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So do anarcho transhumanists support eugenics?

Submitted by _ziq_ in Anarchism (edited )

Genetically engineering supposedly 'superior' humans, that's just eugenics with a new delivery system, right? I don't see how that won't create more hierarchy. Am I missing something here?

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alqm wrote (edited )

I think you're not picturing transhumanism outside of the capitalist spectrum. If I build something to make my body stronger, my only obligation would be to publish everything I learned, so anyone interested could try and improve. I'm not going to stop studying the subject I have curiosity for because someone wants to put limits on how much we can know. That's crazy.

In the world most of us envision, you wouldn't see ads telling people they should have this immediately 'because it's cool and we ship it ready to use'. No one is selling products. All I did was to make the 'raw' data public, and I wrote a wiki to get them started. No companies would exist, perhaps only independent media organized by volunteers in many areas of the world to broadcast information. They wouldn't promote anything. There's no money to buy them. There's no leader to persuade them. No products to have desire for.

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_ziq_ wrote (edited )

No, I don't think I'm doing that. Publishing the data doesn't stop it from being a hierarchy, the hierarchy is created by people with access to the resources to build the technologies gaining advantages over those without access to the resources for whatever reason.

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soylentbomb wrote

Publishing the data doesn't stop it from being a hierarchy, the hierarchy is created by people with access to the resources to build the technologies gaining advantages over those without access to the resources for whatever reason.

Is this disparity in access to resources not what we, as anarchists (transhumanist or otherwise), already oppose?

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_ziq_ wrote

Oppose it all you want, it won't change the fact that the resources are scarce and extracting them exploits the environment and the people living there.

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soylentbomb wrote

I don't accept that as fact, but I think that's a bit outside the scope of conversation.

Taking that as true, then, how is any anarchism possible if such a pervasive hierarchy is insurmountable?

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ziq_postcivver wrote

The point (for green anarchists) is to reject lifestyles that increase hierarchy and exploitation. Resuse and repurpose rather than extracting more resources to attain a disnonnected and fleeting luxury at the expense of life.

Building an ideology around perpetual technological advancement is ground that's been well travelled under capitalism. Maintaining any kind of anarchy under a system based on industrial advancenent would be an uphill battle to say the least.

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soylentbomb wrote

The point (for green anarchists) is to reject lifestyles that increase hierarchy and exploitation.

I would sincerely hope that any anarchist would be attentive to how their conceptualization of anarchism interacts with the world beyond society. See also my reply to u/Pop.

Resuse and repurpose rather than extracting more resources to attain a disnonnected and fleeting luxury at the expense of life.

Agreed. I'm honestly not sure if this is supposed to be a counterpoint.

Building an ideology around perpetual technological advancement is ground that's been well travelled under capitalism.

Not necessarily essential to transhumanism, nor is any 'perpetual' ground well-travelled. The rhetoric of capitalism may try to conflate perpetual increases in returns on investment with technoprogressivism, but that doesn't quite make it so.

Maintaining any kind of anarchy under a system based on industrial advancenent would be an uphill battle to say the least.

Well worth the effort, in my opinion, considering the alternative is orders of magnitude less populous, shorter lived, and less diverse.

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ziq_postcivver wrote (edited )

I would sincerely hope that any anarchist would be attentive to how their conceptualization of anarchism interacts with the world beyond society.

However much anarcho-transhumanists want these things to be non exploitative, words are meaningless when you realize industrialism was, is, and will be oppressing, starving and killing billions of people worldwide.

What does anarcho-transhumanism offer in way of action? How will your small group; that for all intents and purposes only exists on obscure internet forums, stand up to capitalist industrialism as it continues to lead the way to apocalypse?

What use is it advocating for egalitarian reform when all the science shows us we've gone far past the point of no return and no amount of reform is going to save us now? If we don't abolish industrialism, our children won't have a planet left. Reforming industrialism at this point is like trying to reform capitalism. It's too late. Mass-scale industry is a brutal dead end. Most of the technologies anarcho-transhumanists envision require mass-scale industry.

Not necessarily essential to transhumanism, nor is any 'perpetual' ground well-travelled. The rhetoric of capitalism may try to conflate perpetual increases in returns on investment with technoprogressivism, but that doesn't quite make it so.

I honestly don't understand this. I've read a lot of antranshumanist lit and it's very apparent that the goal is to evolve humanity through technology. That means the technology needs to keep advacing. I don't like when people use such vague definitions of their ideologies so that discussion about goals becomes impossible. Praxis is all that matters. Words are cheap.

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soylentbomb wrote

industrialism was, is, and will be oppressing, starving and killing billions of people worldwide.

When in service to the state, capitalism, etc, yes. I don't consider them inseparable.

What use is it advocating for egalitarian reform when all the science shows us we've gone far past the point of no return and no amount of reform is going to save us now?

You've read what you wanted to hear into the scientific consensus - go re-familiarize yourself with it. Also, that's terrible abuse of the word "reform."

Good job arguing against anarchism in general, though.

I've read a lot of antranshumanist lit

There isn't a lot of "antranshumanist" lit to read yet. Were you reading general transhumanist lit? How were you determing what bits were or were not relevant to anarchotranshumanism?

it's very apparent that the goal is to evolve humanity through technology.

Many would consider that a goal. The goal is a better world. There's a reason so much transhumanist discussion is about things other than modifying the human body and mind - e.g. existential risk analysis, nonhuman animal personhood, bioethical abolitionism, etc.

I don't like when people use such vague definitions of their ideologies so that discussion about goals becomes impossible.

The trick to anarchotranshumanism being less vague is to stop ignoring the anarchism part, and stop focusing exclusively on the speculative part of transhumanism.

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Pop wrote

I think that's a bit outside the scope of conversation.

For (green) anarchists, this is the conversation (among other things), so to assume that it isn't is to ignore the critique being made in the first place

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soylentbomb wrote (edited )

I meant that my reasons for rejecting it:

  • that exploitation is a condition that exists between conscious things and thus "the environment" need not be exploited as an ethically meaningful consequence of resource gathering,
  • that effective scarcity is not inescapable, and
  • that resources exist beyond where people already live

are out of scope, not the question itself.

I was attempting to not tangent too far off the "eugenics" topic.

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BlackFlagged wrote

I think most of them would support altering their children's genes to give them desirable traits, yeah. But they'd argue there's nothing wrong with this form of eugenics as long as it's voluntary.

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amongstclouds wrote

Implying their children can consent to this prior to altering their genes.

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ziq_postcivver wrote

I'd be more worried about the non-GMO children than those who are modified to be enhanced. They're the ones who would likely suffer... And at some point everyone would feel pressured into adjusting their kids traits and abilities to keep up with the rest of society.

..So I don't think it can truly be 'voluntary' any more than capitalism is voluntary.

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amongstclouds wrote

I agree with you. 'Voluntary' is just an illusion 99.999999999% of the time.

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________deleted wrote

Yes. So let's not impede progress by clinging to impossible political purity.

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________deleted wrote

How would they suffer?

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amongstclouds wrote

How would someone who is NOT modified be able to compete with those genetically enhanced?

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________deleted wrote

Why would we need to compete with each other under communism?

And they can always have their DNA recoded after the fact. No reason it needs to be restricted to the unborn.

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amongstclouds wrote

Do you really think that the day worldwide communism is implanted it will be a permanent fixture and that it will somehow 'work'?

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________deleted wrote

As far as I understand, anarcho-transhumanism would only exist if communism existed. So within this scenario being presented, yes.

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Dumai wrote

saying "well MY politics only make sense with reference to this idealised social model that must be reified into existence first" doesn't actually make your case look any stronger

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amongstclouds wrote

I'm talking about the material conditions as they stand right now. This technology is already on the rise and it looks to only be concentrated in the hands of those who would abuse it.

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________deleted wrote (edited )

But those wouldn't be anarcho-transhumanists, they'd be capitalist-imperialists. A big reason to support anarcho-transhumanism is to provide a non-oppressive alternative to capitalist-imperialist-transhumanism.

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[deleted] wrote (edited )

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________deleted wrote

If a political theory doesn't evolve with the times, it will be left behind.

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amongstclouds wrote

Yes, so let's not be critical of our own faults and imperfections and allow history to continue it cycles on and on and on.

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_ziq_ wrote (edited )

Honestly, that sounds a lot like what would happen to people too poor to afford gene alteration.

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ConquestOfToast wrote

Gene alteration is actually embarrassingly easy to get your hands on.

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[deleted] wrote (edited )

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ConquestOfToast wrote

Ok I'm setting a boundary now. Do not engage with me further.

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[deleted] wrote (edited )

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ConquestOfToast wrote

You don't disagree with my ideology because you're too fucking dense to know what it is. And you're not pointing out my privilege because I'm fairly certain you don't understand that either. What I have seen however is you act in wildly toxic and abusive ways towards not only myself but others as well. You ignoring the boundary I just set to take another shot at me is further proof of you being an absolutely garbage human being. You are not my comrade, not anyone else's. So in short. Go fuck yourself, absolutely completely, unequivocally, go fuck yourself you arrogant petty little shit.

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________deleted wrote

Then you should support communist / anarchist transhumanism so that everyone gets access to the technology.

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_ziq_ wrote

everyone gets access to the technology

That would only be possible in a world with unlimited resources.

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________deleted wrote

Communism and post-scarcity go hand in hand, so that's not really an issue. There's more than enough for everyone, but capitalists keep it restricted to only the wealthy.

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soylentbomb wrote

It doesn't already have a coherent model of interacting with the larger world, nor with the material conditions of our selves.

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amongstclouds wrote

Oh, you're making this about 'political purity' because you want me to agree with you. Okay. This was fun!

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________deleted wrote

I mean, I didn't decide what 'anarcho-transhumanism' is, it's been pre-defined as a communist, hierarchy-less ideology.

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Pop wrote

I think part of what's being questioned is whether the definition is even coherent in the first place

like how 'anarcho'-capitalism is also incoherent

since it's not clear that technology of this kind is compatible with anarchy

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[deleted] wrote (edited )

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________deleted wrote (edited )

You just disproved your own point. If us communists can own iphones under capitalism and still be communists, then anarcho-transhumanists can modify themselves under capitalist-transhumanism and still be anarcho-transhumanists. As long as you support the equal distribution of technology, then you still qualify as an anarcho-transhumanist. Capitalism giving you more than others because you were born middle class in the West doesn't change that.

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[deleted] wrote (edited )

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ziq_postcivver wrote

They'd be rendered an inferior species and face the repercussions of that all their lives.

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________deleted wrote

What repurcussions? Getting picked last for baseball? If that's really a big deal then just outlaw discrimination. But there are plenty of kids getting picked last for baseball already, this would mean less of us would suffer that shame. It brings more of us into equal footing and paves the road to true equality. Think about it.

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amongstclouds wrote (edited )

Yeah, I've thought about this quite a lot and you're way too optimistic about dealing with the divide this would create -- not to mention 'outlawing discrimination' is a LOT easier said than done. Also, who get's to enforce these laws? The genetically modified?

I also find it rather gross you think the only problem this would cause is 'being picked last for baseball'. Way to underplay something very important.

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ziq_postcivver wrote

Widening the gap between the weak and the powerful even further isn't going to create equality. And 'outlawing' discrimination is easier said than done. Social dynamics are a lot more complicated than that.

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BlackFlagged wrote

I meant voluntary as in no one forces the parents to alter the genes before/during/after impregnation.

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amongstclouds wrote

Still ultimately giving consent to the body of individuals to anyone but the individual themselves.

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________deleted wrote (edited )

You could say the same thing about us giving birth at all. The kids didn't choose to be born, so what right do we have to create any new life..?

See, if you get this pedantic, you can label anything 'involuntary', even down to the formation of the universe way back when.

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[deleted] wrote (edited )

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________deleted wrote (edited )

So literally:

progress is bad, we should stay the same forever and never evolve or strive to reach new heights

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Dumai wrote (edited )

i don't consider defasher's issues with eugenics to be the problem with anarcho-transhumanism - it certainly is an issue but even if your egalitarian transhumanist utopia were possible it would still be fucking terrifying to me - but maybe consider that the bourgeois industrialists of the 19th century would have said exactly the same thing about the technological developments of their day and realise the flaw in your argument that technology is inherently emancipatory

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MrPotatoeHead wrote

I think the most viable way to alter genes is at the zygote stage, where it's not excessively complex and fewer errors can be made. That means consent is given solely by the parent(s).

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[deleted] wrote

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ConquestOfToast wrote

It's because the left in America has been skewing hard into anticiv, primmie, Luddite shit for a hot second now. Even in my local area, I can't spit without hitting someone like that. It's ultimately understandable though despite my deep hatred for their rhetoric.

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TheLegendaryBirdMonster wrote

that kind of body diversity all ready exists.

isn't it anarchy 101 that equal != identical

I don't really see your point, shouldn't we be striving for body diversity and people being healthier and having the body they want?

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ConquestOfToast wrote

It...it actually is. Maybe not the intelligence bit, but that's because intelligence as it is isn't super well defined and a wide variety factors influence it, with genetics only be a small and ultimately unpredictable part of it.

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ConquestOfToast wrote

Strength can be manipulated by knocking out the expression of myostatin, lifespan is technically available by activating gene expression for telomerase. You can probably make a crispr set up for like 400, bucks and then materials another 200 or so. Human gene editing is super available right now. The grinder scene is doing some really scary dope shit right now.

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ConquestOfToast wrote

This question gets asked so often I feel like we need a separate wiki just to point to all the weird and misunderstood questions the @h+ get on here. But to answer it. Sorta. But that's because there's many different types of eugenics, and the word conjures images of Nazis, and forcefully sterilizing black folks. Some transhumanist tech falls under what's reffered to as "new eugenics", which doesn't share any of the underpinnings of pos or neg eugenics. Like cancer research is new eugenics, birth control, really anything that give you more autonomy over the function of your own body is technically new eugenics. But for obvious reasons we shy away from the use of the word.

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[deleted] wrote (edited )

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ConquestOfToast wrote

How many times do I need to tell you to leave me alone. I'm not engaging with you anymore. Respect my boundaries and leave me the fuck alone you abusive piece of shit.

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soylentbomb wrote

Genetically engineering supposedly 'superior' humans, that's just eugenics with a new delivery system, right?

It would be - 'positive eugenics.' It's also not an essential feature of transhumanism, and especially not transhumanist perspectives compatible with anarchism. Most of which would reject monolithic ideals of how one 'should' be, and all of which would reject the narrative of some being 'superior.'

There are transhumanists that think so, and they are not anarchists, and thus not anarchotranshumanists.