18 March 2016

Existential risks don't matter to politics

The Blog

Current political science and ideology concentrates on the liberties of the individual, therefore lacks any and all theoretical grounds to bother opposing "existential risks" to human progeny or civilization, a blog post asserts.

This view, based on an unpublished review of a Lifeboat Foundation book, appears in a Beliefnet post. The argument goes that there is a lack of support in existing political theory for the pleas of Stephen Hawking, the Lifeboat Foundation boards, and countless other futurists and scientists who say space colonization should be pursued to ensure the perpetuation of the species.

No one in modern politics will be moved by the notion of safeguarding human posterity. In fact, most governments and political movements do not care for the long-term survival of humankind and will never invest any effort in it as their priorities are very clearly elsewhere:
[worrying about posterity] it is contrary to existing political norms. The prevailing liberal, centrist, libertarian and even socialist philosophies in the west today mainly focus on the rights, pleasures, and just treatment of individuals. Where they are concerned, it doesn’t actually matter if no humans exist a couple of centuries from now, as long as people didn’t die painfully.
To put it more consequentially, this means no electable politician or political scientist in the west would be swayed by negative-minded futurist arguments about saving humans from existential risks. Basically, the idea of posterity - of saving future generations to inhabit the world or even other worlds beyond - is completely unheard of to politicians and social science experts and cannot be expected to impress them.

Calling this problem a "gap on all our bookshelves", where there is simply no valid political theory and a lack of literature about why to save civilization or ensure posterity, the blog repeats its earlier value judgment that global injustice is ultimately worse than extinction in any binary choice between the two.

Maybe the political science is on the right track. If the current social system is unjust, efforts to save civilization are only about saving injustice.

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