June 3, 2004

Enforcing death

I'm currently hacking away at my next column for Betterhumans. This one is tentatively titled "Deathist Nation" and it's a critical examination into how death would have to be enforced in the future if the bio-Luddites were to have their way. I surmise that, given the certain inevitability of life extension technologies, it would take a rather authoritarian iron fist to ensure that people die in a timely fashion. I pretty much focus on the US situation, mostly because of its outspoken and prominent Bioethics Council.

And I'm not really exaggerating. The scary part is, Leon Kass and Francis Fukuyama seem convinced that this is the way to go. When recently asked by Wired's Brian Alexander if the government has a right to tell its citizens that they have to die, Francis Fukuyama answered, "Yes, absolutely."

Here's a brief excerpt from my article, which should be ready by early next week:
As I consider their arguments and look deeper into what they're saying, I have come to the realization that their propaganda campaign is more than just a battle for hearts and minds. One gets the distinct impression that, should radical life extension technologies start to become available, these detractors would go much farther than just a war of words in their attempts to ensure that we never become an immortal species.

Owing to the grim seriousness of this Bioethics Council, I am forced to consider what it would take to stop the coming anti-aging revolution -- and as I think about this I truly fear the kind of future they have in mind.

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