Re: Why democratic transhumanism

From: Francois-Rene Rideau (
Date: Thu Apr 26 2001 - 03:39:20 MDT

On Thu, Apr 26, 2001 at 01:02:45AM -0400, James J. Hughes wrote:
> The basic disagreement between libertarians, radical/social democrats and
> folks in between is over what proportions or forms of liberty, equality,
> solidarity and democratic representation are most likely to bring about the
> full development of human potential.

Not quite; liberals (US: libertarians) deny the very validity
of the socialist concept of equality of outcome. They want equality
of rights before law, but that's it. As for solidarity, they know
that being taken money by force to give it to other not only isn't
solidarity, but kills solidarity. Finally, while they approve
democratic representation as a way to limit existing powers, they
loathe the democratic myth of the unlimited power of parliaments
in the name of the will of the people.

Social/democrats (US: liberals) have no consistent reasonable ideology
to speak of; what they have is a collection of myths that are emotionally
linked rather than rationally linked. Common myths include equality of
outcome, absolute democracy, the (self-defeating) principle of lack of
principles, confidence in the well-meaning of government, "acquired rights",
social justice, the duty of government to intervene on the international
scene, etc. They have no meaningful notion of liberty.

Liberals (US: libertarians) have a long tradition of critical rational
thought that can be traced back to Locke (or Aristotle, or Lao Tse, some
say), and the classic texts of the past can be read without shame, defying
the centuries to come with the validity and relevance of their vision.
Socialists (US: liberals) have a long tradition of pseudo-rational religious
superstition, rooted in deep ignorance of previous generations; their
classic texts are laughable in the way they contradict themselves, each
other, today's socialism du jour, and worse of all, life itself.

> A. A high-tech egalitarian society is a sexier organizing vision than a
> pastoral, Luddite society
High-tech egalitarian is an oxymoron. The very root of technical progress
necessary for a high-tech is in division and specialization of labour,
selection of the fittest, etc. Inequality is the very potential for progress.
[What was that quote that run like that, already:
"if two people are equal, one of them is redundant"?]

> B. Its far less depressing to see technology as
> a terrain of struggle for democratic opportunities
> than as a monolithically corporate juggernaut whcih
> we can only throw our bodies in front of
You've got things mixed up. Democratic struggle is basically a gang war
to see who'll get the protection racket. Government is violence.
Corporate juggernauts don't exist. Corporations can't force you to buy
their services; if they "exaggerate" in any way, competition will wipe
them off, unless prevented by government.

> C. The fullest expression of automation and intelligence enhancement will
> make possible the egalitarian visions of Marx and other utopian socialists,
Like women being equally shared between men (Plato)?
Like making virtuous humans devoid of the vices of old (Plato, Robespierre,
Pol Pot)? Like people living in egalitarian phalansteres (Fourier)?
Like making towns undistinguishable from country (Marx/Engels' Manifesto)?
Like people working for nothing under the fear of being publicly humiliated
(Blanc)? Like industry being militarized (Blanc, Marx, Lenin, Trotzky, etc.)?

Are you just talking out of ignorance, or have you been seduced by any
particular utopy?

> by eliminating necessary labor,
What's "necessary labor"? Necessary for what? to whom?
"necessary" as opposed to what? What's your dreamed opposite like?
Lenin himself said that people who won't work will not get food.

> and with it the "relations of production"
> that gave rise to classes and oppression.
You've been brainwashed.

> Genetic and body control will also
> blur and eliminate race and gender distinctions.
Genetic and body control are tools. They will serve whatever purpose
people use them for. If you let people free, they will be used in
so many various individual ways as to enhance and multiply distinctions
between individuals, and in particular race and gender distinctions.
People will take advantage of their existing genetic basis when trying
to push forward towards new directions, so there will be divergence
and diversity.

> A. Defending transhumanist technologies, and the right to use them, can only
> be achieved by engaging in the political process, and not by diddling around
> with anti-political abstractions like Privately Produced Law
The words Political and Right are antinomous. Diddling around is sure bad,
and there is a need to fight for our ideas on the public place, but your
saying that anti-political abstractions only serve this non-purpose
is but an insulting rhetorical form. <insert here a more direct and
cruder insult regarding your having a sexual relationship with yourself>.

> B. The chief driver of Luddite passions is fear of the unaccounatble rich,
> powerful and corporations using technology to disempower people.
First answer these questions: Just what is accountability?
When should anyone be accountable of anything to anyone else?
Then wonder to yourself what makes corporations unaccountable:
how is this accountability question specific to corporations?
Isn't it governmental legislation that created unaccountability,
where there previously was accountability?

> C. Anarcho-capitalism is bad social science.
Who said it was social science, to begin with?
Do you even know what anarcho-capitalism is?

> All markets require social construction, and the rule of law.
FOO! If by "construction", you mean human design, then NO, they don't.
Ever heard of emergent structures? of spontaneous order?
I particularly invite you to read nobel-prize winner F.A. Hayek's
"Law, Legislation and Liberty" with regards to the myths of
"social construction".

Also, anarcho-capitalists are FOR the rule of law;
it is statists who negate of rule of law.
Government, in its many foocratic and bararchic forms is
the very antithesis of the rule of law:
giving power to a few to defeat whatever law usually applies to everyone,
and to impose their own laws through a monopoly of violence.
They even corrupt the meaning of the word "law".

Anarchy means absence of leader, leadership, or any kind of power by people
over other people. It's neither anomy (absence of law),
nor chaos (absence of structure at all). Note that left-anarchists are
not real anarchists, since they want some committees to impose their
collectivist views on everyone.

> Look at "capitalist" Russia in the 1990s for an example of the efficiency
> of a market without a functioning state,
> and Germany and Sweden for examples of
> the productivity and social well-being that can be achieved by social
> democratic market economies.
Efficiency of what action as compared to what? Starting from what?
How can you compare a society that tries to reconstruct from the chaos
of a communist aftermath to societies that have lived fifty years of peace
and relative freedom, and from such a comparison deduce anything about a
particular trait?

The same gross non-argument as you use could be equally used to say
that germans and swedes are a superior race to the russians,
or that a continental climate is really bad for the economy,
or that coca-cola is the cause of prosperity, fnord, or that the nearer
you are from France the richer you are, or that the mafia is bad,
or that the proportion of "Erik" in the population makes it wealthier, etc.

The socialist meme is a dangerous virus whose means of propagation is
self-righteous ignorance. Like all french people, I've been fed this virus
all my life, so I know it well. The only cure I know is reading and thinking
(worked for me, but took quite some time -- Hayek's "The road to serfdom"
finally enlightened me). Since little of Hayek is currently on the web
(fsck copyrights!), you can still start from

PS: I've had enough flamewars with ignorant morons in the past.
I hope you're not one of them. I will avoid any debate, least it's
based on rational arguments and documented assertions, as opposed
to fallacies and an ignorant's prejudices. Next time you attack or defend
some opinion, I expect you to have read a serious account of said opinion
by someone who shares it, or at least understands its point of view.

[ François-René ÐVB Rideau | Reflection&Cybernethics | ]
[ TUNES project for a Free Reflective Computing System | ]
The people cannot delegate to government the power to do
anything which would be unlawful for them to do themselves.
        -- John Locke, "A Treatise Concerning Civil Government"

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