First I need to establish what ‘the left’ and ‘the right’ are. I may have to say something about Libertarianism, which leans more to the right in the US, and I need to formulate what would entail the hypothetical (straw man) position of “downwing”. I also need to add that “liberals” in my country are pretty far to the right of center, whereas in the absurdly corporatized duopoly of the US liberals are mostly market liberals or neoliberals, and somewhat to the right of the center over there. That condemns me to mention “socialism” and “postmodernism” and “modernism”.
(Links: 1, 2, 3, 4), 5)
There is an objective difference between good and bad and society defines itself by “good”, so antisocial would be “bad”. There’s an unknown transcendant influence at work here, possible a divine influence that steers humanity to this absolute good. People who state good is “debatable” and can be “determined” are bad people. Good is almost always congruent with monotheist values.
In society there are things, systems and values that have been tested and have an eternal quality. Many things were more or less good as they were in the past, and change tends to not be good. We have inherited a rich body of societal structures that should be cherished, as they are evolved and tested by centuries of trial and error. Society is by definition based on continuity, with a strong spiritual and eternal component. In that community it can be said people have “souls”. Society is not something than be arbitrarily engineered. Change should be very very gradual and organic. Revolutionary thinking is really really bad, potentially lethal to society.
Conservatism has an obligatory component of humility, when it comes to the sacred inheritance of the past. That means – modern humans are dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants. Our forebears had good qualities many modern people do not have. Most modern achievements are only impressive because of the legacy of the past. There is nothing new under the sun. All things of meaning have already been invented. Secular or private judgement tends to be bad. The individual is foolish. The community is wise. The innovator therefore tends to be a clueless barbarian.
Restraint, Chastity, Prudence
One needs to be cautious and deliberated in important matters. Important matters can not be left to just anyone – wise and educated people must make decisions and they must do so with prudence. “Fools rush in”. We must always keep long term consequences in mind, and resist fads, populism or short term gains. Liberals and radicals are rules by their loins and hence, imprudent. Sometimes there’s injustices for a reason – some people have it bad because of their own moral failings. Fixing things needs to be of sound, welltested design and caution. The march of providence is slow; it is the devil who always hurries.
Society is a diverse mix
Yes there are a mix of rich and poor people, wise and stupid people, superficial and erudite people. Such is the natural state and that is how things are supposed to be. These variations have resulted in intricate allegiances, bonds, traditions and societal structures of great importance. Uniformity is not good. Uniformity is banale. Radicalism tends to be “lowest common denominator”. Society needs orders and classes, rich and poor, effectively -inequality. Society needs poor and stupid people, because who’d pick up the garbage without them? The only equality exists in the law, and hence the lawful equity is divine. Proactive attempts to instill justice, equality and positive discrimination are bad. Striving for social equality is downright evil and leads to social stagnation and strife. Society hungers for leadership of great men. Without greatness, tyrants or squalid oligarchs rise up and society will need untold generations to re-establish order. One important feature of this prudence in conservatism is the rock solid respect for property rights.
Things are as they are, and in this world things can not be perfect. All things are flawed. Humanity is deeply flawed, and utopia is not possible. Human restlessness needs variety as well as stabilizing tradition. Boredom is always looming. Best not have to high aspirations. The best we can anticipate in society is tolerable order, functioning justice and personal freedom. There will always be evils, it is not possible otherwise. Only slowly can we adapt to the natural world changing. If traditions break the bestial nature of mankind comes to the forefront.
Personal freedom means personal Responsibility
Society should allow people to fail, and many will fail. People are by and large capable of moral betterment and much betterment is generated by failure, crisis and challenge. Failures should be poor, it is what they deserve. It is the bed they made for themselves. The Successful should be exemplary, and they deserve to be rich.
Note that I find myself by and large in agreement with all above points. By that token one may label me “conservative friendly”.
Links: 1, 2, 3
The “left” is painfully aware of teeming injustice in the world, in nature, in society and outside society and finds this injustice needs to be actively resisted. Things are simply too broken to continue this way. Much injustice has been inflicted upon the world, on mankind, on society by evil powerful men. Some people have been so wronged they deserve special treatment and kindness. To do that we must start by resisting the evils done by evil men, and generally that’s people with too much money. To do that we must get of our couch and start working towards a better future, and that may mean revolutionary, radical approaches. The left is secular, freethinking, liberated, experimental. The left has great hope for the future. Yes we can means – yes we can dream of and create a better society. Sadly religious often works to protect the interests of archaic religious institutions that govern by top-down decree. Religions have always protected the interests of the elites. The left has learned from the monstrous excesses of the elites for the French Revolution and it looks upon similar excesses today in a similar light. The left is for civil rights. The left favors female empowerment, emancipation and total suffrage. The left strongly disfavors wars because it’s always rich people that end up not doing most of the fighting (or so they allege). The left is concerned with the climate, pollution, the environment, animal protection and similar busywork based on pity and kindness. The left believes that if you empower all individuals, keep them healthy, give them a good education nearly anyone can do great things. The reason people are poor and downtrodden is largely caused by the evils of the past.
The Right Wing
Right Wing and Conservative mostly means the same thing. Libertarians insist more on personal responsibility, poverty for the inept and rewards for the competent. Neoconservatives staunchly insist on market economies, capitalism and protection of property rights (propertarianism). Paleoconservatives dwell on past traditions as being important. Many paleoconservatives are primarily religion-driven. In the United States conservatives is assumed to additionally emphasize social conservatism, i.e. make the government as small as possible and let people figure out their own lives; fiscal conservative – again emphasis on small government, limited centralized spending and goddammit, low taxes. And lastly, ‘right wing’ in the US means a fanatical support of law, law enforcement and the military, and the active use of the military to serve US interests.
Sadly it can also be argued that the right wing also leans heavily towards thinking good of your own race, primarily the white race, and assuming the worst of other races, i.e. racism. A difference between right wing conservatism is that US conservatives are horrified by the broad social safety nets European Conservatives take for granted and actively support. In Europe and the US conservatism increasingly means active policies against immigration.
Liberals in my own country squared against liberals in the US showcase the glaring difference between Liberals on respective sides of the atlantic. Traditionally Liberals were very close to libertarians – it is a freedom of emphasis on equality and liberty. Liberals insist on what they understand as a solid but minimally required state apparatus, and that tends to be a lot more state than conservatives or right wingers are willing to put up with, if you don’t count conservative adoration of large bloated police forces, large bloated immigrations and border protections and large and even more bloated military infrastructures. Traditionally, liberals tend to be fairly conservative though, with the insistent difference on that they do not take other people interfering in what they believe (generally faith, or lack of religious persuasions or dogma), liberals also insisting that people decide for themselves what they do in the bedroom. Liberals are also particularly keen in accepting (ceremonially or actually) other races, alternative genders, particularly radical modes of thinking (to each their own), equality, international collaboration, development aid, the press, freedom of speech. In the US this makes Liberals center or left of center but in Europe this creates for a much more right or right of center emphasis.
Liberalism stems by and large from the historical enlightenment and is a philsophical, intellectual enterprise. Liberalism rejected the stifling yoke of classical religions, nobility, state religions, monarchs, divine right of kings and obligatory conservatism. Originally liberals cancelled rights of guilds and trade blocks. Liberals do not like rich people being too rich and too powerful, because “arguably” extreme affluence in the hands of the few actively and severely impinges on the freedoms of the rest of society.
Liberals believe every human has natural rights and Liberalism emphasizes a lot more indivdual rights than the right. Liberals are always looking at the French revolution, primarily, and thus emphasize “the social contract”, with the implied threat – if you make things too bad, here’s what’ll happen. The american revolution was, contrary to current public thinking by and large a classical liberal affair. Liberals were originally the people critiquing the establishment and insisting on “verifiability”, modernity and science. Science! Liberals natural enemy is definitely not fascism. Liberals first and foremost consider Fascism as well as Authoriarian Communism as its sworn concceptual enemies. Liberals have found that the cultivation of a “minimal degree of dignity” state and society to be more or less a complete necessity. That means taking money from people with more and giving it, often in a paternalist and condescending (you ought to be grateful with what we did for you) attitude. Liberals are behind human rights, international treaties, modern diplomacy, constitutional governmment, transparency, personal freedoms and general social progress. Liberals tend to have an attitude of “lets discuss it, and if it sounds reasonable, why not” which is starkly at odds with conservatism whicj reflexively abhors such attempts to interfere in the natural order.
Socialism isn’t just liberalism on steroids. It breaks with Liberals on many points. The problem is that socialism is used in one breath with communism and it needs be emphasized that by no stretch of the definitions should the two be confused.
Socialism by and large completely wants to do away with excesses of wealth, or the existence of something like capital altogether. It isn’t even that socialism wants to tax rich people in to poverty, it wants to intervene well before to organize society in a manner no “rich people” emerge, and when they do socialism generally assumed rich peopel got rich by breaking the law. In essence that means that socialism assumes a simple thing – all things in the world are collectively owned by all people, traditions and previous (immoral) property rights be damned. Oil isn’t “owned” by some rich bastards, it’s owned by the people, with as little central bureaucracy involved to maximize the gains from this collaborative, collective ownership, and distribute the gains thereoff.
Socialism comes in two main categories – market and non-market. Non-Market socialism wants to do away with free trade altogether, even if that means less societal progress. For these socialists equality is far far more important that society progressing in something as duplicitous as “economic growth”, period. Non-market socialisms are actively thinking of ways of doing away with the damn money altogether but sadly these tend to be impractical and utopian and largely counter-initiatives or -sentiments of people who are (were) left traumatized by extremes of poverty and the pervasive ruthlessness of 19th century capitalism. These people are all for “social dividents”, that sort of thing.
Market socialism does not abandon markets, trade and money. Hence it also embraces the state as being fairly indispensable. These socialists want to do away with “corporations” first and foremost and through a system of “competent co-ownership” want to empower the people to take care of themselves. To them corporations based on paid wage are unacceptable.
Socialists argue over things like revolutionary versus reformist; state socialism versus libertarian socialism; collectivism versus community-driven; uniformist versus individual freedoms and rights; Unions yes or unions no; nationalist versus internationalist; formal democratic versus “otherwise”. The problem is that a large number of these definitional quibbles in socialism and among socialists is that functionally a large section of socialism tends to overlap, in practice, with what we understand to be “fascism”.
It generally comes as a traumatic shock to US americans is when they understand that what they consider Libertarianism is something completely different of the original, historic Libertarianism. Essentially Libertarianism is viciously centered about personal liberty and personal responsibility. In the US that tends to imply “propertarianism” (get off my lawn or I’ll shoot you) or “extreme secularism” (if some civil servants comes to take my census I’ll shoot the goddamn bastard). The crisis therein lies that slave owners in the US south can claim totally Libertarian ideas, likewise pedosexuals raping their own kids by insisting everyone should be free to do as they please “sink or swim”. Libertarians thus functionally are left debating what kind of state, and to what degree the state should have any relevance, authority or power.
Left Libertarians, and yes there is such a thing, share much ideological kinship with socialists and tend to not like corporations with “share holders”. left Libertarians view (excessive?) private poverty (or monopolies) as a barrier to (other people’s) rights and freedoms. hence it is ironic its modern (USian) right-libertarian branch insists on things like absolute rights to property, absolute rights over your own land (autonomy, autarky, sovereignty and yes that means total rights to use drugs and have sex with children, “theoretically”). Right Libertarians insist on “figuring out what’s unacceptable among themselves, which sort of ironically implies that Right Libertarians share a lot with decentralized, insular tribal societies in africa or the middle east. To right wing Libertarians amassing capital is sort of inescapable for the competent and they would go as far as letting the incompetent die somewhere conveniently out of sight (not near my lawn).
Modernism and Post-Modern
Aha! A great opportunity to be a fan girl and haul in one of my idols. I can’t say much more about this than this hilarious video. Of course I may add some text about Progressive politics and where it branches away from all of the above later on.
What would be Upwing?
Upwing politics is not an established or mass adopted ideology, but it is a consistent one by virtue of the uniform nature of fast technological developments. I for one insist it breaks sharply with existing “Right” (dominionist christian, [neo-/paleo-]conservative or liberal) or “Left” (liberal, social democratic, social-libertarian, anarchist or “communal” socialist). The first who came up with this Upwing body of ideas was FM2030, a guy was ahead of his time.
Yeah we can do this. Not yet but soon.
Upwing core ideology takes a mortgage from some argued to be plausible future and starts actively preparing for said future. Upwing knows certain precursor technologies do not insist yet to create the ideal ‘acceptable’ upwing pluriformity, but wants to get ready for them as soon as possible. These preparations tend to be colorblind when it comes to traditional left versus right.
Minimal State to do the following things (long list)
As a point of self-criticism or self-depreciation, upwing politics makes some assumptions not everyone may agree with. Most Upwingers tend to be wholly embracing of respectively “technoprogressive”, “technogaianist”, “pandorist”, “transhumanist”, “extropian” or “venusprojecters”, “singularitarian” core beliefs and assumptions. The point of calling it upwing is to provide an ideological and conceptual framework to actively reject the suffocating archaic conceptions of Left and Right. In the ideal consensual world of the (hopefully near) future there’s so much technological advance that all bad things in existence today can be fixed or dealt with comfortably. Upwing politics, again depreciating (or postulating them in a falsifiable manner) my own core beliefs has a bucket lists of what’s necessary to guarantee happiness. That’s the strong legacy of David Pearce in current Upwing thinking – “nature is a bitch and we can fix all the horror she has wrought on the world”. This is exemplified in technogaianism and (to a lesser degree) in what Jaques Fresco postulated in his venus project, or similar thinkers in modernday “technocracy”. Outsiders may label it “a Star Trek Future’ and then invariably start whining about where their flying car is. Upwing makes bold claims and those stem from a highly and assertively (some would say proactive) modernist view that a damn lot more progress is certain. Cryonicists, who can be argued to have ideological overlap with Upwing, again take that mortgage and upon death have some key components of their biological connectome “vitrified” (turned to an epoxy or glass like material) under cryogenic temperatures to at least allow for the potential to live in said future. That’s a conceptual mortgage that costs as much as a house, since cryonic suspension isn’t cheap. This makes upwing politics a highly disparate (and growing very quickly) faction of people largely unified by massive techno-optimism.
They then have the bucket lists of what’s minimum. Expanding existing human rights. The right for cognitive freedom and bodily selfdetermination. The right to experiment. “Something like” a basic income (which esentially means – yes a basic income and not “something like”). The freedom to travel. Reasonable property rights, so yes, that may mean a maximum income in certain sovereignties. A reasonable ability to create new judicial, legal and government entities that formulate their own constitutionality, and are free to boldly compete with existing governments. But it also means – solid expansion of access to medical care and a government that is strong enough to kick the medical corporations hard in the balls and enforce both a working and affordable infrastructure for universal health care.
Quintessentially Upwing ideologies abhor the old, the tried and failed, the outdated and the proven useless artefacts of the past. In that sense it is hostile to conservatism and traditional thinking, and tends to effectively very very contrary to old and conservative religious modes of thinking. Upwing is open to spirituality, welcomes spirituality and faith, as long as you don’t go around bothering other people “with your hobbies”. Upwing looks at problems in a new manner and postulates it is possible to take emerging tools and completely dismantle and re-engineer the bullshit of the past and the emerging (new) problems of today. There is a very strong case to be made that Upwing politics is in very large part correct in this assessment that “by being revolutionary, lateral-thinking, iconoclastic and determined” (the legendary/alleged silicon valley mindset) we can solve most current day problems. This extreme laterality and optimism is actively espoused by Peter Diamandis, Ray Kurzweil, et.al. and is made manifest by the relative success of The Singularity University.
Science, Truth, Facts, Reality
Upwing goes hard against the right and the left by insisting ruthlessly on provable facts, what can be argued to be a statement grounded in verifiable reality, the scientific method (more like popper than kuhn though), dissemination of truth (wikileaks is a deeply Upwing compatible concept) and some sort of testable reality. Politics becomes an engineering challenge. Climate change becomes an engineering challenges. Resource depletion on the planet becomes an engineering challenge. Population growth, aging, diseases, infirmaty, people born with the indignity of congenital defects, you can’t make it up and Upwing politics always asks “what is this thing really” and analysis, potentially with a 160 page PDF on how to solve it, “in the near future”. etc.
A critical part of Upwing is the “up” component, i.e. going in to space, extensively exploring it, then prospecting it in detail, then start colonizing and industrializing it. Space has potential, without any doubt, to exponentially grow in all the good things that humans happy and to a great extent wipe out all the things that make humans miserable. Upwing politics places an extremely high faith in the ability of robotics, humans, transhumans, and eventually posthumans (and probably a lot more besides) to literally live in space in larger numbers than ever humans lived on earth. Literally – hundreds of billions of unique, smart, beautiful, very intelligent, very wise, very resilient beings. Easily, within a few centuries. A critical component of emerging Upwing ideology is the urge to start mining asteroids as soon as possible and hence, off late Elon Musk is sort of an upwing thinking saint.
Freedom? You haven’t seen nothing yet.
An extremely important aspect of Upwing ideology is its active embrace of concepts taken from hard science fiction and (at least some) humans, transhumans and post-humans colonizing, well space and pretty much everything. You see this expression of an “explosion of emerging freedoms, affordances, options, consumer choices, drugs, forms of sexual expression, what-e-ver, upwingers can almost taste it and they want it now. That’s pandorism, the belief we are very close to an explosion of human potential in to realms of progress that more or less will end up making the current human state a non-enviable mode of grotesque limitations. Basically, Upwingers are right in this, and very very very hopeful. The twentieth century has been one interrupted sequence of people saying things can’t possible happen, then they happen, then people say, well it might be possible but I’ll never want it, then it becomes massproduction, cheap and works great and before you know it my 70+ age mom is mucking about with her smartphone video whatsapping to people in australia, posting on craigslist, buying bitcoin and playing candycrush. In an airplane. sending me crazy Hentai memes. This is established fact, yes there has been insane progress, yes people today have more easily tapped personal power than kings used to have one or two generations ago and yes yes yes there will be a lot more progress very soon. The core people in this insistence again are Pearce, Kurzweil, Bostrom, Diamandis, de Grey, More, Stoel, Giulio Prisco, Sandberg, who all insist, in subtle and nuanced shades of dayglo colors “you ain’t seen nothin yet”. And they are no doubt correct.
So, is transhumanism a subculture of “applied aspirational Star Trek enthusiasts”? No, it is significantly more. It’s born of the sense of outrage looking at the world today, it’s endemic stupidity, it’s pervasive despair and lack of imagination. It’s taking Obama’s words “Yes we can” far in to the real of exponential growth.
Suggested Upwing reading material (please email me with your suggestions)
Accelerando, Red/Green/Blue Mars, Vacuum Flowers, Schismatrix, The Culture Series and much much much more.
Please please please write me with comments, suggestions for adding sections, polite criticism. Hence, this article may evolve in the foreseeable future.