Radicals! Are you sick of being spontaneously overcome by blistering rage and horrified vertigo on a daily basis? Do you find yourself foolishly opening comment threads on gender issues thinking yourself desensitized to the mind-warping misogyny that invariably pops into existence like a quantum foam of entitlement underpinning the internet? Are you sick of wasting precious minutes standing slackjawed in front of some new twisting complex of deep psychological issues couched as grandiose social analysis? Do you find yourself humbled into quiet bitter despair while pondering just how long it would take to fight their misrepresentation of reality? Are you sick, in short, of time-burglaring gender-essentialists? Then Anarcho-Transhumanism might be right for you!
(By William Gillis, IEET published by Kris Notaro)
In all seriousness folks I’m actually kind of amazed at how much time gets wasted in the radical feminist milieu on citation wars with people spouting gender-essentialism. I mean, I’ve fallen for it too. But one of the nicest things about being a transhumanist is the ease by which I can chuck that shit out the door while also utterly confounding and further raising the hackles of my interlocuter.
I know there’s a number of rhetorical trenches we’re instinctively wedded to and what I’m about to propose may sound treasonous, but bear with me because I think you’ll come to appreciate just how delicious this is:
Who the fuck cares?
Imagine the situation. Bro-dude #1,459,005,410 has constructed some meticulous and elaborate set of bullshit anecdotes, his own evolutionary psychology fanfic and dozens of “social science” references. All to prove some ridiculously totalizing and conceptually hazy statement about women or men that they cling to as their own personal patriarchy-justification-wand.
They’re expecting you to get bogged down in a fruitless quagmire contending all the things in order to avoid what is ultimately a really laughable appeal to the naturalistic fallacy. “Look, babe, this is just how the world works.” But whether or not something’s genetic or inherent to our bodies or “built-in” really shouldn’t matter. And giving that assumption fuel by fighting it on its own terms is actually kind of reckless.
Transhumanists obviously don’t have to put up with that shit. In fact we can slide directly into terms of “abolishing gender” from the get-go to directly negate MRA-era contortions around “equality” without even having to slog through a lengthy education process about distinctions between gender and sex. When they confuse the two we can be all, “yeah, that too.” (And then feast on their googely-eyes of horror.)
In short it’s well past time to reverse the feeling of vertigo. Basic notions of common humanity and equality are mainstream and they know it. Reactionary patriarchy-defenders have gone on the defensive with a whiney legalistic search for loop-holes and equivocations. Rejecting the entire notion of human nature or compromise with biology drops the ground out from underneath them.
Fuck you, I’m a robot. I’m a whatever. They’re whatevers. You don’t get a say in it and there’s no reason whatsoever for you to assume. I’m a mind with agency and that should obviously include agency in my self-construction. Even if your ridiculous totally unsuported claims about the best form of relations between two specific ‘types’ of people, those types of people don’t exist anymore and it’s insanely unethical to try and impose such assumptions. This is the future. We’re all becoming cyborgs and queers and entirely new ways and forms of existing. We’re self-altering, self-determining. There is no “women” just as there is no “men”. What there are are douchebags and fucked up social systems doing very real damage that happens to be based on the assumption that such genders exist or should exist. Patriarchy is the enemy and I don’t give a shit what it takes to bring the fucker down.
If gender actually conflicts with ethics, then we should chuck gender. If human biology actually conflicts with ethics, then we should move to chuck human biology. Those folks who argue that some bit of shitty social behavior is built in should be treated like someone admitting an unethical addiction, not someone on the verge of scoring an actual ethical point. You don’t have to be a douche! There are ways out! Here, there are tools becoming available to help you can transcend your failing!
If our demands are currently less than fully actualizable then that’s all the more reason to demand them, to pressure society into developing and accepting the tools to realize them.
Of course our demands are entirely actualizable right now. There isn’t any ethically relevant substance to distinctions between sexes. Well besides the fact that one can have a factory inside it to make more people. People are statistically all over the place and growing more diverse as knowledge and technology empower them to make changes to their minds and bodies. But who knows maybe there’s some utterly marginal way the bro-dude’s thing really reflects a minor stastical bent in some fashion between the sexes or whatever. (Or maybe things are bent in a direction that would make the bro-dude horrified.) There’s every reason to stay harshly skeptical of “scientific” evidence for such, but there’s no reason to be terrified of eventually accepting proof of such. My feminism is stronger than that.
So the next time someone starts rattling on about their crackpot gender essentialist theory may I reccomend countering with an Even if that were remotely plausible, why would it matter in the slightest to the basic ethics of how minds should treat one another? Fuck you, I’m a floating metal sphere. And then just pummel them with future-shock and uncompromising radicalism until they’re in a fetal position.
Kris Notaro, a former IEET intern, now the IEET's Managing Director, earned his BS in Philosophy from Charter Oak State College in Connecticut. He is currently the Bertrand Russell Society’s Vice-President for Website Technology. He has worked with the Bertrand Russell A/V Project at Central Connecticut State University, producing multimedia materials related to philosophy and ethics for classroom use. His major passions are in the technological advances in the areas of neuroscience, consciousness, brain, and mind.
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