Because the subject of race and racism has come up, I thought I'd post
something I've written for the updated extropian FAQ. This text has
benefited from input from Anders and Nick Bostrom:
What position do extropians take on racism and eugenics?
Extropians place a very high value on the rights of individuals to
self-determination and self-direction. Extropianism is fundamentally opposed
to any form of racism or other judgment of individuals based on similar
specious groupings. Extropian opposition to racism is not a function of any
kind of post-modernist "politically correct" cultural relativism. Most
extropians strongly endorse the notion that the highest product of human
culture is the scientific method and that the 18th century Enlightenment
represented the real birth of a rational human civilization based on the
scientific method and a fundamental valuation of human liberty. Extropians
base their opposition to racism on those values.
Overt racism and even the milder forms of "racialist" thinking are
inconsistent with extropian values of individualism and self-determination
and our esteem of the scientific method and world-view. Racism and
racialism are seen by extropians as both morally wrong and antithetical to
our desire for social progress on the one hand and are also simply
unsupported by any sound scientific fact or theory. In the first instance,
we judge individuals as much as possible on the basis of their own
achievements and character, rather than because of superficial
characteristics. In this regard, we value diversity, especially when it is
an expression of individual personality: On both a moral and psychological
level, extropianism is a joyful affirmation of the potential richness of
human existence. Thus, racism is the ugly opposite of the things we value.
Taking a strong stand against racism and racialism is also vitally important
to extropians and other transhumanists because the transhumanist agenda of
human augmentation and transcending the human animal are sometimes confused
in public discourse with primitive notions of racialist eugenics.
Extropians oppose any program of racialist eugenics on deeply principled
grounds: They are inconsistent with the fundamental Enlightenment values of
human liberty and dignity and are not supported by any kind of rigorous
scientific theory or research. Furthermore, the few misguided contemporary
proponents of such ideas do a grave disservice to the legitimate goals of
extropianism and transhumanism, by threatening confusion of the real goals
of the program of the Enlightenment with archaic tribalism.
Vice-President, Extropy Institute
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