Re: The Politics of Transhumanism

From: Mike Lorrey (
Date: Sat Jan 19 2002 - 20:22:59 MST

Harvey Newstrom wrote:
> estropico wrote,
> > Anyway, what I mean with my little formulas is that when humanists
> > considered how to deal with the coming technological advances and their
> > impact on the human condition, the result was transhumanism. When
> > libertarians did the same, the result was extropy.
> This is not an accurate history. Humanists did indeed create transhumanism.
> However those same transhumanists went on to define extropian philosophy. I
> don't see how you can separate their history or try to claim they evolved
> independently of each other.
> Where are you getting these ideas? They don't seem to match history or make
> sense. You seem to be trying to split the global transhumanist community
> into separate unrelated sectors. This won't work. There is too much
> interaction among the transhumanists. It's a small world, and the group of
> transhumanists are even smaller. We have worked together, shared ideas,
> critiqued each other's ideas for so long that it is impossible to totally
> separate any of us as being totally isolated from the others.

Why Harvey, do you have such an aversion to libertarianism? It is
certainly NOT an anti-humanist philosophy. Some would say that it is the
most essentially humanist philosophy due to its dedication to the
individual human, and not to more abstract constructs such as society,
culture, and government. It is, in fact, those philosophies which focus
more on the importance of the latter than the individual which are more
anti-humanist than libertarianism.

It was, in fact Hayek's defense of classical enlightenment principles of
humanism against the 'man is a cog in the machine' antihumanism of
Keynes and Marx that led to the development of modern libertarianism, as
people such as Greg Burch have observed here in the past.

While I completely understand Max's aversion to the sort of blanket
dismissal of libertarians by western intelligentsia as "randite robber
barons and pot legalizers" that would occur if ExI were unabashedly
libertarian (not to mention being pummelled by Objectivists demanding
dogmatic adherence to the Great Ayn Way), I think that ExI has a long
way to go before it has anywhere near the level of respectability that
groups like the Cato Institute and others of the modern
libertarian/conservative side of things posess. One does not gain
respect by being meek or mild, it comes from standing forthrightly for
one's principles, trumpeting them to the world, and not disavowing those
who would be better and truer friends than those who claim to wear the
modern mantle of humanism.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Fri Nov 01 2002 - 13:37:35 MST