morality_play (morality_play) wrote,


I'm registered as a Democrat but hardly committed to it. I don't seem to have much in common with the party.

In my estimation I'm unambiguously left wing politically, but my politics are unorthodox, and this generates some friction with people who might conventionally be considered leftists. I don't possess any particular egalitarian commitments for one thing. The rationale for this position has been borne out by the results of recent presidential elections I think. See what happens when you let the square states vote?

I suppose I'd consider the rule of scientists to be equivalent to the rule of saints. My ideology could be considered an outgrowth of the scientific management movement and the various socialist scientists movements of the twentieth century. My reservations with popular democracy are better represented by Herbert Green and Thorstein Veblen, in their ideal of a politically engaged technical class, than with similar reservations held by Ben Franklin. The model of engineer-led legislation conceived of by the FAECT or Howard Scott's Technical Alliance appeals to me. It's not that I subscribe to any sort of fascistic scientism though. I'm as eager to invest artists and other thinking people with legislative authority. The point is to disinvest non-thinking people. So maybe my rule of saints is better captured by the "rule of the cognoscenti." The reality that our legislative class is actually dominated by masters of business administration mortifies me. This is not a credential. This is a personal failure.

Important disclaimer:
My positions on abortion inspire more drama than they should. I sincerely wish that we could have a better quality of dialogue about the issue, but the discourse has become effectively hijacked by Ralph Reed's Christian coalition on one side, and sixteen year old girls on the other. Neither party has ever had a thought in their head.

It's my position that the moral status of a subject necessarily originates with it's subjectivity, in the capacity of a "being" with first order phenomenological intelligence. An entity that can have a disposition about what is external to it. I find Thomas Nagel's "What is it Like To Be a Bat" to be a useful point of reference for this description. Without respect to Nagels rejection of physicalism, his essential point about subjectivity is that there is "something it is like" to be a bat. And there are certain functional organs in the nervous system subjectivity can be localized to.

Since a fetal neonate is an organism in transition, there are obviously going to be some neonates where those organs are present and functional, and others where they are not. I correspondingly assign the protections of moral patienthood to the former but not the latter. This manages to _piss off everyone_.
End disclaimer.

I don't eat meat for these same moral reasons, but generally don't have any compunctions about people eating mollusks, arthropods, or even most fish. I limit my diet by abstaining where I can verify the organs of first order phenomenological consciousness exist within the organism. I miss meat, and I'm excited by the experimental work of bioengineers like Morris Benjaminson. It's possible that carnivorousness will be possible without victims in my lifetime.

I do a great deal of thinking about the ways in which technology and designed artifacts function to implement political agendas, serve power interests, and diminish qualities of life for various moral patients. The scholarly writing under the auspices of STS and SSK occupies a respectable portion of my reading. Langdon Winner and Pierre Bordieu have influenced my thinking tremendously.

I oppose gun control (weakly) following a track of technological instrumentalism. I am _not_ some "live free or die" fuckwit who believes the gub'mint is coming to take his grandpappy's musket. If you support gun control, we don't really have a problem. I'm flexible.

I cautiously identify myself as a transhumanist. This is something I've been reluctant to advertise in the past, because transhumanism seemed to be dominated by mentally defective, science fiction enthusiasts throughout the nineties. Since then, the effective domination of the community by it's sub-literate, libertarian wing has waned, permitting more critical dialogue to emerge, and even attract real scholars. If your resistance to transhumanism was cultivated by an objectivist cosplaying chewbacca, I could not be more sympathetic.

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