(note:Zoltan Istvan, founder of The Transhumanist Party, has announced as a Libertarian Party candidate for Governor of California in 2018. This article is a response to an article on Transhumanism by Mr Istvan previously published in The American Conservative)
Last week in TAC, Zoltan Istvan wrote about “The Growing World of Libertarian Transhumanism” linking the transhumanist movement with all of its features—like cyborgs, human robots and designer babies—to the ideas of liberty. To say Mr. Istvan is mistaken in his assessment is an understatement. Transhumanism should be rejected by libertarians as an abomination of human evolution.
We begin with Mr. Istvan’s definition of transhumanism:
… transhumanism is the international movement of using science and technology to radically change the human being and experience. Its primary goal is to deliver and embrace a utopian techno-optimistic world—a world that consists of biohackers, cyborgists, roboticists, life extension advocates, cryonicists, Singularitarians, and other science-devoted people.
The ultimate task, however, is nothing less than “overcoming biological human death” and to “solve all humanity’s problems.” Throughout much of Mr. Istvan’s work on this issue, he seems to think these ideas are perfectly compatible with libertarianism —self-evident even —so he doesn’t care to elaborate for his befuddled readers.
While most advocates of liberty could be considered, as Matt Ridley coined it, “rational optimists”—meaning that generally we are optimistic, but not dogmatic, about progress—it is easy to get into a state in which everything that is produced by the market is good per se and every new technology is hailed as the next step on the path of progress. In this sense, these libertarians become what Rod Dreher has called “Technological Men”. For them, “choice matters more than what is chosen. [The Technological Man] is not concerned with what he should desire; rather, he is preoccupied with how he can acquire or accomplish what he desires.”
Transhumanists including Mr. Istvan are a case in point. In his TAC article he not only endorses such things as the defeat of death, but even “robotic hearts, virtual reality sex, and telepathy via mind-reading headsets.” Need more of his grand ideas? How about “brain implants ectogenesis, artificial intelligence, exoskeleton suits, designer babies, gene editing tech”? At no point he wonders if we should even strive for these technologies.
When he does acknowledge potential problems he has quick (and crazy) solutions at hand: For example, what would happen if people never die, while new ones are coming into the world in abundance? His solution to the fear of overpopulation: eugenics. It is here where we see how “libertarian” Mr. Istvan truly is. When his political philosophy—the supposedly libertarian one—comes into conflict with his idea of transhumanism, he suddenly drops the former and argues in favor of state-controlled breeding (or, as he says, controlled breeding by “non-profit organizations” such as the WHO, which is, by the way, state financed). “I cautiously endorse the idea of licensing parents, a process that would be little different than getting a driver’s licence. Parents who pass a series of basic tests qualify and get the green light to get pregnant and raise children.”
Full Article by Kai Weiss from The American Conservative @ http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/transhumanism-is-not-libertarian-its-an-abomination/