My Fellow Transhumanists,
First, let me explain what I understand by transhumanism, since you may not think of yourself as a transhumanist. By transhumanism, I mean specifically the idea that it is morally acceptable, perhaps even morally obligatory, for us to improve upon or "transcend" the current human form/condition through whatever means we individually choose.
In other words, anybody who believes that people should be free to experiment with themselves to find their own individual paths to enlightenment or transcendence or whatever they call it--all such people are "transhumanists" in my sense of the term. Of course, if you don't like the term, you can call yourself something else. It's just a word I like to use.
Transhumanists can be religious, non-religious, or irreligious. I am tolerant of all kinds, but I happen to consider myself a religious transhumanist. I think, however, that I can make arguments that any transhumanist will find persuasive. This letter is my first real attempt to do so.
I have an idea. I think I’ve discovered a way to achieve our dreams of being allowed to experiment with ourselves to attain higher states of being. We need to come together, and take over an amenable part of the world, some democratically-governed state or province which could support itself autonomously.
For example, if we convinced all of our number to move to California, British Columbia, or some other semi-autonomous region, we could modify the local laws to allow self-experimentation of the sort that we want. We can eliminate all drug laws, and allow individuals to decide for themselves what drugs they want to take—while children will be regulated by their parents, along with child safety services, and similar programs that ensure parents act responsibly.
If we pick the right place, we would only need to constitute or persuade a majority or supermajority of sufficient size to enact these changes. I think there are enough of us that we can do this, but we need to pick the right place to do it. It might be easiest to go where most transhumanists already live, but only if this state or province is one we could feasibly gain majority control of.
I would appreciate whatever feedback you have to offer on this issue, but I think it is something we can achieve, and in a relatively short amount of time. As long as we abide by the laws of the nation we lived in, and by international laws, there would be nothing stopping us from living in the kind of world we wanted to.
This is why we will want to pick a nation with sufficiently lenient drug laws--anywhere in the United States might be a bad choice, until they end their War on Drugs. Anyone who didn’t want to live in our province or state after we transformed it would be given the opportunity and means to go elsewhere. Displacing people is unfortunate, but it’s probably the way we can do the least damage to other parts of the world.
I want to start a discussion. Where could we go? Where would the native populace be persuadable? [edited: see update below] But also, how should we govern this new state? What regulations should we adopt to ensure that the drugs people use are safe and effective? What labors will we have to perform to sustain our economy? We may eventually be able to automate all undesirable labor, but we must initially find a way to get it done.
But we should ensure a minimal standard of living for each person. Taxes will be kept to a minimum, as will government and laws, but some amount of taxation will be necessary. Consider this the admission price of living in this new society. We are going to need to maintain law and order, and to protect ourselves from outside forces that would try to harm us or force us to change our ways. We will approach government scientifically, experimentally, and always democratically. Each adult citizen will have an equal voice in the government; we will develop a technology that makes direct democracy possible.
I have this idea I call “omnilibertarianism”, which I think would provide an ideal system of government for an autonomous transhumanist community. But I want to try to persuade you all of the soundness of this idea, and only go through with it if a majority of us think it’s a good idea.
For now, I just wish to start the conversation. Please post comments in this place, or email me if you want to send something privately (phallogocentrism at gmail dot com). I look forward to hearing what you have to say, and please send this link to other people: http://sentimentsofrationality.blogspot.com/2009/04/open-letter-to-transhumanists-and-other.html
M. Dominic Eggert
Professional Philosopher, Transhumanist, and Inventor of "Omnilibertarianism" (book by this title forthcoming)
UPDATE: I've decided that, rather than reinvent the wheel, I would join forces with an established movement that already has something like this in mind. I advise you to check out the Free State Project. New Hampshire would be a much easier region to take over, although I still worry about US drug policies. (Thanks goes to commenter "Tech" for this important piece of information.)
I will leave my original message as is, but I will add only the following: Transhumanists, I think we should join forces with the Free State Project. They seem to have room for people like us who want to experiment with ourselves to reach natural transcendence.
My philosophy, omnilibertarianism, is a species of libertarian transhumanism. However, to be honest, it is a left libertarian transhumanism. I am extremely skeptical of raw capitalism and its effects on human freedom. The free market does not provide true freedom. Consumer choices are almost never important decisions, so the freedom to buy what brand of toothpaste we want is not that great. It's still good to have, but there are more important things, as most of us already believe. I will try to persuade people to live in a community with a social safety net, but each should be free to choose for herself or himself.
Once again, people who fall under my definition of "transhumanist"--i.e., those who want to try to achieve enlightenment or transcendence using natural methods (including technological ones, which are no less natural even though they are manufactured)--I am asking you to consider joining forces with the Free State Project. I think this alliance would be to the benefit of everyone involved.