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.

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.

  • Transhumanism seems to be (1) Rather squishily defined in that Wiki; (2) More importantly, a somewhat rare term, meaning most people who hold similar views may likely be fully unaware that the term exists or is applicable to them ; (3) The ideas are generally not ones discussed in the context of rigid political bucketing; and therefore for most people you wouldn't even know if they hold such views unless they explicitly profess opposition or support for them (rare). As such, I'm not sure your question is really meaningfully answerable. – user4012 Mar 24 '16 at 20:47
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    Tangentially, your question doesn't seem to make any effort to establish why conservatism would in any way be opposed to transhumanism (unless you mistake conservatism for Genesis literalism), which makes it somewhat meaningless in another dimension – user4012 Mar 24 '16 at 20:49
  • @user4012, Roger Scruton, one prominent conservative philosopher (who seems to be more refined than a "Genesis literalist"), harshly criticized transhumanism in the first chapter of his book, The Uses of Pessimism and the Danger of False Hope. I thought about Francis Fukuyama, another conservative (at least in the past) who criticized transhumanism. I'll add these quotes and some reasoning to try to make this question better, but searching for correcting it, I'm already finding another examples of what I want... – Brian Hellekin Mar 24 '16 at 23:13
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    IMHO the question is much improved, but as you noted it seems to be still hard to properly answer. I'd recommend closing, OR, reworking to ask not about labels and individuals, but basically what agreements or disagreements exist between conservative and transhumanist philosophy and approaches. – user4012 Mar 25 '16 at 2:29
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    New one is definitely a great question! Didn't read your answer yet, but it looks quite promising! – user4012 Mar 25 '16 at 7:04

And, when searching for more info about my own question, I found at least one person:

For instance, Rev. Thomas Scott Painter R-FL, the blogger at GOPchristian.blogspot.com considers himself a transhumanist.

Source: http://ieet.org/cybdem/2005/02/thinking-more-about-conservative.html

Note that this (now inactive) blogger answered in the comment area of the same site, and it's implied in his response that he confirms the claim.

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  • The funny fact is that this question is being very useful for me, since in the research improve the question I'm finding a bit more examples of "transhumanist conservatives"... – Brian Hellekin Mar 24 '16 at 23:15
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    There isn't a whole lot of substance there, but I might suggest "authoritarian transhumanist" seems like a much more accurate and comprehensible label for this guy's position. If you line up the dictionary definitions of "conservative" and "transhumanist", they are antithetical and nothing this guy says can reconcile that. – Brian Z Jul 30 at 0:04
  • @BrianZ, maybe you would like to read this: politics.stackexchange.com/questions/10334/… . I was more or less a self-described "conservative transhumanist" that time. I just wanted life extension, artificial organs or bionic members, which does not seems necessarily incompatible with "conservatism", unlike singularity (which I never believed). I do not see a consensus on a rigid definition of "conservatism" anyway, so both that guy and "past me" could choose a definition not incompatible with transhumanism... – Brian Hellekin Aug 7 at 21:52

Libertarianism is a type of conservatism, and there are libertarian transhumanists. There's also at least one journalist of a large news source who thinks libertarianism and transhumanism are connected.

You've restricted this question to self professed adherents to the ideologies, and restricted answers from defining objectively valid intersections of the ideologies. No matter what two ideologies you compare, somebody on the planet self-identifies as both. There was even one guy from the 1940's who identified as both Catholic and Nazi, which most Catholics and Nazis didn't feel were incompatible.

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  • Maybe I should require a minimal of prominence, and so remove the self-professed requirement. About libertarianism being a strain of conservatism, well, it's debatable (I'm not saying it's false, just that's not consensual)... since libertarian transhumanists are not so uncommon, I didn't consider then in my question as a possible answer. – Brian Hellekin Mar 25 '16 at 0:45
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    "Libertarianism is a type of conservatism" - seriously? I'll forego less charitable responses in favour of "[citation needed]" – user4012 Mar 25 '16 at 6:51
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    At minimum, not all self-identified libertarians are self-identified conservatives. – Nate Eldredge Mar 29 '16 at 4:34

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