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Libertarian transhumanism

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Libertarian transhumanism is a political philosophy synthesizing libertarianism and transhumanism.[1]

Self-identified libertarian transhumanists, such as Ronald Bailey of Reason magazine and Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit, are advocates of the asserted "right to human enhancement" who argue that the free market is the best guarantor of this right since it produces greater prosperity and personal freedom than other economic systems.[2][3]

BeliefsEdit

Part of Ideology series on
Transhumanism
(humanist philosophies)
Ideologies

Abolitionism
Democratic transhumanism
Extropianism
Immortalism
Libertarian transhumanism
Posthumanism
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Related articles

Transhumanism in fiction
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List of transhumanists

Organizations

Applied Foresight Network
Alcor Life Extension Foundation
Foresight Institute
Humanity Plus
Immortality Institute
Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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Libertarian transhumanists believe that the principle of self-ownership is the most fundamental idea from which both libertarianism and transhumanism stem. They are rational and ethical egoists who embrace the prospect of using emerging technologies to enhance human capacities, which they believe stems from the self-interested application of reason and will in the context of individual freedom. They extend this rational and ethical egoism to advocate a form of "biolibertarianism".[1]

As strong civil libertarians, libertarian transhumanists hold that any attempt to limit or suppress the asserted right to human enhancement is a violation of civil rights and civil liberties. However, as strong economic libertarians, they also reject proposed public policies of government-regulated and -insured human enhancement technologies, which are advocated by democratic transhumanists, because they fear that any state intervention will steer or limit their choices.[4][5]

Extropianism, the earliest current of transhumanist thought defined by philosopher Max More, used to include a libertarian interpretation of the concept of "spontaneous order" in its principles, which states that a free market economy achieves a more efficient allocation of societal resources than any planned or mixed economy could achieve.[1]

CriticismsEdit

Critiques of the techno-utopianism of libertarian transhumanists include Richard Barbrook and Andy Cameron's The California Ideology, and Pauline Borsook's Cyberselfish: A Critical Romp Through the Terribly Libertarian Culture of High-Tech.[6][7]

Political scientist Klaus-Gerd Giesen is one forceful critic of libertarian transhumanism. While pointing out that the works of Austrian School economist Friedrich von Hayek figure in practically all of their recommended reading lists, Giesen argues that libertarian transhumanists, convinced of the sole virtues of the free market, advocate an unabashed inegalitarianism and implacable meritocracy which can be reduced in reality to a biological fetish. He is especially critical of their promotion of a science-fictional libertarian eugenics, virulently opposed to any political regulation of human genetics, where the consumerist model presides over their ideology. Giesen concludes that the despair of finding social and political solutions to today's sociopolitical problems incites libertarian transhumanists to reduce everything to the hereditary gene, as a fantasy of omnipotence to be found within the individual, even if it means transforming the subject (human) to a new draft (posthuman).[8]

See also: Citizen Cyborg and Transhumanism#Genetic divide (Gattaca argument)

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Hughes, James (2001). "Politics of Transhumanism". Retrieved on 2007-01-26.
  2. Bailey, Ronald (2005). Liberation Biology: The Scientific And Moral Case For The Biotech Revolution. Prometheus Books. ISBN 1591022274. 
  3. Reynolds, Glenn (2006). An Army of Davids: How Markets and Technology Empower Ordinary People to Beat Big Media, Big Government, and Other Goliaths. Thomas Nelson. ISBN 1595550542. 
  4. Bailey, Ronald (2005). "Trans-Human Expressway: Why libertarians will win the future". Retrieved on 2006-02-05.
  5. Carrico, Dale (2005). "Bailey on the CybDemite Menace". Retrieved on 2006-02-05.
  6. Barbrook, Richard; Cameron, Andy (2000). "The California Ideology". Retrieved on 2007-02-06.
  7. Borsook, Paulina (2000). Cyberselfish: A Critical Romp Through the Terribly Libertarian Culture of High-Tech. PublicAffairs. ISBN 1-891620-78-9. 
  8. Giesen, Klaus-Gerd (2004). "Transhumanisme et génétique humaine". Retrieved on 2006-04-26.

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