[ExI] If I were President...

spike spike66 at att.net
Sat Aug 27 23:17:24 UTC 2016



From: extropy-chat [mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Adrian Tymes
Sent: Saturday, August 27, 2016 3:15 PM
To: ExI chat list <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
Subject: [ExI] If I were President...


Indulge me if you would please.  :)

I have wondered, from time to time, just what a sane, rational, non-corrupt, yet potentially broadly popular US Presidential candidate's platform might look like.  Given current discussions on the list, I think it on-topic to bounce some ideas around - especially, ideas oriented towards installing someone who shares Extropian ideas in the United State's highest office.  (Which would very likely result in the promotion and wider adoption of Extropian ideas.)

Here are some planks I have considered.  These are for a hypothetical candidate running in the 2024 election…What major (as in, "at least 1% of Americans who vote") issues does this list miss?  And what does this list get wrong?  Adrian



This is an extremely well-thought-out list Adrian, all of it good.

The topic is timely and relevant.  We can go to even more fundamental levels of questioning, such as the currently critical divergence between idealists and pragmatists.  There are those who wait until others decide on the two choices, then choose one, and those who recognize this notion failed spectacularly this weird cycle.  I have been cognizant for at least a dozen of these national level elections and I have never seen anything like this one.

So let me preface my comments: I am not in the pragmatist camp, never have been.  I go way beyond Robert Kennedy, for my question is: Why the HEEEELLLLLL not?  What’s blocking us, move it out of the way, let’s get going, DAVAI^3 etc.  

You guys know me by now.

If I had my way, I would take a bunch of us, go over to Mountain View, snap the cuffs on Sal Khan, haul him to Washington against his will if necessary and make him be our leader.  Failing that, I would tell him, Sal, your country needs you desperately pal, right now.  He isn’t the kind of man to say no to those in need.

I seldom get a living hero much younger than myself.  He is one of only about three or four.  I was already a big fan of him even before I read his book One World Schoolhouse, which was more of a turn-on than the July 1957 issue of National Geographic.  That man has done some deep thinking about education, about the future, about how things are and how they could be.  There is even some politics in his book, but that isn’t what it is about.

I got a chance to meet the man and interact briefly with him one on one.  They had a Khan Academy competition for the Bay Area 12 county region.  They would invite the top five performers in each of grades 3 through 12 in overall performance and the top five in each grade for performance during a 10 week period of the contest.  My son was number 4 in overall.  Those 100 invitees were joined by 200 more who formed KA teams, for 300 tickets to the celebration up at the GooglePlex.  During that all-day party where parents were invited, Khan gave us a speech on his vision.  When he was introduced, we started chanting SAL! SAL! SAL!  Can you imagine what it must be like giving a speech when every single person in that audience loves you and wishes to collect pebbles from the path you have trod?  Were I in that situation, I would revert to instant Simon bar Sinister mode, only without the evil.  I would want to expand and (like bar Sinister) seek to rule the world.

But Sal Khan isn’t that kind of guy, not even close.  He is an example of a guy filled with actual good intentions, does not revert to any end-justifies-the-means rationalization of whatever he wants to do.  He isn’t a power grabber.  He is deeply analytical, as you can see by his speeches and book.  I do recommend both.

At some point, we must ask ourselves why people of his caliber have fled from the political process with the aching void filled by distasteful characters, power grabbers, in general people who we recognize will work to form a government which does not fear the people.  When government fears the people, there is liberty.  When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.

Well Adrian and anyone else who is still reading down here, I damn sure do fear the government which will likely form in the immediately foreseeable future.  Plenty of us here do.  We are witnessing the rise of tyranny.

I have another living hero: Peter Thiel, but he is ineligible to be US president: wasn’t born in the good old USA.  If we could talk Khan into leading our beleaguered nation, we could make Thiel the Secretary of State perhaps.

As for platforms: I can scarcely improve on your well-considered list.  I can add emphasis in a way: all of the current candidates for all national-level offices, all of them are old-think.  All of them are looking to maintain and expand old established power structures.  As far as I can tell none of them are dealing well with all the new options of ways to do things.  A prime example is found in Khan’s book which deals with pricey colleges and diminishing prospects even for those attaining degrees therefrom.  Thiel talks a lot about this too: ask the question not how to pay for college or who will be forced to pay, but rather what are we buying and is it necessarily a prerequisite to success?  Why?  Are there lower-priced alternatives?  (There are.)  Are there ways to achieve success with no college at all?  (Thiel thinks so, and I think he is right.)  Are there alternatives to gaining credentials than the traditional college degree?  I think Adrian would be the first to agree there damn well should be, for some talented people don’t take the usual path. 

There should be ways one can train herself with a determined and persistent use of online resources for instance.  There should be alternate tickets into mainstream tech companies besides the usual engineering degree.  There should be things like the GRE one can take for credentials but not be required to have a bachelor’s degree to have it count as an actual credential.  We should not rely on the name of the university we attended and the GPA as a credential, but rather our actual mastery of relevant materials.

We must recognize that international commerce is of critical importance, and that has no borders.  We can create business collaborations without ever meeting in person, which is what I have proposed for the OK Geezer project.  We don’t need to buy plane tickets or hotels, which is good because we are unlikely to make money on it.  Google probably will, or Microsloth or Apple or whoever runs with that ball.  I predict within one year of today, some company will have something like what I have described at such droning length in the past few days.  I am eager to see that.

Anyone anywhere educated by any means can form a company in place.  Engineering and marketing can be done in place as such a tiny fraction of the cost of traditional companies.  Manufacturing still requires a factory, so some of the old model will stay with us, but consider something as you listen to politicians if you ever do, and think of the real impact.  We have proposals to set up trade barriers and bring factories back to the USA, so people can have jobs again.  But… if you go tour a modern factory like the Tesla plant up in Fremont CA, the first thing you might find striking is how few people are there.  You can look at the Tesla factory and compare it with the Ford plant from 100 years ago and notice immediately that we can produce a loooooot more stuff now way more efficiently.  So bringing factories here will solve little.  But just the same, leaving them overseas will solve little.  My conclusion: government is not the answer.  We can’t legislate our way to a better future.  So… limit government to (for starters) its own revenue by disallowing borrowing.  Then… find leaders who are not all working toward just maintaining the old traditional ways and old traditional power structures, as are all the current candidates including Stein and Sanders, all of them.

Technology drives change.  We drive technology.















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