Politics and Extropianism/Transhumanism

From: Robert Bradbury (bradbury@genebee.msu.su)
Date: Mon Jan 03 2000 - 06:33:13 MST

I was distressed this morning to see Robert Owen's comments wanting
to distance himself from what he seemed to suggest was the messy
muck of politics. I was pleased to see Eliezer pointing out that
we *do* have the painful problem of millions of people a year dying, not
knowing that there *are* other options. So there *is* a moral obligation
in my opinion to be actively pro-political. As I pointed out in the
past, perhaps to John -- as much as we may want to save our parents
and grandparents we may want to respect their right to "go gently
into that sweet night". There are many mornings I get up, stare
the singularity in the eye and say to myself, "I'm really not going
to enjoy this ride". And this is from the guy who schleps halfway
around the world to watch fireworks in the snow on the eve of the
new millennia!

Greg is acting as the far-forward lookout scout, bringing our attention
to and organizing information for that day we may need to confront the
neo-luddites. We can respect the opposition and their opinions but
that by no means implies that we should retreat to the ivory towers
of philosophy (grins to Robert...) and sacrifice those who may yet
be saved. And to save them will require awareness, diligence and
perhaps action. While on the one hand we have the New Mind & Body
piece in the Wall Street Journal, we also have the all "Natural"
products on Swiss Air. The battles are being waged on just what
government researches may do with "our" tax dollars on stem cell
research. Most of us aren't aware of the subtle forces at play.
They are little threads wandering through our society, hidden
from obvious view.

What is the difference between "us" and "them"? Simply, we offer
them the option of making rational choices. We don't try to dictate
what they must do. And yet, some have seen me argue that "Joe Public"
is ill-equipped to make a rational choice between the "Natural" and
the "Engineered". Those who don't care or don't know must be "told"
to fasten the seat belts of their children and perhaps their own.

There are paradoxes here, and it is difficult to hold them all.
We must begin by putting the information on the table where people
can see it and by raising our voices to educate and express concern.
Most importantly we must *engage* in the discussion and follow that
with action. Because if we don't, those who do will most surely have
the day. If we have to call that politics, so be it.


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