Re: Anders response to "Politics of Transhumanism"

From: Forrest Bishop (
Date: Tue Jan 15 2002 - 18:40:03 MST

Re: "Politics of Transhumanism" by J. Hughes


"Contemporary transhumanism has grown out of white, male, affluent, American
Internet culture, and its political perspective has generally been a
militant version of the libertarianism typical of that culture. Nonetheless
transhumanists are becoming more diverse, with some building a broad liberal
democratic philosophic foundation in the World Transhumanist Association.
The essay also discusses the emergence of neo-Nazi and radical democratic
transhumanism. For transhumanism to achieve its goals it needs to distance
itself from its anarcho-capitalist roots and its authoritarian mutations by
clarifying its commitments to liberal democratic institutions, values and
public policies. By embracing political engagement and the use of government
to address equity, safety and efficacy concerns about transhuman
technologies, transhumanists are in a better position to attract a larger,
broader audience."

> Anders -
> Wonderful, and thank you. A lot to think about. A
> brief response: I had two goals with the piece, first
> descriptive and then to draw normative conclusions. I
> think your essay concurs that many >Hists, including
> Max More a couple days ago on this list and yourself
> in the past, defined >Hism more narrowly, permitting a
> broad group of ideologies to associate with them. My
> normative argument was that >Hists who share liberal
> democratic values should organize to make sure that
> those values shape the most visible expressions of
> transhumanism. You argument is that >Hists should
> recognize that there are core political values (i.e.
> liberty, equality and solidarity) embedded in the
> trajectory of humanist Enlightenment values which give
> rise to >Hism. I agree, and I think this makes the
> liberal democratic versions/expressions of
> transhumanism a more natural memetic evolution. I
> think this is a fruitful line of argument, but I
> harbor Wittgensteinian(2) suspicions that we may just
> be playing a word game, and that the memes will
> recombine in ways that violate their pedigrees and
> clades.
> Second, you suggest that the value on individual
> liberty in the liberal democratic tradition, and
> thereby - you argue - inside the >Hist definition,
> would suggest a global order tolerating a wide variety
> of social orders and in which any individual can leave
> a nation for a nation more to their liking. Although I
> generally agree with this principle, another principle
> of liberal democracy is solidarity - the obligation to
> protect the human rights of other and uplift the
> downtrodden. In terms of global order I think this
> requires evolution towards a stronger global
> government which can, for instance, make sure that the
> Declaration of Human Rights are enforced in every
> country. These solidaristic obligations are paired
> with social contractual responsibilities to support
> the institutions that enable them. In other words, I
> think being subject to law and taxation can be argued
> from basic liberal democratic principles so long as
> one acknowledges more libdem principles (i.e. equality
> and solidarity) than liberty. Even starting from
> liberty, as Amartya Sen has effectively argued, one
> can still arrive at the need for a social democratic
> state.
> the dark side of >H tech
> makes clearer than ever the need for global governance
> and collective security.

Than you for this deeply resonant and progressive discourse. The selfless sharing fosters mutual respect and tolerance of our
interdependent social consciousness, moral education, and character formation.

   A didactic solidarity in the network of social environments of diversity found in the normative shared values of multicultural
unity insures a just distribution of global resources through negation of internal contradiction. The institutions of civil society
and public policy are where good citizens ponder the great moral, legal and social issues of our time: synthesizing the dialectic
struggle in the unity of opposites that precipitates the transformation of society upon democratic lines.

   Social contractual duties in the community of humankind entail supporting these institutions, enabling them to facilitate
workers' acheiving emancipation from the pseudo-intellectual obfuscations of sound-money nuts and anti-income-tax-slavery cranks.
Virtuous actions of income redistribution in service of the class nature of liberal democratic principles create a humane and
democratic culture from the body politic itself. The holistic mixmaster of catagorical imperative draws from broad consensus and
shared moral and legal traditions to form communal values which must be judged by external and overriding criteria, based on shared
human experience, i.e. work will sweep away the conditions for the existence of class antagonisms and set them free. Those who
neglect these duties should explicitly, through the vulgar devices of implied association and traducement, be cast as poor members
of the community.

   Society's indivisible concern is a passion to play on history- liberating the normless individual from the word-signs of mask and
guise; sharing in the freedom of action of the gestalt. A moral responsibility to vulnerable community members obligates the body
politic to foment a regime of rights and commitments under international law. The solidarity of internationalist global government
is a social struggle to liberate communal responsibility from the animalistic imperialism of national particularism.

   Scholarly consensus enables supreme control of the general will in preparing for submission to the shared aspirations of a
participatory global security landscape. Facilitation of cooperation rests on a solid foundation of collective strength under the
generous, charismatic leadership of esteemed public policy savants in order to actualize the infrastructure of a global governance

Forrest Bishop
Chairman, Institute of Atomic-Scale Engineering

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