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Thursday, 19 May 2016

So I Think I Might Actually Be A Conservative

So I Think I Might Actually Be A Conservative
Alexander Gordon Jahans

Whoa! Put the gun down! Before you feed me to the guillotine I'll be voting for Corbyn at the next election, I'll only support the Greens if they keep to Natalie Bennett's anti-austerity stance and I fully support a Universal Basic Income. Heck I recently realised I'm a fan of Libertarian Socialism. I am not a tory and I will not support the tories or the red tories.

When I say I think I might actually be a conservative I mean in the strict dictionary definition:

I remember back when I was an anti-feminist because of the few radicals who took it too far and the fact the term is both self selecting and all encompassing and the moderates I actually agreed with would hold up the dictionary definition as why being opposed to any form of feminism meant you were a misogynist. Hopefully the dictionary definition tactic will work for me this time.

Perhaps this means we can call the conservatives who take it too far and enact polices that kill people conservanazis?

Anyway joking aside I have not been brainwashed by /pol/  I am still left with policy wise and leftwing socially. This is revelation is not any political conversion, rather it is an awakening to biases about myself. Now of course I know that in any spectrum I am going to be somewhere towards the middle (including towards the secondary sexual characteristic spectrum unfortunately) and the fact that I am in a politics group with actual communists is going to make me feel more rightwing than perhaps I really am but this is not an entirely new development. I was of course an anti-feminist not so long ago and I have been well aware of the fact that as time goes by smarter more tolerant generations will come to see me as a dinosaur.

My being conservative in nature is more than just about being an aspiring feminist held back by a lust for a certain kind of woman though. There are the harmless tell tale things like a dislike for tattoos and piercings, a preference for port over lager and pretty much all British comedy over foreign stuff and the fact that despite how much I want a change from a white male as the Doctor in Doctor Who I would be very annoyed if the part went to someone who wasn't british. As if an alien needs to be British...

The reason I am writing this blog though is that I found two conservative aspects about myself that are holding me back as a person and as a futurist. I like regulated capitalism, I wish regulated capitalism could be safeguarded and made to work. Hell in my darker moments I feel I have more in common with anarcho-capitalists than I do communists because at least I know how their system works and in my darkest moments... well you've read about the Bam-Kursh haven't you?

The capitalism I like is all but dead, if it ever truly existed. Now a free market has become a world of oligarchies hoarding the wealth. Which is why socialism or communism terrifies me just as much. There isn't enough means of production to go round. Whomsoever takes the means of production takes the world and I don't trust that socialists or communists will actually be less prone to greed and corruption than the bastards who have it now.

This is a flaw. A very conservative flaw. Better the devil you know than the one you don't. Better a world of daleks than a world where they never existed because you can defeat the daleks. Better a restraining bolt on the tories in the form of the EU that might hold Corbyn back than to be free of them and face the possibility of revolution if the tories really needed that restraining bolt. the free is not the monster you can see, it's the one you can't.

At least when it comes to that, I can adapt. Socialism or communism will become the new normal and it will be a system I understand and trust. I can recognise that my almost religious adherence to regulated capitalism is a flaw and alter my calculations accordingly. Where it is a problem is that I am a scifi writer who is conservative about the possibility of change.

There is a reason I stick to the multiverse and it isn't just laziness and lust. There is this thing called the Fermi Paradox, that says the chances of life developing in the universe are so astronomically large given the scale of the universe that we should have seen them by now. I have some time for the idea that we have been around for such a short time to really notice aliens and there might be technological limitations preventing us from interacting unless we meet them half way. In general though I take the Red Dwarf approach that somehow for some reason humanity just never will encounter alien life, at least not beyond microbial life.

This conservative approach to scifi writing extends beyond the pessimistic approach to the possibility of alien life to pessimism about the possibility of sapient AI. Will AI take your job? Yes, absolutely and it is already doing so because the capitalistic incentive is there. Will sapient AI exist? I'm not so sure. Very smart people who know far more about what they are talking about than me talk about the fear of what they call the singularity or an AI cascade. Sapient AI begats better sapient AI begats better Sapient AI begats... better Sapient AI that is then as a god to us and either we get crushed or it is friendly. 

That's the consensus approach. Sapient AI is coming and we've got to be ready. I don't - well it's not that I don't agree. I trust that these people know more about the subject than me but I have my own thoughts. Like I think that at some point Moore's law is going to come across a hard limit so to be more powerful computers are going to need to get bigger. I think that Sapient AI appeals to the egotism of man but that there isn't actually much capitalistic incentive to do so. Like why would capitalists make a toaster capable of demanding better pay? Even from the exploitation angle of like selling robot lovers to - well lets be honest saddacts like me - I think the capitalistic incentive is actually to create sub-sapient AI that is capable of faking it to a sufficient degree because sapient things can't be sold. It just creates too many problems. I also generally believe that consciousness must grow, that sapient AI has to learn and develop over time and cannot be made.

I am wrong about this, at least I trust that I must be, the conservative approach is not one born of wisdom or reason, it is one born of fear. I don't like tattoos because I am afraid of that commitment, I don't like piercings because I am afraid of harm for the sake of looks. I am afraid of communism and socialism because I don't understand those systems. I am afraid of the possibility of advanced alien life because I don't like war. I am afraid of sapient ai because I don't want to see what that revolution looks like.

I am not a conservative because I agree with policy positions, by reason I am a socialist, by nature I am a conservative because I am afraid of the unknown and I would rather stick with the devil I know. I tell you this so you may know and use that information accordingly in your calculations of how useful my opinions are to informing your own.