[extropy-chat] Tyranny in place
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
sentience at pobox.com
Mon Oct 2 15:51:50 UTC 2006
Russell Wallace wrote:
> That circumstance no longer obtains, and our feelings and intuitions
> therefore give completely the wrong answer when we evaluate today's
> problems. Since we _know_ they give the wrong answer, and we know why,
> we should use reason instead. Look at the cold numbers: how many people
> worldwide have been killed by terrorists from 2001 to today? Some
> thousands, maybe into five digits. How many lives have been lost from
> all causes in that same time? Nearly _three hundred million_. Even a
> nuclear explosion in a major city would be a drop in the ocean on that
I agree with Wallace. Death doesn't wear a turban. The only thing
terrorists could conceivably do that would cause any significant amount
of direct damage - as opposed to autoimmune disorders - would be
designing a planetary pandemic. And fighting in Iraq is not an
effective strategy for stopping that.
> Note also that you only answered the lesser half of my argument. My
> primary point was that however small or large the external threat,
> compromising our most basic civil liberties - allowing our governments
> to turn inward against ourselves, not outward against the enemy - is
> _not effective_ as a response. It adds a second problem _without doing
> anything to solve the first_.
Indeed so. Politicians who want to appear effective will make great
sacrifices, so that people reason: surely we must buy something, if we
pay the cost of all our liberties. Of course this is a non-sequitur.
Competent people sacrifice less.
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky http://singinst.org/
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence
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