Re: virus: Project #1: Virus Maxims

Twirlip of Greymist (
Mon, 28 Aug 1995 14:20:58 -0700 (PDT)

/ Where have I seen, "Neither rule, nor be ruled" ?

What level are these "Maxims" supposed to be coming from, anyway? Are
their our axioms or little sound bites of our thinking?

Because "Neither rule" ignores the question "Why not, if I can get away
with it?" If I somehow have 100x the power of the entire human race is
Virus telling me I shouldn't push the race around? I'm sure you'd like
to be able to, given that situation, but if I'm rational, how? Why not
use power if one has it? While I'm pretty libertarian in instictive
attitude the natural law stance of the LP has bothered me. I've
recently been working from predatory ethics:

1) I consider my survival to be good. (Observed fact.)
2) There is no a priori reason I can't do whatever I want, to whomever I
want. (Un[dis]provable or observable?)
3) In the absence of other information, other intelligences are probably
somewhat like me. (Assumption.) Therefore, they also feel they can do
whatever they want.
4) Cautiously, I can assume they're as well armed as I am. (Assumption.)

Therefore, I shouldn't mess with them or what they care for, because
they aren't worth a large risk of getting myself killed. Also, I should
wave my force around, to convince them that they don't want to exploit
me. Instant libertarianism.

Supporting evidence: how large predators interact in the wild (property
delineations, ritualized aggression) and the success of Tit-for-tat in
game theory. Other conclusions: defending armies can make sense,
because you want to band together to scare off the agressor; if you
don't, you may get mowed down anyway. Attacking armies do not make
sense, because any individual in that army runs a good risk of being
killed for something that shouldn't be worth that much to him. Being
the highly visible leader of such an army makes even less sense.

It's a philosophy that leads to nastier moral conclusions than I care to
actually execute, but it's the only way I've found to justify normal
libertarian attitudes logically from what I consider first principles.
Sort of what Objectivism should have been, or would have if it had been
based on pragmatism instead.

-xx- Damien Sullivan X-) <*>

Long long ago in this ancient land
A battle took place where two hill now stand.
And on the plain there lay the slain
For neither the battle was won.