Is there any individual or organization that profess himself/herself/itself to be both conservative and transhumanist? Or, at least, that label himself to something similar to these groups (a libertarian transhumanist who is at least a bit sympathetic to conservatism, for example)?
(P.s.: I want self-professed transhumanist/conservatives to avoid IMHO unproductive discussions of the meaning of the words conservatism and transhumanism)
I'm asking this question because I believe that there's a negative correlation between holding these two views, and I never saw an organized or at least recognizable group of transhumanist conservatives (or conservative transhumanists, if this difference matters), unlike libertarian transhumanists and progressive transhumanists. This progressive transhumanist blog agree about the lack of conservative transhumanists. I personally don't think they're necessarily opposed, but some interpretations of transhumanism require a huge and somewhat radical social change, while most strands of conservatism are skeptical and/or opposed to sudden changes.
Now about the opposition of conservatives to transhumanism:
At least two prominent conservative thinkers hold negative views about transhumanism:
- Roger Scruton: in the first chapter of his book, The Uses of Pessimism and the Danger of False Hope, harshly criticizes transhumanism (although he seems to be misguided about what is transhumanism):
In the world that we are now entering there is a striking new source of false hope, in the “trans-humanism” of people like Ray Kurzweil, Max More and their followers. The transhumanists believe that we will replace ourselves with immortal cyborgs, who will emerge from the discarded shell of humanity like the blessed souls from the grave in some medieval Last Judgement.
The transhumanists don’t worry about Huxley’s Brave New World: they don’t believe that the old-fashioned virtues and emotions lamented by Huxley have much of a future in any case. The important thing, they tell us, is the promise of increasing power, increasing scope, increasing ability to vanquish the long-term enemies of mankind, such as disease, ageing, incapacity and death.
- Francis Fukuyama, a new conservative until 2006, wrote an entire book criticizing transhumanist ideas, Our Posthuman Future in 2002, and he consider transhumanism the most dangerous idea because it can (in his view) destroy the idea that every people is equal before the law by subverting the own notion of human nature.
The first victim of transhumanism might be equality. The U.S. Declaration of Independence says that "all men are created equal," and the most serious political fights in the history of the United States have been over who qualifies as fully human. Women and blacks did not make the cut in 1776 when Thomas Jefferson penned the declaration. Slowly and painfully, advanced societies have realized that simply being human entitles a person to political and legal equality. In effect, we have drawn a red line around the human being and said that it is sacrosanct.
Less prominent critiques include Larry Arnhart, the blogger from Darwinian Conservative blog:
(...) transhumanism suffers from a Nietzschean utopianism that lacks common sense, because it ignores the ways in which the technologies for altering human traits are limited in both their technical means and their moral ends.
And, well, I don't have a link because it was a personal experience, but I remember when some of my socially conservative friends found a scientific article called Human Engineering and Climate Change. They complained a lot about the article, calling it a tool of the "New World Order" to redesign humans to be more suitable as serfs of the "global elite".
About transhumanist critiques of conservatism:
This blogger, Pop-Bioethics is one example (although I think he's mischaracterizing conservatism as a fundamentalist religious strawman):
The problem of politics in transhumanism is that a movement that aims to expand and grow the human race, in totem, cannot be conservative in any sense. It must, by definition, be progressive and liberal in the apolitical meaning of the words. Concepts that ‘conservatives,’ in particular social conservatives, hold dear, be it strong family and religion or restricted sex and drugs, stand in direct opposition to transhumanism. One cannot be conservative and transcendant at the same time. It is a paradox.
The goal is to make it possible to be conservative within transhumanism, that is: one could be a Catholic, member of a nuclear family, drug-free cyborg. Or not. The option to be either, the choice and ability to do both, means that conservative transhumanism must articulate a postition that supports conservative behavior and values (monogomy, religiousness) but allows very extreme transgressions of those behaviors and values (polyamory, atheism). Thus, even conservative transhumanists, in order to prevent hypocracy, must have such a high level of tolerance that, to bioconservatives and traditional conservatives alike, they will appear liberal and left-of-center.