[ExI] Be nice to leftists

Ben Goertzel ben at goertzel.org
Thu Jun 5 00:02:29 UTC 2014

Hi Rafal,

> ### Ben, you are not one of the elite leftists I referred to in my two posts
> (the original one went into more details, if you are interested you can find
> it in the archives). You may be however a cultural leftist, somebody raised
> in an atmosphere filled with leftist idiom who did not become a part of the
> political structure of leftism.

The latter is certainly the case...

>> To me leftism is about compassion and fairness more than anything
>> else.   It's about believing the social contract should, normatively,
>> include a responsibility for society to provide everyone some minimal
>> level of help and opportunity.   It's about feeling it's morally wrong
>> for a small elite, with power and wealth that is mainly inherited, to
>> control nearly everything and take most of the goodies for themselves.
> ### An accurate portrayal of beautiful beliefs....

Such beliefs have led to both a lot of good, and a lot of harm, throughout
history.  But the same is true of "rightist" beliefs of various sorts...

>> Anyway I have a low estimate of the ultimate value to be gotten from
>> in-depth discussion of politics on this list.  I just wanted to
>> briefly speak out against your caricature of leftist politics...
> ### .... but the Pelosis, the Obamas, the Hoffas and other hierarchs are cut
> from a different cloth, and my words are no caricature.

True enough.

On the other hand, the typical leaders of today's mega-corporations, and today's
right-wing politicians, are certainly not "better" from a
transhumanist perspective...

If you want to speak against elite politicos, I won't argue with you.
But singling
out leftist politicians as opposed to rightist politicians doesn't
feel sensible to me.

Setting aside social welfare issues, which wing of the US political bureaucracy
is actively anti-science?  It's not the left....   The left's
"religious" ideology feels
much less dangerous to me than the American right's peculiar amalgam of
large-corporationism and fundamentalist Christianity...

One thing we can likely agree on is that contemporary US politics is a
terrible mess,
and not helping us move toward a transhuman future in any sensible way...

OTOH, I don't really rate the politics here in China any better ;p...
(though here in Hong
Kong specifically it's not so bad, HK is of course owned by China,
though the Chinese
gov't is basically hands-off except for military matters...)

>  ### We could spend a long time trying to vivisect this body politic,
> probably to little benefit.

It might actually be a good conversation 1-on-1 F2F, but probably not
in this medium
and venue...

>But, let me just tell you that from my
> far-outsider's perch, a Che T-shirt does not look cool at all. It's too
> splattered.

True enough...

Che apparently had good motives and ideals, but misunderstood a lot of things
about human society and human nature...

Though no fan of Reagan, I used to wear a Reagan-Che' T-shirt occasionally,
just to be provocative ;p ...


-- Ben

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