Naysayers Abound

Opposition to enhanced human longevity, which often advocates collectivism and the use of government force to prevent other people from extending their lives through biotechnology, is based on a range of factors: fear of change, the green-eyed monster of envy (who has set up shop in the environmentalist movement these days), and ignorance of basic economics. In the latter case, some folk naively believe all resources to be limited - jobs, wealth, and so forth - rather than growing with population and length of life. But all of these things are made by people, and the more people there are and the longer those people live in good health, the more creation will take place. But there are always naysayers who have convinced themselves that a hundred thousand deaths due to aging every day and the ongoing suffering of hundreds of millions is necessary because of their own vague and unrealized anxieties about the future. Here is one example: "Wolpe's own perspective is that our drive toward immortality is basically selfish. He sees few benefits to society, and a good deal of potential harm, in our living to 200 or beyond. ... There is a natural wisdom in replacing us. There's a natural wisdom in the idea that new people who arise in new circumstances have new perspectives on the world. ... Look at the generations living now from the World War II generation to the Baby Boomers, to Gen-X, all the way down. The young generation today, the people in their teens and 20's today were steeped in a different brine than I was as a Baby Boomer. They were brought up with technology at their fingertips. They move naturally and easily through that world. And the idea that if I got to live to, you know, 150 or 200, that that would be a good thing for anyone other than me, I think is a misguided notion. And there's a deep selfishness in the move towards immortality and these people like Aubrey de Grey and others who are really looking for that Fountain of Youth. ... If we don't change, for example, reproduction, if reproduction stayed between let's say, 20 and 40, that means that you would have another 80 years after reproducing that you'd be around. So there's even the question of how we're going to restructure the human lifespan. Is that a proper dynamic to have your children and then live another hundred years?" As usual, this is airy nonsense when held up against the reality of the vast and pervasive suffering caused by aging - suffering that we can work to address instead of just waffling about intangibles.



"Opposition to enhanced human longevity, which often advocates collectivism and the use of government force to prevent other people from extending their lives through biotechnology...."

This is quite true and has always especially bothered me because I consider myself both an immortalist as well as a liberal Democrat activist.

However I have noticed that "deathism" appears to be no less the prevailing view among libertarians than it is among "left wing" intellectuals.

Which is why I so often use the moniker, UPWINGER, invented by FM2030, an intellectual inspiration and deanimated personal friend.

I also often remember a piece by Robert Anton Wilson, another intellectual hero and personal friend, titled: How A Liberal Became A Consevative Without Changing A single Idea!

Posted by: Peter Christiansen at December 16th, 2011 7:12 PM
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