Would Ageless People be Libertarian?
By Arnold Kling
The point is raised by a commenter on Futurepundit.
curing aging will not make us immortal in the true sense of the word. We can still die due to accidents, homicide, and suicide. The word immortality is not appropriate. I propose the word “post-mortal” as description of someone who has been cured of aging, but can still die of other causes. A society comprised of such people, whose institutions have evolved to reflect the lives of such people, would be called a “post-mortal” society.
It has always been my contention that a post-mortal society will be more libertarian than the one we have today. It has also been my contention that post-mortality is essential for libertarianism. Libertarianism and dependency are mutually exclusive.
This might make for an interesting seminar discussion topic. If aging were curable, would people feel less inclined to expand government?
These days, I tend to think of the issue of the size of government as essentially a power struggle between capitalists and anti-capitalist intellectuals. I don’t see how a cure for aging resolves this conflict.
UPDATE: Nick Schulz reminds me of Charles N.W. Keckler’s essay on the topic. He writes,
Francis Fukuyama opined that “political, social, and intellectual change will occur much more slowly in societies with substantially longer average life spans.”
If an ageless 150-year-old behaves like an old person, then he or she will have a goal of stability. That might mean a very non-libertarian attitude. But I am not sure that ageless people will have attitudes that are elderly or not.
UPDATE: I meant to also link to this post, which points out that economists tend to be more pro-immortality than other folks.