[ExI] Survival of the nicest: have we got evolution the wrong way round?

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Tue Apr 9 18:25:39 UTC 2024

On Tue, 9 Apr 2024 at 18:26, Adrian Tymes via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> On Tue, Apr 9, 2024 at 5:30 AM Dave S via extropy-chat <
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>> On 4/9/24 8:09 AM, BillK via extropy-chat <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
>> wrote:
>> >  Does this research indicate that even hard-core libertarians would be
>> >  better off co-operating with others?
>> Libertarians aren't opposed to voluntary cooperation.
> Except in practice when:
> 1) Other people need them to cooperate in order for the other people to
> survive, but they'd be just fine in the short term not cooperating, so how
> dare these other people resort to force, or
> 2) Other people refuse to voluntarily cooperate with them on things they
> need others' cooperation on in order to survive, which - being a threat to
> their survival - justifies their use of force upon others.
> _______________________________________________

 My impression of US libertarians is that they love to argue policy with
each other and have many disagreements.
Get any two Libertarians together, and immediately you get 'Well, what type
of Libertarian are you?'.

So I asked Claude if libertarians really do argue a lot.  :)
Claude seems to be saying that the libertarian problem is that there is
such a wide range of opinion that they find it very difficult to agree on a
theoretical political policy platform. Then there are even more
disagreements on how to practically implement these policies and which
policies take priority.
Libertarians are just too individualistic!  :)

There are a few key reasons why libertarians often disagree with each other
and form factions in practice, despite theoretically supporting voluntary

1. Differences in interpreting and applying libertarian principles. While
libertarians generally believe in individual liberty, private property
rights, and free markets, there is significant disagreement on the
specifics of how these principles should be implemented in the real world.
For example, some libertarians believe there should be no government at all
(anarcho-capitalists), while others believe a minimal "night watchman"
state is necessary to protect rights. There are also disagreements on
issues like intellectual property, abortion, immigration, and more.

2. Differing policy priorities and strategies. Even when libertarians agree
on principles, they often prioritize different issues or favor different
approaches. Some focus more on economic freedom and deregulation, others
emphasize civil liberties and privacy rights, others prioritize foreign
policy non-interventionism, and so on. There are also divides between more
pragmatic libertarians willing to work within the two-party system vs. more
ideologically rigid libertarians who refuse to compromise.

3. Conflicting personal interests and loyalties. Like any political
movement, libertarianism attracts individuals and groups with their own
agendas, egos, and incentives that don't always align. Libertarian
organizations, think tanks, and political candidates often end up competing
with each other for money, media attention, and influence, leading to
infighting and factionalism.

4. No central authority to resolve disputes. Libertarianism lacks a clear
philosophical foundation or governing body to definitively settle internal
disagreements. Without a universally accepted framework for applying
abstract principles to messy real-world situations, differing
interpretations are inevitable.

So in summary, while libertarians share a common belief in freedom and
voluntary cooperation, the devil is in the details. Reasonable people can
disagree on how to translate broad principles into specific policies and
priorities. And in practice, personal agendas and power struggles often
lead libertarians to fight with each other despite their theoretical
commitment to getting along. This kind of factionalism is a common
challenge for ideologically driven movements.

That said, I think it's important to note that libertarianism is a very
broad tent encompassing many divergent strains of thought. The infighting
and disagreements, while real, don't negate the areas of commonality and
cooperation between different libertarian factions. And arguably, the
decentralized nature of the libertarian movement, while messy, is
consistent with its underlying philosophy of dispersed knowledge and
opposition to top-down control. Reasonable people can disagree on whether
the benefits of this decentralization outweigh the costs of disunity and
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