Yes, I know it's an unfair description, but I couldn't resist. ;)

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how the fuck anyone didnt counter this easy a hogwash.

Maybe you're the only "Objectivist" around.

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I know its a necro but how the fuck anyone didnt counter this easy a hogwash. No they dont attack the poor in Atlas Shrugged, they escape and move away from the envious and parasitical who would steal and abuse them. Leaving them behind is in no way a moral equilevant of murdering them. But you feel that way because you refuse to work harder tham you could not because you cant and that makes you an immoral person.

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Imagine a movie depicting a hero upset by some lazy poor folks on welfare, who then goes on a rampage murdering poor folks. Would this be celebrated as a thoughtful message movie, reminding us all of the importance of hard work? Not a chance.

It's called Atlas Shrugged.

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there is a vast space of possible societies, with an incredible number of possible dimensions. Yes, humans are primed to watch for and resist dominance, and to be suspicious of outsiders. And yes maybe more equal societies are better, all else equal. But an overwhelming focus on that one dimension of inequality risks neglect of the other dimensions, which taken together are vastly more important

Two things

- What does Robin mean by "that one dimension"? If he means dominance, isn't that a decent proxy for all the other dimensions of inequality? I don't understand this passage, someone (preferably Robin) please explain.

- The way Robin qualifies his opinion of equality makes me think he doesn't believe it's important in itself, but rather only in terms of other values. Is my perception correct? If so, this is a terrible view of equality. In my view, equality is one of the important measures of a decent society. .

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Been thinking about this a fair amount all weekend.

One way to think about it is how would we feel if, say, modern Englishman secretly ruled over 1700s India - they had given the Indians the illusion that they have a democracy of their own, but, instead, the English were running the country. And due to advanced technology, they were able to increase India's access to the rest of the world's trade networks. They were also selling off India's natural resources, distributing some of that money to Indians, but keeping some for themselves.

Now, the question becomes - how much - how much are the Indians being lifted out of squalor into a better life? How much is England taking in order to provide this lifting? If India is growing 1% faster in the short term, but England is ravaging the natural resources, and India will be a hollowed-out shell in another 10 years, and shrink 25% each year until everyone's dead, that's hardly a good tradeoff for India.

And the fact is - we don't know, because there's no transparency. And if we did know, we would almost universally recognize that the long term consequences are terrible.

A second argument - in the case where humans control other humans - the humans can interbreed - the elites impregnate the locals, and new people are born with some of the genetic traits of the elites. Over time, there would be propagation of new and valuable genes across the elite/peasant barrier. A long-term equalizing force. Not at all viable with aliens.

A third argument - human elites have at least some legitimate concern for the viability of the planet, and the terran species upon it. Even if they are rapacious, most humans, especially those with children, have a strong incentive not to 'shit where they eat'. This is manifestly untrue of an interstellar species, who has absolutely no disincentive to massively pollute and corrupt the planet, and then happily move on when the Earth is no longer able to support complex life. We'll be extinct, and they'll be rich. In that scenario, it doesn't matter how much they lift us out of poverty, if the entire species is dead as a result.

You put too much faith in the benevolence of these aliens, Dr. Hanson - I personally feel that if the aliens can't show themselves openly, they are making decisions that they would rather keep hidden, because they are not in our best interest.

Having said all of this - if the alien species was only modestly exploitative, but was contributing significant growth to human technology and human capability, and had no plans to rape the planet and run, but to run a business, and lift humans out of intergalactic poverty as a side-effect, then, and only then (IMO) is there an argument that perhaps justifies this kind of intervention. But even so, it seems strained, at best.

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I lol'd.

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It should also be noted that Nada decided to murder the aliens only because he was all out of bubblegum.

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Anyonmous and nazgulnarsil, do you really think mass murder is the appropriate punishment for subliminal advertising?

Is mass murder really how one should respond if you dislike advertisers trying to “warp” your values to get you to buy their products?

Obtuse beyond all belief and all credibility! Let me spell things out for you, although I am surprised that I have to do so.

"They" were ruling the world with deceit and downsizing the very lives of the masses they deceived -- killing the poor by economic means, first in the third world, then in the first world. They were lying about what was going on the whole time, and selling to the first world the illusion of permanent luxury and wealth afforded by the rapid depletion and pollution of the world's resources, until the day comes when it is no longer the most profitable thing going.

They had intentionally created a world order in which not everyone can win, but when we sell out and join the bad guys, then and only then can we "win" and have nice things.

Since you are wise enough about man's nature to make this statement:

The movie seems to suggest that one should murder all non-kin elites in any society where elites use psychological tricks to keep non-elites from feeling outraged and going on murderous rampages. (Like pretty much every society ever known.)then you ought to be wise enough to know that murder has always been "fair" means for men to use in matters of politics and rule. You know that we all say we don't condone murder or mass murder, but you also know that psychological tricks and murder are facts of human society as it has been and as it is today. (You only state that rulers use tricks, but I assume you are savvy enough to realize that they use murder as well.) You ought to be able to see that the alien rulers in the movie used direct murder and also economic disenfranchisement to stay on the top, forever.

So I think it is being obtuse of you, yourself, Robin Hanson, to point out the imparity between how people might perceive a role-reversed "mass-murder movie" and how they generally perceive the message of They Live. Would people appreciate a movie in which elites go on a vengeance killing spree against the poor? No, surely not as many people as who appreciated They Live. Your point stands there, per se.

I, for one, could appreciate such a movie, would not revile the premise, and would acclaim the movie if earned it in its execution. Maybe the world would be a better place if the strong openly went to war to stay strong and stay in power, and saw the poor as inhuman aliens. One could argue that this is the premise of Atlas Shrugged, but I don't think that is quite so -- and I have digressed too far here.

What I was trying to say is that the ruling aliens were in fact killing the people they ruled, in the third world first before turning on the first world's citizens. I would also gratuitously admit that when Nada decides to shoot up every alien inside of a bank, he is not being a noble hero or role model. But on the whole, Nada and the human resistance are essentially acting in self-defense, since the first world citizens themselves are increasing getting squeezed to death in the imagined future world of They Live.

I've just re-read your post and I realize I shouldn't be surprised at your obtuse defense of your argument since your argument itself contains this terribly obtuse defense of aliens and elites:

The movie tries to transfer xenephobia of space aliens to elites within a city, even when there are no obvious signs that these elites aren’t paying their way, by being more productive. In the movie, aliens bring world peace, let humans continue to live peaceful lives, bring advanced tech, and integrate Earth’s economy with distant planets to achieve gains from trade.

I give up. There's no arguing with someone whose head is really that far removed from the facts of the movie and the facts of reality. "The aliens might just be paying their way by being more productive..." NO! They are controlling things like tyrants and use deception and cronyism to keep themselves in control of wealth and power, without any motive to make the world economy fair and just, or even just sustainable. That's in the movie. And it's also in reality.

It's such an ivory tower, establishment economist shill way of thinking to call the ruling class "more productive". But, hey, brother Hanson, don't worry. You are serving the tyrannical world order very well with this mindset. Your place at the table is secured by your false interpretations. The rhetoric and general thrust of your argument here are exactly what aliens and elites will reward you for saying, and the best part of it all for you is that you really believe yourself! I can't reward you for realizing the errors of your thinking here, but they can reward you for not realizing it.

So enjoy yourself and enjoy musing on technology and economy in the future. The real-world elites are going to control the technology and the economy of the future to secure the world order of the future as it suits them -- you don't have to be a conspiracy kook to recognize the Orwellian security state that they are building right now, with control of the important technologies and of the money being directed by elites in the Department of Defense, the national security intelligence establishment, the cartelized Wall Street and European financial houses, and the tightly controlled mass media channels. You can't stop them, so I guess you might as well deceive yourself into believing that They are beneficial for the people they rule, that the killing of tyrants is no more just than the killing of the disenfranchised poor. And I guess it's beneficial to the masses of homo hypocritus if you to try to downplay the message of They Live, since they are even more powerless than you are to change the agenda.

As long as you don't put on those sunglasses, brother, you can see the world as you are intended to see it, and you will not want to change the world order. Maybe I should take mine off.

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Huh? Even libertarians acknowledge the evil of fraud.If an elite used deception in support of inequality thatbenefited them of course slaughteringthem is justified. Why is this even a question?

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One of my favorites! I'd agree that it is really more wish fulfillment fantasy that a critique to be taken seriously - seeing whomever is the designated villain of the piece get their violent comeuppance shouldn't generally be taken as an assertion that summary execution by the hero would be justifiable in the real world - but if you're going to, or going to respond to people who do, it does remind me of a bit in the The Life of Brian: "Apart from better sanitation and medicine and education and irrigation and public health and roads and a freshwater system and baths and public order, what have the Romans done for us?" "Brought peace?"

Now I eagerly await your analysis of Torchwood Miracle Day - secret elites cause humanity to become immortal, but also control who gets to remain in existence and who is destroyed.

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Right. Wikipedia describes the alien's motivations in the movie:

". For example, the aliens are blamed for carbon dioxide and methane emissions – "They are turning our atmosphere into their atmosphere." With the aid of human collaborators, the aliens are also responsible for using up the planet's resources so quickly: essentially, "we're their Third World"."

We are allowed to kill sentient aliens that are trying to take over the world using mind-control.

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How do you know that your belief that "If you are convinced through argumentation and an honest consideration of alternatives to arrive at your values they are not corrupt" was not itself planted in you by aliens?

Because, let's face it, it was espoused by people we looked up to in our formative years. It even looks really cool because it returns power to the individual away from the "system"--something that looks really, really good when we're young, intelligent, capable, and powerless. It's attractive and pernicious... which makes it suspect. It doesn't mean it's wrong or bad, but shouldn't we question it?

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TGGP: Yes, there are non-corrupt values. If you are convinced through argumentation and an honest consideration of alternatives to arrive at your values they are not corrupt. Unfortunately, almost no one arrives at all or most of their values this way, so many people hold some values which may as well be planted into them by aliens.

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"And having someone warp your values is much worse than them killing you or putting you in a camp or prison"

I have to disagree with that one. I'm pretty sure you would too, if it actually came down to that choice.

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The Jonathan Lethem book goes into many of these issues. So I do not think it is fair to say it is celebrating the cold blooded murder of the gouls. Reason includes it in its years best books http://reason.com/archives/...

Even Tyler Cowen likes ithttp://marginalrevolution.c...

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