[extropy-chat] Futures Politics

Joseph Bloch transhumanist at goldenfuture.net
Thu Nov 3 03:25:44 UTC 2005

Natasha Vita-More wrote:

> Since I will be asked my political views this coming weekend in an 
> interview with a French film on the future, I have outlined my futures 
> politics as 4 points:
> 1.  Nonpartisan.  I believe that no political party today advocates 
> solutions for the world's most immediate issues.

I see you not advocating a "nonpartisan" approach here so much as 
wishing there was a new party to which you could adhere. As in, if there 
were a party that did "advocate solutions for the world's most immediate 
issues", you would be willing to support it. Even supporting Dirk's 
nascent party is a form of "partisanship" in that sense.

> 2.  Neither right nor left, but "forward."  Drawing a hard line 
> between conservatives and liberals is ineffective and looking ahead is 
> the best position to take when addressing what the world needs to 
> focus on in the coming decades.

I tend to agree. (Although I should point out that I think Dirk in his 
response was speaking to the idea that traditionally the political Left 
advocates the interests of the State over the Individual, and 
traditionally the Right advocates the reverse, in his rather terse reply 
to you, which you didn't seem to understand.) I think that politics in 
the future will transcend these pre-French Revolution ideas and move to 
something else. What that will be, I cannot say, and I daresay none of 
us can, inasmuch as we will (if our aspirations come to fruition) be 
several orders of magnitude more intelligent than we are today, and our 
current political views will seem as quaint to us then as our opinions 
in kindergarden seem to us today as adults.

> 3.  Futures Strategy.  Designing strategic analysis of issues that 
> society faces and producing alternative "futures" for society to 
> review before voting.  The Futures Strategy would provide the means 
> for people - anywhere and at anytime - to learn about issues, possible 
> options for dealing with and solving problems, and to voice their own 
> opinions through a time-efficient and cost-effective P2P architecture. 

This presupposes two things. 1) That the democratic ideal of a 
well-informed electorate is superior to the decision-making process 
achieved by experts in the matter at hand, and, 2) a well-informed 
electorate is something which is achievable on a practical level. 
Ignorance of complex issues notwithstanding, we are faced with the fact 
that most people simply don't care enough to cast a vote, and most of 
those who do, do so on the basis of ill-defined party loyalties. I 
direct your attention to the upcoming elections here in the US next 
Tuesday, which I predict will see as dismal a turnout as any in recent 
memory (with the possible exception of California, which is seeing a LOT 
of money being poured into the ballot measures offered in the special 
election), because people just don't care.

> 4. Encouragement of critical thinking.  In order to understand issues 
> society needs to be skilled at critical thinking.

This I wholeheartedly agree with, but you run smack-dab into the face of 
various religious interests, which considering they comprise 90+% of the 
population here in the United States, renders this a less-than-optimal 
strategy, at least here. Look no farther than the renewed debate about 
evolution, for crying out loud. Africa and Asia seem to be even worse. 
Perhaps in Europe...

> Thoughts?
> N

In the most general sense, we cannot by definition know what posthuman 
politics will be like, any more than an australopithicus could know what 
the World Cup would be like.

It is also clear that no political ideology is currently aimed at 
bringing about a posthuman ideology, with any realistic chance of success.

Forming a political party with that express purpose seems somewhat 
premature. What we must do, it seems to me, is to lay the groundwork so 
that such a movement is seen as inevitable, and be prepared to act as 
its vanguard, ideologically if nothing else, organizationally if possible.

It all comes down to a single question. Does Posthumanity need us? If 
yes, we need to get organized and get things moving, because there are 
forces which actively and effectively oppose us. If no, if market forces 
for human enhancement will inevitably trump the political triumphs of 
the Leon Kass's and Francis Fukyama's of the world, then just sit back 
and enjoy the ride.

Personally, I reluctantly admit the former scenario to be much more likely.


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