
namely, an extremely pragmatic conservative whose moral focus
is on noninterference by the government. In short, a libertarian
is two steps away from a mainline conservative.

Such a person will believe that free enterprise should be as
unrestricted as possible. . . He will be very much against
social programs, taxation, government support of education and
the arts, government regulation, and gun control. But the
libertarian's moral focus on noninterference by the government
and his extreme support of the pursuit of self-interest will
make him a radical advocate of civil liberties. He will oppose
any governmental restrictions on free speech, pornography, abortion,
homosexuality, and so on. He will probably support the rights
of women, gays, and minorities to equal opportunity, but
be strongly against affirmative action on the grounds that it
gives individuals things they haven't individually earned.
He will most likely be pro-choice on abortion, but not believe
that the government should pay for abortions. And since he
gives priority to the pursuit of self-interest over the rest
of the conservative moral system, he will not have the moralism of
mainline conservatives; the seven deadly sins may not be sins
for him. . ."

Despite Anissimov's complaint to Dale from two years ago,
he seems to take a different view of the matter in his most
recent "Accelerating Future" blog post -- his use of the phrases
"immortalist libertarians" and "libertarian transhumanism" seems
to suggest he's talking about more than three out of "hundreds".

Peter Thiel talks about stuff at Libertarianism Unbound magazine.

> I remain committed to the faith of my teenage years: to authentic
> human freedom as a precondition for the highest good. I stand against
> confiscatory taxes, totalitarian collectives, and the ideology of
> the inevitability of the death of every individual. For all these
> reasons, I still call myself “libertarian.”

Like most immortalist libertarians, Peter wants to connect together immortalism
with libertarianism, boosting libertarian transhumanism. In transhumanism,
the battle between socialists and libertarians is one of endless “excitement”
to old-timers and confusion to journalists trying to report on the movement.

Who are these "old-timers" of whom Michael speaks? My guess:

Subject: Those classic Extropians
From: [jimf] on 17/04/2006

Last September [2005], I wrote to a net-acquaintance mentioning a
Yahoo group called "Neoclassical Extropians" that I'd been
invited to join a few months earlier:

> [He wrote back:]
> I take it "classic" means something like Good Old-Fashioned Libertarian
> Extropy, and is where the embattled hardliners withdrew to get away from
> communitarian devils like me as well as all the noise on extropy-chat?


Moderation is up-front and heavy-handed, with a
hard-edged, nasty tone, and [the moderator] does
not hesitate to pull the plug on people who piss
him off.

I'm only a member (as of 25 May 2005) because [a friend]
(who joined 24 May 2005) invited me. My presence is actually
in violation of the list rules, because lurkers aren't
supposed to be allowed, and I've never posted. So I
fully expect that sooner or later [the moderator] will houseclean
and I'll be booted. . .

Well, surprise surprise -- I managed, last week, to get booted off
the Yahoo "Neoclassical Extropians" list (owned by martial-arts
and gun enthusiast Russell Whitaker) after only one week of active
participation! . . .

[Along the way, I got feedback such as:]

> Suggesting that someone of the stature of Ayn Rand was "probably a
> nut case" is far beyond what I find remotely acceptable. Following
> up by guessing what sort of "nut" she might be is egregious.
> Quoting such a creature as Dale Carrico and his "libertopian" slam
> finishes disqualifying you from being worth my time to talk with. I
> did not come to this list to endure such outrageous crap.


> As listowner, I can say that being libertarian/anarchocapitalist are
> hard prerequisites here first. Regardless of one's views on Rand. . .
> I think [jimf] was indirectly making a broad, smirking swipe at
> libertarianism.
> I'm not interested in providing him a venue for that kind of entertainment.
> I've already told him to either leave the list or be removed by me.

[The moderator also didn't like my use of emoticons. ;-> ]