Ronald Bailey on Transhumanism and the Limits of Democracy

Reason reproduces the paper Bailey presented at Arizona State University’s Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict Workshop on Transhumanism and the Future of Democracy. The paper is too good to extract, and I would urge anyone at all interested in this stuff to read the whole thing, but here’s one part which makes the point I’ve been trying to get at recently:

This ideal of political equality arose from the Enlightenment’s insistence that since no one has access to absolute truth, no one has a moral right to impose his or her values and beliefs on others. Or to put it another way, I may or may not have access to some absolute transcendent truth, but I’m pretty damned sure that you don’t.

Very true and very succinct. I think Bailey and Virginia Postrel are going to be two of the most important public intellectuals on the side of freedom in coming years. Bailey’s Liberation Biology and Postrel’s The Future and its Enemies are both required reading for anyone interested in the social and political effects of emerging technologies. Postrel’s book is a lot more fun to read, but Bailey’s gives a very good overview of enhancement technologies and their likely effects.

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