Hey everyone, Spartacus here for a tenth Spartacast.
I have a confession to make. Given some of the things I’ve said in the past, and the familiarity I’ve displayed with the subject matter, this may not come as a surprise to some.
I used to be on the other side years and years ago. I was very much pro-transhumanism, pro-technocracy, pro-environmentalism, pro-sustainability, et cetera. A couple of years ago, once I realized that technocrats were murdering people en masse, rather than deny what I was seeing, I recanted my position. I could not, in good conscience, continue to subscribe to an ideology responsible for so much evil.
I’ve never held a position of power or authority or the ability to act on these dogmas, thankfully. You could say that I was a dabbler—a fellow traveler of the technocrats. My reasoning was simple. For the sake of argument, let us assume that climate change is a pressing matter and will lead to runaway CO2 release in the form of forest fires or the infamous Clathrate Gun firing. Let’s also assume that ocean acidification, soil depletion, peak oil, peak water resources from drawing water from freshwater aquifers at greater than recharge rates, and peak minerals will lead to the utter failure of our agriculture and a considerable economic contraction mid-century.
I’m talking complete logistical failure. We are supposedly losing something like twelve million hectares of arable land to desertification yearly. That’s an area the size of North Korea, spread globally. If we assume that this trend continues or even worsens due to increasing demand for food, then in half a century, half of the remaining arable land will be gone. Before then, it will no longer be economical to fuel and repair the tractors, or the combine harvesters, or the semis that truck food to grocery stores, or any of it. The media aren’t telling anyone this. They keep everyone laser-focused on CO2, as if that were the only problem. It isn’t. It’s just a side effect of human economic activity. If your per capita CO2 emissions are high, that just means you’re rich. Barring forthcoming technological advancements that radically enhance the value of every quantum of human activity on this planet, anyone who’s telling you that your per capita CO2 emissions should be lower is basically saying you should be poor.
Lastly, let’s assume that the rise of automation in the form of AI will make millions or even billions of people completely jobless; even politicians, with algorithmic governance. Even for those who assumed their jobs were AI-proof, the whole underlying infrastructure would change to become more automatable, and their jobs would be automated away anyhow.
After years and years of beating my head against the wall, I didn’t see any realistic means of solving all of these problems with our current technology level without engaging in massive degrowth. If you didn’t do this, then we’d all be completely screwed anyway, when soil depletion and mass starvation starts hitting us in the mid 21st century, leading to societal collapse, anarchy, and so on. That’s not an exaggeration, either. I mean, full-on Mad Max-level wasteland, with leather assless-chapped bandits on motorcycles and all that. Total population collapse. Total civilizational collapse. Maybe a few regions under martial law, but that’s it.
Capitalism and the endless growth-mania would never fix this problem, for a number of reasons. For one thing, we don’t have truly free markets. We have oligopolies that use captured regulators to keep the pressure off their own businesses and also suppress competition from small entrepreneurs, all while handily absorbing fines and other legal countermeasures due to their sheer size and wealth. For another, the profit motive has created all sorts of perverse incentives.
Pharmaceutical companies have a vested interest in keeping people sick; every cured chronic illness patient is a lifetime’s worth of lost sales. Tech companies have grown exceedingly rich by essentially selling people the same device over and over again, every year, through planned obsolescence and their ongoing hostility to repair; this process of continuous overconsumption is extracting millions of metric tons of raw resources from the Earth’s crust and then directing them into landfills. This cycle is so rapid, it’s unbelievable. Look at Apple. They blubber on about sustainability and saving the environment, but everything in their devices is proprietary, and swapping out parts on a broken iPhone can easily brick the device and send it to a garbage dump. For a society where GDP growth is the primary measure of success, anything that halts and reverses growth to preserve limited natural resources is a heresy.
The only realistic means that I saw of avoiding degrowth was for cheap fusion power to become commonplace, and with it, inexpensive desalination and indoor farming with hydroponics. And, of course, there would need to be some kind of welfare, such as a universal basic income, to deal with job loss from automation, and so on. Basically everything we used would have to be fully recyclable or compostable in some way. Bioplastics would replace petroleum-based plastics, electronics would be simplified to use as few rare earths as possible, and so on. My grand scheme was to rebuild cities into fully self-sufficient coastal arcologies, centered on fusion-based desalination and indoor farming facilities. No need for a daily commute; remote work would replace most forms of in-person work. Instead of office space, you’d have more spaces for residences. No need for raw materials to be transported long distances. These communities would be materially autarkic and produce everything they needed in situ. All decisions of any real import would be made by AI, or by panels of experts and engineers, not corruptible politicians taking bribes under the table.
Essentially, what I was brainstorming for so many years was the blueprint for a new form of distributed society. Not quite capitalism, and not quite communism. A third way. A peer-to-peer, AI-centric commons. The goal would be to provide most of the material and creature comforts of first-world living but with maximal efficiency and minimal energy and raw material usage.
A decade ago, I could already see the writing on the wall. Without intervention, GDP-mania would lead, eventually, to corporate capture of governments through private-public partnerships and a form of Neofeudalism. The wealthy would establish themselves as a rentier caste, producing nothing, hoarding everything. In this context, transhumanism was madness. It would invariably lead to a Brave New World-style caste system. The wealthiest people would enhance themselves to the point of becoming unassailable 300 IQ demigods, with perfect memory and data correlation capabilities, while leaving everyone else in their dust. You wouldn’t be able to beat them—not in the markets, not in knowledge discovery or the so-called information economy, or any dimension of human endeavor.
If human augmentation was inevitable, then we clearly needed to bring about a classless society before it came about, otherwise, it would be used by the already dominant to dominate others further, or so I reasoned. In a classless society, transhuman augmentation would instead be used by everyone equally to enhance their best characteristics—intelligence, empathy, lifespan, and so on. Crime would be reduced to nil, as our reasons for aggression towards one another–like material deprivation, personality disorders, and so on–would all be cured.
What I did not anticipate was that the ultra-wealthy Overclass would implement basically all of these very same ideas that I once had, not with the goal of providing everyone on this planet with utopian material abundance, but with the goal of stripping people of every kind of sovereignty. Our bodies, our identities, our food, everything. Seeing Fauci, that narcissistic psychopath, paraded around on television, I quickly realized that a society run by credentialed experts instead of elected officials would be a terrible idea.
I’d bought into the lie of scientism for many years and assumed that men of science would at least be beholden to the truth in some way and not corruptible by financial interests. Nope. Not even slightly. They are susceptible to bribery and can be made to say whatever their paymasters want them to. Sad, in retrospect. Anyway, that’s basically the gist of it. I originally conceived of transhumanism and technocracy as a means to avoid letting humanity fall into serfdom under an unassailable rentier caste, but what’s happening is that transhumanism and technocracy are being utilized to force humanity into a giant dog kennel where we will be forced into serfdom at the whims of an unassailable rentier caste.
This whole time, right up until the global response to COVID-19 opened my eyes, I believed that the most dangerous things to our freedoms were the corporate lobby, regulatory capture, and the increasing concentration of financial power and media control in the hands of a tiny elite, and that scientists and engineers, being allegedly objective and rational, could simply bypass the FIRE industry’s ongoing legal, financial, and emotional manipulation of society by counteracting it with a healthy dose of reason. Instead, they purchased the scientists and engineers, too, and turned them into politically motivated mouthpieces. I wasn’t expecting that. I thought they had more integrity than to allow themselves to be bought so cheaply.
After observing the tyranny and tragedy of the lockdowns, I spent some time thinking about what degrowth would actually do to us, as a species. To put it bluntly, it kills people. It kills the young, it kills the old. It is cruel and indiscriminate in its killing potential. I used to get into debates with people about these sorts of things, a long time ago. There was this one fellow, very much of the cornucopian, pro-GDP-growth persuasion, who told me, point-blank, that my ideas about sustainability would end up killing people. I doubted him at the time, but in retrospect, he was absolutely correct.
I watched the lockdowns—economic degrowth put into practice—quite literally massacre innocent people. No one has been held to account for this. Our leaders murdered small children right in front of us. They snatched food right out of their hungry mouths. Worldwide, tens of millions of additional children suffered from malnutrition compared to prior years, due to the supply chain disruptions from the COVID-19 lockdowns. Even here in the US, people suffer from joblessness, poverty, and mental health crises on an unimaginable scale. There were huge spikes in drug abuse and suicidal ideation. These are not signs of a healthy society.
Before I wrote the Spartacus Letter, I started digging deeper, and I happened upon information regarding ongoing research into mind control technology, as well as the disturbing links between the vaccine manufacturers and virus-hunting NGOs, with the US DOD and the national security state in the middle of it all. By the time I started figuring out what was really going on—a technocratic coup by the Davos men with a side order of crimes against humanity—I realized that these people absolutely need to be stopped. It’s not a question of if they need to be stopped, but when, and how forcefully. If we allow these psychopaths to continue on the present course, they will enslave us. They are following a blueprint for global human enslavement, invading every dimension of human life.
If, by now, you don’t realize this, then you don’t really know anything about technocracy, Neo-Malthusianism, or transhumanism yet. That is a grave mistake. Don’t take my word for any of it. Read the original sources. Read Thorstein Veblen. Read Jacque Fresco. Read Ray Kurzweil. Read the Club of Rome’s Limits to Growth report. I read them all, long ago, and I took them very seriously. It was my longstanding familiarity with the niche subject matter that helped me to understand why we’re in such trouble now.
I used to regard Patrick Wood as an ideological opponent. I now encourage everyone to read his books. All of them. He was right. What’s worse, the people behind all of this sustainability and degrowth business are lying. People like George Monbiot are habitual liars. They are lying about the climate, they are lying about resource abundance, and they are fabricating crises to push an anti-human agenda of totalitarian control while eradicating the wealth and influence of the middle class. Forest fires? As God is my witness, they are setting them.
I tried warning people about all of this, a decade ago. All the people in the circles I used to hang out in were dismissive of all of it. Human augmentation? Algorithmic governance? Resource-based economies? Rationing and quotas for consumption? They didn’t take it seriously. They regarded it as wishful thinking. That’s science fiction. That’s perpetually twenty years in the future. Except it isn’t. It’s here. Now. Right in front of us. Just as I predicted. And the worst tyrants in human history are not using these technologies to solve poverty, homelessness, drug addiction, chronic illness, or any of the real problems facing our societies. They are using these technologies to lock all of us into an open-air digital prison, destroy the bargaining power of workers and families, turn children into wards of the state and manufactured products, and enact backwards and degrading sumptuary laws to limit luxury consumption to the Overclass.
They’re not doing this for the planet. They don’t give a damn about the planet. If they really did, they wouldn’t be using green hysteria to try and sell us even more wasteful technology than what we already have. James Delingpole and Michael Moore, though on opposite ends of the political spectrum, are both right: photovoltaic panels and wind turbines are a dead end. You only foist stuff like this on people when you want them to be poor and destitute so you can control them.
What’s worse, the Davos megalomaniacs and their buddies are dragging us headlong into an AI revolution without even fully comprehending the consequences. They are hoping that the threat of AI forgeries and AI-driven identity theft will accelerate the adoption of centralized digital IDs and end anonymity on the internet. We must insist on self-sovereignty of digital IDs. If you don’t generate and maintain custody of the private and public keys defining your online identity, then it’s not your identity. It belongs to the platform. Likewise, if your online ID is government-issued, then it doesn’t belong to you. It belongs to a bunch of corpocrat scumbags.
I've been thinking about Ted Kaczynski's manifesto, lately, after his unfortunate suicide in prison. At one time, my own worldview would have been diametrically opposed to his own. That is no longer the case. There was a time when I would have argued that we needed more technology. Much more. And certainly, to apply it to human bodies. To cure every kind of frailty. To rid ourselves of cancer, to put a halt to aging, and to banish the very memory of infirmity. All of this, and more, I did indeed subscribe to, with one caveat. I could never accept the idea of stripping people of free will and agency for any reason. Our leaders can. Between a stable world government and your civil liberties, which one do you think they’ll choose? If the government obtains the ability to pacify people on a large scale with neurotechnology, they will do so. The motive and the will to do so are both present and accounted for, and the matter has been discussed by bioethicists and policy experts extensively.
It pains me to admit it, but Theodore was right. Human beings are in the process of being domesticated, re-engineered, and reshaped by the technological system that we have created. In a way, this was inevitable. Human liberty is the number one threat to the technological system. People with liberty, agency, and the power of free choice are capable of directly disrupting the system's activities and interfering with its efficiency. From a control theory perspective, in a complex enough society, human liberty, regardless of its highly valuable role in innovation and culture, is something like unwanted noise or feedback that should be smoothed out into a pure signal. This is, of course, where you get managerialism, Nudge Theory, ESG, and all these bizarre, invasive, gaslighting behavioral interventions from. The people behind all of this are crude utilitarians who do not believe in the idea of natural rights. Like Jeremy Bentham, they believe only in legal rights, and last I checked, when it comes to new legislation, money talks.
This project of human re-engineering inevitably leads to human eradication. That is to say, once we have successfully domesticated man to such a degree that he finds it comfortable or even blissful to live in a corrugated metal shack eating fistfuls of bugs, the next logical step is, of course, to divest him of the physical body that causes him so much suffering and humiliation in the first place. That’s actually considered a laudable goal, by some transhumanists. If you’ve ever read David Pearce’s manifesto, The Hedonistic Imperative, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. In the technological system, the ultimate endpoint of man just before he explodes like confetti into strings of raw data is to become a disembodied brain in a vat full of MDMA and anti-aging serum, living in a simulated world, experiencing hedonistic bliss all the time, wanting for absolutely nothing at all, never needing to be clothed, never needing to be fed, never suffering from crime or violence of any kind, never needing any new gadgets to be produced to satisfy his cravings for dopamine, and never needing to suffer through the vicissitudes of sex, death, disease, ingestion, excretion or anything else of the sort.
The biomedical security state that has prosecuted a war on the unvaccinated over the past few years was primarily concerned with the human body itself as an object and as a target of biopolitical intervention, but it is not unique in that regard. The entire realm of technological endeavor is, at its core, a war on the human body. A war to possess, corral, and control the vulgar, obscene, detestable, unruly body, and, eventually, to eliminate it and its savage desires once and for all, while preserving the intelligent person that was once imprisoned in this frail, noxious shell. This may sound like madness, on the surface, but it is evident in every single technological intervention that mankind has ever devised. All of humanity’s tools are, in some way, meant to reduce or eliminate any suffering or difficulty experienced by the body.
If, for instance, a man living in the wilderness is sick and tired of being bitten by mosquitoes, then from the perspective of the technological system, there is no difference at all between sheltering him away from biting insects, or coating him in insect repellent, or killing all of the insects, or, lastly, removing his skin so he can no longer be bitten. They are all equivalent. In all cases, there is simply a person trapped in a body who is not comfortable with that body interfacing with nature, who desires a technological intervention to remove him from the source of noxious stimuli. The problem is, some utopian solutions to human misery are simply repugnant, no matter how well-intentioned they are, as Skinless Jack can attest.
This fixation on the body might seem strange, but the human body itself lies at the center of the issues that we face. You see, every single technological solution can be traced to an initial problem with—or physical limitation of—the human body. Every single one. We have phones because we can't shout loud enough to be heard from thousands of miles away. We have sewing machines because it's hard to produce textiles to wrap our bodies with using our bare hands. We have cars because we cannot run at a sustained sixty miles an hour with our legs. We have ships because we cannot swim across oceans and carry thousands of tons of raw materials on our backs. We have buildings because otherwise, our poor bodies would get cold and wet. We have rockets because we cannot leap to the moon in a single bound. We have printers and filing cabinets full of documents because we can't remember and recite all that information off the tops of our heads, and we have computers because they're better, more advanced, more versatile filing cabinets.
All technology is merely an extension of the body; something grafted on that wasn't there before. While trying to solve problems of the body in this manner, sometimes, we create new ones. The human body, of course, did not evolve to survive a car or plane wreck, crushed into paste by hurtling hunks of steel, plastic, and composites, nor did it evolve to perform actions requiring extensive hand-eye coordination on minimal sleep, like driving home from work after a twelve-hour shift.
Every tool is an extension of the body. Transhumanism, therefore, is the quest to produce a body with all the tools it needs to survive in a technological society built-in. Of course, this does not mean that we'll be able to run a hundred miles per hour, solve impossibly difficult math equations in our heads, or shoot lasers from our eyes. No. That's much too dangerous, allowing people to have liberty-enhancing augmentations like that. With such enhanced capabilities, every individual's body would pose an even greater threat to the stability of the technological system itself. By survival tools, I mean the ability to voluntarily suppress cravings, to dampen misery, to ward off tiredness. The technological society doesn't want or need people of the servant class to be transformed into unstoppable, unpredictable supermen. Rather, it needs alert, obedient workers who seldom eat or sleep and require little in the way of entertainment.
The limitations and the needs of the body form a casus belli for the technological system to wage perpetual war on the body. If the technological system suffers a hiccup and stops producing enough food to satisfy the body's hunger, the body's reward pathways will not receive enough stimulation and its cells will not receive enough nutrition. The body will get angry. With the last of its energy, the body will riot. There's a reason why the Overclass use the euphemism climate change to address overconsumption and overpopulation; it's because being told that there's too much CO2 in the atmosphere is far more palatable than being told that your sweaty and misshapen bodies are doing far too much eating and reproducing.
The citizens must never be made aware of the fact that they are livestock and that their bodies are always centered in the crosshairs, targeted for brainwashing, chemical tranquilization, culling, genetic modification, and practical castration, all to suit the whims of the technological society and the administrative state that governs it. Of course, all of this is, rather hypocritically, performed on behalf of aristocrats who allow themselves the luxury of unmodified, unmolested, fully nourished, natural, unabused bodies that are primarily concerned with various forms of leisure. They send their children to private schools. They sentence yours to prison. Indeed, this is a machine that detests you, to such a degree that your continued mental well-being is often predicated on ignoring the raw, undiluted hatred that this machine directs upon you and your body, ironically, all in the name of your continued health and comfort.
Ted Kaczynski, perhaps without realizing it, effectively argued through his manifesto that the human body is perfectly good as-is. The body doesn't need modification to suit society. Rather, he argued that it should be the other way around; society itself should be modified to be ergonomic and pleasant to the human body, and not produce undue stress for it, or demand it to perform repetitious tasks without result or reward. After all, Kaczynski’s idea of a power process was not much different from David Graeber's idea of a bullshit job. Both of them argued—from different directions, perhaps—toward the same exact conclusion, and that conclusion is that it is psychologically damaging for people to spend all day digging ditches and then filling them in again like a laborer in a gulag. Forcing a human or animal to expend effort without meaningful result is a well-recognized form of torture. Surrogate activity is a euphemism. We should call it ritual self-abuse, or sublimated torture.
What's remarkable about the technological society, then, is that it often makes people into willing participants in their own torture and imprisonment. Kaczynski's manifesto urges the reader to recognize an uncomfortable truth. You're an animal in a cage. Bend the bars of the cage out of the way. Run into the forest, and be with nature. Be free. It's an argument for the rewilding of man.
The reason why so many people on this planet are living in mental cages is because, on a certain level, they want to be caged. Living an uncaged, unsocialized, unfiltered existence and engaging with ideas that lie outside the Overton Window is scary to them. These types will cite Thomas Hobbes' old yarn about how life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. They'll dredge up old monsters from myth; gruesome plagues, starvation and cannibalism from sieges, conquering armies committing mass rapes, and so on. And then, on this basis, they will insist that it's much better to be, as Denis Leary's character in Demolition Man so eloquently put it, a 47-year-old virgin sitting around in his beige pajamas, drinking a banana-broccoli shake and singing I'm an Oscar Mayer Weiner. The technological society has no need of hard-drinking, foul-mouthed wild men and their double-barreled shotguns made from scrap plumbing. It wants neutered, domesticated, kowtowing eunuchs.
This mindset, one of technological and social progress being inherently desirable in itself—up to the point of human domestication and pacification—is the very basis of the authoritarian-neoliberal-technocratic uniparty's ongoing assault on the human body. It starts off by creating and maintaining a myth of human savagery and disease that can allegedly only be cured by the application of technology, and it ends by turning the world into a giant hospital, imperiously handing down diagnoses for every conceivable malady.
With the obsoletion of politics, we are medicalizing human nature itself, treating it as an illness that must be cured.
Sound familiar? It should.
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