Reason.tv: Author David Brin on Dogmatic Libertarians, Transparency, and Uplifting Dolphins

"The issue should not be government. It should not be unlimited and unalloyed idolatry of personal property, which is the path that the libertarian movement has gone down," says David Brin, a science fiction writer and self-identified "heretical libertarian."

Brin sat down with Reason.tv's Tim Cavanaugh to discuss his recent critiques of the libertarian movement, which he believes is being pushed in the wrong direction by dogmatic followers of Ayn Rand and Murray Rothbard.

"Libertarians need to be reminded that, across 6,000 years, the greatest enemy of free enterprise, of market enterprise, innovation, creative competition... have always been oligarchs," says Brin.

Brin also discussed the themes of his prescient book, The Transparent Society, which, among other things, predicted a terrorist attack on the World Trade Center before it happened. The interview wraps up with a discussion of the ethics of Brin's Uplift series, which imagines a future in which humans have enhanced the minds and bodies of dolphins and made them equal citizens of society.

About 10 minutes. Interview by Tim Cavanaugh. Shot by Zach Weissmueller, Paul Detrick, and Sharif Matar. Edited by Weissmueller.

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  • SugarFree||

    "a voice can be heard, from painful necessity, commanding: 'To a gas chamber--go!'"

    There is a solution. Let a consortium be formed with one aim, to collect names and public statements, with an openly stated goal:

    "These people clearly have followed a pattern of obstructing humanity's efforts to come to grips, to innovate and to solve a desperate threat to our nation, world, children and planetary survival. Their eagerness to jump from one failed rationalization to another has only one common theme -- a relentless eagerness to block civilization's efforts to become more energy efficient.

    "Since there are NO other commen elements to their positions, we shall operate under the assujmption that blocking energy efficiency is their central goal."

    Con't
  • SugarFree||

    This consortium should go on to make a simple declartion:

    "From this moment on, we serve notice. All evidence gathered will go toward building a case for civil lawuits, to be filed in future years, holding these people financially responsible for tort damages done to our nation, people, children, civilization and planet, by a conspiracy whose sole aim was to prevent the amelioration of a deadly threat to public health and public welfare. Based upon the utter consistency of their behavior -- similar to that of the tobacco companies, during their own denial and obstruction epoch -- we plan to reduce some of the pain and damages that this conspiracy will have caused, by seeking civil damages plus major punitive penalties.

    "Individuals have perfect freedom of speech. But when lies are spread with malicious and selfish intent that results in palpable harm to others, the victims (we and our posterity) do have recourse in court. Participants in this conspiracy are served notice. They should step back and view their relentless campaign against energy efficiency in this light."

    -David Brin

  • ||

    Well, fuck David Brin then.

  • ||

    Brin went off the rails years ago. He used to have some really excellent ideas, such as his dislike of hero stories (such as superheroes), which implied that the average person was incapable of taking control of their own destiny and needed some super man to come save them.

    Obviously, he's changed over the years.

  • albo||

    Yeah, fine writer, terrible political philosopher.

    Occasionally I stop by his blog to see if he's going to get back to actually writing novels, and I usually don't stay long before he starts stinking the place up with his pet political peeves.

  • JW||

    What a nice, little brown shirt, he is.

  • tarran||

    Hey David, Fuck You.

    You threw your lot in with monsters who seek to impoverish people to make themselves feel good. So fuck you.

    You threw your lot in with a millennial cult that was supported by the very oligarchs you claim to disdain. So fuck you.

    Your ideas, if implemented, would lead to billions of people having more miserable, shorter lives to help the oligarchs maintain their grip on power. So fuck you.

    You went to Caltech, so you should understand exactly how big a crime "hide the decline" was. Yet you haven't denounced the cult whose opponents you threatened. So fuck you.

    Simply put, go fuck yourself. I can loan you some rusty gardening tools if you need help with that.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Sure.

    But he's getting cited by the right sort of people and invited to the cool cocktail parties.

  • Killazontherun||

    ^This.This.This.This.This.

  • T o n y||

    People citing Watt shouldn't throw around the word "cult."

  • Nyarlathotep||

    CDN$

  • Zeb||

    He's talking about leftist, watermelon environmentalists, right?

  • Killazontherun||

    I feel the same about those who get in the way of energy abundance, and Brin is a propagandist for them deserving of every bit of pain and suffering he thus projected.

  • ||

    That was a lot of words, and yet I didn't see anything about Jason Godesky's theses. What gives?

  • ||

    Why are they talking about uplifting dolphins, when Sundiver and The Uplift War focus much more heavily on chimpanzee uplift? Sure, Startide Rising involved dolphins, but the philosophical questions regarding uplift equality (and the illegal-under-galactic-law uplift of gorillas) was much more extensively covered about chimps (and other elder races' client species) in The Uplift War.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I watched the Aardman pirate movie yesterday with my daughter, and the best part was the monkey butler. Here's Charles Darwin on Mr. Bobo:

    I had this theory. I thought that if you took a monkey, gave him a monocle and covered up his gigantic unsightly arse, then he would cease to be a monkey and become more of a. . .Man-Panzee, if you will.
  • ||

  • SugarFree||

    It won't be so cute when that ape is riding the fully-grown tiger, directing its childhood pal to gut you and fuck the entrails.

  • ||

    You just described the plot to the next Rise of the Planet of the Apes movie.

  • ||

    I hate every chimp I see, from chimpan-A to chimpan-Z, you'll never make a monkey out of me.

  • ||

    Now I have "Dr. Zaius, Dr. Zaius" stuck in my head. Best. musical. ever.

  • ||

    Ha! A Falco fan. You've been outed!

  • ||

    OK, let's break this down: in Der Kommissar he is A) speaking German, 2) running from the police, third, dancing awesomely, and are those labels I spot? Clearly the most libertarian song possible. If you're not a Falco fan you may as well turn in your decoder ring.

  • ||

    Who said I wasn't a Falco fan? Birds of a feather, GMTA, etc. You can have my decoder ring when your able to pry it from my cold, latex clad hands.

  • SugarFree||

    It's like Falco is singing right into your soul, GM.

  • ||

    ♫"SugarFree, WHO! Eats him some big danish!"♫

  • ||

    Impressive HTML-fu with the music notes, Doc. The other day I was 50 char. pwn'd trying to do an accent aigu. Damn Francophobic squirrels.

  • ||

    As given to me by Sparky. Try these. The squirrelz are fersnickity, and clearly should be replaced with rapey dolphins.

  • ||

    Testing with the most badass of characters, the noble umlaut:

    ü

  • SugarFree||

    I had a cut'n'paste umlaut rejected earlier. Bastards.

  • Killazontherun||

    I wanted to send Shrike a snippet from a recent South Park episode where oldsters encourage a con artist to shoot himself, but the squirrels don't allow for embedding. What is this, 2006?

  • Hell's Librarian||

    Also he was incredibly hot. Him in that tux and eighteenth century clothing in Rock Me Amadeus = Major Swoon.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    No one else needs to, you do a fine job by yourself.

  • ||

    The chimp's expression makes me think of Kermit the Frog, so now I'm thinking about having my balls ripped off by Kermie. How odd.

  • SugarFree||

    All I see in his dead eyes is hate for the hairless ape called "man."

  • BakedPenguin||

    Hairless? Have you never seen Italians?

  • Hugh Akston||

    Or Warty, for that matter.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Libertarians focus on property rights because they're an attractive and workable form of emergent, voluntary organization which provably works much better than its alternatives. There will always be an "oligarchy" (if such is defined as a connected, established group of rent-seekers) -- pointing out how problematic they are only takes you so far. Private property and ownership are, for the most part, the solution in a libertarian world to this dilemma. David Brin is at least two paces behind the rest of the libertarian world.

  • ||

    OT: Paul Krugman will be guest hosting on Bloomberg TV today with Ron Paul as his guest at 4 Eastern time. Must-see TV?

  • ||

    I hope there's a Reason post on that.

  • Banjos||

    What a cunt.

  • RFID||

    So...what if you think the best way to "equalize the playing field" is to vastly reduce and/or eliminate the state? Right now poor kids get shitty education. Education is shitty because the state nationalized the system way back in the 1800's and the system has stagnated since. Rich parents can afford to send their kids to private school to get them out of this system. Poor kids cannot do this.

    Sure you can point to non-state actors that have way too much power, but all power flows from the state. How many aircraft carriers does Bank of America have? It would be impossible for these institutions to achieve this level of control without the brutalizing class of the state to back them up.

  • Jerryskids||

    The "liberals don't want to equalize outcomes, deep inside they want to equalize the playing field, equalize the starting blocks" is where he lost me. No, liberals do want equality of outcomes - it is the only way to know if the playing field is level. If somebody comes out ahead, it is proof it was not a fair contest. And since you can't level the playing field up, you always wind up leveling it down a la Harrison Bergeron.

    But this is where it seems Brin is making that basic socialist argument that libertarians don't buy - that society as a whole would be better off with certain policies and that therefore this is how you judge the "goodness" of a policy. If decreasing my happiness by 10% (taxing me, let's say) results in 10 other people being made 50% happier (by using my tax dollars to provide them with foodstamps, let's say) society as a whole would be better off and therefore this is a good policy. Capitalism and competition and the free market should be judged by how much it benefits society. Brin says "that's our job as libertarians - get into the mix, negotiate, fight for the most enterprise-oriented solutions".

    Nope, sorry, that ain't my job. It is your duty to respect my individual human rights enough to leave me the hell alone if I want to be left alone. I do not have any obligation whatsoever to improve the lot of Mankind. If you want me to help you improve the lot of Mankind, you need a better moral argument than a gun to my head.

  • The Derider||

    Everyone has an absolute moral duty to leave me alone, and I have no moral duty to help anyone else.

    Suck on that, Christians.

  • Jerryskids||

    Everyone has an absolute moral duty to leave me alone, and I have no moral duty to help anyone else.

    Suck on that, Christians.

    After thinking about it for a minute, I really couldn't have said it better myself. You have just captured the principle of the sovereign individual, the foundation of Western civilization.

    I believe that I should do what I can to make this a better world, but as soon as you tell me I have an obligation to do so, I am out of here. The mere fact that I exist imposes no obligation on me whatsoever, to say otherwise is to say I am a slave. And you can't be a little bit of a slave any more than you can be a little bit pregnant.

  • SugarFree||

    Distinguishing Climate "Deniers" From "Skeptics"

    People that disagree with David Brin are propaganda-driven sock-puppets, and his allies are pure as the driven snow experts who have no ideological motives whatsoever.

  • ||

    David Brin is a scientist and best-selling author whose future-oriented novels include Earth, The Postman, and Hugo Award winners Startide Rising and The Uplift War. (The Postman inspired a major film in 1998.)

    Really, Davy? You're gonna try to impress me with that?

  • T||

    I would strike from the record anything I did that ever involved Kevin Costner.

    I'd still cass the checks, mind you, but I'd deny any involvement past that.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Well, I've liked him a couple of times. Bull Durham, for instance. And something else.

  • ||

    The Baseball Player Who Played Baseball and Really Liked Baseball?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Something like that. I guess I liked No Way Out when it came out, but I can't say that I'd like it now.

  • rts||

    Lisa watches "The Postman" on a big screen TV.

    Lisa: Ooh, I hear this really sucks. [she presses a button for director's commentary and Kevin Costner appears in a split screen]

    Costner: I'm sorry. I am really sorry. Ugh, ah, I don't know what I was thinking, but "Field of Dreams" was good, wasn't it? Made us all believe again.

    Lisa: Oh, poor Mr. Costner. He tries so hard.

    Costner: Aw, thanks, you're sweet to say that.

    Lisa: Uh ... where are you?

    Costner: [steps out from behind the TV] I'm back here. Hi, will you bring me a sandwich? Please? No, no crusts.

  • Alan||

    He's written some good stuff, and some dreadful stuff. I appreciate Brin's willingness to address issues no one else would in ways that no one else would dare ... but the problem with being an iconoclast is that while it allows one to be right when everyone else is wrong, it also tends to lead a person to being wrong when everyone else is right.

  • Agammamon||

    What is up with authors like Brin, Stross, and Banks that they can write novels elevating the individual over the collective and showing the power of groups working together non-coercively but have such collectivist personal politics?

  • rho||

    They're authors. It's their job to say something interesting.

    Elevating them to the level of philosophers is optional, and unnecessary.

  • SugarFree||

    Constant bombardment by faded-empire socialism explains Stross and Banks, what's Brin's excuse?

    Although, is Brin really endorsing individualism? In the Uplift Universe, every "hero" is really a committee-bred eugenics project. Only after weeding out the "weak seed" does humanity and its client races succeed.

  • ||

    What the fuck are you talking about, Willis? He doesn't do "heroes", and it's always unlikely, flawed individuals who step up to the plate. Just look at The Uplift War.

  • SugarFree||

    The two Terragens agents in Startide Rising are both presented as ubermensch based on their genetic manipulations, the resolution of the plot bears out that assessment.

    Fibian in The Uplift War is rewarded for individual heroism by being given permission to breed freely to propagate his genes.

    Eugenics-by-committee is presented by Brin as an unqualified good. In fact, the only unqualified "bad guy" dolphin in ST is a result of one scientist defying the collective guidance of the Eugenics Board.

  • ||

    The agents in Startide Rising were sent along specifically to guide the dolphin ship, and were not "heroes" per se, just guardians. It was the unlikely heroes like Akki who really stood out. Dumbass. Way to miss the point of the book, though. And even the Terragen ubermensch had to contend with aliens who could physically crush them, and had to use their brains (like when taking out the Episiarch and drowning the Tandu soldiers).

    The Eugenics committees were just the way things were. Brin didn't seem to be extolling them at all. Maybe he should have railed against them more, but he wasn't praising them. They were just the way things had to be in Galactic society. The fact that humans rejected the 100,000 years of servitude for client species was even a direct rejection of slavery.

  • SugarFree||

    The Eugenics committees were already in place before contact with Galactic civilization. It was one of the reason humans were afforded patron status.

  • ||

    Yes. And the treatment of the chimp professor in Sundiver after he loses control isn't exactly a positive thing. Brin wasn't praising these things. Plus the issues raised by the existence of the Probationer test. Brin was raising issues to think about, not saying those things were good. You seem to have really missed the point.

    Brin's original tendencies towards self-reliance, individuality, and freedom were best expressed in The Practice Effect, which was also his first book and the first of his I read. You should check it out.

  • SugarFree||

    What he was doesn't validate what he is. A voluntarily-staffed Big Brother is still going to be screaming at you to touch your toes.

  • ||

    It's a shame you can't type anything coherent, because it would be fun to have an interesting discussion.

    And I am in no way defending what Brin has become. I am merely trying to clarify the themes of some of his earlier work.

  • SugarFree||

    No, you're a towel.

  • T||

    Well, Banks is the Top Men idea carried to an absurd extreme. The Brains that run the Culture are wise and all-knowing, so you meat sacks get to come along for the ride.

    Brin's just another socialist flailing about trying to avoid admitting it.

  • ||

    Brin's just another socialist flailing about trying to avoid admitting it.

    Why bother? Most of his books are really creative conflations of Republic and Utopia. It's not hard to grok.

  • The Derider||

    The minds are Top Men that use no coercion, have no state authority, collect no taxes, make no laws, and abhor war and militarization.

    Except for special circumstances. And the books are all about the moral ambiguity of the coercion used by special circumstances.

  • SugarFree||

    It's impressive how you manage to be wrong about so much so often and on so many subjects.

  • ||

    Well, to answer your question regarding Brin, while he did write books specifically extolling the virtue of individuals working together non-coercively, I don't think he's written about that since Heaven's Reach.

    Banks' thing is that the reason humans can be individuals and non-coercive is that they are kept in line by their AIs. Stross, I can't even tell what his politics are.

  • Agammamon||

    Read his blog - he's pretty explicitly socialist and strong-statist.

    Which is strange considering that most of his most popular works do not portray strong government societies in a good light and the protagonists are usually in opposition to communal-group enemies.

    Heck, in "Iron Sunrise" both of the protagonists come from an Earth where there are no longer nation-states - its all explicitly libertarian with individuals contracting out police and even "national defense" type services in contrast to the society he's working in which is in the middle of trying to stamp out a revolution caused by posthumans dumping hi-tech into a society deliberately kept at a 19 century level of technology (for the "spiritual" benefit of the citizens of course).

  • BakedPenguin||

    ...which, among other things, predicted a terrorist attack on the World Trade Center before it happened.

    It was published in 1992?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Yeah, I was thinking that, too. I'm not sure he was alone in thinking another attack might happen.

  • Pro Libertate||

    What's the point in limited government if maximizing individual rights and the ability to pursue our own individual ideas of happiness isn't the goal?

  • ||

    Stop being so dogmatic, you fucking oligarch wannabe. Do you have a PhD? Shut up.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I accept correction.

    I think most here are aware enough of academia to know that the last degree you can get in a specialty is referred to as a "terminal degree." In many disciplines, that's a PhD, but it can also mean a JD, MD, or even a just a masters degree.

    I always like to think that it's called that because you have to terminate another in your profession before you can actually get your terminal degree. ABD = "All But "Disintegration."

  • SugarFree||

    Do you even make enough money to be in this discussion?

  • Pro Libertate||

    No, I don't make the kind of money that PhDs do, being inferior to them with my glorified trade-school degree that only retarded chimpanzee wannabes would refer to as a "doctorate."

  • ||

    Stop denying him the right to be an oligarch. DENIER

  • ||

    Look, he's studied ambulance chasing in this country, EXTENSIVELY.

  • Pro Libertate||

    That's actually all we do in law school--memorize ambulance traffic tendencies and learn how to bug ambulances. Seriously, all that other stuff is just bullshit.

  • Zeb||

    What about writing unreadable nonsense? That seems pretty important too (to an outside observer anyway).

  • SugarFree||

    All priesthoods have to have their own language, Zeb. If everyone else can understand them, the mystique is gone.

  • ||

    What about writing unreadable nonsense? That seems pretty important too (to an outside observer anyway).

    That's what pharmacology prescribing classes are for. Or were, before the advent of e-RX'ing. For certain RX's, hard copies are still required.

  • Pro Libertate||

    That's due to our lack of education.

  • rho||

    Individual ideas of happiness include subjugation. Individual rights include the right to be subjugated.

    I haven't read Brin's works, but from this interview he seems an engaged fellow interested in uncommon ideas. He also seems like a guy who sees libertarianism as a path towards greater human happiness, and is okay with bending the libertarian clan rules to achieve the greater goal of freedom and prosperity for all.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Well, the one thing about libertarians is that we don't agree. But I get the impression that he's a little more okay with the state than is commonly accepted by most libertarians. However, I've only read snippets of his nonfiction, so I don't really know.

  • SugarFree||

    Nothing screams "libertarian" to me like advocating thoughtcrime tribunals.

  • ||

    Well, that's because you're dogmatic.

  • Pro Libertate||

    There is the fascist-libertarian school of thought, where the proponent wants infinite liberty for himself through the enslavement of others. I believe the Urkobold is in this camp.

  • ||

    I believe the Urkobold is in this camp.

    Boobs can have that effect on a person. But then, The URKOBOLD is not exactly a person.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Homo sapiens trollensis.

  • rho||

    Everybody has thoughtcrime tribunals. Poke around in this thread, you'll find some.

    Though I do find it funny that Brin can be branded an apostate for whatever he's said, and not branded irrelevant for positing dolphins steering interstellar spaceships.

  • SugarFree||

    Ah, yet another person with the inability to distinguish fiction and non-fiction. It must be a contagious brain disorder to be this widespread.

  • ||

    Don't be a retardophobe.

  • SugarFree||

    Whatever, Warty. We all know about you and Episiarch. You two aren't fooling anyone.

  • rho||

    You're the one who takes his non-fiction seriously because he's a popular fiction writer.

  • SugarFree||

    Cool story, bro.

  • ||

    Don't be such a narcissist, SugarFree.

  • SugarFree||

    That's rich coming from someone who thinks this place is just a chatroom, Warty.

  • ||

    Though I do find it funny that Brin can be branded an apostate for whatever he's said, and not branded irrelevant for positing dolphins steering interstellar spaceships.

    I guess we know why there aren't more dolphin libertarians.

  • Alan||

    He's got some interesting ideas - some good, some bad.

    Brin does tend to support the State, but from what I've gathered from his blog he values libertarians as the loyal opposition to keep the State honest and prevent ossification.

    In the "ideas having sex" mode, you might say Brin favors public discussion that is less sclerotic and more erotic.

  • CE||

    Rand made some good points, but her followers aren't the best at marketing. It's hard to sell liberty as being based on selfishness, when most people are brought up to regard selfishness as a character flaw.

    Rothbard was much closer to the mark, and less dogmatic while being even more radical. He counseled welcoming compromise, as long as it was compromise in the right direction.

  • Alan||

    Rand was doubtless trying to be provocative, by claiming a despised character trait as a virtue.

    But enlightened self-interest is not the same as selfishness, and it seems to me that the statists - both right and left - are extremely selfish. So selfish, in fact, that they are willing to use violence and coercion to get what they want for themselves.

  • ||

    "Lapel grabbers" at ~2:45: the new top hat and monocle? It was also fun watching how difficult it was for him to stop himself from saying "Randroid."

  • ||

    Lapel grabbers

    Leave your irrational hatred of judo players out of this.

  • ||

    That was before I realized how easily those little pajamas they wear can come open. If they want to gain female fans, I'd suggest starting there.

  • Sam Grove||

    All political governments are necessarily oligarchical, whether formally so or not.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Why would you want to reduce a dolphins intellegence to make it more human?

  • Franklin Harris||

    So long, and thanks for all the fish.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Why would you want to reduce a dolphins intellegence to make it more human?

  • SugarFree||

    If dolphins are so smart, why can't they avoid nets designed to catch tuna?

    Not everything that clicks and grins and will have anal sex with you using a large S-shaped penis is intelligent.

  • tarran||

  • Zeb||

    If dolphins are so smart, why can't they avoid nets designed to catch tuna?
    Well, probably because they can't see or echo locate fishing nets.
    I can't believe that anything without hands (or similar ability to manipulate things) could be anywhere close to human intelligence. If you can't make tools and build things, human-like intelligence doesn't seem too useful. They do some neat stuff to catch fish, though.

  • Pro Libertate||

    You write this without knowing that dolphins actually have a giant, underwater domed city in the Caribbean somewhere.

    They lost their arms thousands of years ago simply because they didn't need them anymore, having access to computer networks in their brains and having millions of robotic slaves to manipulate things for them.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    So long and thanks for all the fish

  • Pro Libertate||

    Precisely. Various writers have tried to reveal this truth to the world, but humans don't want to believe they're actually the fourth most important intelligence on Earth.

  • Killazontherun||

    There is that twelve thousand yard lichen field somewhere in the mid West square states that is creeping up to take out fourth place position.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Actually, I had that ranked as third.

  • Zeb||

    I was thinking more Illuminatus!

  • Evil Otto||

    I think you're on to something here.

    The first tool-making hominids were probably not much more intelligent than dolphins or ravens (which are quite intelligent). But those two species have probably reached the point where further advances in intelligence don't provide a competitive advantage, while the hominids had the opportunity to develop agriculture and weapons.

  • The Derider||

    There's no reason to think that we're any smarter, as a species, than we were before the development of agriculture. Being a stone age hunter/gatherer is seriously complicated work. Agriculture spread like wildfire because it's a superior strategy to get calories, not because human beings got smarter.

  • Mizchief||

    I don't know about that. I've gone camping cave-man style with nothing but basic clothing, and I've also designed and built large-scale software systems.

    Making fire and hunting predictable animals is much less complicated.

  • The Derider||

    I really doubt you did all of that with stone age technology, but if you went hunting for deer with an obsidian spear, and started your fire with friction, my hat's off to you.

  • Intn'l House of Badass||

    Nevermore!

  • AlmightyJB||

    If dolphins are so smart, why can't they avoid nets designed to catch tuna?

    One of those species is ruled by complete morons, which one? Also, if people are so smart why do they get caught in nets designed to catch fish?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P20COdaoujs

  • Evil Otto||

    SF, humans get caught in traps intended for animals all the time. And that's with humans trying to avoid catching other humans in animal traps, while generally not giving a shit about catching dolphins in tuna nets.

  • SugarFree||

    Or, you know, I was just making a joke. Either one, really.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Sadly, young SugarFree, who barely missed qualifying for the U.S. Olympic team in swimming, had his career ended early when he was caught in a tuna net while training for an Iron Man competition in Hawaii.

  • ||

    If by "caught", you mean "trying to copulate with", yes, it was a tragic and near mortal accident.

  • Pro Libertate||

    That's an unproven and possibly libelous allegation. He was cleared by the Iron Man committee of any wrong or weird-doing. Are you calling Mark Spitz a liar?

  • ||

    Are you calling Mark Spitz a liar?

    Spitz's bris is also clouded in mystique and controversy. Call me skeptically coloured.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Criticizing Spitz in any way whatsoever is anti-American. Almost as much so as spelling "colored" with a superfluous and anti-freedom "u."

  • ||

    Oh, :-P

  • Mizchief||

    If I caught tuna for a living, I sure wouldn't give a shit about killing my competitors in the process.

  • mustard||

    If humans are so smart, why can't they catch tuna without killing dolphins?

  • SugarFree||

    Tulpa's in good company, at least.

  • ||

    If you're so smart, why can't you make jokes that morons can get too?

  • SugarFree||

    I devote too much of my brain to echolobatin'.

  • Jerryskids||

  • Pro Libertate||

    They are a little spacy, thinking deep thoughts about philosophy and quantum mechanics.

  • Agammamon||

    'Cuz dolphins are good eatin'

  • Sam Grove||

    A large portion of their brain power must be devoted to decoding echolocation information.

  • ||

    So we can make them on par with squirrelz. Also, to spell, "intelligence" correctly. With squeals and shrieks. And apostrophes.

  • Loki||

    Intelligent and friendly on rye bread with some mayonaise.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Same reason we do everything. Attempts to have sex.

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    I've read one dolphin novel, one chimp novel, and the one about clay clone people.

    They are all decent, but some preachy-ness also seeps through in all of them. The chimp one to me seemed the preachiest, although it might have just been the most boring one, so the same ambient level of preaching stood out more.

    I try to not let politics affect my entertainment consumption choices. But damn, he is making it difficult. I wish I didn't know he was a envriro-commie.

    Is there another dolphin novel that explains why the shit they found in the first one is so important?

  • Agammamon||

    As far as I can remember - no. The first novel *does* explain why the shit they found was important (mainly for religious reasons) and the second continues the aliens chase of the humans but the arc just sort of ends without any real resolution.

  • Intn'l House of Badass||

    Brin's novels are an inconsistent mess, which this interview goes a long way toward explaining.

  • ant1sthenes||

    "Libertarians need to be reminded that, across 6,000 years, the greatest enemy of free enterprise, of market enterprise, innovation, creative competition... have always been oligarchs," says Brin."

    They've got the motive sure, but you also need means and opportunity, and that usually involves a corrupt state that acts poorly as an agent of its people's interest.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Oligarchs provide the motive, the State provides the method. As the gun-haters like to tell us, you can't get rid of the motive, but you can get rid of the method.

  • T o n y||

    The state will always be there... libertarian policies enable oligarchs. In fact they seem tailor-made to do just that.

  • Nyarlathotep||

    CDN$

  • shrike||

    Ahh, the LP purity police are out in full regalia! Stomp out the near pure! Keep the party tiny!

  • Trespassers W||

    Shriek, it's not because you fail some purity test. It's because you're an idiot.

  • ||

    What does the LP have to do with this, you inbred troglodyte? Libertarianism is a political philosophy. If you don't adhere to the established principles of a philosophy you shouldn't call yourself an adherent of that philosophy.

    Eat a dick, dumbfuck.

  • SugarFree||

    We are in the wrong for defining libertarianism in a different way than shrike. But shrike isn't wrong when he defines libertarianism differently than we do.

    See the difference, heller?

  • ||

    Yes, I see the difference between a semi-retard and a full-retard like shrike.

  • Mizchief||

    To be a true libertarian you have to give a well thought out objective response to every comment you see. Then end it with a crud insult.

    Go fuck yourself.

  • John Thacker||

    "Libertarians need to be reminded that, across 6,000 years, the greatest enemy of free enterprise, of market enterprise, innovation, creative competition... have always been oligarchs,"

    Funny, I've always gone with types like Hitler and Stalin.

  • Sam Grove||

    Funny, I've always gone with types like Hitler and Stalin.

    Neither did it by their lonesome.

  • John Thacker||

    Indeed, but I'd hardly blame either of them on "oligarchs."

  • Virginian||

    Hitler is something liberals love to talk about. Because they can point to all these companies that donated money and did as they were told. The fact that these companies did this after the Nazis had moved to a one party totalitarian state is not important. To a lefty, the capitalist is at fault always. Be it a corporation or a kulak, they always need their enemy to blame everything on.

  • Barfman||

    *barf*

  • Gladstone||

    I am always amused by the fact that libertarians like to "heretical" and such but a "heretical" libertarian is by its very nature more likely to be a statist and a supporter of those in power.

  • Gladstone||

    ...Which according means they are not really "heretical" at all!

  • Killazontherun||

    A libertarian heretic is someone who defines himself as a libertarian, but to colleagues, especially academics, he assures them that he is not at all a threat to their belief system or way of life.

  • Dr. Frankenstein||

    Libertarians need to be reminded that, across 6,000 years, the greatest enemy of free enterprise, of market enterprise, innovation, creative competition... have always been [human nature].
    You can create or steal wealth. Anarcy won't work in the short run and minarcy won't work in the long run.

  • Agammamon||

    But the heavy hand of government will benevolently guide us into a future utopia, because no-one in government is ever a greedy self-serving powermonger?

  • Gladstone||

  • ||

    1. In 2008, you told Reason.com that you were voting for Barack Obama. Do you stand by that vote? Yes, though not for the typical reasons. Obama's top mission, upon entering office, had nothing to do with legislation or garish political actions. It was to end the subornation of the United States Civil Service[...]
    I may disagree with Obama on many points. He likes regulation more than I do. But at least he proved sincere about letting the civil servants get back to the jobs we pay them to do. Morale among those men and women has skyrocketed and they are back at work.

    What the fuck is this wackjob talking about?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Yeah, that's sounding a bit off to me. Are we missing some context here?

  • Gladstone||

  • Pro Libertate||

    Did Obama purge the Civil Service?

  • Killazontherun||

    It has the feel of being entirely pulled out his ass. Yes, indeed, there are shit stains on that rhetoric.

  • Jerryskids||

    "Whatever your political persuasion, even if you are a libertarian (and I once keynoted a Libertarian Party national Convention), and even if you despise "bureaucracy" in principle and wish there were less of it, any decent American nevertheless wants the existing agencies and departments to at least function well, efficiently doing their lawful jobs."

    Gladstone I suspect is not a decent American. Brin is just happy Obama made the trains run on time.

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    I read that as : "American nevertheless wants the existing agencies and departments to at least function well, efficiently doing their awful jobs".

    And my response was, no, if the job is awful I'd rather them be inefficient.

  • GILMORE||

    This man was responsible for The Postman

    I do not believe either he or Kevin Costner have yet made suitable reparations to society.

  • AlmightyJB||

    I liked Robin Hood. More for Rickman than Costner though. Tin Cup was overrated. How bad do you have to be to have all your scenes deleted from The Big Chill.

  • Pro Libertate||

    No. That is, no to that movie being good. I agree with Rickman. If you deleted everything but Rickman, okay.

  • GILMORE||

    How bad do you have to be to have all your scenes deleted from The Big Chill.{?}

    Waterworld bad.

    The Postman bad.

    Costner bad.

    Look, Dances with Wolves = liberal white-guilt wet dream, ergo: awards (see: Inconvenient Truth for re-run of same). Field of Dreams? Awww... heartwarmed. Wyatt Erp? Take Tombstone, make it 3X longer and boring. And lose lots of money.

    I'd compare Costner to Nick Cage in his ability to crank out total crapola films, but unfortunately Nick Cage is in fact a decent actor with incredibly poor taste.

  • ||

    Wow. David Brin is like a slightly more coherent version of shrike.

  • np||

    What control would oligarchs have if not for the state? An entity or cartel can only maintain their power by forcibly stamping out or preventing competition

    Anyways, since we're in the subject of authors, SF (and now vampire romance) author L. Neil Smith just released his Libertarian manifesto:
    http://down-with-power.com/

  • The Derider||

    What stops cartels from forcibly stamping out or preventing competition without some sort of legal apparatus?

  • Agammamon||

    Our guns?

  • The Derider||

    We must end the government monopoly on violence, so there can be more violence?

  • ||

    You must herp before you can derp, o thick-headed one.

  • DRM||

    "Libertarians need to be reminded that, across 6,000 years, the greatest enemy of free enterprise, of market enterprise, innovation, creative competition... have always been oligarchs," says Brin.

    Sure, dimbulb. The people in power have usually been oligarchs. That's because, whenever you weaken property rights, the people in power appropriate property for themselves. Look at the Soviet Union; though it had no property rights, it had an oligarchy that lived in luxury.

    The wealthy Jew has been common enough that it became a stereotype over a thousand years ago. So, if money is power, why did no realms in Europe wind up ruled by Jews? Versus, how many times did indebted noblemen liquidate their debts by unleashing pogroms that liquidated Jews? Don't tell me the problem was that the noblemen were rich; they were bankrupt. What they had was no property rights standing in the way of the exercise of their power.

  • Killazontherun||

    Excellent answer. His claim is ridiculous on the face of it, as in the several dozen libertarian polemics I've read over the past twenty plus years, I can't think of a single one that doesn't address the problem of oligarchs given that this is a centuries old complaint of the left towards classical liberals going back to Bastiat 's time. I'm sorry Brin, but I cannot compensate for your ignorance, only you can.

  • Alice Bowie||

    I hope he's not offended by...I'm a David Brin Libertarian

  • Intn'l House of Badass||

    It's certainly consoling to me, as I sit here watching the people with all the guns watching me, to know that David Brin believes that they won't last more than a generation or so. I feel SO much better now.

  • MikeJL||

  • Jerryskids||

    Christ, that was painful. But neolib's voice sounded very familiar - I think he used to post here.

  • joy||

    enterprise, of market enterprise, innovation, creative competition. http://www.nikewinkel.com/scho.....-c-36.html have always been oligarchs," says Brin.

  • joy||

    "Libertarians need to be reminded that, across 6,000 years, the greatest enemy of free enterprise, of market enterprise, innovation, creative competition. http://www.riemeninnl.com/riem.....-c-12.html have always been oligarchs," says Brin.

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