There’s been a lot of talk about how the autonomists are portrayed as just too perfect. This thread is about all the official ways that they suck. All the stuff described about them that is negative, or an elaboration on how some things described would be negative. Some will apply to the autonomists in general, some only to individual factions. The variation among autonomists is extreme, and the only uniting meme seems to be technoprogressivism. This is thread is not about what shouldn’t work for the autonomists. You might think that “all anarchist habs would quickly end up in a civil war” or “government naturally arises within any group of people”. This clearly doesn’t happen according to the source material, and this thread is about the official ways in which they suck. Also, remember that one man’s meat is another man’s poison. You might think some aspect of the autonmists is cool, but if many other people would hate it, that is still a negative thing. I will try to keep this post updated as people add more negative things or suggests changes to the ones already listed, so we have one place to refer to. And just to be clear: I don't personally agree with all of the criticisms of the autonomists below. This thread is not about my personal opinion, but about how the books portray the aspects of autonomy that would be negative to some people. [b]Dictating other people’s behavior[/b] It is a very strong drive in humans to dictate other people’s behavior. Many feel that their ideas of how you should live or not live should apply to everyone else, and to the degree that they think that they themselves, the police or the taxation system should punish those that choose to live differently. Even in liberal democracies, issues of dictating other people’s behavior are very common, as demonstrated by the laws and fierce political debates on access to abortion, learning about evolutionary theory, polygamy, drug use, outlawed sports, limits on free speech, binding regulation that prevents people from making many forms of voluntary agreements, extra taxes on fatty foods and cigarettes, etc. This psychological need is not generally acknowledged among the autonomists. The rep system has some ability to regulate behavior (in many ways comparable to the real world taxation of fatty foods and cigarettes), but except for Titan there’s very little behavioral regulation. I’ve heard the argument that “this isn’t really a negative thing”, but the fact is that most people would go absolutely apeshit if they were told that everything was legal. [b]Free use of drugs[/b] Almost all autonomists have no drug laws. Even if the effectiveness of drug regulation can be discussed, then drugs can and will lead to problems with addiction and reckless, crazy or violent behavior while under the influence. On top, drug use is in itself a huge issue for many people. Current day democracies indicate that the majority are willing to spend a lot of resources, punish a lot of people for victimless crimes, and accept much more organized and violent crime as the cost of waging war on drugs. [b]The stifling political correctness on Titan[/b] What happens if you’re not into the consensus culture? You take a rep hit and get to enjoy an underclass life, as these Rimward page references show: 96: a preference for consensus over conflict, and respect for Janteloven (the old Scandinavian ideal of self-effacing egalitarianism) are all powerful memes. 103: because a good reputation tends to be earned through consensus rather than competition 100: Nyhavn in particular has a large underclass of working people who haven’t resolved themselves to the loss of Earth, don’t wish to participate in the Plurality, and won’t adapt to the reputation economy. [b]Lack of security[/b] Rimward, pg 159: Since we don’t restrict tech like the hypercorps do—and in fact, with our open science programs, make it even more available to everyone—there’s always the chance that someone will endanger those around them. Consider how you feel about gun control in today’s world. Are you in favor of gun control? Strongly in favor even? Among the autonomists, you don’t get gun control. At all. Fully automatic weapons, explosives, poison, you name it, everyone can fab them and carry them around and you can’t do anything about it. Hab busters and WMDs might get a reaction, but anything less is generally ok. As gun control laws in most countries (and in the US, the fierce debate about it) show, this is a big deal to a lot of people, and those in favor of gun control are not going to enjoy the autonomist approach. [b]Low productivity among anarchists and scum[/b] The anarchists are listed as working only 4 hours per week. Some may spend their free time on voluntary projects (like we today have open source software and volunteer work for example), but this is extremely unlikely to be even remotely as effective as what you see in other systems. There are some self-motivated people, but is everyone like that, and what when these driven people disagree? To get a large number of people to work on the same goal, in the same direction, with focus, and work hard and work hard on doing boring tasks, everything indicates that you need hierarchy and/or financial incentives. How could it be possible that the anarchists with a 4 hour work week and volunteer work could match the productivity of for example the Planetary Consortium, where everyone is working their asses off to fulfill their indenture terms, avoid poverty, or acquire or keep the luxury and power from getting to the top? Unless the anarchists have magical powers of efficiency, they’re not going to keep up. And this has a real impact on their society. With post-scarcity tech, the individual anarchist is able to lead a pleasant enough life. But think of the long term effects of this – this means less growth, less wealth, less science being done, less engineering perfected, less resources gathered and processed, fewer morphs produced, fewer people getting out of dead storage. [b]Anarchist resource shortages[/b] Rimward, pg 159: without armies of indentured slaves at our disposal like the capitalists have, we sometimes run short on fuels, metals, or other critical resources. [b]Conflicts among anarchists[/b] Rimward, pg 159: Lacking any central authority to force agreement, local schisms sometimes escalate into larger conflicts. [b]Titan’s Jantelov[/b] A powerful meme on Tita is Janteloven - in short, “don’t think you’re better than us”. You’re not supposed to be number one, you’re not supposed to win, and you’re certainly supposed to feel good about being more competent, at anything. From Rimward: pg 96: a preference for consensus over conflict, and respect for Janteloven (the old Scandinavian ideal of self-effacing egalitarianism) are all powerful memes. pg 105: The constant presence of news, entertainment, and sports figures has led to some of the most conspicuous application of Janteloven in the Commonwealth. Not only do Nyhavners deem it extremely déclassé to acknowledge the presence of a celebrity, the celebrities themselves actively avoid being treated in public as figures of note. One mesh personality, whose popularity had waned, quipped that she didn’t mind so much; she enjoyed being able to joke with her barista without everyone around assuming she was being condescending. Especially that last one is telling. Everyone thought she was being condescending when she was making jokes, just because she was famous. [b]Titan’s lack of freedom[/b] Some people on Titan disagree with the limits on their freedom. Sentiments like those listed below is very likely to be shared by many people outside of Titan like Extropians and PC citizen’s above the middle class. Other restrictions on freedom would trouble anarchists and scum. Rimward, pg. 97: [The oligarchs] argue fiercely, if inexpertly, for a system with fewer checks on how individuals use their earnings. They charge the older generation with fostering inertsii—economic inertia. Rimward, pg. 100: [ So I have to vote every six hours, I’m expected to clean recycling vats in the name of ‘community,’ and I live in a cold dark hell hole at the ass end of the solar system? And that’s the good life? The fuck is wrong with these people? I’d rather spend sixteen years as a robot slave on Mars. Then I could work off my indenture, get rich, and own a bunch of pleasure pods with big tits. That’d be the life. This is a bunch of shit. —Nils Högarn, Rebooted gang leader ¬[ [b]Extropian poverty[/b] The extent of Extropian poverty is unclear, we only have the mention about the Pits on pg. 24 of Rimward. It suggests that it is mostly outcasts who aren’t able to work (and without minimum wage regulation and the low cost of living due to freely available post-scarcity tech that seems reasonable), but the size of the Pits and the number of people ending up there is open to interpretation . At any rate, poverty in the Pits and in the rest of Extropia is real, and in particular proper hab space and decent morphs seem like a scarce resource that they would suffer the lack of. Some will be entirely reliant on charity, and they may not be able to attract that much charity money. Like everything else on Extropia, charity will be a market, and the Extropian poor will be competing with other people who suffer. Are they the worst off in the solar system? Is this were a benefactor would get the most welfare bang for his bucks? Even if Extropia is crawling with giving billionaires like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, it’s far from sure they’ll give locally. [b]Extropians screwing themselves over[/b] While anarchists have the freedom to screw themselves over in many ways, they have nothing on the Extropians. No Extropian with even half a brain would ever sign anything without attaching their favorite legal code and consumer protection rights and having their legal AI look the contract over, but some people have less than half a brain. Or they’re desperate, or impulsive, or whatever. Unless you’ve been tricked or coerced, if you sign something that you later regret, that’s just tough – no court is going to free you from your obligations. And there’s no limit. Indenture contracts that are infinite and way worse than what you see in the PC are entirely possible. [b]No service industry among anarchists[/b] A lot of people enjoy having other people to work for them, in some way or form. That’s not going to happen much among anarchists. They have AIs and robots, but their skill is maxed at 40 so you can't get quality work from them. The anarchists have the reputation economy, but favors are never going to amount to people doing as much work for others just because someone else is willing to pay for it, as you see in a capitalistic system. For the middle class and up anarchism seems to give a lower living standard. [b]Anarchist Justice is terrible[/b] Rimward, on p. 157 mentions that the anarchists have a justice system where punishment is based on the opinions of the victim, and the judge, jury, defense and prosecution are all from the affected community (they're supposed to be impartial, but that's somewhat difficult if they're among those affected...) Which is to say murder trials involve of the deceased's family and friends for determining punishment, with obvious problems. The anarchist system of justice described seems to inherently favour emotional biases and cryonism far more than modern courts... [b]Anarchists can be insular[/b] Gatecrashing, and Rimward pg. 158, makes a mention that some anarchist societies are unfriendly and hostile to visitors, because they're prejudiced towards outsiders. [b]Terrorism[/b] The anarchists also include people like bomb-throwing terrorists and murderers like the JAC (Rimward pg. 162 and 45). And we're talking real death here, as the Jovians are mostly without stacks and backups. There's a blurp about them trying to avoid civilians casualties - but only as long as they're not in military installations which apparently makes people fair game, and at any rate the JAC doesn't care enough about the civilians that they will abort their bombing missions if the target isn't cleared. [b]Cooperating with slavers[/b] While many in the Autonomist Alliance will go out of their way to criticize the PC for the use of indentures and call it slavery, they are ok to have the Extropians in their alliance, who are perfectly willing to accept the use of indentures and even at much worse terms than is possible even in the PC. On Extropia you could sell yourself into permanent indenture with all rights waived, and a few years after being traded to a sadistic psychopath you might begin to regret that decision. [b]Inferior military might[/b] It's clear that the PC and Jovians are stronger militarily. The Titans have a decent military, but the anarchists and Extropians do not (which makes sense - without a state to counter the free rider problem, military is one of the things that tend to be under-provisioned) The Autonomists are generally very spread out and will be expensive to reign in, and they have added security from mutually assured destruction, so it is unlikely to pose an immediate problem. But if transhumanity finds itself in the need for an offensive military, it will not be the Autonomists who can deliver.
Official Downsides of the Autonomist Alliance
Fri, 2014-07-25 06:14#1
Official Downsides of the Autonomist Alliance