Re: Why democratic transhumanism

From: Robin Hanson (
Date: Mon Apr 30 2001 - 09:20:03 MDT

On 26 Apr 2001, James J. Hughes wrote:
>Reasons why transhumanists need to open up to democratic thought include:
>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 ...

PPL isn't anti-political, but it is clearly a long-term political goal.
You could reasonable argue that focusing on long-term large political
changes distracts from shorter term smaller accomplishments. But some focus
on longer-term larger changes, political and otherwise, is pretty central
to the whole idea of transhumanism.

>C. Anarcho-capitalism is bad social science. All markets require social
>construction, and the rule of law. Accepting that, one slowly has to
>acknowledge the utility of democratic institutions, although dog knows they
>can and should be made more efficient, far-sighted and accountable. ...

I'm not really an anarcho-capitalist anymore, nor a libertarian, but I
think this criticism is misplaced. Anarcho-capitalism is consistent with
both social construction and a rule of law. The question is *how* law
and society are to be constructed. Acknowledging that democratic institutions
have utility is not the same as concluding that they are the best possible
form of government.

I applaud attempts to think more fundamentally about alternative forms of
government, without assuming that some form of democracy must be the best
possible form.

Robin Hanson
Asst. Prof. Economics, George Mason University
MSN 1D3, Carow Hall, Fairfax VA 22030-4444
703-993-2326 FAX: 703-993-2323

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon May 28 2001 - 10:00:01 MDT