Jamais Cascio has a post up on politics that argues we should beat the hell out of anyone that tries to move beyond politics. Here was my response:
Jamais, see here for a rejoinder from Peter. A passage in it seems especially relevant in light of this post, which seems like the most angry I’ve ever read on this blog:
“I believe that politics is way too intense. Thatâ€™s why Iâ€™m a libertarian. Politics gets people angry, destroys relationships, and polarizes peoplesâ€™ vision: the world is us versus them; good people versus the other.”
I believe that enhanced intelligence will introduce differential goals of a different character than we can currently predict, goal differentials that at our current level of intelligence we cannot comprehend. So I would not say that politics would be eliminated after a Singularity, but its nature would be changed so much that our present-day thinking would become largely irrelevant to it.
Let me quote a blog post originally from Overcoming Bias, “Politics is the Mind-Killer”:
People go funny in the head when talking about politics. The evolutionary reasons for this are so obvious as to be worth belaboring: In the ancestral environment, politics was a matter of life and death. And sex, and wealth, and allies, and reputation… When, today, you get into an argument about whether “we” ought to raise the minimum wage, you’re executing adaptations for an ancestral environment where being on the wrong side of the argument could get you killed. Being on the right side of the argument could let you kill your hated rival!
If you want to make a point about science, or rationality, then my advice is to not choose a domain from contemporary politics if you can possibly avoid it. If your point is inherently about politics, then talk about Louis XVI during the French Revolution. Politics is an important domain to which we should individually apply our rationality – but it’s a terrible domain in which to learn rationality, or discuss rationality, unless all the discussants are already rational.
Politics is an extension of war by other means. Arguments are soldiers. Once you know which side you’re on, you must support all arguments of that side, and attack all arguments that appear to favor the enemy side; otherwise it’s like stabbing your soldiers in the back – providing aid and comfort to the enemy. People who would be level-headed about evenhandedly weighing all sides of an issue in their professional life as scientists, can suddenly turn into slogan-chanting zombies when there’s a Blue or Green position on an issue.
Even though Jamais is usually cordial on his blog, he seems to get very aggressive when it comes to the suggestion that we move beyond typical politics. Fortunately, much of modern day politics seems to revolve around human instincts which will become subject to deep modification and improvement moving forward.
To have a sensible discussion of politics and whether or not it will be eliminated or changed forever after discontinuous technological change would require an extensive definition of what we mean by politics, breaking it down into sub-concepts, and analyzing each of those sub-concepts independently. But such a subtle analysis is difficult when political arguments are soldiers and carry so much moral valence.