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Transhumanism and Anti-Imperialism: Why Technoprogressives should say ‘U.S. hands off Syria!’
B. J. Murphy   Sep 3, 2013   Ethical Technology  

As President Obama has continuously sound off the war drums against Syria, and as the people anxiously wait for a response by Congress as to whether or not another U.S. war against a sovereign Middle Eastern country is ethically desirable, the technoprogressive left of the Transhumanist movement has all but declared a voice in this debate.

Do we stand with the status quo and declare that U.S. imperial intervention is necessary, or do we draw a line and declare opposition to any imperial war moves by the U.S. govt. in respect and solidarity to Syria’s right to self-determination and sovereignty?

Where do we stand?

As Technoprogressives, we stand for the rights of workers, immigrants, LGBTQ and post-gender, nonhuman persons, etc. What differentiates us from the rest of the liberal and revolutionary left, though, is that we also stand for the rights of sentient beings in whatever form they take, which includes robotics. We stand for the individual’s right to choose how long they wish to live and subsequently when they wish to die and how.

The problem though is: War is death. No matter which side of the conflict – whether they are a nationalist authoritarian govt. or a group of religious fundamentalist terrorists – death is an inevitability for each during a time of war. The innocent are caught in cross fire as men, women, and children – combatants and non – are killed by means of gunfire, bombings, and chemical weapons.

Where are these individuals’ right to choose how long they wish to live, or when they wish to die and how? Do we even have a real say in the matter that doesn’t result in further fatal conflicts?

During internal conflicts, as being witnessed in Syria, matters such as that aren’t up to those of us looking in from the outside. The conditions of each country is only understood by those who live within those conditions and have a viable grasp in deciding what their own peoples’ path should take. The U.S. govt., on the other hand, has decided that the Syrian people have no right in declaring which path they take, whether it’s with an Islamic fundamentalist ruling or a secular nationalist one. Instead the U.S. govt. feels that, regardless who is using chemical weapons – a question that has yet to be answered by the United Nations who’s recently finished an investigation on the matter – it is the Assad regime that must be overthrown.

It doesn’t matter if the Syrian people feel the same way, or the contrary, the U.S. govt. knows best for Syria – just as they supposedly knew best for Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, etc. Never mind the repercussions of igniting another pointless, disastrous war, fueled by a profit-driven foreign policy of imperialist adventurism – the U.S. govt. knows best for Syria.

A right to not be killed by a foreign govt.(?)

We must make it an important matter to say that we are against imperialism! We may not be the deciders of civil wars in foreign lands, but we are the deciders of whether or not our own govt. should ignite war as well and for what purpose. When the U.S. govt. had entered WWII, it was only after we’d been attacked by Imperial Japan and it became obvious to us that Nazi Germany was on a war path for global dominance.

Are we in a similar position today? Has Syria become a threat to the U.S. and its inhabitants? No. The civil war being waged within Syria is just that – a civil war.

Where the Syrian people on both sides are witnessing destruction, death, and mayhem, they do not deserve having to face an equal hand in such by a foreign govt. This also includes economic sanctions – an overt means of economic strangulation in which harms the targeted country’s peoples more so than its govt. Do the Syrian people not have a say in what happens to their own country, and consequently to themselves, especially in the hands of foreign govt.’s?

Where do our efforts belong?

The trillions of dollars going into imperialist war efforts is much needed money that isn’t going into more important programs – programs that us technoprogressive Transhumanists have declared our own struggle to ensure and improve, such as education, energy distribution, healthcare, etc. Where money is being funneled in for war efforts in Afghanistan, and here soon Syria, nearly 20% of our scientists have openly stated they’d leave the country due to budget cuts.

As our country continues to rely on fossil fuels for energy, our students aren’t getting a good education without massive federal debt, medical care still being withheld from millions of our citizenry, and our own space program – NASA – is being ignored by our own govt., having to rely on nonprofit efforts like Penny4NASA, we continue declaring war and death the right of the global people. This is unacceptable.

We fixate on troubles occurring overseas, but completely ignore our own faults. Today, here in the U.S., we run the largest prison system in the world, with the vast majority of its prisoners coming from low-wage Black communities – a community that only makes up 12% of the entire U.S. population. Where unemployment is still affecting over 7% of the population, and underemployment 15%, overemployment is negatively affecting the working class, in which over 2/3 have declared they’d opt for less hours even if it meant less wages. As automation continues progressing in the workforce, we’re leaving those with no jobs on the streets and the rest working in jobs that are gruesomely paid little with hardly any benefits. We’re stuck having debates in Congress over whether or not we should go to war, when instead we should be having debates in Congress over whether or not our people should be granted a Basic Income Guarantee!

This dilemma we find ourselves in is the result of remaining voiceless. We hide in the shadows, hoping that our lack of action is seen as being sufficient enough to be taken serious by mainstream America. The consonance of Transhumanism and anti-imperialism is a long overdue calling card of the technoprogressive left! A war with Syria isn’t just a death sentence of foreign peoples who have witnessed nothing else but death, but is a death sentence of our own people as well.

Here which lies before you is a socio-economic system that profits not on human rights – let alone cyborg and post-human rights! – but on the declaration of the right of the people to misery and death. So long we continue waging wars, the more we continue neglecting our own peoples’ rights, freedoms, and lives.

If we are to declare war, let us declare war on poverty, not the poor; let us declare war on oppression, not the oppressed; let us declare war on death, not life!

U.S. hands off Syria!

B.J. Murphy is a Technoprogressive Transhumanist activist within the East Coast region of the U.S. He's worked with the asteroid mining company Planetary Resources as a member of their Planetary Community Vanguard, helping campaign funding for the ARKYD 100 Space Telescope, an open-source means of space exploration. He is a Writer, Editor, and Social Media Manager for SeriousWonder.com and runs his own blog called The Proactionary Transhumanist. He's a co-author of both Longevitize!: Essays on the Science, Philosophy & Politics of Longevity and The Future of Business: Critical Insights On a Rapidly Changing World From 60 Futurists.



COMMENTS

I agree with you, USA should stay out of Syria.

I don’t entirely agree with your reasons for doing so, not exactly, but I do completely agree that we should stay out.

I’d love to hear your reasons for staying out, alongside whatever objections you may attain of my own reasons. 😊

My reasons for staying out of Syria are probably “mainstream” USA citizen reasons:

1. We don’t know what the government will be like that replaces Assad - if he crumbles -  the governments that replaced regimes that toppled in Arab Spring have not necessarily been “better” both in terms of serving their populations or in serving USA interests. A fundamentalist Islamist government could replace Assad, similar to what occurred in the other Arab Spring nations.

2. We have a pitiful history of wartime involvement in the Middle East, i.e., we never seem to actually “win” indeed we perhaps “lose” - Iraq was long expensive deadly and inconclusive, and Afghanistan is still going on horribly, after a decade, and “victory” seems rather unlikely.

3. There’s a very high risk of escalating tension in the region, if Iran gets more involved, if Russia increases its involvement, etc.

4. Yes, I agree with you, that there are many other things we can do with our USA money other than bomb foreign entities. We can employ our own in-need populations and provide social services for them, instead.

——

My only gripe with your article is that you attach certain causes to it, that seem peripheral, to me.

Your article reminds me a bit of the anti-Iraq war rallies I went to, where speakers got up and urged us to “Free Mumia”—I sympathize with that concern (and yours), but I think attaching them to an anti-war rally or article is off-topic.

——

 

Thank you for your remarks. I definitely agree with your own personal points made. It was a similar concern of mine when we were pushing airstrikes and no-fly-zones in Libya, when the largest rebel base were al-Qaeda sects, pushing horrendous actions against locals; i.e. the executions of African migrants.

As for your concern here:

“My only gripe with your article is that you attach certain causes to it, that seem peripheral, to me.”

While I definitely understand the need for some to remain on-topic, I believe the inclusion of separate causes are necessary in making a point in just how parallel each struggle is with one another. Our fight against imperialist wars is, in some sense, similar to our other struggles - for example, our fight for better funding for our healthcare industry and our educational school system. Their interrelated causes may be broad, but are much narrower to one another than some would like to admit.

Hi B.J. -

I agree, but when one is forming anti-war coalitions it is nice to keep it to The Single Focus that all anti-war people (who disagree on other topics) can fit into.

I was dismayed years ago when I went to an anti-Iraq war rally, sponsored by ANSWER - where I was impelled to listen to what you call “interrelated causes.” I live in San Francisco, so this meant that Free Mumia people, Native American activists, Legalize Marijuana Activists, Gay Activists, Ron Paul for President campaigners, and even Nudist Activists - were all there one-by-one on the podium pleading for their specific fuzzily-related causes.

You regard other struggles as “parallel” to the ANti-Syrian War effort, but other [more conservative people] will disagree with you - and the result is - your rhetoric will turn them off, as potential allies.

“Imperialism” for example, is a rather worn-out word, for example, IMO.

 

I just listened to a NPR interview - an Iranian diplomat pointed out the USA hypocrisy of denouncing Assad’s use of chemical weapons… he claims that the USA supported Sadaam Hussein’s use of chemicals weapon in the 10-year-long Iraq-Iran war. He said chemical weapons that Iraq used then killed 100,000 Iranians, and the USA didn’t complain about that at all.

His POV is that the USA simply wants “regime change” and is acting appalled by the use of chemical weapons to attain that goal. I think he’s probably right in that assessment.

here’s a link:  http://www.iranchamber.com/history/articles/chemical_warfare_iran_iraq_war.php

Thank you Hank.

Yes, I’ve read it. In fact, I agree in some ways. There’s a certain level of hypocrisy in the U.S. stand against chemical weapons, given their historical role in the distribution and use of chemical weapons throughout their own wars. Agent Orange is a good example as well during the Vietnam War. Then again, I try not resorting to that argument solely, given the change of leadership several times since then, and the valid ability to change one’s position on certain topics and roles as time goes by.

As for your previous comment, regarding the ANSWER coalition, I definitely can understand your displeasure. This particular group, while I’ve struggled with them and organized with them before, are led by a group known as the Party for Socialism and Liberation. They take on a peculiar means of organizing that I, myself, never seemed to understand.

These organizers and protesters have the tendency of using a lot of irrelevant symbolism throughout their actions. They love having ‘Che’ Guevara on most of their picket signs and banners, despite there being little relevancy in whatever struggle they’re pushing to that of Che’s role in the Cuban revolution. Mumia Abu Jamal is also another figure they throw around, despite whatever irrelevancy it may be to the action at hand. Their organizing is sloppy, IMO, and is flawed in the sense that doing so only alienates them from actually organizing a mass amount of people.

I, myself, am a member of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization. We tend to organize differently, resulting in great success on many occasions. The difference being is that, while we’re strict about ensuring not to mix several different causes within a single-topic demonstration, we also recognize the importance of noting interrelated struggles.

For example, if we know the majority of those we’re organizing are students - our group is very close with the Students for a Democratic Society - then we find it important that during said organizing we’re to ensure that not only do we talk about opposing war, but that we also talk about our struggles for better education and how an end to war could contribute in the struggle for education.

The same goes for if we’re organizing many people who preside in low-wage communities and suffer greatly from criminal foreclosures. If the case, then as we’re organizing mainly for an anti-war message, we’re also going to ensure that those people we’re organizing knows that we understand their own personal struggles and that we’re fighting for them as well - that an end to war could help us fight back against unnecessary foreclosures, or even argue for more money going into the workforce so that those originally struggling with their finances are able to get more income.

So we, and I especially, find it very important in not ignoring other struggles while talking of main struggles at hand, so long there’s a sense of relatedness between them.

Hi B.J. - good luck with your efforts, I am all for stopping this war.

Many Libertarians can be your anti-war allies as well - but they won’t agree with the “Socialist” aspect of your agenda…

I have totally lost faith in USA politicians. Relentless war, Bradley Manning gets 35 years, Edward Snowden stalked and threatened… how does the USA government, which spies on its citizenry and lies to us about it - expect us to believe its reasons for attacking Syria? 

The WHite House and Congress are deeply dishonest, IMO. I don’t trust them.

I feel glum about it, but I’d be a fool to think otherwise.

We’ve actually been able to keep our Occupy group alive, and it consists of socialists and libertarians. Unnecessary bias will get us nowhere.

“We fixate on troubles occurring overseas, but completely ignore our own faults. Today, here in the U.S., we run the largest prison system in the world”

Not irrelevant: what you write above is proof-positive the US is not the greatest country in the world, as it immodestly claims. Important to comprehend why US foreign policy in the Mideast is incoherent; first, Americans are an insular people who think the Mideast is a giant petroleum spigot. Perhaps they think the region can be a self service gas station someday.
Another reason is without the Warsaw Pact as a foe, the world is multipolar—thus there’s no central enemy as there was in the days of the Kremlin being the locus.

“Mumia Abu Jamal is also another figure they throw around, despite whatever irrelevancy it may be to the action at hand.”

And Mumia is a murderer. Lionising murderers such as Che and Mumia is sending a mixed message.

“You are entitled to your own opinion… but linking Trans-humanism with Anti-Imperialism in general, and hostility to US involvement with Syria specifically, is out of line.”

That is your opinion, dobermanmac. BTW, American prisons are war zones, they are uncivilsed, murderous places. Not fit for animals.
At any rate, Syria is a no-win situation in a region of no-win situations.

 

What a bunch of hog wash.  You are entitled to your own opinion on US involvement in Syria (i.e. whether to launch a punitive attack on the Syrian regime because they launched a mass casualty civilian chemical weapons attack), but linking Trans-humanism with Anti-Imperialism in general, and hostility to US involvement with Syria specifically, is out of line.

Quit trying to hijack the Transhumanist movement to go against US involvement with Syria.

Despite all of the peripheral arguments and charges against US Imperialism, (does it really apply here?) There are only two issues needing focus, attention and concern.

1. Do YOU condone or sanction the use of chemical weapons on civilians and especially children - Transhumanist or not, if you do you are a hypocrite.

2. What do Humans do about it?

Paying “Lip service” to how horrendous these heinous acts are, and how it should not be permitted is also peripheral. If Assad is guilty in international court of use of chemical weapons against his own people, he should be removed from power as he is not fit to be a leader.

Chemical Weapons Convention

“Almost all countries in the world have joined the Chemical Weapons Convention. Currently 189 of the 196 states recognized by the United Nations are party to the CWC.[1] Of the seven states that are not, two have signed but not yet ratified the treaty (Burma and Israel) and five states have not signed the treaty (Angola, North Korea, Egypt, South Sudan and Syria).”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemical_Weapons_Convention

 

Cygnus,

Of course we shouldn’t condone chemical weapons usage as well, but then figuring out ways in limiting the means of acquiring and using said weapons should come as a more beneficial alternative than bombing a foreign country in the hopes that people we understand little about will come to power - people, I might add, who are just as liable in using chemical weapons as the Assad regime.

Here’s UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s response just yesterday to U.S. threats of attacking Syria:

“The use of force is lawful only when in exercise of self-defense in accordance with Article 51 of the United Nations charter and/or when the Security Council approves of such action,” Ban said. “That is a firm principle of the United Nations.”

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/03/us-syria-crisis-un-idUSBRE9820VX20130903

@ B.J. Murphy..

So what do you suggest Humans do about this dilemma?
How do you prevent another use of Chemical weapons?

UN meetings, diplomatic tea and biscuits is not achieving enough, perhaps the UN should try some Russian Vodka?

It’s easy to rant about Imperialism, we can all do this - but the situation and dilemma at hand is about the use of Chemical weapons on civilians.

Perhaps if the UN and President Obama were not so weak in the first, Assad would have stopped short of using Chemical weapons? Now and presently - I would be surprised if an “angry letter” from the UN would shake him much?

And regardless, he is now a murderer and a criminal, (by international standards), and as I said, not worthy as a leader. Unless we all decide that a year from now, we shake him by the hand as if none of this ever happened?

PS..

as a legal caveat to this..

“The use of force is lawful only when in exercise of self-defense in accordance with Article 51 of the United Nations charter and/or when the Security Council approves of such action,” Ban said. “That is a firm principle of the United Nations.”

There is this.. not that I would support encouraging Turkey “beyond” it’s own concern and Self interest.

Obama’s in a Jam on Syria

“French President François Hollande, who doesn’t need his Parliament’s approval for such things, has said he will join Obama in the war (the first time the two countries have allied in battle without Britain since they jointly fought against Britain in the American Revolution). The Germans are reluctant. The Arab League is wavering, as usual. (Silent support is about all one can expect, though the Saudis have lately been shipping lots of weapons to the rebels in southern Syria). The Turks? Unclear, though their support is crucial, since Turkey is one of the few countries that could claim “self-defense,” as it sits on Syria’s northern border and would potentially face the fallout from a future chemical attack. And since it’s a member of NATO, Turkey could also invoke Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty (an attack on one member is an attack on all) to rally the other allies.”

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/03/us-syria-crisis-un-idUSBRE9820VX20130903

 

Interesting discussion. Personally I do not have a very clear position ‘for’ or ‘against’ intervention, but I do want to say some words about Western hypocrisy, and hypocrisy in general. Certainly the West (both US and Europe) is hypocritical, and do you know why? Because we are human beings. It is very well studied now that we tend to overvalue our own self-worth (both individually and collectively), and as a consequence of this any kind of values-driven policy will tend to contain a significant degree of hypocrisy.

This is not to condone hypocrisy, but it is to say that I prefer to see intervention by flawed, hypocritical, but at least partly well-intentioned governments than to leave the field open to those who even more lacking in good intentions.

Pete, American imperialism is finished- game over. The Marshall Plan was done in good faith; Americans, being majority European-derived, were interested in Europe. Whereas America doesn’t give squat for the Mideast save perhaps for Israel. But if petroleum wasn’t so abundant in the region, would we care about Israel?: an open question.
Obama might be bluffing, waiting for the Assad regime to be overthrown, if the regime is to be overthrown.

The war hasn’t been a total loss: overthrowing Saddam Hussein was a positive; now what? There’s no coherence to the war anymore- if there ever was.

Obama’s position reminds me of “Peter and The Wolf”

American citizens were conned into wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, because we trusted our leaders who said intervention was necessary… we were told our personal interests were at stake,
that our intentions there were honorable, etc etc.

we believed our leaders, but now, after lies about WMD, and Abu Graib, and NSA activity—

It is hard to sell us another war…
we don’t trust our leaders, and why should we?

You’re right. After 9-11, I thought Bush could be trusted to do the correct thing.. but he had no vision except for the “Hundred Years War” against terror Cheney and or Rumsfeld predicted. However a more important figure has been involved in the war from the beginning: Victor Davis Hansen, who thinks war is the father of all things and in fact war has been just that. Yet it doesn’t have to be forever.
Lincoln said blacks are considered inferior because their detractors want them to remain inferior. So too is it with war: Victor Davis Hansen sincerely believes war is the father of all things and sees no way out. (Perhaps he is referring to DARPA). The following is a link to his latest piece:
http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/357799/if-it-wasnt-syria-it-would-have-been-something-else-victor-davis-hanson

“On the other hand, Obama is not Bush…”

Thank God for that. Bush deep down was in it for his dynasty.. his dynasty was his prime motivator. And good thing Obama defeated McCain, who is a warmonger: representing “my country right or wrong.”
McCain called his Vietnam captors “gooks”, and gets away with it because hwe’s a war ‘hero’.—but if Obama used any racial epithet, he’d be raked over the coals.

On the other hand, Obama is not Bush…

‘‘So what do you suggest Humans do about this dilemma?
How do you prevent another use of Chemical weapons?”

It’s a very difficult dilemma Cygnus, no question about that. I’m appalled as you are about the possibility of chemical attacks. They are dreadful weapons. But there are some questions about the situation that need to be asked.

According to what I’ve read, Assad was winning the war. He didn’t need to use chemical weapons and given Obama’s threat about the use of chemical weapons if Assad did use them, it is an act of stunning stupidity on his part.

There have also been reports (not saying I necessarily believe them) that the chemicals used were diluted and that the attacks while unpleasant, have done minimal injury to those on the receiving end (again not trying to minimize the seriousness of a chemical attack but according to these reports something fishy is going on). Now cast your mind back to 2003 “Saddam Hussain has WMDs and he can attack Europe within 45 minutes”. Now we know that a wise guy lied and dragged certain countries into a war that has almost bankrupted them. After that a certain wariness is in order, especially about the Mid-East where deception has been long regarded as a tool of war.

The latest is that the Russians have persuaded Assad to give up his chemical weapons. If indeed, he is winning the war, that is a smart political move on Assad’s part and we should take him up on it, instead of sending the Marines in to make Syria safe for the Jihadists.

Not saying I’ve got it right, but my God, after the Iraq imbroglio we’d better be careful before the US, France, Britain, or anyone else play into the hands of our enemies.

@ Taiwanlight

“Now we know that a wise guy lied and dragged certain countries into a war that has almost bankrupted them. After that a certain wariness is in order, especially about the Mid-East where deception has been long regarded as a tool of war.”

Yes, “Political” Jihad blatantly and openly aims to pursue economic war on the affluent West. Terrorist cells on trial are instructed to waste as much monies and time as possible in law courts before pleading guilty.

And precisely, “Lies” and exaggeration from all sides in both Syria and Egypt are used to confound and misdirect. Evidence is crucial to evaluate what is really going on in these nations. I am always sceptical of stories emerging from the mideast. In these cultures of feudalism and conflict, use of “Lies” is deemed as not dishonorable.

What do Humans, the UN, US do about Syria?

Well, I agree that “boots on the ground” is costly and plays into the hands of “Liars” on both sides. However, it is stated that it would take “years” of scrutiny and searching to uncover Syria Chemical weapons hordes, and who is to pay for this?

The gain so far is that further violence through US intervention has been avoided, although Assad has not decreased any violence and shelling.

The “major” gain would be for Syria signing up to the international Chemical weapons treaty, and this now appears achievable? “When” they do sign, UN sanction and agreement concerning action against further use of Chemical weapons will be easier and faster, and nor can Russia then procrastinate and protest?

Russia and Putin may “feel” they have now spun the tables on the US, smug with the idea that they have further embarrassed Obama over his incompetence and hypocrisy over war and peace, yet what they have done is in fact now made themselves and Syria more accountable - this should now be continually reminded and pursued by all nations?

I will add once more here, that the reasons “Humans” (Assad and others), commit to premeditated crimes is because they think they can get away with it. Once stability has been achieved in Syria, then the UN can then revisit these Humanitarian crimes and mass murder in Syria and bring those responsible to justice in international court?

Why has this dilemma emerged thus far? Because sometimes we “Humans” forget that Freedoms are not Free, we have to voice concerns and be ready to back up those words! This includes fighting for freedoms against poverty, surveillance and free speech also.

ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/cortese20130813

For me one of the most interesting things about this issue so far has been how Obama is handling it. On the whole, I like the fact that he has refrained from overusing empty rhetoric deploring this and that, I like the fact that he has nevertheless displayed clear willingness - but also accompanied with a healthy and visible reluctance - to back up his ‘red line’ with (military) action, I like the fact that he nevertheless insisted on getting the explicit approval of Congress before finally committing to any action, and I like the fact that he has cautiously welcomed the Russian peace initiative, however sceptical one might justifiably be of Putin’s motives and disgusted one might justifiably be of many of his policies and style of governance.

This is not, of course, to minimise the suffering of those involved in this awful conflict, or the seriousness of the issues at stake, but I also have the (admittedly tentative) impression that Obama is breaking very positive new ground in the manner in which he is dealing with this crisis.

‘The “major” gain would be for Syria signing up to the international Chemical weapons treaty, and this now appears achievable? “When” they do sign, UN sanction and agreement concerning action against further use of Chemical weapons will be easier and faster, and nor can Russia then procrastinate and protest?

Russia and Putin may “feel” they have now spun the tables on the US, smug with the idea that they have further embarrassed Obama over his incompetence and hypocrisy over war and peace, yet what they have done is in fact now made themselves and Syria more accountable - this should now be continually reminded and pursued by all nations?

I will add once more here, that the reasons “Humans” (Assad and others), commit to premeditated crimes is because they think they can get away with it. Once stability has been achieved in Syria, then the UN can then revisit these Humanitarian crimes and mass murder in Syria and bring those responsible to justice in international court?’ [end quote]

All of this is pretty reasonable Cygnus, can’t disagree with any of it. If more accountability can be pushed into the Mid-East situation (a tall order given the kind of mentality that too often prevails in that misbegotten region but one has to try) then Putin (no saint, I know) may either accidentally or on purpose (and one never knows with him, he is a skillful manipulative politician) set in train a process that will benefit us all as regards that area.

I have read reports that recently they have made crucial breakthroughs in solar energy generation and within a few years renewable energy is finally going to make an impact. If that is so, the Mid-East is going to be sidelined as we will need much fewer of their petroleum resources (and we haven’t even mentioned shale oil and gas). That will result in an even more unstable Mid-East and God knows where that’s going to lead. Not to a good place one suspects.

“I have read reports that recently they have made crucial breakthroughs in solar energy generation and within a few years renewable energy is finally going to make an impact.”

Interested. Do you have any links you can share?

Oh Peter, come now, a quick Google search brings up quite a few reports including this one from your own green and pleasant land:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-23327755

In fact, I’ve heard if you could somehow magically replace the infrastructure without cost, sunny places like California could now use present day solar technology at the same price they are now using their conventional generating equipment.

Thanks. I’m also fairly convinced that there’s huge potential in solar (that basically just follows from the laws of thermodynamics), but I was curious to know more about what kind of breakthroughs were being made now, and what kind of implications they might have.

I guess it’s part of a more general confusion I have with transhumanism: wondering what kind of balance I need to strike between technoenthusiasm and realism concerning the pace of change and potential for dystopian nightmares.

It’s been a while but on the question of the speed at which solar is developing this is interesting: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/03/can-africa-leapfrog-carbon-ener-201433114400319289.html

A mere seven months after I mentioned the above breakthrough it seems possible that Africa in a similar way it has done with mobile phones, may be able to leapfrog into widespread solar energy generation.

We appear to be in one of those exponential curves emphasized by Ray Kurzweil et al.

And the beat goes on (even after the Solyndra debacle). After more than 40 years, solar panels back on the White House:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORni8uiuslI

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