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Extropian co-founder locks horns with Orlowski

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Letter From Max More, Chairman, Extropy Institute

As one of the two founders of Extropy Institute, I have to set the record straight on some aspects of Andrew Orlowski's story, "Meet the 'transhumanists' behind the Pentagon terror casino".

From start to finish, Orlowski's agenda shows through clearly. He talks of Extropian "disciples" as "certainly very, very rich", thereby showing that he either didn't do any research or simply wants to mischaracterize those associated with us in the hope of repelling his anti-wealth readers. We founded Extropy magazine in the late 1980s, and later the Institute, while still graduate students in philosophy and could not plausibly be called rich by Anglo-American standards. None of the founders are rich now either, though we're still working on it. By the way, neither is the description "Californian" terribly accurate. I had recently arrived from England, while my co-founder came from Kansas. I am now an "Austinite", as if it mattered.

Orlowski adds a second dishonest piece of character assassination when he says that we "felt entitled to mock the poor or stupid". Really, Andrew, when did you stop abusing your niece?

This kind of nasty sniping never lets up. To conclude, Orlowski indulges in a bit of fun fantasy in which his researcher friend imagines us all crashing and dying in a plane.

For those for whom facts do matter: Many of those associated with Extropy Institute, especially after the very early years and including myself, cannot be described as "libertarians". Although Orlowski's attack on the ideas futures market fails to make a dent, and even UK economic critic John Kay concedes that the market is the "only successful form of economic organization", part of maturing in one's thinking is recognizing the limits of an idea. Such subtleties bother enemies of extropic thinking. Their solution is to ignore subtleties and changes and to continue to mischaracterize and slander those who value perpetual progress, self-direction, open society, rational thinking, and so on.

Rather than wishing Orlowski a fiery death for his abuse, I wish him the fortitude to admit error and to discover the complex truth behind complex ideas and people.

Max More

Chairman, Extropy Institute ®

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