Oppositional Views

April 5, 2009

bw1We used to have a link category on the right labeled “Oppositional Views,” which listed links for sites that we considered in direct opposition to anarcho-transhumanist views. These ranged from primitivists and bioconservatives to fascist “transhumanists” and counter-insurgency specialists. We linked to these sites for several reasons: to identify who our opposition was, to allow people to research both positions and decide for themselves, and to bookmark for our own references.

The problem with links, however, is that they boost the other side’s page rank in search engines. And while we don’t mind pitting our positions against our rivals, we also don’t really want to help them wage their own propaganda war.  So as of today I cut the links. Instead, I’m making this post to note who they are (and by mentioning them here, hopefully draw some searchers to this site rather than theirs). If you really want to look them up, it’s not too hard to google them.

The sites we had noted before were:

The Discovery Institute — This religious foundation is a major force behind intelligent design/creationism and similar anti-science campaigns. They are also a leading bioconservative forced opposed to transhumanist ideas and policies.

Global Guerrillas — The blog of former green beret and counter-insurgency expert John Robb. His ideas make for interesting reading and study.

Green Anarchy — The leading publication of anti-tech green anarchists and primitivists.

John Zerzan — The major thinker behind the primitivist ideology.

Transtopia — Fascist “transhumanists.” They do a good job of hiding their racialist and fascist politics behind the veneer of transhumanist ideas and tech fetishism, but when you delve deep their true colors become apparent.

The other issue we had with singling out these sites was that we were only listing polar opposites. It could be argued that there are many others that we should list as oppositional views, even though they are part of the transhumanist camp, whether those be free-market fetishizing extropians, pro-state technoprogressives, or authoritarian communists. The ideological battles we are fighting are not two-dimensional — we should be engaging and debating other anarchists and transhumanists as much as we should countering bioconservatives and fascists.

Thesis 15

January 24, 2007

William Gillis finished his 15th Thesis on Anti-Primitivism right after I posted about the other 14 yesterday. He’s also posted an Afterword that sums up his intent to instigate more of a dialogue and draw anarchists away from primitivism. His parting words are worth noting:

No matter how great a job I could have magically done writing these, there’s no way some folks are just going to wake up one morning and reject dreams of a fiery crash in favor of robots. For them I proffer the beginnings of a truce:

Do whatever you like that doesn’t directly oppress folks (like trying to initiate the die-off). If you feel like actually helping the rest of in the ongoing war against authority that’s great. But get your filthy crustie paws anywhere near our rocketships and I’ll personally blow you to kingdom come. No monkey-wrenching humanity’s hope for true Anarchy, goddamnit. After we’ve staved off the brutal murder of 6.5 Billion People, replanted the rainforests and resurrected the species your beloved hunter-gatherers killed, we’ll walk away. You get the Earth, the rest of us get the Heavens. I’d miss it, but at least your lot is unlikely to fuck it up too horribly. Besides, the commons were always a problem for industrial anarchism. So keep your little only-partial-utopia. Go ahead, force your children into semi-dystopia. When we’re done, when we’ve brought the stars fully to life and turned every galaxy in the night sky into a fluid of ecstatic thought, we’ll come back to whatever lifeless shell time and entropy has left the Earth. And we will breath a far more potent life into her.

I don’t think I’m willing to surrender the Earth to the anarchist equivalent of the SCA just yet, but he has a point that primitivists and tech-positive @s need to find a common ground and common respect, or we’re going to end up fighting each other.

Rallying against primitivism

January 22, 2007

Just came across these 15 Anti-Primitivist Theses posted over at Human Iterations (well, he’s posted 14 so far, with 1 to go). I haven’t read them all yet, but they look interesting so far. It’s also interesting to note that the author was first radicalized by green anarchist ideas, but has since turned around. These theses are posted partly as a response to the primitivist Anthropik Tribe’s Thirty Theses detailing their primitivist ideas.

In giving memetic flesh to these fifteen theses I seek not to call out the eco movement wholesale. Nor do I mean to limit myself to some official orthodoxy of Anarcho-Primitivism proper. Rather I mean to address what I consider the core “Primitivist” strand in Anarchism today and the deep failings that have come to define it.

1. Biology’s constructs and dichotomies are not useful.
2. The biosphere is not inherently good or superior, just very dynamic.
3. Humans can choose their dynamics.
4. Role-filling is moral nihilism.
5. Individuals flourish with increase of dynamic connections.
6. Understanding is not dependent on process but capacity to experience.
7. Physical limitation inspires social oppression.
8. Spatial limitation ingrains social hierarchy.
9. Freedom of information is necessary for free societies.
10. It’s impossible to speak of regional liberty.
11. Any society that embraces death will embrace oppression.
12. Technology can be applied dynamically.
13. We do not live in a closed system.
14. Hard though the struggle may be, the ease of partial victories will always cost us more.

Update: He posted a 15th thesis and an afterword too.

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