Gennady Stolyarov II
The membership of the U.S. Transhumanist Party continues to grow. Having reached over 254 members and having successfully implemented a voting infrastructure (which is currently being utilized in our vote on the Transhumanist Bill of Rights, ongoing until 12:01 a.m. on January 1, 2017), the Transhumanist Party can now begin to develop its platform with input from and voting by the members. The voting on the Transhumanist Bill of Rights has been an important learning experience for us, in that we have received ample member feedback and have sought to incorporate all of it in our ballot. This led to the ballot being extensive (with 38 substantive questions and numerous options for some of the questions), and has led us to consider how we can continue to ensure that all reasonable member input is reflected, while keeping each individual vote concise to enable even members with limited time to consider all the options and offer their input.
Our provisional solution with regard to future votes on the Transhumanist Party Platform is to consider five issue-specific planks per ballot. There will be multiple votes, each pertaining to a set of five planks, so members should not be discouraged if some issues are not mentioned on any given ballot. The intent is to continue the process of exposure and voting until the Transhumanist Party Platform is reasonably comprehensive and responsive to member suggestions in a large number of relevant areas. Even after the initial platform becomes reasonably comprehensive, the Transhumanist Party will accept member input regarding platform planks on an ongoing basis and will set up periodic votes on platform issues as soon as a sufficient mass of suggestions has accumulated to justify the compilation of a new ballot.
During the next 15 days, until 12:01 a.m. U.S. Pacific Time on January 15, 2017, members of the Transhumanist Party will be able to offer input regarding the five proposed planks below.
The first five planks being proposed pertain to timely issues which have motivated extensive discussion among members and comments made in outreach to the leadership of the U.S. Transhumanist Party. It is my personal view that, given ongoing world events, it is essential for the Transhumanist Party to take positions on issues such as privacy rights, opposition to bigotry, the imperative to use technology to improve and not damage human well-being, the imperative to prevent nuclear war (including accidental nuclear war), and the need to transition the focus of our productive infrastructure away from tools of warfare and destruction and toward research into and deployment of cures for diseases, including senescence, which are our real enemies.
What the specific positions on these issues will be, however, is ultimately subject to the determination of the members. The proposed planks being exposed are open to member suggestions, and every reasonable suggestion will generate an alternative option for members to vote on. Please offer your honest feedback regarding what you like about the original proposed version of each plank, what you dislike, and any revisions or additions you would favor. Please feel free to advocate your individual viewpoint – as all reasonable (serious, non-egregious, benevolently motivated) and topical suggestions will be considered in the voting process. If you make a suggestion that is best addressed in a plank on a different issue, then your suggestion will be considered during the development of a subsequent ballot and may influence the sequence by which planks get exposed.
During the exposure period, please post your comments on this thread. If you post comments intended to be considered in voting and/or amending any of these planks in any other electronic medium, please note that you thereby give your consent to have your comments reproduced with attribution or linked within this discussion thread, in order to direct members’ attention and consideration to them.
After the exposure period, a 7-day electronic voting period will occur from 12:01 a.m. U.S. Pacific Time on January 15, 2017, to 12:01 a.m. U.S. Pacific Time on January 22, 2017. Instructions for electronic voting will be sent to members of the U.S. Transhumanist Party via e-mail. All individuals who are members of the U.S. Transhumanist Party as of the end of the exposure period and who have expressed agreement with its three Core Ideals will be eligible to vote thereafter. You can still vote if you become a member during the exposure period, so please apply here if you are interested. During the 7-day electronic voting period, you will still be able to become a member – but you will only be able to vote in subsequent elections, since we seek for voting on any given issue to be done by those members who have had an opportunity to thoroughly consider that issue and be involved in deliberations regarding it.
Electronic voting will be conducted by a ranked-preference method. Members will be able to rank-order their preferred selections on each individual Platform Section. The original text of each Section will be available for selection, as well as any reasonable amendments proposed by any member. Leadership of the Transhumanist Party reserves the right to edit any proposed amendment for correctness of spelling and grammar only – but not with regard to the substance, unless the person proposing the amendment requests or consents to a substantive edit. “No Section of this sort” will also be a choice, and any Section where a majority of votes favors this option will be not be adopted. Members will also be able to abstain from voting on any given Section.
The ranked-preference method has the advantage of eliminating a “winner-take-all” or “first-past-the-post” mentality and preventing people from being channeled into voting for sub-optimal choices (in their view) just because they fear an even less palatable alternative prevailing. Within the ranked-preference methodology, if no option obtains a clear majority as voters’ first choice, the option having the fewest first-choice votes is eliminated from consideration, and all those who voted for that option will have their votes assigned to their second-choice options. This process of elimination continues until one particular option has a clear majority of votes.
The Transhumanist Party encourages all members to participate in this process and for other transhumanists to sign up for membership during the exposure period.
The text of the proposed platform planks below, other than Section D (which is newly written), is based on sections of the current Nevada Transhumanist Party Platform. The Section letters are provisional and will be replaced with official numbers for each plank that is adopted. The Section titles are informational only and will not be included in the adopted versions of the platform planks.
Section A. Privacy Rights
[Based on Section XIX of the Nevada Transhumanist Party Platform]
The United States Transhumanist Party strongly supports individual privacy and liberty over how to apply technology to one’s personal life. The United States Transhumanist Party holds that each individual should remain completely sovereign in the choice to disclose or not disclose personal activities, preferences, and beliefs within the public sphere. As such, the United States Transhumanist Party opposes all forms of mass surveillance and any intrusion by governmental or private institutions upon non-coercive activities that an individual has chosen to retain within his, her, or its private sphere. However, the United States Transhumanist Party also recognizes that no individuals should be protected from peaceful criticism of any matters that those individuals have chosen to disclose within the sphere of public knowledge and discourse.
Section B. Anti-Bigotry
[Based on Section XXX of the Nevada Transhumanist Party Platform]
The United States Transhumanist Party abhors all racism, nativism, xenophobia, and sexism. 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 close national borders, restrict immigration of peaceful individuals, or deny opportunities to individuals on the basis of ethnicity, race, or national origin. The United States Transhumanist Party unequivocally condemns all demagogues who seek to segregate individuals on the basis of national origin, race, or ethnicity. In particular, The United States Transhumanist Party opposes movements describing themselves as “white nationalism”, “America First”, “race realism”, and the “alt-right” – as well as the counterparts of those movements in other countries.
Section C. Benefits and Risks of Technologies
[Based on Section XXVIII of the Nevada Transhumanist Party Platform]
The United States Transhumanist Party holds that the vast majority of technologies are beneficial to human well-being and should be enthusiastically advocated for and developed further. However, a minority of technologies could be detrimental to human well-being and, as such, their application, when it results in detrimental consequences, should be opposed. Examples of such detrimental technologies include nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, mass-surveillance systems such as those deployed by the National Security Agency in the United States, and backscatter X-ray full-body scanners such as those used by the Transportation Security Administration in the United States. Furthermore, the United States Transhumanist Party is opposed to the deliberate engineering of new active pathogens or the resurrection of once-existing pathogens, whose spread might not be able to be contained within laboratory settings. While it is impossible to un-learn the knowledge utilized in the creation of such technologies, the United States Transhumanist Party holds that all such knowledge should only be devoted toward peaceful, life-affirming, rights-respecting purposes, going forward.
Section D. Nuclear Disarmament
In recognition of the dire existential threat that nuclear weapons pose to sapient life on Earth – including as a result of such weapons’ accidental deployment due to system failures or human misunderstanding – the United States Transhumanist Party advocates the complete dismantlement and abolition of all nuclear weapons everywhere, as rapidly as possible. If necessary for geopolitical stability, synchronized multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation treaties should be pursued, strengthened, and accelerated in the most expeditious manner. If, however, multilateral agreements among nations are not reached, then the United States Transhumanist Party advocates that all nuclear powers, especially the United States and Russia, should undertake unilateral nuclear disarmament at the earliest opportunity in order to preserve civilization from accidental annihilation.
Section E. Replacement of the Military-Industrial Complex
[Based on Section XVI of the Nevada Transhumanist Party Platform]
The United States Transhumanist Party supports the replacement of the military-industrial complex with concerted research efforts to cure cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and other illnesses that kill far more Americans than any terrorist or foreign government. Any increase in government funding to disease-research efforts should be offset by a greater reduction in military spending.
We welcome your feedback in the comments below.