[extropy-chat] The problem of politics and voting [excerpted from "Cyronics Without.."]

Samantha Atkins samantha at objectent.com
Thu Apr 22 20:15:30 UTC 2004

Since we are not likely to get broadly more intelligent people without 
some technology much more controversial with "average voters" and 
politicians than cyronics is,  I don't believe we can afford to indulge 
in such wishes.   Nor do I believe we can afford to spend a lot of time 
attempting to dumb things down to get mass appeal.   To the extent we 
engage in politics at all it seems much more reasonable to seek to rein 
in the power of the government  to regulate or even prohibit various 
advanced technologies and the freedom of individuals to make use of 
these technologies.

If we instead fight a technology by technology battle we sanction the 
fundamental premise that government and/or the majority of our fellows 
have the right to limit our freedom to better ourselves and to live 
longer or have a chance of living again.   The fundamental premise that 
government has the right to so restrict us is left unchallenged.   We 
leave the fulcrum in place then wonder why it is so hard to stop the 
advance of the business end of the social-governmental lever.

Regulatory committees of experts beyond the reach of the voting public 
are not exactly an unalloyed or incorruptible benefit either.   There 
is little or no ability to call such a committee to task.  Many such 
bodies even end up with their own law making, law enforcement and 
judicial boards outside of normal safeguards protecting the freedom of 
the people including the freedom to invent, deploy and use new 

- samantha

On Apr 22, 2004, at 11:18 AM, Robert J. Bradbury wrote:

>> If you can then you can teach others to do it. And you will be
>> effective.  Politicians are not a lot brighter on scientific matters
>> than the average voter.
> I understand this.  But I would hope that we might develop a system
> where both the "average voter" and the "politicians" become much
> more educated and perhaps intelligent.
>> Be warned the average voter feels perfectly capable of rejecting
>> you and everything you care about as irrelevent because the average
>> voter has other things on his/her mind. To the average voter the
>> most valuable time in the world is not yours its theirs.
> Reasonable point.  But as the recent discussion by Chris Phoenix
> shows "fact", "belief" and "faith" are mixed up in very complex
> ways by the human mind.  How one deals with them is complex as well.
>> The average voter does not think they are an idiot. The average
>> voter thinks their vote is as good as yours.
> Understood.  And this is perhaps a shortcoming of our system
> of one-person = one vote or "all persons are created equal".
> These are fantasies.  The reason you put a CEO in charge of
> a company or appoint a committee at NIH to schedule genome
> sequencing priorities (etc.) is because one recognizes
> that there are people who are going to do a better job at
> certain tasks because their experience or knowledge bases
> are greater than the average voter off of the street.
> The votes of informed or educated people are clearly worth
> more than uninformed and/or uneducated people.  Would you want
> group of a dozen people plucked from rural communities in
> India to be sitting on the Federal Reserve Board of the United
> States setting interest rates (which tend to influence
> interest rates around the world)?  Hell no!
> If ExI were to adopt a political position I might lobby for it
> to be -- "you have the right to vote -- but you must be qualified
> to do so".

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