Posted: Sat, February 23, 2013 | By: Special Guest
by Tom Mooney
When scientists finally unlock the secrets of aging and begin to develop effective treatments for indefinite life extension I sincerely hope that all who choose to participate in this extraordinary event will have the opportunity to do so, before they die or give up hope.
I say this because presently, life extension projects are underway and more needs to be done yet most of the general public is not aware that their lives could be extended, Government funding is nonexistent and too many people know nothing about life extension and they cling to the myth that we all must die and few, if any, elected officials are willing to risk the wrath of their constituents by trying to make it an issue. A member of the House of Representatives or the U.S. Senate would never openly support us out of fear of losing his or her seat. In other words we have a lot of work to do.
We live in a strongly religious country, in which a vast majority of the voters have a belief in a “god” who, in their estimation, will decide each person’s ultimate fate. In this scenario death is inevitable, and expected. Anyone who tries to attack or debunk these long held beliefs is usually ignored or ridiculed. As a result few, if any, elected officials want to lose their job over what they perceive as a peripheral issue at best, and a politically dangerous one at worst. Most politicians are not going to risk their career on a peripheral issue and, also, they are not what one might call, “profiles in courage”.
In other words, we have a long and tortuous path to travel! When presented with the question, “If given the opportunity to extend your life indefinitely, would you do it ?To those in the life extension movement the answer would be a resounding “yes”, but to the ordinary citizen who is unfamiliar with the issue, the response would be a resounding “NO” Quite frankly, we have a huge number of people who need to become acquainted and comfortable with the idea of “life extension”. Too many believe that only evil people such as vampires or monsters have the ability to live an extremely long life. I can assure you that no one has ever lost an election because they underestimated the intelligence of the voters I know that sounds elitist but it is true!
Despite what many think, America is a relatively conservative nation, especially on social and cultural issues. We are a religious nation and issues such as abortion, gay rights, marriage and many others that are similar remain unresolved. Like it or not, indefinite life extension, will be an incredibly divisive issue! It flies directly into the heart of many religious people who believe that “life and death” issues should be left to God. Indefinite life extension will make abortion look like,” a walk in the park! Quite frankly, this is one of the chief reasons why most politicians will attempt to avoid talking about this issue. There are no elected officials who want to lose an election over what they perceive is a “peripheral” issue at best and a dangerous one at worst.
Quite frankly, we have a long arduous path confronting us. Americans appear blinded to the sage words written in the Declaration of Independence which read ,“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
These profound ideals, written in Philadelphia in 1776 have slowly evolved over the years, and now their relevance will be tested. The other two “rights, namely “liberty” and ‘the pursuit of happiness’ become meaningless words unless the right to life is diligently pursued.
Life is the “sine qua non” of the Declaration of Independence and if one reads this founding document he or she will also find that in order to “secure these rights, Governments are instituted…”.
It seems in order to conclude that the Government has an obligation under this founding document to promote and assist in whatever ways possible “life extension” research and to make it available to those who seek it.
Also, in order to fully realize the other two rights, “Liberty and the pursuit of happiness” one must be “alive”, otherwise, the rights of, “liberty and the pursuit of happiness” become greatly diminished.
When the second Continental Congress wrote the Declaration of Independence 225 years ago there was no “hard” evidence” that life extension was possible but that does not diminish the written words of the document. The intention in the document is clear. In America we respect life and are desirous of people living as long as possible. The message is namely, we need to support life extension research and in fact it should be a national priority.
I know this will be a tough battle. There are many issues that people face from taxes to crime to poverty and so on.
But “life” is transcendent! Few have ever heard of a “life extension movement” and we have a massive educational job in front of us and we must begin now! We need to have a vision of a society that cares as much about the quality of its’ communities as the quantity of its’ goods. Life extension can be “socially transformational” and we must make “life extension” available to all who want it. We must stress “inclusiveness” as opposed to making it available only to the rich. We must remember that presently we all die and to exclude those who may not be able to afford it is a type of “social genocide” that cannot be tolerated.
We have a massive scientific, political and social undertaking in front of us and we must begin now.
While the science of life extension research is progressing, the social and political aspect is virtually nonexistent. I am not overly critical of this situation but there will be significant opposition to life extension and we need to be prepared.
Politics is about gaining power and keeping it. For example, a few years ago a “tea party” was a social gathering among mostly older people. Today it is considered a viable, effective, conservative, political force with a great deal of power and influence on the national political stage. How did this happen?
It started with a small group of people who were angry and declared they were going to do something about it. They said, “enough is enough” and they wanted smaller government, massive spending cuts and “traditional values”. Many of them had no political experience but they had vision and determination. Now, they have become a major force in American politics, especially in the Republican party.
Quite frankly, we need to become a lot more ourselves. People in the life extension movement, have been, for the most part unwilling or unable to roll up their sleeves and become involved. I am aware that politics can be confrontational, divisive, and raw. Too often American politics is not about the merits of an issue or a candidate or a Platonic search for the truth, instead it is usually a contest to determine whose point of view will prevail.
We all know that the issue of “life extension” is a new one that elected officials know little about. I have spoken to many members of Congress and their aides with limited success. The main problem is that they know little about the issue of life extension. In other words we have a lot of work to do! We must begin to educate our elected officials. Some believe indefinite life extension is impossible, others raise religious objections, and, believe it or not, a few even associate it with Frankenstein, or Dracula or someone who has illegally gained immortality and wants to destroy us. Some have religious objections, or population concerns, or scarce resources and the impact on the environment. In other words we have a long way to go before “life extension” becomes a viable issue.
In reality, all of these concerns can be addressed in a sane and rational manner but in reality, too many of them are trying to avoid the substance of an issue that will become one of the most important matters in the history of the world, namely, indefinite life extension!
I am an optimist who always sees the donut and never the hole. Over a reasonable amount of time, “indefinite life extension” will become a reality but the road to success will be difficult!
We must continue organizing at every opportunity that presents itself. I have no intention of becoming statistic on a mortality chart and I hope you feel similarly. We must come together and fight for our lives. Quite frankly, the ultimate fate of life extension is in your hands.
Become involved. People matter in politics. You can bet your life on it