Technoprogressive biopolitics and human enhancement

In Jonathan D. Moreno & Sam Berger (eds.), Progress in Bioethics: Science, Policy, and Politics. Mit Press (2010)
A principal challenge facing the progressive bioethics project is the crafting of a consistent message on biopolitical issues that divide progressives. The regulation of enhancement technologies is one of the issues central to this emerging biopolitics, pitting progressive defenders of enhancement, “technoprogressives,” against progressive critics. This essay [PDF] will argue that technoprogressive biopolitics express the consistent application of the core progressive values of the Enlightenment: the right of individuals to control their own bodies, brains and reproduction according to their own conscience, under democratic states that work for the public good. Insofar as left bioconservatives want to ensure the safety of therapies and their equitable distribution, these concerns can be addressed by thorough and independent regulation and a universal health care system, and a progressive bioethics of enhancement can unite both enthusiasts and skeptics. Insofar as bioconservative concerns are motivated by deeper hostility to the Enlightenment project however, by assertion of pre-modern reverence for human uniqueness for instance, then a common program is unlikely. imageAfter briefly reviewing the political history and contemporary landscape of biopolitical debates about enhancement, the essay outlines three meta-policy contexts that will impact future biopolicy: the pressure to establish a universal, cost-effective health insurance system, the aging of industrial societies, and globalization. Technoprogressive appeals are outlined that can appeal to key constituencies, and build a majority coalition in support of progressive change. Finally, some guiding principles for a technoprogressive approach to biopolicy are offered.
Keywords ethics  politics  philosophy  bioethics  transhumanism
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