Re: The Politics of Transhumanism

Date: Mon Jan 21 2002 - 01:06:01 MST

Until I can finish migrating everything, especially my email, from my old computer to my new one, I have limited access to past posts. On this topic, Harvey has expressed exactly what I would express, so I don't feel it necessary to respond at length to estropico.

On 20 Jan 2002, estropico > wrote:

> Poor (so-called) Central Meme of
> Transhumanism!
> Anders wants to drive a stake through its
> heart and dump it in a black hole and Max is
> not exactly enthusiastic about it:

No. What I was objecting to was your characterization of extropian thinking as equivalent to CMT + libertarianism. I found this doubly inaccurate. First, you seemed to excluse humanism from the extropian perspective. Yet, in my original essay on transhumanist in Extropy #6 12 years ago, I made the connection to humanism explicit. I believe I was the first to do so. You have since said that you didn't mean to exclude humanism from extropy, so this point may no longer matter.

Second, you continue to position extropian thinking as necessarily libertarian. The FAQ has an answer on this, but it's not yet live on the site. I've addressed this enough times, and Harvey did so very accurately. I'll just say (again) that extropy involves self-direction and open society (two extropian principles). Libertarian views fit with those principles extremely well. But those principles do not exclusively require a libertarian view. While they certainly do exclude highly statist views (which presumably would be allowed in the WTA), they are compatible with non-libertarian views where those are clearly intended to support self-direction and maintain an open society.

> This relative ease of “adoptability” of the
> CMT is something we should be very aware of,
> but it is not a bad thing: it will make life
> harder for the emerging anti-CMT alliance

I have no objection to what you are saying here, estropico. By "CMT" I believe you are referring to the idea that we can use technology to alter the human condition. I agree that such a view can and probably will be combined with socio-political views that are neither libertarian nor even individualistic or democratic. Nationalist, racist, collectivist, and even religious forms of transhumanism seem possible.

If that should happen, ExI will be especially important in fostering freedom in connection with transhumanism. ExI could ally with other transhumanist organizations to jointly promulgate freedom-friendly transhumanism. We might have narrow, tactical alliances with less freedom-friendly forms of transhumanism to the extent that this enables us to stand firm again potentially powerful anti-transhumanists (such as the new presidential bioethics committee). My own preference is for us to build pro-freedom forms of tranhumanism, especially the extropian approach (self-direction, open society) so that we don't *need* to ally with unsavory forms of transhumanism.



Max More
President, Extropy Institute

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