Should Nazis, White Supremacists Be Resurrected in the Future?
How Robert Whitaker’s Cryopreservation Could Leave Potential Stain on Company Alcor
What if you could be resurrected back to life in the near or far future and whatever disease that initially killed you cured on the day of your reanimation? That’s the dream goal of a growing population of people known as cryonicists. And, full disclosure, I’m one of those people.
Through cryonics organizations like Cryonics Institute and Alcor Life Extension Foundation, people are now given a third, alternative option to what happens to their body in the event of their death. Rather than be buried six feet under or be cremated into ash — both options which provide a 0% chance of ever coming back to life — cryonics proposes the cryopreservation of the clinically deceased in the hopes of someday reanimating them back to life at a later date.
And while the practice remains controversial, with many throughout the scientific community expressing skepticism that the practice will even work, we cryonicists aren’t driven by fanciful guarantees, but rather the hope, however small it may be, that we’ll someday achieve a second chance at life.
As one of my favorite talk show hosts, Larry King, once argued in favor of cryonics:
“I don’t believe in an afterlife. I just never accepted it. I never made that leap of faith. So that means, when you die, it’s bye, bye, baby. So the only hope — the only fragment of hope — is to be frozen. And then someday they cure whatever you died of and you’re back. So, in other words, you put me in the ground or burn me up — I don’t want that! I’ve got to have that fragment of hope.”
But I’m not here to try to convince you into pursuing cryonics yourself; I’m here to put into question the mantra that everyone is entitled to a second chance at life.
Let’s just assume that the practice of cryonics becomes a huge success in the near or far future, whereby everyone that chose to be cryopreserved is reanimated with a clean bill of health. Sounds good, right? Now imagine that one of those people also happen to be a white supremacist and/or neo-Nazi. Does that still sound good to you?
Unfortunately, this could potentially happen one day, thanks to the cryonics company Alcor. In June of 2017, Alcor had announced that their 152nd patient had been successfully cryopreserved under their care and service. The patient’s name and designation are Robert Whitaker (A-1649) and he was confirmed dead after his personal assistant discovered his body on June 3. Soon thereafter, his personal assistant contacted Alcor to notify them of his death, whereby the company immediately responded and was able to cryopreserve Whitaker’s head the day after.
If It Quacks Like a Neo-Nazi
Now you might be asking, “so what?” Well, even though Alcor is legally required to not divulge their patient’s personal information, it would appear that Robert Whitaker (A-1649) shares a number of attributes with that of white nationalist Robert (“Bob”) Whitaker.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), Bob Whitaker was “a curmudgeonly segregationist who penned a 221-word racist “Mantra” that became a rallying cry for racists the world over,” where he “blames immigration for a “genocide” facing white people.” This became famously known as the “white genocide” myth. The SPLC further notes that Whitaker “once claimed to have had a swastika poster on his wall when he was young to protest desegregation.”
But are these Robert Whitakers the same person? I could be wrong, but not only did they share the same exact name, but they also lived in Columbia, South Carolina, and they both died on the same exact day — Saturday, June 3, 2017. As the old saying goes, “If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.”
A Second Chance at Life
This then raises the question: Should people like Robert Whitaker be granted the possibility of being reanimated back to life in the near or far future?
There are many cryonicists who would argue that the practice of cryonics is nothing more than an extension of emergency medicine, akin to the “emergency preservation and resuscitation” (EPR) methods currently being experimented on throughout various hospitals and universities. In other words, because everyone is entitled to life-saving care, such as CPR and other methods, no matter how shitty of a person they are, they are also, by extension, entitled to being reanimated at a later date after clinical death.
But it’s a far-cry to correlate a medical practitioner's modus operandi of committing no harm to their patients while under their care to that of seeking the services of a private company — especially when that company is aware of who that person is and what their beliefs entail.
There are others who would argue that, while it would be permissible to prevent people like Adolf Hitler and King Leopold II from being reanimated because they actually committed crimes against humanity, it wouldn’t be the same for people like Robert Whitaker because he merely spoke of his beliefs rather than acted on them. But this argument completely ignores the fact that both Hitler and Leopold II’s egregious actions stemmed from their extremist beliefs that the pursuit of a white ethnostate justifies acts of genocide — a belief that Whitaker shared as well.
Speaking as a member of the United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party (USTP) — though, to be clear, I am not speaking on behalf of the organization as a whole — according to its membership-voted Constitution, Article III, Section II:
“The United States Transhumanist Party supports all acceptance, tolerance, and inclusivity of individuals and groups of all races, genders, classes, religions, creeds, and ideologies. Accordingly, the United States Transhumanist Party condemns any hostile discrimination or legal restrictions on the basis of national origin, skin color, birthplace, ancestry, gender identity, or any manner of circumstantial attribute tied to a person’s lineage or accident of birth. Furthermore, the United States Transhumanist Party strongly opposes any efforts to enforce said restrictions regardless of cause or motivation thereof. Additionally, any institution that uses violence, suppression of free speech, or other unconstitutional or otherwise illegal methods will be disavowed and condemned by the United States Transhumanist Party, with an efficient, non-violent alternative to said institution being offered to achieve its goals if they align with the Party’s interests.”
And in Article III, Section XXXI:
“The United States Transhumanist Party supports the right of any jurisdiction to secede from the United States specifically in opposition to policies that institutionalize racism, xenophobia, criminalization of dissent, and persecution of peaceful persons. The United States Transhumanist Party does not, however, condone any secession for the purposes of oppressing others. Therefore, the secession of the Confederate States in 1860 was illegitimate, but a future secession of a State may be justified in reaction to violent crackdowns by the federal government against individuals based on individuals’ national origin or ancestry.”
In other words, in accordance with what was highlighted above, people like Whitaker would’ve never been accepted into the USTP because of the beliefs he held. Why Alcor — a transhumanist organization ran by transhumanists like its CEO Max More — wouldn’t have a similar policy is beyond me. I’ve attempted to reach out to Alcor, but they’ve yet to respond back.
What Would Captain Picard Do?
To be clear, I’m not completely opposed to Alcor allowing Robert Whitaker to benefit from their cryopreservation services. One of the best arguments in favor of Whitaker being reanimated in the near or far future happens to correspond with one of my favorite episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation — “The Neutral Zone.”
In that episode, the Enterprise-D comes into contact with an ancient space capsule adrift in deep space. When the crew beams on board to investigate, they make a baffling discovery — three ancient humans from the 20th century, cryogenically preserved inside of refrigeration pods.
The three humans were Clare Raymond, Ralph Offenhouse, and L.Q. “Sonny” Clemonds. And while both Clare and Sonny were able to understand and accept the magnitude of how much has changed since they were first cryopreserved, Offenhouse, on the other hand, a power-hungry capitalist, found it extremely difficult to understand the situation, let alone accept it.
And while the amazing Captain Jean-Luc Picard was able to convince Offenhouse to start thinking beyond his profit-driven ideology, in reality, Offenhouse would’ve likely fought back much harder than what was presented in the episode. In fact, the likelihood of him being able to truly accept the 24th century’s post-capitalist economy and philosophically-alien values would’ve been rather slim.
Bringing us to what I consider to be one of the best arguments in favor of Whitaker’s cryopreservation. Given how backward Whitaker’s ideology is even in the 21st century, one can only imagine how far behind his mindset will be by comparison to the time period that he’s potentially reanimated in. And while it’s not very Picard-like for me to say this, I find deep satisfaction in the very thought of how he’ll respond to a future that has moved far beyond his hateful worldview.
He dreamt of an all-white “utopia,” and yet he’ll awaken to a multipolar world filled with humans, cyborgs, and various other genetically-modified morphologies beyond even our own comprehension. And in response, he’ll have a choice: Either accept the new reality or perish.
Even then, however, Alcor runs the risk of Whitaker not only refusing to assimilate to the new world but also becoming quite violent in response. Thus, bringing us back to the initial question: Should neo-Nazis and white supremacists like Whitaker even be allowed to be reanimated in the near or far future? Knowing the potential ramifications, would it be worth the risk?
I suppose only time will truly tell.