Date: Tue Jan 08 2002 - 13:24:44 MST
From: Jacques Du Pasquier wrote:
>I am not sure why the content of this particular article is so
important, but as I've read it I'll add one comment.<
Yes, I understand your views.
>The paper 1) stresses the libertarian aspect of Extropianism in a
somewhat negative way, 2) introduces WTA as a more open and
"reasonable" (= liberal democratic) platform, 3) finally presents at
length fascist versions of transhumanism.<
>The fascist versions are introduced through an alleged obvious
conceptual link with Extropianism. I quote from the paper :
Today, when a social movement emerges such as the Extropians, which
openly scorns liberal democracy, calls for an ubermenschlich elite
to free themselves from traditional morality and pursue boundless
expansion and optimism, and advocates the creation of a new
humanity through genetic technology and the merging of humans with
machines, it is *understandable* that critics would associate the
movement with European fascism. [my emphasis]<
Yes, this is very negative memetic engineering about transhumanists.
>Understandable ? Sure. Many errors are understandable. But I think a
responsible writer should assess whether such association is correct
or is an error, and to do so, he should clearly point out, not only
similarities (making the hasty association "understandable"), but also
the radical and essential differences (making the association an
error). This is absent, or at least given insufficient weight in the
When I "happened" onto this paper while reading WTA's current organizational plans, I was surprised. In that James is heading up WTA and has this paper readily available on the Internet, I immediately took issue with not only its inferences, but also the factoids. Surely if the many incorrect statements are Jamesís personal ideas and not the views of WTA, then he indeed has the right to voice his own views. But, as you, I would think that anyone writing such a paper and presenting it publicly would want to give reliable information.
>The "Open society" principle of Extropian is about making possible the
development of such technologies and its free and responsible use,
while stressing the importance of respecting the freedom of all,
including those not interested in such pursuits.<
How farther can you get from fascism ? (see also quotes below)
Social-democracy is in fact conceptually and potentially closer to
fascism. Someone could write a paper similar to this one, but
suggesting instead that WTA still shows no clear guarantee to avoid
such risk, while Extropy has taken care of that on the
I found this rather annoying. Inasmuch, where on earth could WTA gather its ideas other than from extropians and other transhumanists.
I point that I would like to make is that transhumanism was not founded on a political agenda. Forcing one down our throats is as coercive as forcing a religious agenda on us just because the rest of society abides by such doctrines for guidance. The difference between politics and religion is that we can get away without a religious affiliation in society, but it is near impossible to coexist in society participating in the political system in some form or fashion.
Trying to brand any transhumanist organization with a negatively intended political smear is certainly both yellow-dog and ignominious. Whereas I don't think that WTA would do something this foolish, especially in light of the support ExI has given to it since its inception, and I sincerely donít think this is WTAís intention. But, if the intention of WTA is to say "ExI members and other extropian transhumanits are the political bad guys and WTA folks are clean faced political good guys, then I think WTA could be making a very bad marketing decision.
Again, transhumanism is not based on politics or any political agenda and it would do the transhumanist community and the advancement of transhumanism a great disservice to start tossing political jabs for special effects.
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