Editor’s Note and Announcement: The Rational Argumentator is hosting a series of articles on the relationship between libertarianism and transhumanism and the question of whether, and – if so – in what manner and to what extent, advocates of indefinite life extension should ever pursue government funding or programs with the aim of lengthening human lifespans.
This article below presents a perspective from Kyrel Zantonavitch, who strongly argues against government support for life-extension research and instead sees solely private research as being the most capable of achieving indefinite lifespans in our lifetimes.
Mr. Stolyarov’s own views are detailed in his articles “Six Libertarian Reforms to Accelerate Life Extension” and “Liberty Through Long Life” and “Liberty or Death: Why Libertarians Should Proclaim That Death is Wrong“.
The Rational Argumentator invites all advocates of indefinite life extension to share their views regarding these questions, and many perspectives will be considered and published – so long as the authors genuinely support the goal of lengthening human lifespans through science and technology. All articles submitted in response to this request will be linked alongside one another once a critical mass has accumulated, so that readers would be able to analyze the viewpoints presented and formulate their own conclusions.
~ G. Stolyarov II, Editor-in-Chief, The Rational Argumentator, December 4, 2014
All transhumanists are libertarians. They are all believers in, and future practitioners of, laissez-faire capitalism. They’re advocates of 100% liberty in politics, economics, and sociology. Transhumanists never initiate force against their fellow man; they never aggress upon or attack them. Transhumanists think people and property are sacred and untouchable. All transhumanists are political and socio-economic freedom-fighters and libertarians to the point of infinity.
Or at least they should be.
Because nothing advances human biological/physical development, and intellectual/spiritual ascent, faster than political and socio-economic freedom. Nothing improves quality and quantity of life more deftly or more powerfully. For immortality to have even a remote chance of being achievable within the next generation or two, government-protected justice and liberty must be pure and limitless.
Nothing generates more opportunity for general and particular success and triumph than freedom. Nothing germinates more innovation and genius — more radical and revolutionary brilliance. And make no mistake: immortality within the next 20-40 years will require a lot of innovation and genius.
For this and reasons of fundamental morality, massive government subsidies of science and medicine, via the evil and tyrannical welfare state, are emphatically not the way to go. It would be like suddenly, militarily seizing the powers of world government, and then trying to physically coerce almost everyone on Earth into studying technology and healthcare. Whips and guns (and chains and cattle-prods) are not the path to longevity. As the philosopher Ayn Rand noted: “You cannot force a mind.”
Firstly, such government funding is a type of slavery. Coercive taxation, especially for non-freedom purposes, is evil at its foundation. And no good thing can ever flower from such bad roots. The ends never justify the means. Tyranny and depravity are never practical or workable.
Those who are talented and slick at obtaining government grants, and those who willingly, passively submit to government edicts, are virtually never good scientists or doctors. Meanwhile, the good and great scientists and doctors — mankind’s innovators, creators, geniuses, saints, and heroes — will be hugely misled. With minimalist political knowledge, they’ll massively tend to follow the money and prestige trail; these brainiacs will massively tend to go work for the Big Brother bozos and frauds. At the least, the Good Guys will solidly incline toward reading the Dumb Guys’ (mountains of worthless) papers, and following them and their organizations intellectually. Thus the only real hopes of mankind will overwhelmingly tend to be side-tracked down a dead end.
The purpose of government is to protect individual rights — not expand the human life span. The state has no ability whatsoever to accomplish the later. It can only get in the way. It can only hurt the cause. Anyone who hijacks the government for longevity purposes is sure to massively damage both liberty and transhumanism.
However ironic, the more state funds are spent on transhumanism, and the more people are forced by government to engage in transhumanist research, the slower progress will be. It’ll be a repeat of the U.S. government’s buffoonish 1970s’ “war on cancer.” We’ll go backward. The effort will be counter-productive. It’ll be like throwing money down a bottomless rat hole — only worse.
The reality of today’s welfare state world is that if we finally get around to terminating all government funding of education, science, and technology, then these three fields will have to turn to private industry and free enterprise. This, in turn, will cause human knowledge in general, and transhumanism in particular, to rise like a rocket.
If, say, a very plausible 10% of the world’s G.D.P. is voluntarily dedicated to transhumanist education, investigation, and experimentation via capitalism, this will generate far more progress than if a wildly unlikely 75% of the world’s G.D.P. is coercively dedicated to transhumanist research via welfare statism.
The paramount and stunning reality is one social system will create new versions of Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Edison, and Steve Jobs. The other will create new, mindless bureaucrats and lifeless, soulless, hack, quack, bozo drones.
And pray note that the above discussion isn’t trivial or merely theoretical; nor is it some ideologue’s and freak’s dubious mere political opinion. It’s the way reality is. It’s the way government and science really interact and work. Misunderstand this, transhumanists, and we’re all gonna die.