July 29, 2009

MIKE TREDER wants to purge transhumanism of libertarians. Hmm. What does a non-libertarian transhumanist future look like?

UPDATE: Here’s something Charlie Stross sent to the Extropian list a while back, and — when contacted by email — he says it still represents his views. Mine too.

Excuse me, but I’m having a really bizarre vision right now, of what the Extropian Revolutionary Front will look like in few years’ time.

(That’s what you get when extropians stop being content to agitate from the sidelines and start thinking about mandating change, get rebuffed by the mainstream, and adopt Lenin’s vanguard party doctrine by way of revenge.)

It’s not pretty. In fact, it’s pretty hellish.

If you mix coercive tactics, or even plain old-fashioned discrimination, in with extropianism and high technology, you get a very, very nasty end product. Previous tyrannies at least left the contents of your skull alone — they yammered propaganda at you, but if you’re used to resisting the blandishments of modern advertising you should be aware that most propaganda is considerably less effective than that. An extropian tyranny, enforced from without in accordance with the usual parameters of a tyrannical system, wouldn’t be content with mere physical compliance. The flip side of uploading as a viable procedure is downloading, and could well be abused to give new meaning to the phrase “the Stalin in your soul”.

If you feel any kind of aversion to this possibility, you want to think very hard about mixing coercion with extropian ideas. Before it’s too late.

Indeed. (Thanks to reader Alastair Young for the tip).