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Book Reviews: Our Posthuman Future

J. Bottum

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J. Bottum reviews Francis Fukuyama's "Stopping the Future" where Fukuyama argues that western man is on a collision course between biotechnological progress and man's innate desire for truth that is "based on the complex interplay of birth, health, aging, and death." The "liberal project," Bottum writes, in seeking to overcome the limitations of human nature, contains within it the seeds of the destruction of that nature.

Our Posthuman Future
Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution
Francis Fukuyama
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 272 pp., $25

FRANCIS FUKUYAMA is right, of course, when he says in his new book, "Our Posthuman Future," that we should be frightened by the Brave New World that eugenic biotechnology has opened up for us. He's right about the probable causes. 

...And yet, lacking a coherent unmodern philosophy, we can offer no compelling reasons for modernity to stop where we wish it to. The economic and political battles against communism, by returning liberalism to its original course, certainly changed the direction of modernity. But they did nothing to slow modernity down. 

...Or, for another example, consider the question of whether we could have had a liberalism that was against abortion...And, hard as it is to remember, there was a moment around 1969 when several liberal writers were insisting that care for the poor and the weak demanded the rejection of abortion. But the liberationist impulse was simply too strong, and the sexual revolution too much fun. 

...We've had one attempt to cobble an anti-modern philosophy solely from the resources of modernity itself; it was called "postmodernism," and apart from encouraging a residual suspicion of all science, it did nothing to solve our problem and a great deal to exacerbate it. 

For the complete article go to The Weekly Standard website



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