RE: The Politics of Transhumanism

From: Harvey Newstrom (
Date: Sun Jan 20 2002 - 12:59:16 MST

estropico >
> Because of the undeniable libertarian streak in extropian thought
> (which is
> fine by me, btw). All extropians are transhumanists, but not all
> transhumanists are extropians. The difference is that extropians
> are what I
> like to call spontaneuos-order transhumanists, while many
> transhumanists are
> not necessarily so (see J.Hughes).

OK, I wanted you to more explicitly define extropians as transhumanists. I
thought you were excluding transhumanism in the formula for extropians.

I love extropian ideas, and think they fit in fine with the Extropian
Principles. However, I think it is confusing to *define* extropians in
terms of libertarian politics. If a transhumanist asks about Extropians, it
would make more sense to direct them to the Extropian Principles instead of
the Libertarian Party. Trying to define Extropy = Transhumanism +
Libertarianism is too simplistic to accurately define us. Defining
libertarianism as a requirement or core definition of Extropy excludes many

> I was not trying to write the movement's history. Just reasoning that if
> transhumanism is what humanists came up with when they adopt the
> idea that
> it is right to use technology to improve on Homo Sapiens (the CMT), then
> extropy is what libertarians come up with in the same
> circumstances.

As long as you don't claim that this is the history of Extropy Institute, or
an official definition of what the extropian philosophy is, that is fine.
However, if you tell people that this is what Extropy Institute actually
did, or this is how extropians are actually defined, you will just confuse
people including the people you are attempting to define.

> Anyway,
> talking about the history of extropy, if you had to pick a single
> individual
> behind the birth of the extropian philosophy, who would you pick?
> Exactly.
> Max More's early libertarian writings are still available on the web.

Max More's early cryonics writings, uploading writings, self-modification
writings, space-travel writings, and other transhumanist writings are also
on the web as well. Why do you not define him primarily as a transhumanist?

> In fact, the recognition that the CMT is not
> necessarily bound
> to any particular idelogy could help avoiding the continuos
> bickering among
> tranhsumanists of different political convictions so typical of the list.

I agree. I don't think we can pin a single political viewpoint as a
defining factor. We are all extropian transhumanists here (mostly), but we
have too many political viewpoints to try to define only one as being the
only extropian option. There are liberal, conservative, anarchist,
libertarian, apolitical, and other kinds of extropians and transhumanists.

Harvey Newstrom, CISSP <>
Principal Security Consultant, Newstaff Inc. <>
Board of Directors, Extropy Institute <>
Cofounder, Pro-Act <>

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