[ExI] your big chance

Rafal Smigrodzki rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com
Wed Jan 8 04:25:10 UTC 2020

On Mon, Jan 6, 2020 at 11:35 AM William Flynn Wallace via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> I can't call myself a libertarian because I am in favor of some social
> programs.

### I think I am still a libertarian, maybe even more so than before. In
the past few years I have become viscerally aware of tribalism, and the
difficulty it poses to libertarian thinking, which tends to assume people
assemble primarily to trade for mutual benefit, rather than assemble
primarily to attack or defend. But,these difficulties notwithstanding, I am
temperamentally inclined towards libertarianism, which I prefer to
summarize as a combination of "live and let live" and the scientific method.

So, yes, as unlibertarian as it may be, we have to come together to fight
the "other", because in this imperfect world some of the others want our
stuff. This implies we need to persecute traitors that weaken us and we
need to strive for political unity. We need the secret police, we need to
pay killers to protect us. This is only reasonable, because the alternative
is defeat.

But then the reasonable libertarian will be forever suspicious of political
power, will use as little of it as possible, given the circumstances and
the available technologies. We recognize that every society is a machine
that relies on various technologies to perform its functions, which is why
an engineer's approach of testing, measuring and tinkering is necessary,
much more so that moralizing. Success in building a society is, as much as
anything in the real world, an art of the possible.

It's pretty easy to come up with uplifting slogans, so mass-market tribes
generate them in abundance for striving lemmings to boldly proclaim. It's
much more difficult to think your way through complexity, so that the
machinery of freedom does not corrupt itself into the machinery of

There is a dichotomy between the exigencies of mass-market politics, which
is instinctual and thus hard to improve upon, and the reasoned, in-depth
political philosophy that contributes to actual social progress. This is
why mass-market political tags, such as "Democrat" or "conservative",
convey so little information. Progress is slow, fickle and often accidental
because political thinking rather than emoting is hard work, system 2, and
thus is short supply.

I am a systematizer and I always tried to remove internal inconsistencies
from my beliefs, leading me to some discoveries about myself, some of which
were mildly unflattering. So after some first-principles analysis, years of
observation, being occasionally schooled by my betters and much
soul-searching it looks like the middle-market "libertarian" tag is the
closest description of my beliefs.

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