About Me

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Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. My latest books are THE TYRANNY OF OPINION: CONFORMITY AND THE FUTURE OF LIBERALISM (2019); AT THE DAWN OF A GREAT TRANSITION: THE QUESTION OF RADICAL ENHANCEMENT (2021); and HOW WE BECAME POST-LIBERAL: THE RISE AND FALL OF TOLERATION (2024).

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Ronald Bailey on transhumanism and the limits of democracy

Interesting paper over here. There's always stuff to quibble about, but I think that Bailey is essentially correct: much of the political opposition to emerging technologies and transhumanist thought is essentially illiberal, and should gain little political traction in modern liberal democracies. Of course, the citizens of modern liberal democracies are not always as committed to a Millian or Rawlsian liberal framework as one might hope. There's always a strong temptation to employ state power to impose your worldview on others by force. If you spend some time at leading atheist sites, you have to conclude that some of my fellow atheists also show signs of being tempted by this - it's not just religious leaders and adherents.

The liberal framework is fragile and needs constant defence.

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