Esoteric Dissertations from a One-Track Mind

June 13, 2007

Politics and Programming

Filed under: meta, politics — codesmithy @ 6:43 am

It might seem strange to provide programming examples with political discussion, but I consider it essential.  Programming is a deeply analytical and detail oriented task.  It is true that the problems that are solved via programming are exercises.  But, the exercises help break down tasks in pieces that can be individually solved.  It is unlikely we will ever meet up with problems as well-formed in the real world.  However, applying logic and reason leads to better answers in that space if you apply it conservatively and humbly.

I don’t consider much of what I write about political, although it has political implications.  It is an attempt to apply reason to our most pressing problems.  The most pressing problems, in order, are nuclear catastrophe and ecocide.  These are unique because they threaten the survival of the species, and also profound because they are wholly preventable.

Nuclear catastrophe is the most likely end.  The proliferation of nuclear weapons increases the likelihood they will be used.  Proliferation happens because the underlying “realpolitik” motive for building more.

Climate-change, as disastrous as it might be, is less likely to annihilate the species because the effects will take place over time.  It certainly will not be desirable.  But, the human species will probably survive it by making some concessions and adjustments.

However, these two problems intersect.  Climate-change will effect socio-economic conditions in a number of countries, this combined with nuclear proliferation will increase the likelihood of radical elements getting these weapons to the point of their use.

Therefore, a global warming followed by a nuclear winter is not such a far-fetched scenario.  These are the convictions of reason based on observation of objective reality, but unfortunately there are a few things that one must be willing to believe 1) our leaders are fallible 2) government actions are better predicted by applying “realpolitik” principles rather than stated moral and 3) on the present course, these are the inevitable consequences.

I believe in fate.  Not in a fate of an individual, but the fate of society.  That there are problems that we as a species must rise and meet because their discovery is inevitable.  Nuclear weapons, human genetic engineering, ecocide, and artificial intelligence are epochs in human history.  I cannot predict how mankind will meet these challenges, although it is clear that global warming is the easiest of the four.

We have the moral principles to guide us through these problems, however that is weighed against rational and often not so rational self-interest.  The hope to overcoming these problems lies with the people, not the elites.  However,  it requires such a change from the current course, it boggles the mind on how it might be accomplished.

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