Small government was Re: [extropy-chat] EMP Attack?

Adrian Tymes wingcat at
Wed Apr 20 17:05:59 UTC 2005

--- Brett Paatsch <bpaatsch at> wrote:
> Adrian Tymes wrote:
>                                                     What type of
> government 
> would be
> > conducive to bringing the >H era about?
> Why don't you tell me? Perhaps start with what you think the ">H era"
> is?
> If your approach makes sense maybe I'll follow it. At the moment
> so far as I can tell you seem to be saying do whatever you can within
> the system as it is.

Do what you can from within the system, until we develop the capability
to effectively act outside the system.

Protest tax policy by simply refusing to pay tax, and you wind up in

Protest tax policy by emigrating to a third world country, and you
exclude yourself from the capital flows and other things necessary to
develop >H tech - and, ultimately, what that tech allows us to do is
what it's all about.  No tech, no >H.

Protest tax policy by setting up an artificial island or space colony
and funding things to attract research talent from all over the world,
in an environment mostly free of neoluddites, religionists, and others
who would hold us back, requires a lot of capital.  Capital that can be
earned by, say, developing things within the system for now, until the
initial developments are established enough that we can reap
significant profits from them.  Which just requries a government that
can effectively promote research - including standard capitalism, more
or less peaceful streets, and infrastructure to sustain significant
urbanization - even on topics it has not thoroughly thought out and
sees may lead to its downfall.  Most representative governments
suffice for this temporary purpose; even a little corruption can be

Guess which option I'm aiming for?

> ---That is a formula for incremental change
> only.
> And essentially change for you only. That is the formula
> conventionally
> successful individuals use now. Do you really think that is enough to
> bring in a >H era ?

>H, by its nature, can't really apply to only a single individual.  It
is not realistically possible to develop most technologies without
significant review by outsiders, else you'll never find all the
problems.  (This is difficult for many people to grasp in theory, but
look at any real development project.  The reason QA exists in any
successful engineering organization - software, civil, mechanical, or
any other type of engineering - is not because of laziness on the
developers' part.)

That said, yes, it is not enough to merely repeat what has worked
before.  One also needs to spread the word about what works, to make
sure that all who would like the power we propose to build can share in
it.  One needs to build these things out in the open, not classified
forever or otherwise with the intent of giving any one group a
"permanent" advantage (even though others always gain access
eventually, rendering the advantage temporary).  See the reason the
open source movement has worked in software, and why imitators in other
fields are starting to gain ground.

> Its not just the current government, its the current *system* of
> government that leans against >H. Voting D or R (in the US) will not
> change that. Protest voting for a minor party will not change that.

If you're so concerned about the government, try running for it.  I'm
serious.  Study up on politics, see what actually works to get people
elected, then run for office - maybe local as a starting point, but
eventually aiming for Congress.  There are already certain members of
that body who, if they were aware of the term, might count themselves
as pro-transhumanist, even regardless of calculating whether that would
get them more votes.  Throughout history, it's often been those who had
the biggest problem with a system who did the most towards changing it.

It's been said before that we need a transhumanist political party.
What might work better is to corrupt the Democratic and/or Republican
parties until they do what we want, partly by spinning our issues to
play to the public.  Who wouldn't want cancer to be cured?  Who
wouldn't want most of us to be more wealthy - both in the financial
sense (through AI-enhanced efficiency of our labors) and
intellectually/spiritually (through greater availability of wisdom, by
any of a number of means that are already available today but could use

> > If you can't answer that question, you might want to stop talking
> about
> > it until you can. Not because I said so, but because it will help
> you
> > see exactly what about the government you would like to change, and
> > what you really can do about it.
> That's rubbish. Identifying problems and suggesting solutions are two
> distinct things. If you can't see the problem, then that doesn't mean
> I
> should shut up about it until I have a solution for you.

Ah, but you were suggesting a partial solution: doing away with the
government.  (Implicit in "there's no way to salvage the current
government" statements, if not explicit.)  I was pointing out that that
is partial enough that you need to flesh it out a lot more - including
and especially, what government you would replace the current one with
- before proposing it.  History is littered with those who focussed
only on getting rid of the current corrupt government, only to find
themselves with no idea of how to rule justly.  (There are many such
idealists today, mostly in Africa, who raise arms against the current
despotic regime that was, in turn, often imposed after usurping the
previous despot.  Some of them took exception to the trappings of
democracy, viewing it - correctly or not - as another despot in
disguise.  The cycle is so old that the villagers can usually see right
through it, but have resigned themselves to serving whoever is in power
this month so they can get on with life.)

On the other hand, if you know what government you wish to have, you
may then see a way to transition from what we have now to that.

> >  (For instance: you see that people are voting for short-sighted
> > interests, and that is putting short-sighted politicians in power.
> No the politicians don't have to be short-sighted they just have to
> be
> longer sighted than the average voter and better at telling the
> average
> voter what the average voter wants to hear than their opponent.

So change the average voter.  ;)

That is the power of what we're proposing, you know.  Things available
to everyone, that change minds by making certain basic facts undeniably
obvious.  Consider, for instance, what happens to life planning and
"retirement" if most people honestly expect to be 200.  Example: saving
the environment so your kids can enjoy it 100 years from now is one
thing, while saving the environment so you can enjoy it 100 years from
now is quite another.

> I can see only ways to make incremental change and the whole
> PostHuman
> era thing is unweildy excess political baggage for even that more
> modest 
> aim.

Is it?  Well, maybe if that is all you talk about.  But spin the issue:
sure, you dream of some far-off day in the future, but right now you
want to promote this project or that group because of the immediate
benefits you see.  You just happen to have a plan whereby that is the
current step towards >H, but of course, at any given time all you can
really affect is the present.

> The current government will be replaced at the next election
> regardless of
> what I do. The current *system* of government is not something that I
> think that I can realistically change. It has evolved to be resistant
> to 
> large
> scale change.

Define "large scale change".  It is fundamentally a government that
represents its citizens' wishes, for better or for worse, and that was
by design from the start rather than evolution.  Now, there have
evolved ways to manipulate those wishes - but see above: we can
manipulate them too.

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list