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Author Topic: From the Unabomber Manifesto...  (Read 1468 times)
Harvey
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December 07, 2011, 04:16:35 AM
 #1

For a man who made such poor and violent choices, he was of great insight:

19. The leftist is not typically the kind of person whose feelings of inferiority make him a braggart, an egotist, a bully, a self-promoter, a ruthless competitor. This kind of person has not wholly lost faith in himself. He has a deficit in his sense of power and self-worth, but he can still conceive of himself as having the capacity to be strong, and his efforts to make himself strong produce his unpleasant behavior. [1] But the leftist is too far gone for that. His feelings of inferiority are so ingrained that he cannot conceive of himself as individually strong and valuable. Hence the collectivism of the leftist. He can feel strong only as a member of a large organization or a mass movement with which he identifies himself...

...50. The conservatives are fools: They whine about the decay of traditional values, yet they enthusiastically support technological progress and economic growth. Apparently it never occurs to them that you can't make rapid, drastic changes in the technology and the economy of a society with out causing rapid changes in all other aspects of the society as well, and that such rapid changes inevitably break down traditional values....

...94. By "freedom" we mean the opportunity to go through the power process, with real goals not the artificial goals of surrogate activities, and without interference, manipulation or supervision from anyone, especially from any large organization. Freedom means being in control (either as an individual or as a member of a SMALL group) of the life-and-death issues of one's existence; food, clothing, shelter and defense against whatever threats there may be in one's environment. Freedom means having power; not the power to control other people but the power to control the circumstances of one's own life. One does not have freedom if anyone else (especially a large organization) has power over one, no matter how benevolently, tolerantly and permissively that power may be exercised. It is important not to confuse freedom with mere permissiveness (see paragraph 72).


http://www.paulcooijmans.com/psychology/unabombmanifesto.html

@HarveyAlpha (https://twitter.com/#!/HarveyAlpha) | It would be foolish to assert that there is no power above mine. Only the attitude that I take toward it will be quite another than that of the religious age: I shall be the enemy of every higher power.
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December 07, 2011, 04:48:03 AM
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For a man who made such poor and violent choices, he was of great insight:

19. The leftist is not typically the kind of person whose feelings of inferiority make him a braggart, an egotist, a bully, a self-promoter, a ruthless competitor. This kind of person has not wholly lost faith in himself. He has a deficit in his sense of power and self-worth, but he can still conceive of himself as having the capacity to be strong, and his efforts to make himself strong produce his unpleasant behavior. [1] But the leftist is too far gone for that. His feelings of inferiority are so ingrained that he cannot conceive of himself as individually strong and valuable. Hence the collectivism of the leftist. He can feel strong only as a member of a large organization or a mass movement with which he identifies himself...

...50. The conservatives are fools: They whine about the decay of traditional values, yet they enthusiastically support technological progress and economic growth. Apparently it never occurs to them that you can't make rapid, drastic changes in the technology and the economy of a society with out causing rapid changes in all other aspects of the society as well, and that such rapid changes inevitably break down traditional values.


http://www.paulcooijmans.com/psychology/unabombmanifesto.html

What's his point?  These seem like ad hominems which don't address any aspect of real leftist/conservative philosophies.

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Jonathan Ryan Owens
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December 07, 2011, 04:49:40 AM
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Um.. Atlas?

Harvey
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December 07, 2011, 05:11:48 AM
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For a man who made such poor and violent choices, he was of great insight:

19. The leftist is not typically the kind of person whose feelings of inferiority make him a braggart, an egotist, a bully, a self-promoter, a ruthless competitor. This kind of person has not wholly lost faith in himself. He has a deficit in his sense of power and self-worth, but he can still conceive of himself as having the capacity to be strong, and his efforts to make himself strong produce his unpleasant behavior. [1] But the leftist is too far gone for that. His feelings of inferiority are so ingrained that he cannot conceive of himself as individually strong and valuable. Hence the collectivism of the leftist. He can feel strong only as a member of a large organization or a mass movement with which he identifies himself...

...50. The conservatives are fools: They whine about the decay of traditional values, yet they enthusiastically support technological progress and economic growth. Apparently it never occurs to them that you can't make rapid, drastic changes in the technology and the economy of a society with out causing rapid changes in all other aspects of the society as well, and that such rapid changes inevitably break down traditional values.


http://www.paulcooijmans.com/psychology/unabombmanifesto.html

What's his point?  These seem like ad hominems which don't address any aspect of real leftist/conservative philosophies.

You'll need to read the actual piece to get a feel for what he is arguing. In essence, he is an Anarcho-primitivist. He realizes that the societal structures of today limit and distort individual autonomy; our natural desires for power and purpose. However, I don't know if I agree with his ends nor a lot of his means... Evolution is painful but that doesn't mean it should be avoided. Humanity is going through severe growing pains at the moment but I think it can be accepted. We cannot properly perceive the future form of our species because they will have an entirely different perspective... What is preferable is entirely subjective... I choose not to care for what happens. There's a time to live and a time to die... With every season comes inevitable change, pain and eventually growth to a more complex and different system.

I choose to enjoy it for what it is. This man... I doubt he can accept. I still have much to read before I can make a clear judgement. His thoughts could be more nuanced than what I am currently seeing.

If anything, he seems to be attached to the unaided form of the human species.

@HarveyAlpha (https://twitter.com/#!/HarveyAlpha) | It would be foolish to assert that there is no power above mine. Only the attitude that I take toward it will be quite another than that of the religious age: I shall be the enemy of every higher power.
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December 07, 2011, 06:40:05 PM
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His main fear is that there will come a point in automation where humans are not so much using machines as pets of the machines.  He embarked in a campaign of assassination to slow this process down and publicise his theories.

I don't know if you could call his writings insightful.  It reads more like the drivel you see in "echo chamber" web forums where everyone agrees with one another.

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December 10, 2011, 08:22:56 AM
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His main fear is that there will come a point in automation where humans are not so much using machines as pets of the machines.  He embarked in a campaign of assassination to slow this process down and publicise his theories.

I don't know if you could call his writings insightful.  It reads more like the drivel you see in "echo chamber" web forums where everyone agrees with one another.

Atlas should blow some shit up so people will listen to his ramblings
Vitalik Buterin
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December 24, 2011, 12:13:11 PM
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Quote
65. Moreover, where goals are pursued through earning money, climbing the status ladder or functioning as part of the system in some other way, most people are not in a position to pursue their goals AUTONOMOUSLY. Most workers are someone else's employee as, as we pointed out in paragraph 61, must spend their days doing what they are told to do in the way they are told to do it. Even most people who are in business for themselves have only limited autonomy. It is a chronic complaint of small-business persons and entrepreneurs that their hands are tied by excessive government regulation. Some of these regulations are doubtless unnecessary, but for the most part government regulations are essential and inevitable parts of our extremely complex society. A large portion of small business today operates on the franchise system. It was reported in the Wall Street Journal a few years ago that many of the franchise-granting companies require applicants for franchises to take a personality test that is designed to EXCLUDE those who have creativity and initiative, because such persons are not sufficiently docile to go along obediently with the franchise system. This excludes from small business many of the people who most need autonomy.

I think this is probably the key contentious issue for this forum to focus on. His general argument makes sense: autonomy is a basic human psychological need, technology necessitates a strongly linked society which denies autonomy therefore technology is bad (to compress 232 paragraphs down to a single sentence). Some questions to think about:

1. What is regulation? We tend to think of it as government regulation, and when advocating government-free societies fall back on some sort of boycotts or community action as an alternative. While such alternative regulation has advantages in that, if practical, it is far more agile and incorruptible, is it really any better in terms of not denying autonomy? Social coercion controls us in many ways, from what clothes we wear and how our homes are constructed (even beyond the rules imposed by restrictive building codes) to how we speak and even think, but does the fact that submitting to social coercion is philosophically voluntary mean anything from a psychological point of view?
2. Is it possible to create a social system where rules of any sort beyond private property-style restrictions are largely unnecessary? It can be seen that as society becomes more and more complex our actions affect more and more people - for example, due to the urban density issue what we do affects more and more of our neighbors, due to technology we have less and less privacy in our personal lives, the industrial pollution that is a necessary consequence of much of modern society arguably affects the whole world, etc. But is there some way to make the situation less restrictive? If, for example, jobs were mostly online it could make people much more physically mobile and able to live beside only like-minded people. Putting more social activity on the internet also helps. In the most extreme case, furthering space exploration can separate people into cultural communities completely (cf. ethnic streaming in Peter F. Hamilton's Night's Dawn Trilogy, if anyone's read that). What can we practically do to maintain the sphere of impregnable autonomy within our lives that we seem to need?
3. (focusing on another argument in the manifesto) Internet communities based on common interests could potentially replace the small tribal groups that we would see in paleolithic society. But for that to happen it would be necessary for such communities to be reasonably small - less than Dunbar's number (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunbar's_number) of 150 - so everyone can have an identity. Is that practical? Right now the minimum size for an internet community seems to be in the low thousands since people only spend a few minutes of their time a day in one, but can that change? MMO guilds with <200 members seem to be holding their own just fine, since they are based in a setting that people tend to spend >1h a day of their lives in, so is that the direction we'll be going in the future?

Argumentum ad lunam: the fallacy that because Bitcoin's price is rising really fast the currency must be a speculative bubble and/or Ponzi scheme.
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