*Transhumanism vs. Libertarianism.

Posted: July 6, 2010 in 2010, Exclusives
Tags: , ,

Ignorance Is Futile:

The very notion of being able to transform ones self into something like a cyborg inherently appeals to concepts of individual liberty. Misguided transhumanists typically attempt to utilize Libertarian philosophy to justify their goals, but in actuality they instead engage in rationalization with false notions of liberty.

Libertarian philosophy is arguably the height of understanding of freedom and liberty. Naturally, most transhumanists openly embrace Libertarianism and typically use its concepts as the argument for their ambitions to become living gods. It would seem to make sense, on the surface.

If you want to augment yourself into a ‘something better’ than ordinary humans, shouldn’t that be ones right? Not if you truly understand the core of libertarian philosophy. The primary principle is that you can do what you want with yourself or your own property… just so long as it doesn’t harm other persons or their property.

That’s libertarianism in a nutshell. The problem with transhumanists, in a nutshell, is that it seems inherent that either they haven’t thought their ambitions all the way through, or they simply don’t care what happens to others as a result of their agenda. For celebrities such as Ray Kurzweil (who attempt to champion Libertarianism), they know full well the implications.

Kurzweil, and many others such as Kevin Warwick (the “first human cyborg”) openly admit that when their goals of AGI come become reality, the only option will be to merge with the technology both to have any chance of participating with the new society and as the only insurance to not be eventually terminated by the machine. (Why would it kill you if you were part of it?)

Few prominent transhumanists openly lament the idea of Strong AI (AGI), as its the ultimate mechanism to kickstart the NBIC utopia. The only example I can think of is I saw Max Moore talk about it being bad if machine AGI a hard take-off and reduced humans to the significance of ants. But you can bet Moore will be one of the first in line to get the brain implants and the rest involved in the merging with the machine.

It’s a matter of join us, change yourself, or face elimination in one shape or another. The new society wouldn’t even have to kill you outright. When the new society of transhumans (and eventually posthumans) are both physically and mentally superior than the mere humans, one would have little chance in competing with these superhumans economically or academically. If we’re given no choice other than to assimilate or live in poverty, then it should be obvious that that harm is being done to people and even their property when they can no longer afford a home they might have gotten a loan for several years ago before the Great Unleveling event.

This new frontier of “freedom” is hardly anything new in human history. It’s akin to imperialism, and is deeply Social Darwinistic. Years ago I wrote a lengthy piece on the freedom we hear politicians and other talking heads discuss on TV. Like on 9/11, when Bush said “Freedom itself was attacked”, in reference to the “freedom” to dominate the world and occupy the Middle East (which its proven to be what motivates suicide terrorism). Naturally, elitists love ‘freedom’. The more ‘freedom’ the better, and what better way to maximize your own ‘freedom’ than to interfere with and soak up the prosperity of others.

The perversion of freedom is the freedom to do what you want, despite the consequences that might occur to others freedoms. This is in gross conflict with libertarian philosophy. Don’t believe me, take it from Michael Badnarik, the 2004 Libertarian Party presidential candidate, who repeats this concept over and over in his “Constitution Class”.

Before we shift gears, another key facet of transhumanism is radical life extension. It might be worthwhile in this narrative to mention the fact that the world cannot handle billions of humans getting indefinite lifespans, whom will bear children who will then have indefinite lifespans, ad infinitum. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a staunch critic of Malthusian philosophy, but the earth inherently must have a limit to its actual carrying capacity. Whatever that might be, which is always under-exaggerated by the sorts of elitist / Social Darwinist types who trumpet Malthusian theory, human population would in this case explode beyond belief if there were open access to life extension.

Therefore, by extension, this facet of transhumanism promises to harm potential future generations of the human experience as the smartest immediate solution to a true population crisis would be to drastically limit population growth (Zero Population Growth). It’s no wonder we see all the hysteria propagated by the Big 5 Media about overpopulation and the environment. Looking back, this isn’t about humanity. It’s about transhumanity, which doesn’t much appear to care about current humans, therefore why would it care about future humans?

Moving on, another staunch element of libertarianism is the idea of small government. Libertarians generally prefer the smallest government possible, often with its role being reduced as much as possible other than just enough to enforce the Rule of Law (which would be mostly concerned with keeping people from hurting others). Kurzweil and friends, such as Ben Goertzal, are strong advocates of government coordinated initiatives bent on rapid technological progress in pursuit of their efforts. So in truth, they want maximum government, not limited government.

Then we have the Privacy Crisis. Libertarians consider privacy a basic right (i.e. the freedom of privacy). Trannys scoff at privacy. Many even argue that we should all have our personal DNA code openly available on the Internet, searchable on Google, with little software applets that allow people to pull up others DNA and search through it for unfavorable characteristics (that may be based on pseudoscience). In general, in the Utopian vision of future earth would have billions upon billions of ‘ubiquitous’ computers (i.e. smart dust) blanketed all over the earth monitoring every aspect of earths resources and humans private lives, by Strong AI computers and anyone whose minds are plugged into the system, forever. This transhumanist ideal of ‘heaven on earth’ is akin to a libertarians ‘hell on earth’.

Libertarians are about the staunchest critics of taxes you could ever hope to find. You couldn’t hope to find a libertarian type who wasn’t opposed to taxes. Wealth (income) represents property, and taxes means having your property taken away from you and potentially being put towards things you don’t wish to take part in. For instance, as a libertarian minded person, they are currently taxing me and using the money for transhumanist related projects that I don’t agree with. They’re stealing peoples property in pursuit of everything this commentary is against. The contradiction between libertarianism and transhumanism drips from this paragraph. It’s sloppy wet, as in promoting the idea of the government stepping in to advance technological progress (which apparently isn’t good enough as it is), you’re also promoting the idea of the government stealing property in order to do it.

Pursue your own selfish desires if you want, as I am in writing this piece. But don’t think about harming myself or my property, as all I’ve stolen from you is your time. Though I personally consider time as more valuable than Federal Reserve Notes, you’ve had the choice of whether or not to read this far. Isn’t libertarianism grand? It would if we had enough of it in this system. We’d all be more wealthy for one thing, but if you had transhumanism we all wouldn’t be which means many of us would be less free to do the things we want while having less property. Never mind the “third world” (the vast majority of Earth’s population). Since most of us wouldn’t even be able to afford the higher degrees of transhumanism as it is, this wouldn’t harm them would it?

Comments
  1. Where do Ray Kurzweil and Kevin Warwick “openly admit that when their goals of AGI come become reality, the only option will be to merge with the technology both to have any chance of participating with the new society and as the only insurance to not be eventually terminated by the machine”? You just made that up.

    Why would people need to live in poverty? Why not look at a project like Open Ecology, where people can grow their own food on nice farms, and look at the future as a place of plenty that can contain both transhumans, humans, and animals? Your zero-sum thinking is characteristic of those irrationally fearful of technology. Technology is not perfect, and has its downfalls, but people like yourself aren’t even rising to the challenge of trying to find a solution — you’re just blindly rejecting the novel and unusual.

    • ignoranceisntbliss says:

      Warwick: “The human race as we know it is very likely in its end game; our period of dominance on earth is about to be terminated. We can try and reason and bargain with the machines which take over, but why should they listen when they are far more intelligent than we are? All we should expect is that we humans are treated by the machines in the same way that we now treat other animals, as slave workers, energy producers or curiousities in zoos. We must obey their wishes and live only to serve all our lives, what there is of them, under control of the machines.”
      -from his book “March of the Machines”

      “it doesn’t mean that everyone has to become a cyborg. If you are happy with your state as a human then so be it, you can remain as you are. But be warned – just as we humans split from our chimpanzee cousins years ago, so cyborgs will split from humans. Those who remain as humans are likely to become a sub-species. They will, effectively, be the chimpanzees of the future.” -from his book “I, Cyborg”

      You might consider reading his book March of the Machines. He speaks matter of fact that humans WILL be hunted and killed by machines, and even lays out strategies they might use to infiltrate and ‘suicide’ bomb us.

      See minute 7 of this video to see the real Kevin Warwick:

      Hugo De Garis says roughly the same thing, that there will be an option for the doomed humans by themselves becoming artillects, at minute 29 in Building Gods.

      Lucky for you I had a massive HD meltdown in December, and lost tons of data, and haven’t regathered all of my materials, but I know what I’ve seen. These people say crazy stuff. You might consider listening to them to hear the bad realities, not just the cozy squishy yummy good stuff.

      In general, the main people promoting transhmanism etc, all concur that humanity faces being wiped out, or at the very least non-upgraded humans totally marginalized and irrelevant. I’m surprised this is news to you. The fact is, it’s hopelessly inherent in your vision.

      Oh, sure, we can go off the grid and live off the land in Neo-amish communities, for a time. Until they, or rather you, need the resources under our feet.

      My fear against your utopia is no more irrational than your adherence to it. The difference is I’m not trying to build a future that harms the masses. I’m trying to helpt hem, transhumanists are trying to help themselves. The transhumanist future is one where ordinary humans are forced to live out on reservations, perhaps likely the same ones the Native Americans are already at.

      I think you’d have to read more than a blog or two of mine to determine whether or not I’m trying to find solutions. But the fact is with the future your contemporaries work feverishly at building, by their own admissions, there are no guarantees that we wont be wiped out. They all know it. If you don’t listen more closely to them. It should just go without saying that the best bet is to become one with it, and that’s what they all intend to do.

      Thanks for commenting.

    • ignoranceisntbliss says:

      Get real. You even say humans only have a 25% chance of surviving the Singularity:
      http://www.acceleratingfuture.com/michael/blog/2010/06/audio-interview-with-singularity-weblog-singularity-without-compromise/

      • Ah, good point about Warwick. When de Garis says that human death is LIKELY, he doesn’t mean it’s DESIRABLE. Do you see the difference? Estimations of plausibility and personal desires are completely different.

        The extermination of humanity is not inherent in my vision. You’ve just mentally connected the two and refuse to unconnect them. Why not look at the probability of humanity surviving, however small, and explore that, instead of focusing on the negatives?

        If humanity can be so much more powerful than animals, and not wipe out all animals, then that proves that beings of different power levels can coexist, at least in principle. What leads you to automatically assume posthumans will wipe out all humans? Just because humans tend to not like other human-like things? Ultimately, the basis on which you are making your estimation is that posthumans will be as morally unsophisticated as humans, or worse. Why couldn’t the most powerful posthumans, the ones that set the rules, be morally sophisticated and recognize there is enough room in the universe for humans and millions of varieties of posthumans?

        Yes, but preventing the Singularity is futile. Why not just try to maximize the chance of it going well?

        The solar system is full of resources. Posthumans need not steal resources from human Amish to survive.

        You have this wonderful opportunity to help instill in nascent transhumans a genuine love for humanity… why throw it away?

        Can we talk on gchat about this?

  2. TransAlchemy says:

    25% Chance? Fucking humanity! *stab stab*

    You can’t serve 2 masters😉

    How will you help preserve humanity if you are actively trying to bring about what will put it in danger in the first place.

    • Carlos or Aaron, it’s unfair of you to assume that an estimate of something defines desirability. That’s like saying if I estimate a 25% chance of World War over the next decade, I love World War. Discard such simplistic thinking so we can carry the dialogue to the next level.

      • TransAlchemy says:

        preventing the Singularity is futile. Why not just try to maximize the chance of it going well?

        Yes we all completely agree here and no one is trying to prevent it per se…

        All of our raving and ranting derives directly from our desire to have it all go well for all sentient lifeforms.

        We feel that many present day issues yet to be resolved can cause the creation of an undesired singularity.

        Im always ready to take the dialogue to next level.. Isnt that point with what we do, generate a much needed world debate?

        Carlos

  3. ignoranceisntbliss says:

    They desire to be gods, and acknowledge they risk wiping us all out. At least the inventors of the atom bomb were trying to stop Hitler, and even ‘end war’ in their own minds. The thrusts you advocate do neither, instead they promise war, all bent on selfish personal ambitions driven by a “manifest destiny” to do it (Kurzweil’s words).

    You say focus on survival, the positive side that is, when you say we have a 25% chance. Those aren’t good odds and I don’t gamble anyways. What’s positive about all odds pointing to oppression and even extermination.

    Why do I know there’s a war coming, being brought by transhumanists? Look at history. Neanderthals ring a bell? How about Native Americans? Jews? Palestinians? How about how we treat nature? Look at the livestock industries. Each other? Black power. White power. La Raza. American Exceptionalism. Chinese Exceptionalism. Did you watch the G20 protests? I just posted a huge blog full of police brutality videos last week, in case you missed it. And no, I reject the idea that you’ll be any better. Odds are the tech’s will amplify these things, especially when you view us as a threat.

    Perhaps this is a good time for you to take a step back, and really think this all the way through. You’re immersed in transhumanist propaganda. Read my site. Loaded with content. You want to do things right? Luddites are the least of your concerns: you have to start with the system, and the puppeteers behind it. They might bring you with them, but even that’s a gamble for you.

    Sure. Whatever is (actually) possible, will come about over a long enough timeline. The difference is you Technocrats are full speed ahead. Sure. You try to raise awareness, with kushy propaganda. The world isn’t ready, and unless YOU happen to be part of the bankster globalist social darwinist ruling elite, along with your personal friends, neither are any of you.

    We’re all slaves, and the slave masters are using you people as tools in their quest to become gods, while bankrupting the masses in the process so we can’t participate even if we want to.

    You want to avoid the sci-fi horror movie? You want to avoid the darkest tyranny the world has ever seen, where there’s no turning back? Do YOU want to survive it as a posthuman? If so, and if you’re not a witting tool, then you had better take a good look at our side of things, and talk about it. They’re plundering our governments & us, setting up an economic global government, rolling out wicked taxes to soak up whats left, militarizing the police and legislating a de facto martial law police state, using your beloved technology to spy on our every move including real time tracking and eavesdropping via out cell phones, rigging elections, waging imperialistic wars, burning the already shredded Constitution, agent provocateuring protests to justify beating and arresting them… and more.

    The writing is on the wall. If you can’t see it I have over 800 blogs here proving my case. This is your chance to prove you’re on the side of peace and utopia, otherwise you’re just a pawn of the global tyranny dystopia. At the very least, explain for us the “positive” side of everything I’ve listed.

  4. TransAlchemy says:

    Seriously Michael, please consider where we are and how we got here. Technology up to this point has only created massive suppression of civil liberties down to the point that a great percentage of the population on this planet live under a communist regime.

    If this trend is allowed to exponentially grow then we could end up with a world where everyone on this planet is under the supreme control of a few “entities” in the service to self hierarchy.

    Up to now most of the conversation is geared towards all the wonders that greater technology can bring with very little conversation about how this current system may implement those technologies.

    Sure the singularity may represent a collective convergence of technology but it should also represent a collective vision of how those technologies should and could be used.

    Till then we will continue to raise awareness not as a form of “terraism” but as a desire to engage the public awareness of all the outcomes this Pandora’s box will being.

  5. Reporter says:

    Some interesting stuff from the Libertarian International Organization at http://www.Libertarian-International.org

  6. Mac says:

    The only path to achieving plenty for mankind is the technological path…you actually misunderstand the Libertarian concept of liberty, confusing negative liberty, freedom from government interference, with your preferred definition of ‘Positive Liberty’, which is really a way of infringing on any liberty of others you can remotely claim to have a negative consequence no matter how much that seperation…….the Neoluddite phobic response to technology is ultimately irrational…….and ultimately doomed to failure. It’s not if techonological progress will achieve these ultimately goals of a post-human world, but when. But like the religious zealots of our current era, the neoluddites will fight the future with their ‘Unabomber’esque zeal, likely resulting in far more human death and suffering…….but they’ll ultimately lose, because they are on the wrong side of history………I fear the future wars of the 21st century won’t be communists/capitalists or islamists/west………but pro-technology/anti-technology as the neoluddites desperately and wrongheadedly seek to stop human evolution.

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