[ExI] Social justice and transhumanist

Joseph Bloch seculartranshumanist at gmail.com
Mon Feb 20 02:49:27 UTC 2012


2012/2/19 Giovanni Santostasi <gsantostasi at gmail.com>:
> Too many transhumanist embrace capitalistic ideals. I think we should be
> associated with social justice and equity. I think these would bring the
> singularity faster than unchecked capitalism and liberalism.

I could not disagree more.

First of all, transhumanism is apolitical. One of its greatest
strengths lies in being a large enough tent that people from all
political persuasions can self-identify as transhumanists. What you
suggest infers that those who do not agree with your assertion about
capitalism being bad and "social justice" being good should somehow be
purged. That's already been tried...

Secondly, transhumanism has already gone through a period when its
leading organization attempted to purge those who did not agree with a
particular economic/political orientation. The result was stagnation,
apathy, and the setting back of organized transhumanism by half a
decade. Fortunately, Humanity+ has now overcome that odious tendency
through new leadership.

Third, bear in mind that transhumanism does not necessarily equal "the
singularity." Transhumanism is, at its heart, the use of technology to
overcome the limitations of the human condition. That does not require
some sort of "singularity" (although it does not discount it).
Especially in the context of a discussion of how to make transhumanism
more palatable and popular, singularitianism has a tendency to veer
towards the apocalyptic, which turns off quite a number of people (if
for nothing more than its religious millenarianism). The impulse to
define transhumanism by any single technological innovation (whether
it be artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, uploading, etc.) should
be guarded against. Especially as transhumanists, we should be aware
that we don't know exactly what the future will look like.

Fourth, I disagree with your specific assertion that "social justice
and equity" will bring about transhumanist goals necessarily faster
than capitalism and free markets. Guaranteed equality of outcomes will
necessarily force a much more gradual improvement (if any) of the
human condition, as it requires that all people be raised at the same
rate and to the same level. So before you develop the technology to
make *some* people live to 300, you have to ensure that *all* of them
live to 50. I believe exactly the opposite to be preferable; better to
have a minority live to a ripe old age of 1,000 than prevent anyone
from doing so until everyone can. I don't begrudge Neil Armstrong and
Buzz Aldrin the opportunity to walk on the moon just because they
didn't bring along 3 billion other people.

I don't begrudge you attempting to prove me wrong in this by
attempting to produce some sort of socialism-transhumanism hybrid
(although it's already been done). But I will not accept you
attempting to insinuate that such is somehow integral to the
definition of transhumanism itself.

I tend to agree with spike's earlier notion. Better to gain notoriety
through controversy than to pander to the basest form of populism that
demands ever-increasing handouts be taken from producers to be given
to consumers in the name of some never-to-be-achieved notion of
"fairness".

Joseph


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