[extropy-chat] REAL POLITIK IN THE WTA... and so long...

Rafal Smigrodzki rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com
Sat Jan 14 22:49:52 UTC 2006

I find that Jose didn't need to use invective against James. Calling
him a "scorpion" is unseemly. However drastically I disagree with his
worldview, and his way of running the WTA discussion lists, there is
no place for such words in civilized discourse. But, to air a few
long-held grudges, let me recount here how I decided to dissociate
myself from the WTA

A couple years ago, when wta-talk was unmoderated, there was a
discussion where Dale Carrico claimed that the "marginal minority" of
the "Libertarian noise brigade" was overloading the list with their
inanities. I actually went to the trouble of sifting through a few
months' worth of the archives, counting the number of posts by each
contributor, and classifying them according to their political views
(which for the most part was pretty easy and non-controversial). It
turned out that libertarians produced almost exactly the same number
of posts as socialists, on a per capita basis. For Dale, a
philosopher, and a rhetorician, dealing with pesky numbers would be a
bit demeaning but here comes a new law to the rescue - wta-talk became
a moderated list, and I was told by James that in the future such
feats of accounting would not be allowed there. OK, that angered me
immensely but I continued posting to wta-politics.

Earlier last year I had another exchange with Dale, laced with
invective and rancor, as usual. And as usual I was defending the
notions of personal responsibility, individualism, and the others you
all know I defend. James told me to stop the exchange, or else
wta-politics could become a moderated list. This really strained my
patience and I cut back on posting there.

Finally, Mr Medvedev started his bizarre quest to introduce us to the
wonders of the North Korean way to transhumanism, such as mandatory
psychoengineering of all citizens (yes, he really did say it would be
a good thing), and as a sideline extolled the virtues of Stalin. Now,
as a libertarian, I do not support censorship, and if it was my list,
I would let the clown post, although I would clearly tell what I think
about his ideas. Foolishness has a way of defeating itself in a
discussion and you can't have a discussion if you pretend it doesn't
exist - however, if a list is already moderated to exclude my
accounting of the number of libertarian posts, it would be a matter of
symmetry to exclude Mr Medvedev as well. After all, reasonable members
would worry about their reputation being tarnished by association,
especially since Mr Medvedev was a WTA functionary. When I mentioned
this to James, he answered he didn't really know what was the problem.

This was the final straw for me. An "apolitical, umbrella
organization" that censors mere counting of libertarian posts, or
defense of low taxes but doesn't see a problem with actual
honest-to-god Stalinist apologia, is something I would not want to be
associated with in any way.

So, here are my answers to some comments made by BillK:

> I think it is safe to say that the WTA does *not* consist mostly of
> dyed-in-the-wool libertarians.  :)

### Indeed, they left.
> After all, Max and Natasha are Honorary Vice Chairs of the WTA, and
> they have been featured speakers at the last three Transvision
> conferences. I am sure if the WTA was a hotbed of Communist propaganda
> they would soon disassociate themselves.
### I did.


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