But Peter Lawler, in a recent post on postmodern conservative, reminds his readers there is a venerable line of thinkers, from Rousseau to Patrick Deneen, who would deny the Enlightenment contention. They believe "the emancipation of technology from moral and political control would lead to the dehumanization of man." In other words, we might be unhappier than our classical and medieval ancestors.The POMO Con response to this debate is to make a distinction between the different kinds of technology. The modern view is man should use his creative powers to harness nature for the betterment of mankind e.g. dams and dishwashers; POMO Cons are on board with that.
But they would oppose the following: contemporary thinkers like Francis Fukayama have taken Descartes' idea of "conquering nature" and extended it to human nature. Thinkers like Fukayama want to redesign human nature a la Brave New World. Cloning, mood management pills, and other devises are seen as mechanisms to make us free and happy. Freedom and happiness, they say, will require us to cease to be human. This has been termed transhumanism.
Front Porch Republicans could respond to all this by pointing that biotechnology is the logical conclusion of the Enlightenment understanding of technology and nature.
Lawler's rejoinder to FP Republicans and Transhumanists would look something like this: human nature is unique from the rest of nature. We are 'Aliens' because we are not at home in this world. We have a yearning, which makes us miserable, but also makes us distinctive; dolphins do not suffer angst. And it is this distinctiveness, this uniqueness, which would be destroyed by the biotechnology revolution. Grace might not destroy our nature, but Soma sure will.