RE: Present dangers to transhumanism
Sat, 28 Aug 1999 09:55:41 -0700 (PDT)

On Fri, 27 Aug 1999, Max More wrote:

> Ah, Damien, so *you're* the guy sitting on the left hand side of the king
> in the French court!
> Really, can't we drop useless terms like "left" and "right" when talking
> about transhumanism. If we can think more carefully about so many issues,
> why use such meaningless and unhelpful political terms?
> Max

It is very important to indicate the historical origins of designations of terms like "right" and left" not so much to point out that they have outlived their usefulness, but to remind us that political and social terms that are alive and well will change their meaning and significance over time. Nothing could make the continued relevance of the ideas of "right" and "left" more palpable to me than the weird experience I have had as a lefty sort of person reading transhumanist lists over the past six years or so, simultaneously exhilarated by the repudiation of "natural" defenses of the status quo, but equally disturbed and perplexed by the default championing of whatever counts from moment to moment as a "market outcome".

Even if it is true that the very idea of a "right" and a "left" is on its way to becoming absolutely obsolete (and I do not believe that it is), the fact is we are talking about the future in the *present*, and our visions, our conversations, and our strategies are inflected by the perceptions and ideologies of the present day. If transhumanist fora take it for granted that American-libertarian strategies and formulations are simply and self-evidently the "answer" to societal ills, the result is that we are talking to ourselves, and that these fora simply do not participate centrally in the global conversations through which the world will continue to be transformed in the shape of cultural values. Kathryn's recent attempts to point out that it *matters* that these fora do not reflect the diversity of the world we presume to be speaking to are a variation of the point I'm making, and I agree with her that these things matter.

Leftropians of the world, fan out!

Best, Dale Carrico