[ExI] Superpower goodness and the efficacy of (largely) internalconstraints

Brian Manning Delaney listsb at infinitefaculty.org
Sat Jun 13 15:26:06 UTC 2009

spike skrev:
> ...On Behalf Of Brian Manning Delaney

>> (A fascinating world-historical event: Nixon RESIGNED. Think 
>> about it.) -Brian
> Yes, however before we conclude that it was some internal magnanimity on his
> part, keep in mind the US constitution was designed by a bunch of guys who
> had really fresh and bitter experience with despotism, so they wrote the
> rules specifically to discourage power grabbing.

Absolutely! I meant internal to the country, not to the person who is 
part of, or rules, the country (my analogy to AI was a bit confusing -- 
sorry; the question of the "singularity" [small "s"!] of mind is a 
tricky one). There's something about the "superpower goodness" of the 
U.S. that left Nixon no choice. It's partly the very design of the 
Constitution, but also, I think, some basic sense of right and wrong 
that, generally (though not always) has shone through. The country 
couldn't really go in any direction but the one it went in (option 2: 
Nixon not resigning and being forced out).

If it's more an ethic than the Constitution that is responsible for U.S. 
goodness (or "restraint", let us say), then we might be in trouble, 
because the historical memory that led to the ethic will fade over time. 
This can lead to precisely the problems you cite that might be on the 
horizon, or even here, today.



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