Musings of a Biopunk

Pontificating upon the etymology or usage history of a word to bolster an argument about the concept contained therein is a tired and wankerish rhetorical strategy that demands of one no more wisdom than that needed to search Wiktionary and can, reductio ad absurdum, lead one to such revelatory insights on the human condition as equating maternality with paedophilia (from the Greek paidóphilos, literally “loving children”). The page on that site for “monarchy” does make a good starting point, though, for simply introducing the topic and for me to crystallise some thoughts on the matter. Again, from Greek, “[the] only power/authority”.

This has both theological and physical ramifications. Monarchy died with Christianity, and the two are not incidental to each other. The divine right of kings was, indeed, a given for much of history in the Occident. Yet, one struggles these days to find a single person who believes in “divine” anything. I do not. Brandon Adamson does not. Most of the people bemoaning the loss of religion as a social force – do not. This is curious. Religion is one of those peculiar avenues of human behaviour, perhaps the most peculiar, in which the faithless will speak of wanting to believe things almost as fervently as the faithful will speak of believing them in actu. Why should it be like this?

Black Pigeon Speaks, among many, would have you believe that religion (and I think he means orthodoxical religion, which I shall touch on later) is coming back in force and that atheism is in decline. He refers to disparities in the fertility rate and “worldwide” population trends. The “worldwide” part immediately puts one in mind of Africa’s population explosion, though. Yes, that will produce lots of religious people. Does anyone really care though, honestly? If you live in Britain, or any other developed country, the triteness of this is stark. In almost twenty years, I have yet to meet a person under seventy who takes religious belief seriously. If genetics, childhood indoctrination, or both were really the decisive causative factor(s) in the prevalence of religious belief in society, how does he imagine religion began to decline in the first place? He apparently does not think it was because of atheists’ outbreeding theists. If he knows anyone who is now irreligious but began as a Christian, and had theist ancestors, he also cannot believe that childhood exposure to religion exerts some insuperable force that prevents one from leaving the faith. To the extent that religiosity is genetically inherited, it will be many genes – not an on-off switch but a bell curve of different behavioural phenotypes begotten by the different relative frequencies of the genes. There will always be a “hard core” of people far to the right of curve, but it is no more certain that their children will be thus than it is that two people with IQs of 160 will have a child with an IQ of 160, owing to regression towards the mean. So people will continue to leave the faith. This will continue for as long as we live in technologically developed societies. Religion, at least in the orthodoxical, supernaturalistic way most Westerners think of it, is a response to humans’ consciousness of their mortality. You do not need to pray for your next meal to find you – you can just go to Aldi.

The relationships between biology, culture, ideologies, and technologies are complex and not completely understood. It is best to make an analogy. Take the Industrial Revolution as your starting point. We watered the seed-laden soil of human ideation with our technology. Out of it grew many, many ideas that could not exist without the technology. Some were odious. Others were not – and that last is why I cannot get behind the NRx tendency of treating every innovation after [insert date here] as some incalculable evil. Then the plants decompose back into the earth, replenish it, and the cycle begins anew as the ideologies reinforce the technologically mediated behaviours ingrained in our biology.

Some notions were lost, too. Among them was religion, as outlined above. So, as to monarchy; I do not see how you could have a secular monarchy. Even if you could, the internet now provides a brilliantly accessible tool for political critique and subversion, as people in these circles know well, so that would have to go, too. I suppose if you wanted to be really imaginative about it, you could envision a kind of archaeofuturist society where the masses sacralise monarchs for what they perceive as magic, any sufficiently advanced technology being indistinguishable from magic and so on. But I do not think archaeofuturism, as cool as I happen to find the steampunk aesthetic, is actually possible, practical, or desirable. It would basically be a reduplicate of the conditions Russia was in just before communism, but with an even more glaring disparity, which did not end well.

Leftwing economists are not wrong when they say inequality was a contributing factor to the development of communism. It was one of many factors, and inequality per se is an inevitability of existence (neither good nor bad) – it is just a matter of degree. But if economic Marxism were invented today, would it catch on, even granting the nonexistence of the internet? Most people’s (exceptions duly noted) interest in such things cannot be stirred into being without massive social strife.

So for true neo-monarchists, the only option seems to be a straight-up returning to mediaevalism – going back not just one but many, many centuries. If that is inevitable, as some claim, we will either end up in exactly the same position we are in now given another few centuries, or if not we will remain in that state until God gets so bored with us that he just blows us the fuck away. Hell, it is probably what I would do. I am concerned with the continuation of Europeans and the European world order as a civilisational force (it is why I have chosen to study the classics), as well as all the SWPL amenities and aesthetic preferences I delight in. But I am also concerned with the long term – millions of years hence, even if it requires phenomenal optimism (which I lack) to imagine our lasting that long. Some will wonder why I do not simply jettison racialism. I do not, because racialism is not even an idea. It is not nearly as ephemeral as that. It is much older even than monarchy. Even at peak brainwashing it persists, and there are few things it does not inform in some manner – consciously and subconsciously.

But, backing up a bit, some will object to my characterisation of religion as simplistic. After all, there is abundant evidence, anecdotal and scientific, that there is more to religion than giving one a framework by means of which to avoid facing up to the Great Oblivion. For instance, it presents the society or community with a moral paradigm. It is not true that people need the threat of hell to be good; many religions do not have a concept of eternal damnation. Indeed, some of them do not even have gods. I think ignorance of this fact stems from not recognising a distinction between (broadly) most occidental religions in contrast to oriental ones. The latter tend to be orthopraxic – strictly speaking, one does not “believe” in Buddhism; one practises it. This is also why secular Buddhism sounds quite reasonable to many but “Christian atheism” sounds risible to everyone except the tiny number of people who actually call themselves that. That is the other component to religion: narratives of action. I can attest from experience that the vast majority of people (not I, but I admit to being a freak) really do need a kind of narrative to avert existential crisis. It is for precisely that reason that people have developed what some are calling “secular religions” – the religions of politics, consumption, and Evenliftingbreaux. This is why now I think I can understand what Mouthy Buddha and others were saying when they described the project of white nationalism as a kind of religious narrative or cult. The principal differences between a religion and a cult are the number of adherents and the time it has existed; the principal difference between a cult and an ideology is subject matter. Namely, the former, a cult, tends to be preoccupied with matters of the self and various stupid ways of “transcending” it (see scientology), whereas the latter is concerned with matters of the world and how to appropriately shepherd the world’s misfits and mid-wits into its standard of rectitude (see neo-progressivism, communism, and house-on-the-prairieactionaries). Some political movements really are able to incorporate all these characteristics that people find appealing, and for some white nationalism is so essential to their being that they really would not know what to do with themselves if the project were ever completed. And this is what most atheists get wrong. People do not reject religion because of its illogic. Human beings do not and never will understand logic.

Indeed, as Maria Vladimirovna observed, “A nation without a monarchy is like a body without a soul.” But the concept of the nation state is at most about three hundred and seventy years old anyway, and it has just about run its course. Some will call me a nihilist, and in a sense I am. I accept the existence of truth, beauty, and so on, but I believe their existence is predicated on the cognitions of humans, or at least the cognitions of sensate life. (I cannot say just humans. Hell, we know that some border collies can understand two-dimensional representations of real-world objects. Maybe with the intervention of some CRISPR or iterative embryo selection they will come to appreciate the Sistine Chapel as much as I.) But I do not hold these things to be God-given, and I have no confidence that people with radically different existential/philosophical opinions will ever reach compromise let alone agreement. What are the policy implications of this? I say we form the Borean Alliance or something similar to it, and allow the religification of politics to reach its conclusion: a geopolitical superblock unified by a handful of agreed-on principles, consisting of regional autonomous or partially autonomous “zones” largely free to have their own local policies. These will be the new borders: ideological, and perhaps experimental. It would also be a great opportunity to implement some Kirkegaardian evidence-based politics – scientifically testing the outcomes of policy in the field.

Ultimately, my take is biopunk rather than steampunk. Any interested community should make the effort to implement top-down eugenics programmes, thereby enhancing human potential and pushing human cognitive capacity to its limits – for a start. The trillion steps between now and then could be a subject for another essay (such as new or theoretical systems of government). As Nietzsche said, man must be overcome – we may as well do it ourselves before something else does.

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Official Response to Trump’s Remarks on the AltLeft

As many of you may well know, President Trump conducted a press conference earlier today in which he specifically made disparaging remarks about the AltLeft. Many of these statements were slanderous and well off the mark. No one that I know who is associated with the AltLeft (which by the way has existed for years) would ever support or engage in violence. As anti-alpha male anti-heroes, we don’t care for brodozers and machismo and people who eat chips loudly. We like our testosterone bound to SHBG, not left unchecked where it is free to bind to receptor sites willy nilly or converted into its more potent forms. I personally don’t even like to attack bugs. In fact, I once had a black widow spider web in my shower and continued to shower next to it for a year, leaving the web completely undisturbed. Occasionally I would glance over at the spider, its red hour glass glistening through the steamy water droplets, and I would say “hey bud. how’s it going?” I have no empirical proof, but to this day I like to think we had an understanding. The idea that we would attend rallies and assault people, could not be further from the truth. I could not harm a fly. Speaking of insects I was as shocked as anyone when in the 1958 version of the film “The Fly,” Vincent Price and the detective just stood there idly watching as Al Hedison was devoured by the spider. They made absolutely no effort to save him despite his desperate cries for help. Militants? Violence? Yeah right. To paraphrase Mike Myers in Wayne’s World “I don’t even own a gun, let alone many guns, which would necessitate a gun rack.”

Trump’s comments are a slap in the face to anyone who believes that the less aggro elements of Antifa and the AltRight should combine forces to get single payer health care passed and a plan for student debt relief. They could focus their dual energies on dismantling the college football industrial complex. Time to get rid of the obsession with national championships, ditch the needless playoffs and restore conference rivalries. Go back to naming bowl games strictly after fruits, plants and other commodities rather than mega-corporations. If the AltRight and Antifa groups are to have skirmishes, they should take the form of squirt gun battles, their classic Super Soaker 50s and translucent squirt guns, filled not with bleach but with Hi-C, Tang and Capri Sun. Yeah that’s right, the red pill is for squares. The AltLeft is all about the orange pill. That’s where instead of spending a bunch of your hard earned mooncoin to attend a rally in Podunk USA and get maced by strange looking subhumans, you simply head on down to the food court at your local dying mall and order up an Orange Julius, quietly(!) slurping it while daydreaming about the cosmos and reminiscing about the Radio Shack you used to buy remote control cars from in the late 80’s, which has now been replaced by some kind of ethnic eyebrow waxing place (thanks to both globalization and greed induced corporate imperial overextension.) Go ahead, call us chic nihilists, fedora nationalists, new suburbanists, retro futurists or snorters of Pixy Stix. We don’t care. Deep down, orange you glad we didn’t take the black pill or the turquoise pill or the periwinkle pill? You know you are. By the way, as I’ve mentioned many times I’ve always disliked the pill analogy. The Matrix is a terrible movie. The camera work practically gave me motion sickness, and the whole cheesy “he’s the one” thing made this cynical GenX’er roll his eyes while mentally barfing at the screen of this melodramatic spectacle. It was a total corn muffin, not a sci-fi movie that I cared for that’s for sure. I hated the digital effects and didn’t even enjoy the overall ambianic aesthetic as much as that of Damnation Alley, which is really saying something.

Trump’s statements are also a violent assault on every intelligent, well meaning, teal haired white feminist beauty who works her ass off in retail and reluctantly complains about how Indian customers are disproportionately cheap, and how they’re constantly demanding discounts and other free shit. Furthermore, Trump’s words betray every Xenu fearing person who has been stuck in line at Starbucks behind someone who couldn’t just simply place a fucking order without asking questions about every item on the menu…the calories, the ingredients, the special requests, the whole shebang.

When Trump condemns the AltLeft, it’s an insult to every person who recognizes that Vegas Vacation is the superior film in the National Lampoon’s Vacation franchise, even though Ethan Embry became kind of an SJW. What is it with former child/teen stars becoming SJWs anyway? I don’t care about Will Wheaton, as I never got into Star Trek. Tristine Skyler (whom I had a brief childhood crush on after seeing her in the film Kidco and who outshined Christian Slater in one of the best ABC Weekend Specials, The Haunted Mansion Mystery) was a little bit more disappointing. She went to Princeton though, so good for her. I really don’t understand how any 70’s or 80’s kid could get more than superficially into social justice. Our childhoods were filled with grossly offensive things, (remember Cabbage Patch Preemies? like ewww wtf I love social justice now) and those same childhoods were radically unmatched in their total awesomeness. Anyhow, suffice to say that Trump’s presser was a personal affront to anybody who found Back to the Future III to be a lackluster finale to the trilogy. I’m not sure how many people that works out to be, but it’s more than a few. You know it’s true. What Trump said is mind boggling for anyone who was inspired by Warren Beatty’s charismatic “Guy Named Porpoise” speech in the 1978 film Heaven Can Wait only to wonder why 40 years later nobody prioritizes these issues.

Trump’s criticism of the behavior of the AltLeft feels like knuckles to the creep to every laid back Beatnik Fascist that doesn’t care much for blabbing the drab gab but rather chatters hep patter on twatter, if you catch my drift. Not everyone wants to take the long trip to Roman Salutesville, but if we decide to rig ourselves a little shindig vessel, what’s the harm in a few kicks? After all, we’re peace loving moonboots, and you’re the tabby cat with the codes to the missiles.

Every left transhumanist who seeks bionic upgrades, mind uploading, immortality and the resurrection of wooly mammoths should be disturbed by Trump’s pontificatory declarations about the fabric of our being. Like Box in Logan’s Run we are “more than machine, more than man, more than a fusion of the two. Don’t you agree? Wait for the winds. Then our birds sing. And the deep grottos whisper our names.” Trump may have “one of the highest IQs,” but he’ll be no match for us after we transcend our earthly bags of bones and fuse our collective consciousnesses to refurbished Tandy 1000s.

People always claim that Trump is playing 4D chess. His moves are so unpredictable and counter-intuitive, and yet you just know the only possible explanation is that it must be because he is 12 moves ahead of you. I know this because I myself have beaten a computer at chess several times on the “very easy” setting. We here on the AltLeft have our own preferred game though. It’s called Hungry Hungry Hippos, and we’re playing for our fair share of all the marbles.

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People Don’t Think Universal Basic Income Be Like It Is but It Do

Zoltan Istvan was on The Stark Truth to discuss his plan for a California State Basic Income (to be paid for by developing and monetizing federal land.) While I like Zoltan and think he probably would have been the best choice in the last presidential election (among the candidates running,) it goes without saying that I think this is a terrible idea. Not that I oppose the idea of a basic income. I am sympathetic to UBI generally, but I oppose this particular scheme for the following reasons:

1. It would be a shame to see any more of California’s beautiful land be ruined by commercial development. Many people believe that much of what has been developed already has been a mistake. What are they going to develop anyway? More social media ad agencies, useless phone app startups and overpriced McModern apartments? Zoltan’s argument for why this all would be bad for the environment is a bizarre stipulation that the “land would be leased not sold and would have to be returned to it’s previous condition or better after the lease.” This might sound nice but makes very little practical sense. This isn’t going to be like when the Black Fortress disappears without a trace in Krull. If a company leases the land and later goes bankrupt or fails in some way, they’re not going to have the money to demolish all of their buildings and magically regenerate a fully mature forest overnight. This just isn’t realistic. It will be bad for the environment. The increased developments will require more natural resources to sustain, resources which California struggles to harness a sufficient amount of, even now.

2. California doesn’t even care to enforce borders of any kind currently. Most of the larger metropolitan hubs are basically sanctuary cities. A “basic income” can only be mathematically viable if strict population controls are kept on the number of of people residing in that particular area. It requires draconian measures like breeding restrictions and militarily enforced boundaries. Merely having strict residency requirements in order to qualify isn’t enough, because pretty much anyone who lives there can vote. Massive amounts of people who live in California but wouldn’t qualify, can still elect officials that will assert their electoral power to loosen requirements, cut deals or file legal challenges based on trumped up charges of discrimination, etc. Developing and leasing millions of acres of federal land might provide some limited revenue for a basic income, if we were dealing with a stagnant population, frozen in time at current levels. More than likely though, increased development will lead to more people flocking to the area for tech jobs and housing, more Indian programmers and wealthy foreign investors finagling their way here for jobs and real estate investment opportunities. A bigger pie but minimal to no increase in the size of the average slice. Basically, nothing leftover for a basic income.

3. California has frequently struggled with budget deficits in the past. If the projected revenues to fund the California universal basic income do not materialize through this land leasing scheme, the people who are expecting the money will be pissed. Which do you think is more likely, that politicians up for election will spend the state into massive deficits to attempt to deliver people the basic income they were promised, or that they will tell millions of voters “Oops sorry, looks like we can’t afford to give you each 25k a year after all” and face the wrath of betrayed angry mobs. Both of those gloomy scenarios seem highly plausible if this plan were to ever move forward. Those left to foot the bill for this tab will likely flee the area in droves.

4. There is a little too much Utopian optimism with this idea. It kind of reminds me of when you see stoners arguing that legalizing weed will solve nearly every social, economic and military problem in the world “just think, we could tax it, and it would pay off the national debt!” This strikes me as similar, wishful, pie in the sky thinking. There are just too many variables and wildcards involved here.

So anyway, everyone’s a critic right? After reading all that you might be thinking, “Okay, well what is your plan for universal basic income then?” My plan is extremely simple. You form a secluded micro state with a very tiny population and heavily fortify it. This microstate earns revenue through some kind of shared natural resource or industry (could be anything from genetically engineered crops to rubber band manufacturing to Scientology auditing classes.) People would receive a meager basic income by working in civil or community service. Pretty simple but only has a chance of working with a delicate population balance which must be maintained and understood by all participants. I have no clue whether my plan could be viable in practice (for one thing, people would have to actually be interested in my ideas.) That’s the rub with radical futurism. In our grand visions of the future, we often lose sight of the fact that we’re stuck dealing with people the way they are and the world the way it is.

Anatoly Karlin Discusses Transhumanism on The Stark Truth

Unfortunately I had something scheduled and wasn’t able to be on for this episode, but it’s a good one that covers a lot of ground. I was deeply interested in what would be considered transhumanist ideas for many years before I ever heard the term “transhumanism” or was aware there was a thriving scene. In fact, my hodgepodge poetry book “SideQuests” from about 10 years ago, dealt with some transhumanist and AI related themes (albeit very crudely) from a sort of “angsty teenage faustian” perspective (even though it was written in my mid to late 20s.) Even now, I would rate my interest in these issues above racial/identitarian discussion as I think breakthroughs in artificial intelligence and genetics are not too distant future wildcards, which could potentially transcend racial tribalism and ethnonationalism, or at the very least redefine the participants along different lines. Of course, those of us without money or time won’t be able to take advantage of any radical bionic enhancements, so all we can do is pontificate about it and dream. I did the math, and I’m already too old to live forever.

Here is a list of the topics discussed on this episode of The Stark Truth, which can be found here:

-The philosophical roots of Effective Altruism in rationalism and how it uses reason to determine the most effective ways to benefit others
-Anatoly’s article Immigration and Effective Altruism
-Steve Sailer on U.N. population projections for Africa and the Carrying Capacity of the Global Population
-Hank Pellissier and his charity in Africa based on Effective Altruism
Psychometrics and Pellissier’s book Brighter Brains: 225 Ways to Elevate or Injure IQ
-Positive Eugenics, IQ and fertility, and fertility preferences
-The Transhumanist and Futurist movements
-Paper Review: Artificial Wombs
-Radical Life Extension
-CRISPR gene editing and intelligence augmentation
-How Transhumanism could exacerbate inequality
-The Technological Singularity and the age of intelligent machines
-Cybernetics and the Neural Lace
-Anatoly’s essay A Short History of the Third Millennium which predicts a future based on current trends without Transhumanism
-Anatoly’s upcoming book on Neo-Malthusianism

Cherry 2015 – If Loving A Fembot Is Artificial, I Don’t Want To Be Genuine

(this article originally appeared Nov 22, 2014 in Stepkid Magazine but has recently become relevant again)

One of the most prescient dystopian science fiction films of the 1980’s turned out to be the (direct to video?) 1987 movie, “Cherry 2000.”

The future depicted in Cherry 2000 is one where sexual encounters and relationships with real women have become complicated legal transactions requiring lawyers, and have been reduced to merely emotionless business arrangements. The women are typically aggressive, masculine, demanding and shrill. It leads to an environment where the rare romantic guy, who still longs for a traditional loving relationship, would actually find a courtship with a female android more emotionally fulfilling than one with a real live organic woman. It’s sort of a more sympathetic, less horrific spin on “The Stepford Wives” theme. In Stepford, the men killed their loving yet sassy wives in exchange for robot sex slaves who would do the dishes and clean the house without giving them any grief. They were portrayed unmistakably as as evil pricks. In contrast, the physically human women are the ones who display the robotic behavior in Cherry 2000, while the romantic men are forced to seek out the loving emulation of androids for any “meaningful” companionship. Of course the film sells out in the end, as the main character who sacrifices everything in a dangerous quest to replace his beloved, short circuited fembot (Cherry, played by Pamela Gidley) with the identical discontinued model, ultimately falls for the crass and bitchy, tomboyish tracker, “Edith”(Melanie Griffith) whom he’s hired to help locate the robot.

With the advent of “yes means yes” laws it doesn’t seem like it will be long before men will be required to get some type of verbally recorded or written consent to engage in sexual activity with a seemingly “turned on” girl, to shield themselves from litigation or criminal prosecution if she turns on them later. As if getting a girl pregnant or contracting an STD wasn’t enough to worry about, now we have bigger fish to fry. Indeed, there is already a phone app for sexual consent, called Good2Go.

Recent developments over the past two decades have lead me to conclude we’re headed towards Cherry 2000 style dating in America. Indeed, I’ve started to notice that the crudely annoying spambots on Tinder and Okcupid have been getting more sophisticated in their programming to the point where interacting with them can be more romantically stimulating than talking to actual chicks (which, if you’ve ever had an unfortunate exchange with one of these Tinderbots you would realize is more of a knock on the sorry state of the 21st century female conversational experience than it is one marveling in wonder at the advancements in artificial intelligence spam.)

Then there are video game characters. Back in a particularly isolated time period of my life in 2001 and 2002, when all I did was drink diet pepsi, eat microwave popcorn and play old Super Nintendo RPGs in my studio apartment, I would occasionally develop what I guess you could call “crushes” on some of the female sprites in the games (such as Rydia from Final Fantasy IV, Marle and Schala from Chrono Trigger, Paula from Earthbound, etc.) even to where I began to curiously research the technological possibilities of transferring human consciousness to a computer. I was thinking of course that if i could somehow hack a sprite that resembled me into the game’s ROM, that it might be possible to get something going. Yeah, it’s crazy but so what? Realized dreams are the work of madmen. I also saw Tron in the theater when I was a kid so perhaps it left a subconscious impression on me.

In any case, if that kind of emotion was possible to evoke in the days of 16 bit SNES pixelation, I can only imagine how real a romance could be in the context of modern video games which are now much more advanced in their elaborate overworlds, roleplays and simulations. Thousands if not millions of men and women find the virtual experience of video games more appealing than going outside and playing. It would be naive to think that organic human love would be any less vulnerable to competition from artificial intelligence than other components of our earthly existence.

Dust off your 1980’s JC Penney catalog and get your fembots on order, men! This scene is coming to a nightclub or campus near you.

Brandon Adamson is the author of Beatnik Fascism