X-Message-Number: 2597
From:  (Ben Best)
Date: 	Fri, 11 Feb 1994 03:52:00 -0500

    I once attended a Leftist public meeting concerning the quality
of Toronto drinking water. Toronto gets its water from Lake Ontario.
Lake Ontario -- being downstream of the toxic waste dumps of Niagara
Falls and of the other Great Lakes -- is the most polluted of the
Great Lakes. One Leftist at this meeting admitted that she uses a water
purifier, whereas another woman stated adamently that she would refuse
to use a water purifier because these devices undermine collective
action. The second Leftist had the "moral high ground" because she was
refusing to place herself "above" everyone else -- but I wondered
whether this was an excuse for a refusal to take individual
responsibility for her own health.

   Although I rarely admit it in public, self-interest is my primary
reason for not giving too much weight to potential negative social
consequences of life extension -- including pollution and
overpopulation. After all, what good is society if I'm dead? It is also
in my self-interest that such a politically inflammatory attitude not be
publically associated with cryonics. Cryonics has enough problems
without being burdened with the public image of being "Right Wing". For
this reason, I am not displeased by a cryonicist who is a Liberal
Democrat activist like Avi Ben-Abraham, even though he calls for
government programs to pay for everyone to be frozen. (This potential
massive expense could have a backlash in giving governments incentives
to disparage the worth of cryonics.) Robert Ettinger of the Cryonics
Institute and Alcor President Steve Bridge take particular pains to
emphasize that they are not politically Libertarian.

    The flipside of the image of selfish greed on the part of capitalist
individualists is the devaluation of the individual by socialism. If
everyone is just another hog feeding at the public trough, everyone is
regarded as a burden on society. Socialism, while claiming to support
"the greatest good for the greatest number", ends up devaluing everyone.
That is to say, the policies of socialism are not only an economic
disaster, they are psychologically corrosive. Individual responsibility
is destroyed and the view that everyone is a burden on society fosters
resentment of others. Since "others" are not perceived as individuals,
this means other groups. Leftists like to claim that socialism kept the
lid on ethnic tensions in Eastern Europe, but it is probably more
accurate to say that socialism aggrevated ethnic tensions. I don't think
it is an accident that foreigners are more hated in Eastern Germany
than in Western Germany.

    Unfortunately, Leftists control the media, so we are burdened with
the Leftist view of Rightists which lumps Fascist Dictators (who
usually practice socialist policies) with Individualist Capitalists. The
grain of truth in this is that dictators are typically unabashedly
motivated by self-interest (although Hitler's National Socialism made
claims of being in the best interests of Mankind). This could have
serious consequences for cryonics. I understand that just prior to the
Gulf War, Avi Ben-Abraham made public that Saddam Hussein had an
interest in cryonics. Cryonics organizations may one day find themselves
being asked to freeze dictators. Although we do not want to discriminate
against anyone, the political consequences -- and even the danger of
bombing -- will have to be assessed carefully.

              -- Ben Best (ben.best%)

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