[ExI] Is Transhumanism Coercive?

Stefano Vaj stefano.vaj at gmail.com
Thu Oct 20 19:07:27 UTC 2011

2011/10/20 <natasha at natasha.cc>

> Quoting Stefano Vaj <stefano.vaj at gmail.com>:
> > On 20 October 2011 07:21, Anders Sandberg <anders at aleph.se> wrote:
> >> Joseph Bloch wrote:
> >>>
> >>> An interesting article by Ron Bailey over at Reason, concerning his
> >>> debate with Peter Lawler last week:
> >>>
> >>> http://reason.com/archives/2011/10/18/transhumanism-vs-bioconservati
> >>
> >> Similar themes came up in my debate yesterday evening at the Manchester
> >> University student union, where I was debating David king from Human
> >> Genetics Alert. He argued (from a pretty leftist standpoint) that
> >> enhancement embodies the ideal of capitalism and since capitalism is bad
> > for
> >> human value and diversity hence most enhancement is bad.
> This is illogical.  Human enhancement is not based in capitalism and
> leftist means different things in different countries, not to mention that
> leftism in and of itself is contradictory.
Please note that this is not me, it is Anders.

> >>As he saw it,
> >> western liberal individualism promotes uniformization in respect to the
> >> market.
> Frankly, I tire of western liberal individualism because it lacks
> individuation and postures to know what is best for everyone. That type of
> universalism is doomed from the get-go because its rhetoric is not based on
> insights into how people can obtain well-being for themselves, their
> families and their geographical locations.

I heartily agree.

> This is a quite interesting issue which I discussed at some length in the
> > interview recently made available online in English at
> > http://www.biopolitcs.com.
> >
> > The very idea that there would be social pressure, and actually a rush,
> > towards the adoption of safe, unexpensive, painless enhancing, eugenic
> and
> > life-extending technologies, and that laws increasingly difficult to
> enforce
> > would have to be enacted not to make them "compulsory", but rather to
> > prevent their spreading, is the best counter-argument in fact against the
> > spectre of a overhumanist "totalitarism" with all the usual Hollywood,
> > tear-inducing trappings.
> What?  This reads more like a salvo than an explanation of the idea. Please
> rephrase. Thanks.

OK. Some people opposing enhancing/eugenic technologies imagine a world
where some kind or other of police would impose you their adoption at the
point of a gun. This is a very unpleasant idea. Now, if one posits that we
would need laws, even though likely to have to be enforced at the point of a
gun, to *prevent* their enforcement, all the unpleasantness goes to the
bioluddite camp.

> >This is of course a major tactical point, because I suppose
> > that most of their constituencies and audiences are not equally ready to
> do
> > so. That is, except for our friend Charles Stross, who appears on the
> same
> > line to consider a Vile Offspring that which becomes too detached from
> its
> > human origins.
> This does not sound like a friend to me.  It sounds more like a SF writer
> who is causing hyperbole and fear to sell books.

I do not share much of the views that appear to emerge from his work, but I
was simply being cordial to a fellow subscriber of this list.

What we need more than anything is to discuss the issues without having to
> resort to the singularity, existential risk, doomsday arguments, simulation
> scenarios, etc. and just discuss the future as a matter of fact, look
> ardently at the issues, the discourse, the dialectics, and form some
> opinions that are balanced and insightful. That is what transhumanism needs.


Stefano Vaj
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