Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Friday, May 29, 2009

Dispatches from Libertopia: Going Galt on the High Seas (to Infinity and Beyond!)

Brad Reed has some good fun with the latest -- Remember Sealand? Remember Residensea? -- klatch of deluded market fundamentalists who are now threatening to pack up their toys (whatever those might be) and deprive us of their talents (whatever those might be) and found separatist libertopian enclaves on concrete platforms or cruise ships or under domes on the seafloor or comparable corporate futurological nonsense. Perhaps they could build a lovely casino and vacation home complex Dubai style on that oceanic landfill of discarded plastic blobbing upon our wide blue still under-polluted oceans.

Although these fantasies of self-appointed sooperman sequestration are a recurring libertopian wet-dream, it is apparently an especially alluring notion now that these would-be titans and grifters fear they might actually be taxed and regulated a little in an Obama Administration (if only) thus slowing by a smidge their relentless ongoing (or at any rate pined for) looting and raping of the planet and of the overabundant majority of the people and other beings who share it with them.

You can tell these boys are serious because, among other things, they've founded an Institute. And they've published an online manifesto and FAQ. Always with the "Institutes" and "manifestos" with these boys, ain't it though?

Anyway, Patri Friedman (from neolib Milton to anarcho-capitalist David to anarcho-separatist Patri, from bloody-cuffed shirtsleeves to straightjackets in three generations) is a high muckety-muck in this endeavor. And it's interesting (I can't say it's surprising) to find Peter Thiel right at the heart of this laughable sociopathic libertopian endeavor as well, in addition to his involvement in the laughable sociopathic Singularitarian endeavor.

No doubt he would prefer that his Ayn Raelians "Go Galt" instead in nanobotic treasure caves secreted away in the asteroid belt, but he'll have to settle for now for a li'l patch of libertarian heaven and dysentery and piracy on some crappy abandoned oil rig. Without Big Brother's prying eyes on them every minute of the day, you can be sure that the legion of soopergeniuses in the Robot Cult will be able to code that superintelligent Robot God at last, and the hott sexy slavebots, and the immortalizing shiny robot replacement bodies, and the programmable nanobotic treasure-swarms and all the rest.

Then we'll be sorry for making fun of them! Then we'll be sorry for doubting them! Then we'll be sorry for treading on them! Then we'll be sorry for our regulatory shackling of their genius and our confiscatory taxation of their bounty! Yeah, give it, er, let's see, twenty years, yeah, twenty years from now, and Libertopia will spontaneously order into Robotopia and then they'll transcend into post-humans and, and, and, oh boy, won't we be sorry then!


Giulio Prisco said...

Dale, why don't you cut the crap. You are becoming honestly boring. I have enjoyed and agreed with most of your California posts, but here it seems that you want more freedom for those you approve of, and less freedom for those you disapprove of.

occam's comic said...

Yes Dale you will be sorry,

1.)I am going to ask the Robot God to make the world's most comfortable chair,
2.)then I will put it in your house, away from your computer
c.) you will come home and see say "wow that looks like a comfy chair" and then sit down in the chair.
4.) Then you are TRAPPED -ha ha- the chair is sooo comfy that you will never be able to leave it.
5.) Trapped in the comfy chair you will not be able to get your computer and make your snarky comments.
z.) HA HA laughing last! laughing best!

PS- the dangers of furniture designed by self improving seed AI was topic number zeta at the last meeting in the underwater clubhouse.

Dale Carrico said...

I pray for the day I finally become honestly boring enough that you will no longer see fit to come here and post your endless inanities, Giulio, with every single one of which the intelligence level of the Moot plummets to the sub-basement. If exposing to ridicule libertopians and market fundamentalists, movement conservatives, white racist patriarchal Culture Warriors, he-man haters of the humanities, theocrats, Priestly reductionists, self-appointed technocratic elites, corporate-militarist futurologists, eugenicists, Robot Cultists, and Obama-haters of the right (and left) is what you mean by "crap," you can be sure that I will not "cut it" any time soon. When you declare that I "seem" to want to curtail the freedom of those I disapprove of, you either must think it represents an inappropriate curtailment of freedom want to regulate social harms or tax progressively or prosecute crimes, or you think it represents an inappropriate curtailment of freedom to ridicule the ridiculous. I cheerfully disagree on both counts. Also, you're stupid.

Dale Carrico said...

Let me go on record as stating that I am not entirely opposed to an imminent comfy chair singularity. Please alert the Robot God to that effect forthwith.

Anonymous said...

I say strip these fools of their citizenship right after having force them to pay back all the free public services they used and taken for granted since birth.

Dale Carrico said...

If citizenship were annulled by error or foolishness few of us could secure it -- least of all me. I think that progressives need to actually say out loud and say often that some indispensable public goods are better provided by accountable government than by for-profit enterprise, that the provision of a legitimate alternate space for the nonviolent adjudication of disputes and to facilitate consensual self-determination is something only democratic governance can do, that government is funded by taxation, and hence that taxes really are the price we pay for a democratic civilization, that taxation coupled to representation assured that government is accountable quite as definitively as does the universal franchise and right to seek office. I find the anti-tax and anti-government zealots truly ridiculous and despicable, but I must say that few who find them foolish do the good service of explaining quite simply why they are wrong, and so it isn't entirely unexpected that greedy, short-sighted, ignorant people get caught up in this sort of destructive foolishness. I know few progressives who celebrate or even explain why progressive taxation is indispensable (however unpleasant in the moment of exaction), even if they know better, and it seems to me we all of us abet the know-nothings in their looting spree so long as we fail to set the record straight and stand by it with conviction and educate our young people and fellow citizens into a responsible awareness of these basic facts of political life.

And so -- and I realize you were joking, so forgive this screed -- I think we should simply criminalize fraud, regulate and render considerably more accountable the provision of public goods, and progressively tax income (including investment income) and property, to fund the legitimate execution of laws to which all have equal recourse, to secure domestic tranquility, provide for a defense from foreign invasion and aggression, and promote general health, education, access to reliable information, and welfare so as to produce a scene of legitimate informed nonduressed consent in which we exercise our freedom peer to peer. It's no problem that some people are stupid, foolish, or wrong so long as we are properly protected from fraud, abuse, and criminality, and so long as the diversity of our citizens has secured the equity of the scene of legitimate informed nonduressed consent in which error and abuse are least likely to prosper for long.