Introduction to Bioconservatism

Robot Playing Piana by Possessed Photography

Bioconservative is an umbrella term for anyone who wants to halt the genetic modification or genetic enhancement of humans worldwide. The underlying motive of bioconservatives is the will for self-preservation. They want the human species to survive. There is no logical endpoint to the genetic modification of humans. Once humans start getting genetically modified to be more resistant to the stresses of the environment in which they live and work, to be more efficient in the amount of energy they spend, and to be more productive in their work, there is no point at which the system would stop modifying humans on its own. Once it takes off, unless it gets stopped by bioconservatives, it will never stop until there is nothing human left in genetically modified humanoids. In other words, should they fail, the human species will get modified out of existence.

There are some differences between different flavours of bioconservatism. Soft bioconservatives want the UN or some upcoming international organisation to enforce an international ban on genetic enhancement but want technology for genetic modification to remain in use for the purposes of genetic therapy. This position is championed by Michael Sandel. It is considered by most bioconservatives to be completely impractical to implement, but useful as a bridge toward more radical flavours.

Standard bioconservatives want the UN or some upcoming international organisation to ban and physically destroy the technology for genetic modification. Both soft and standard ones agree that while the movement’s focus is on technology for genetic modification, there is a broader need to rein the technological progress. Technologies whose unrestricted progress is a point of concern include but are not limited to AIs, cloning technology, chimaera creation technology, and robot police.

Hard bioconservatives are pessimistic about the possibility of these bans being enforced in a sustainable manner. Instead, they put their hopes on an uncontrolled chain reaction of technological collapse, which would destroy all organization-dependent technology across the Earth. This position is championed by Ted Kaczynski.

There are a few things on which all bioconservatives agree:

1. Technological progress is currently outside of rational human control and is being driven primarily by competition among groups of humans.

2. Much like gravity is constantly pulling objects down, efficiency is constantly redistributing power, from less efficient organizations to more efficient organizations.

3. Halting genetic enhancement will be extremely difficult but giving up is not an option.

To describe the opposing position, bioconservatives commonly use the word “transhumanist”, and less commonly the word “extinctionist”. Extintionism refers to the establishment-left flavour of transhumanism. The one championed by the WEF.

There are some irreconcilable values between the two. Extinctionists zealously believe in goodness of the technological progress. They focus on minimizing the suffering of individuals in the short term. They care for the utility of a narrative more than they do for the truthfulness of a narrative.

They typically start from some kind of vision of how the world ought to be, and then after thinking things through, conclude that human beings are inadequate for such a system. So, they end up wanting to “improve” humans – using chemicals, artificial hormones, surgeries, re-education camps, genetic modification, etc.

Bioconservatives on the other hand see that technological progress creates bigger and more complex problems with almost every solution it provides, many of which are unforeseen. They believe that allowing suffering in the short term is sometimes necessary to decrease suffering in the long term and that pain experienced by an individual can be meaningful if by enduring it individuals can significantly benefit their loved ones. They have a higher affinity for bitter truth over comforting narratives. They typically start from how humans are, and then after thinking things through, come to the conclusion that the current system is inadequate for human beings. So, they end up wanting to improve the current system.

The ideologies that have dominated the right-wing for the last several decades are faced with bankruptcy. Libertarianism is bankrupt because now numerous “private corporations” are much bigger than governments and entangled with governments, and libertarians do not have any remotely realistic means of breaking them up or disentangling them from the governments. Social conservatism is bankrupt because unrestrained technological progress inevitably changes the incentives in society, and human beings respond to incentives, so changing incentives in society inevitably causes changes in culture. Being socially conservative but not technologically conservative is much like being conservative of window glass but not being opposed to rocks being thrown at it.

Nationalism is bankrupt because it drives up competition, technological progress, and the need for international regulations. The shortcomings of these ideologies are becoming increasingly obvious, and an increasing number of their adherents are prepared to jump ship to something else. That’s where bioconservatism comes in. Individuals within the current ruling class who are over 60 years old were largely able to satisfy their need for the power process through forging their New World Order, their agenda 21, their Great Reset and their other plans for Sustainable Development.

But they planned too thoroughly. There is not much left for their grandchildren to do except go through the motions decided by their grandfathers. As time goes on, it will be becoming increasingly difficult for the individuals in the ruling class to satisfy their need for the power process. Once they start feeling the lack of impact from their decisions, just like people outside of the ruling class do now, they will inevitably turn to bioconservatism.

US military wants a justification for maintaining an empire. Right now, the only justification they have is improving the rights of LGBTQ+. This is a very weak justification that creates more enemies than allies in foreign countries. There is within each country, a noteworthy amount of people who are already concerned about where technological progress is heading, and a much larger group of people who can be radicalized against unrestricted technological progress. Hence, it will become in the interest of the US military to switch their mission to saving the human species from technological progress going in the wrong direction.

Proactive people who are not part of the ruling class should be strongly incentivized to join the bioconservative movement because, in order to use technology for genetic enhancement on themselves safely, the ruling class extinctionists need large-scale testing. There might be a number of individuals within the ruling class who are opposed to testing the technology for genetic modification on the masses, but the technological system is governed by efficiency.  As more and more jobs get automated, the efficient way for the governments and big corporations to use ordinary people is to make them the test subjects for the technology for genetic modification.

So far I have laid out incentives for bioconservatism to spread. Now the question is how to sell it. Within the public sphere, there is already a variety of intelligent, elaborate and carefully laid out arguments for bioconservatism by people like Leon Kass, Jean F. Gariepy and Viktor Radun. While those might be useful for attracting the interest of intellectuals, I believe that when one is trying to get proactive people to join the movement, we should avoid the intellectualist approach. In his new book, Kaczynski touches on how the transhumanist movement is strengthened by the fact that adherents are not motivated by answers that come from rational investigation, but by zeal. So I insist bioconservatism should be based on the primal impulses to the greatest extent possible. Reason is necessary to perceive the threat, but once the threat is perceived, the only argument should be gut instinct.

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