[ExI] Be nice to leftists

William Flynn Wallace foozler83 at gmail.com
Sat May 24 14:40:19 UTC 2014

For me, it's about morality, the larger question.

Few books that are called 'seminal' truly are, but this one is:

The Righteous Mind, by Jonathan Haidt (social psychologist).  In a sense,
he takes morality and does a factor analysis of it, coming up with these

Care (uncompassion to Ben), Fairness, Loyalty, Sanctity, and Authority.

People on the right use all of these fairly equally, but liberals treat
Care and Fairness as major factors and the others as rather minor or even
unimportant (or actually bad, such as the libertarians' attitude towards

Easily read by any college grad, this book will expand your understanding
of morality - guaranteed.  bill w

On Sat, May 24, 2014 at 1:22 AM, Ben Goertzel <ben at goertzel.org> wrote:

> Hi Rafal,
> On Fri, May 16, 2014 at 12:48 PM, Rafal Smigrodzki
> <rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Some time ago I posted here about what my understanding of "leftism" -
> that
> > it is a current manifestation of the age-old human obsession with
> status. A
> > leftist is a status-obsessed (i.e. envious) hypocrite, predictably
> attracted
> > to the hierarchies of government bureaucracy, academia and mainstream
> > journalism.
> I don't normally read this list but this caught my eye for some reason..
> I guess I qualify as a "leftist" if I have to be projected onto the
> left/right axis.  Certainly I'm 100x more leftist than rightist...
> I hate bureaucracy; I quit academia because I got sick of the
> bureacracy and the status-seeking BS; and I don't care for mainstream
> media much either...
> However, I come from many generations of leftists, even plenty of
> Marxists among my grandparents etc. (though my parents abandoned any
> form of strict Marxism in the late 70s on observing the reality of the
> Soviet Union, they remain fairly leftist...)
> 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.
> 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...
> If anyone on the list is interested in some thoughtful writing in the
> leftist direction I'd suggest
> -- George Lakoff's various writings on the topic, e.g. Moral Politics
> -- Piketty's recent master work "Capital in the 21st Century" (which
> is flawed in ignoring exponential technological acceleration, but is
> an excellent, thoroughly data-driven summary of the economics of the
> last few hundred years.  Turns out the data is way more supportive of
> leftist than rightist thinking...)
> Rafal, it goes w/o saying I have great respect for your scientific
> work and your general stature as a creative, proactive human being.
> But I can't agree w/ your view on leftism.  IMO in a world without
> leftist activiism throughout the 20th century, but with other
> political factors roughly the same, the Western nations would now be
> far more extremely owned by small egocentric elites, and science and
> tech progress would be much less than they have been, as well as total
> human happiness being much lower.   (Of course, I can also envision
> other systems of gov't far better than anything current left or right
> politicos imagine.  But that's a different story.) .... Similarly,
> going forward toward Singularity, if we subtracted leftist
> thinking/attitudes and left other sociopolitical factors roughly the
> same, we'd end up with a pre-Singularity period in which small selfish
> elites simply owned everything and manipulated the Singularity path
> for their own personal good.  This would lead to all sorts of dangers
> and problems beyond the intrinsic moral aspects of uncompassion and
> unfairness...
> -- Ben G
> ;)
> Ben
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