RE: virus: Power

Tue, 30 Jul 1996 09:06:21 -1000

I wrote:
>>The world would be a much better place if people stopped eating beef
>>drinking alcohol,

To which Richard responded:

>How can you make such a bald assertion? Do you really think you have
>enough information to make that conclusion?

Yes, I really think that I have enough affirmation to think that my
assertion is more liekly to be true than false.

Certainly, I'm not omniscient. It could be that by providing developing
nations with the incentive to clear-cut the rain forrests, devoting several
pounds of edible grain for each pound of pound of beef and providing
children with school lunches which are, on the average, 40% fat is a good
idea, but given the available information I think my bald assertion enjoys
strong justification.

It could be that by pumping the atmosphere full of green house gases we are
saving humanity from the ravages of an impending ice age, but since there's
no clear evidence indicating that such is the case, the bald assertion that
the world would be better off were we to reduce green house gass emissions
also enjoys strong justification. I could be wrong on both counts, but the
current data indicates otherwise.

As for alcohol, it's a documented factor in more crimes than all other
drugs combined. It provides an inflated sense of self-confidence and
exacerbates aggression while lowering inhibitions and decreasing
motor-function. I'm not going out on a limb by saying that there would be
fewer trafic fatalities this Friday night if nobody consumed alcohol. It's
addictive and has long-term health consequences. It contributes to
domestic violence, costs jobs, and keeps people (including most everyone I
know) from pursuing the creative activities they talk about but never
actually get around to doing.

>But the US government's big successes have been in legislating that
>CORPORATIONS do what's good for us. Mandatory nutrition labeling and
>censorship of cigarette ads are delightful examples with near-100%

As I indicated, we have everyright to expect that people (and corporations)
respect the rights of others, and we are justified in compelling complience
with those standards of behavior.

>>Further more, when you deny people the option of doing something stupid
>>self-destructive, you rob them of the capacity for moral choice.
>Nonsensical. How is it possible to deny people such options? There are
>an infinity of possible stupid and self-destructive behaviors.

The point of consensus which I thought we'd acheived but with which you
claimed to disagree was that 'node-level' security was preferable (both
from a practical and moral standpoint) to 'firewall' security. In other
words, empowering individuals with the knowledge to defend themselves from
mind-viruses and self-destructive memetic programming is preferable to
trying to choke off harmful memes at their source. Fostering personal
responsibility and empowerment is better than cencorship.

When you attempt to regulate the memes to which people have access rather
than letting them pick and chose as you have done, you deny them the
ability to come to the right decision in the same manner you did. You may
think they'll flounder, and in most cases, you may be right, but
paternalistic regulation of ideas is not acceptable.

>My point is that if good people do nothing with their knowledge of
>memetics, the militant ignorance of cultural viruses and the evil of
>designer viruses will take over. There is no turning back.

Richard, you know that I would never suggest that good people do nothing
with their knowledge of memetics.

Take care, all. -KMO


You will propagate the C memetic complex.
You will be Conscious of your role as memetic vector.
Resistance is futile.