Dr. Hughes is back with a new post in his “Problems of Transhumanism” series. The debates that have come out of these postings, both in the comments and in the larger intellectual sphere, make them some of the most productive transhumanist writing this year. Check out his newest “Moral Universalism vs Relativism.” Money quote:

For instance in Citizen Cyborg I argue that just as we currently formally acknowledge the different capacities and rights of adults without violating universalism, we could protect the basic equality of the enhanced and unenhanced while carefully acknowledging their differences. To drive cars, fly planes, possess weapons and hold certain occupations we oblige people to take specific courses of education, testing and licensure, and then subject them to special rules and obligations. It is possible to imagine that some cognitive and physical powers would be so dangerous that we would similarly require licensure for their possession.

My favorite sentence in the whole essay is the end of that paragraph. It consists of thinly-veiled reference to a dictatorship of hillbillies:

Just as people who own monster trucks and automatic weapons have not established themselves as a dictatorial aristocracy in democratic societies careful regulation of enhancements could diminish threats to legal and political equality.

The national anthem would be dueling banjos and the national animal would be a dead opossum. The essay is great, covering everything from animal uplift (and it’s criticisms) to Hume and Burke.

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