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Month: June 2017

In Time For Everyone, A Reason To Support Us – Article by Martin van der Kroon

In Time For Everyone, A Reason To Support Us – Article by Martin van der Kroon

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Martin van der Kroon


There is a lot of inequality in the world, from economic or wealth inequality to inequality of opportunity, to inequality that may have to do with ethnicity, biological sex, or gender. It is not a surprise when I say that we can do without new inequalities. This is exactly what some critics of transhumanism fear, that with the coming possibility of indefinite life-extension we will face lifespan inequality.

I think they are justified in their fears. Let’s take a step back and illustrate what that would look like, as for many indefinite life extension seems like science fiction, and at the moment it still is. What would a world with lifespan inequality look like?

(Spoilers for the movie In Time (2011) ahead)

Although often compared to society’s current situation of wealth inequality, the movie In Time might actually be more directly linked to a fear of lifespan inequality, for the obvious reason that the movie is about humans being able to buy ‘life-time’, but also have to spend it.

As per the In Time movie’s IMDB page: “In a future where people stop aging at 25, but are engineered to live only one more year, having the means to buy your way out of the situation is a shot at immortal youth. …”

In the movie the wealthy accumulate time as a means of profit, and by extension extra life time. The less fortunate have their daily lives, but are always close to their time running out. Obviously the chances of this exact scenario are slim, but the metaphor is apt nonetheless. Wealth can buy almost anything, and in a future where indefinite life extension is possible, the wealthy will want to buy this, too.

The problem we face is whether we end up getting into a situation similar to the movie In Time, the wealthy having time, and the poor almost always out of time, or whether we can create a framework to make life extension available and accessible to everyone, rich, poor, and everything in between.

The science and willingness to make indefinite life-extension possible are fascinating and amazing, but the critics are right that we have to tread carefully in how it may be applied.

This is a reason why, even if you otherwise do not consider yourself a transhumanist, you might wish to consider supporting the U.S. Transhumanist Party. As a political party looking towards the future, we strive to create a framework that makes available and accessible to all the possibility of indefinite life extension so that we may prevent another inequality from entering our world.

Martin van der Kroon is the Director of Recruitment for the U.S. Transhumanist Party.

Are You Being Tricked into Voting for the System? – Article by Sandra from The Right Side of Truth

Are You Being Tricked into Voting for the System? – Article by Sandra from The Right Side of Truth

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Sandra from The Right Side of Truth


For years, we’ve been sold the idea that the political system of the United States is a choice between two very different parties. On the Left, we have the progressive-liberal Democratic Party championing forward thinking and social good, and on the Right, we have the conservative Republican Party, sometimes called the GOP (short for Grand Old Party), touting the ideas of less government and traditional values.

At least that’s what we’ve been told. These stark differences are pushed at every debate and every public event. However, what the parties rarely discuss is how similar most of their policies are in practice.

So exactly how is it that these two parties continually trick us into voting for one or the other? How is it they manage to stymy progress time and time again, thrusting us further into the past? Not surprisingly, their tactics are both extraordinarily basic and brutally effective. Here’s how they do it.

Drumming Up the Non-Issues

The favored tactic by public masters of deception is presenting non-relevant ideas to distract us from what truly matters. Every election we see it, and 2016 was a perfect example of this. Both candidates kept their audience focused on personal attacks and empty promises, constantly avoiding the real issues.

Take for example the issue of “the wall.” Democrats historically voted in favor of constructing a border wall with Mexico; Hillary Clinton, largely seen mocking Donald Trump on the topic, was quite in favor of it in the past. While the two candidates bickered over the wall and who should pay for it, there was never any real debate between the two about whether or not it was a good idea because under the surface both candidates supported it.

Yet if we return to the present, we can see very little being done in terms of large-scale action. The President—who is not a legislator—has not suddenly conjured up a solid concrete wall across the entire US-Mexico border. That it was suggested this would happen was absurd to begin with and little more than a distraction.

And it’s not the only distraction we see virtually every election. “Major” issues come up conveniently every four years regarding topics such as abortion, marriage, and military spending. Yet the moment the elections end, these issues become silent. No significant changes or votes are held because neither party ever intended to do anything in the first place.

The third-party candidates that seriously have an interest in changing our policies never receive a serious moment in the public’s eye. Debates are always between two parties, and the results are always the same no matter who wins. Alternative ideas are shut out, even when they come from within one of the major parties, as we saw in the 2012 election with Ron Paul’s repeated media blackballing despite a commanding voter base in the primaries.

The “Outsider” Candidate

Those who genuinely believe the idea that the controlling parties would allow an outsider (that is, someone with different views than the status quo) to become a serious candidate are sorely deceived. This is another tactic used to mislead the public into thinking they have a real choice.

While it pains me to use the same example repeatedly, the 2016 election is just one of the best in a long time to truly demonstrate how good these parties are at fooling us. We were fed two choices—Hillary Clinton, the “safe, regular Democrat” choice (and trust me, the party never gave Bernie Sanders a second thought), and Donald Trump, the Hollywood businessman with a mouth.

Surely Trump, with his uncouth speech and disrespect for the Republican Party, was the outsider—right? Yet in office we see him making the same choices any GOP candidate would have made. He is still pro-War, pro-Keynesian economics, and shows no major signs of instigating any promised changes.

Other than speech patterns, nothing would have been different under any other GOP candidate or under Hillary Clinton. To begin with, the president is the head of executive power; he or she does not independently pass laws nor create funding for public projects. All of these faculties fall to the House and the Senate, which are also dominated by shills that vote nearly exclusively on the party line.

The running of candidates such as Donald Trump, Barack Obama, and even Ronald Reagan are simple feints to distract us from the real issues. And the real issue is the perception that there are no alternatives. By funneling our votes into a predictable “A or B” pattern, the parties work together behind closed doors to ensure they remain in power with no challenge to their plans or wealth.

The “Thrown-Away Vote” Fallacy

Dictating how things are from above with tools such as the mainstream media or political announcement is only so effective. On many levels, people can see through the deception of public figures and come to different conclusions. How is it then that so many of us continue to fall victim to this scam?

Surprisingly, the problem is truly at the root of our culture, and it’s been instilled in most of us basically since birth. It’s the idea that voting outside of the two choices we’re given (Red or Blue) is a wasted vote. We’re taught to think voting for a third or fourth party is somehow a vote for whichever candidate we don’t want to win.

This is a logical fallacy that’s been perpetuated for decades to discourage us from breaking away from the two-party system. If enough people believe it, it becomes true to some extent—people fear throwing away their votes and thus don’t vote for anyone outside the standard parties.

But we already know from the Senate and the House that this is simply incorrect. While no third-party president has served to date, several unaffiliated or third-party candidates serve or have served in Congress. Their ideas were different, and their voter bases were small enough to avoid widespread control.

Breaking the Illusion of Choice

If we truly wish to end the illusion of choice in the voting system, we need to recognize the inherent flaws within the system. From the outset, the American system was designed to discourage the illiterate mob from having final say over major candidates. It was designed back when few citizens had a formal education, thus the Electoral College that supersedes the popular vote.

Because of this, changes need to be made within and without the current major parties. We must collectively vote out the leadership of both the Democratic and Republican parties while simultaneously pushing for third-party representation. Not just for a single party such as the Libertarians either—we need multiple parties represented because not all interests overlap.

No single party could ever hope to represent the needs of conflicting groups. Farmers do not share the same values as corporate America, and manufacturers run counter to mom-and-pop businesses just the same as the interests of the wealthy conflict with the poor. And this is totally natural!

We the voters must take responsibility by researching the issues that are important and by seeking candidates that suit our needs. That means watching documentaries, reading books and blogs, and listening to podcasts. Even entertainment venues such as Netflix—when the content is locally available—have something to offer to help us broaden our perspective.

And as might be expected, no perfect political system exists. At the end of the day, the real enemy of freedom isn’t just some evil council of political masterminds striving for world domination. The biggest opponent of choice is staring at us in the mirror. Will you overcome your fear of uncertainty? Tell us in the comments.

About the Author: Sandra is a political activist and free thinker who’s never afraid to speak her mind. Despite the seemingly hopeless situation in Washington, she’s confident that by coming together we can make real changes for the better. See her website at The Right Side of Truth.

City of New Antideath – Painting by Ekaterinya Vladinakova, Commissioned by Gennady Stolyarov II

City of New Antideath – Painting by Ekaterinya Vladinakova, Commissioned by Gennady Stolyarov II

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Art by Ekaterinya Vladinakova

Painting Commissioned by Gennady Stolyarov II


City of New AntideathCity of New Antideath – Painting by Ekaterinya Vladinakova

Commentary by Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman of the United States Transhumanist Party, Editor-in-Chief of The Rational Argumentator

For my coming thirtieth birthday, I have commissioned a colossal cityscape depicting my vision and hope for the future progress of humankind. Artist Ekaterinya Vladinakova, a long-time supporter of transhumanism and life extension, was the evident best choice for this project.

The City of New Antideath represents a future society which has overcome death, disease, and today’s principal sources of material scarcity and discomfort. This city contains more than ample living space in ornate, radiantly illuminated skyscrapers. Smaller villas, domed towers, and other luxuriously ornamented buildings adorn the central walkways. There is ample room for pedestrian traffic and plant growth sculpted into geometrically complex patterns – including on the rooftop terraces of many of the mega-skyscrapers.

Flying cars and autonomous drones appear as streaks of light from the ground level. There is so much room for aerial transportation that no more traffic jams exist on the ground. One can opt for efficient transport, or for open-ended leisurely walking, and the two modes will not collide.

Over the years I have created a large number of building models using Sketchup, Minecraft, and even LEGO bricks. In my quest for permanence, they – or images of them – have been preserved and provided to the artist for inspiration. The first City of Antideath consisted of my Sketchup models. The City of New Antideath was not intended to be an exact replica, but rather a successor inspired by the prospect of juxtaposing the best architectural elements of all eras – past and yet to come.

I conveyed to Ekaterinya Vladinakova that the skyscrapers should exhibit a variety of bold colors and geometric shapes – but also be orderly and ornate. I have a great admiration for historical architecture from the 16th through 19th centuries – so while some of the buildings are geometric and futuristic, others borrow significant elements from Renaissance, Baroque, Neoclassical, or Victorian styles. Russian and Eastern architectural traditions find their manifestations in this cityscape as well. The idea is to portray a future of extreme diversity, where all of these elements will exist side by side and interact with one another in interesting ways. Far from cultural separatism or tribalism, the future needs to borrow and develop upon the best elements from all cultures, times, and places. The culture of New Antideath is rational, scientific, progress-oriented, universalist, cosmopolitan, and at the same time hyperpluralist and welcoming of all peaceful individuals.

The most significant vision I have for this artwork is that it will become the iconic vision of a techno-positive future. Accordingly, I am rendering it available for free download and distribution via a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike License so that it might be used by others who seek illustrations of a future we can all aspire for.

I still hope that I was not born too soon – that I may someday personally witness and experience a future of this sort. But for now, although the third decade of my life did not see such a future emerge, I am happy at least to have enabled its depiction so that others can be inspired to strive toward it. Given that our immediate world has become suffused by a pervasive, destructive malaise over the past two years, we will need visions such as this to overcome it and achieve better ways to be.

There are three versions of this digital painting available for free download (left-click on the links to open, right-click to download):

Small (1200 by 1931 pixels)

Medium (2400 by 3861 pixels)

Original Size (11250 by 18100 pixels – a vast canvas with immense detail. Note: This file size is immense as well – but you will be able to zoom in to view individual buildings and regard them as smaller-scale paintings in their own right.)

For those seeking musical accompaniment in viewing this painting, I recommend my Transhumanist March, Op. 78 (2014) (MP3 and YouTube)  or Man’s Struggle Against Death, Op. 58 (2008) (MP3 and YouTube).

Find out more about Mr. Stolyarov here.

Ekaterinya Vladinakova is an accomplished digital painter. See her gallery here and her DeviantArt page here.  

U.S. Transhumanist Party Recognition for Music Box Radio in Colombia

U.S. Transhumanist Party Recognition for Music Box Radio in Colombia

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Gennady Stolyarov II


Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman of the United States Transhumanist Party and Chief Executive of the Nevada Transhumanist Party, offers a message of support for one of our Allied Members from Colombia, Oscar Coronado Medina, and his radio program Music Box, accessible on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/cajamusicalTuta/.

Become a member of the U.S. Transhumanist Party for free, no matter where you reside by filling out our Membership Application Form at https://goo.gl/forms/IpUjooEZjnfOFUMi2.

Activating Transhumanism – James Strole Interviews Gennady Stolyarov II on RAAD Fest

Activating Transhumanism – James Strole Interviews Gennady Stolyarov II on RAAD Fest

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Gennady Stolyarov II


U.S. Transhumanist Party Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II was interviewed by James Strole regarding the forthcoming RAAD Fest 2017 in San Diego, California, which will occur on August 9-13, 2017. This interview addressed Mr. Stolyarov’s impressions of RAAD Fest 2016, his goals for the transhumanist movement in politics, and how various perspectives within the transhumanist and life-extensionist movement can benefit from interfacing with one another. Watch the video of the interview on YouTube or below.

At RAAD Fest 2017, Mr. Stolyarov will be moderating a panel consisting of transhumanist philosophers, researchers, and activists – including Zoltan Istvan, Dr. Ben Goertzel, Dr. Max More, and Dr. Natasha Vita-More. You can see the full RAAD Fest schedule here.

The panel moderated by Mr. Stolyarov will occur at 10 a.m.  on Friday, August 11, 2017. Machine augmentation of human bodies and minds will be one topic of discussion; transhumanist politics will be another. As previously announced, Mr. Stolyarov will inaugurate the panel with a brief presentation entitled “The U.S. Transhumanist Party: Pursuing a Peaceful Political Revolution for Longevity”.

Members of the U.S. Transhumanist Party: When registering for RAAD Fest, you can use the special discount code TRANSHUMAN, which will now reduce the cost of registration to $497.

Official Ballot Options for Platform Vote #5

Official Ballot Options for Platform Vote #5

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The 7-day electronic voting period on the fifth set of proposed platform planks of the U.S. Transhumanist Party (17 potential planks in total) will occur from 12:01 a.m. U.S. Pacific Time on June 18, 2017, to 12:01 a.m.  U.S. Pacific Time on June 25, 2017. All members of the U.S. Transhumanist Party who have applied before 12:01 a.m. on June 18, 2017, will be eligible to vote, as long as they have expressed agreement with the three Core Ideals of the Transhumanist Party or have otherwise been rendered eligible to vote at the discretion of the Chairman.

All members who are eligible to vote will be sent a link to an electronic submission form whereby they will be able to cast their ballot.

When you are voting, it is strongly recommended that you keep this page of official ballot options and the submission form open simultaneously in different windows so that you can reference the relevant options as you vote on them. Due to space limitations, the submission form does not list the entire text of all the options.

It is also recommended that you set aside at least thirty minutes to consider and vote on all of the options and read their text closely, as some of the options contain minor variations upon other options. 

For some questions, electronic voting is  conducted by a ranked-preference method on individual articles where more options are possible than would be accommodated by a simple “Yes” or “No” vote. Members should keep in mind that the ranked-preference method eliminates the incentives for strategic voting – so members are encouraged to vote for the options that reflect their individual preferences as closely as possible, without regard for how other members might vote.

Results of the voting will be tabulated during late June 2017, with the intent to announce the results approximately 7 days after all votes have been submitted.

NOTE: The titles of the questions and potential Sections are descriptive and informational only and will not appear in the final adopted platform planks (which will be incorporated into Article III of the U.S. Transhumanist Party Constitution). They are intended as concise guides to the subject matter of the questions and potential Sections. Likewise, the letters assigned to Sections within this ballot will not reflect the numbering of the final adopted provisions, which will depend on which Sections are selected by the membership.

NOTE II: The inclusion of any proposals on this ballot does not indicate any manner of endorsement for those proposals by the U.S. Transhumanist Party at this time – except to place those proposals before the members to determine the will of the members with regard to whether or not the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform should incorporate any given proposal.

 


 

Voter Identification

E-mail address

Provide the same e-mail address you used to register for U.S. Transhumanist Party membership. Your ballot will be cross-referenced to our membership rolls, and only ballots with matching e-mail addresses will be counted.

What is your name?

At minimum, first and last name are required, unless you are publicly known by a single-name pseudonym which is not itself a common name. Your identity will not be publicly disclosed by the Transhumanist Party, unless you choose and/or authorize its disclosure. Only other members of the Transhumanist Party will be able to see that you voted, but not how you voted. The nature of the selections made by the members may be disclosed, but, if they are, each individual vote will not be associated with the identity of the voter but rather will be presented in an anonymized manner.

Navigate the Options

Question I. Section E5-A. Germaneness / Single-Subject Rule for Bills
Question II. Section E5-B. Opposition to Protectionism and Subsidies
Question III. Section E5-C. Bodily Autonomy
Question IV. Section E5-D. Autonomy to Decide on the Continuation of One’s Own Life
Question V. Section E5-D. Ancillary Provisions Regarding Autonomy to Decide on the Continuation of One’s Own Life
Question VI. Section E5-E. International Organ-Donation System
Question VII. Section E5-F. Sousveillance of Government Officials in a Lawmaking Capacity
Question VIII. Section E5-G. Affidavit of Public Interest for Lawmakers
Question IX. Section E5-H. Accountability of Security Agencies to Congress
Question X. Section E5-H. Accountability of Security Agencies to Congress. Qualifying Language on Budgetary Review Committee
Question XI. Section E5-I. Reduction of Redundancies among Security and Law-Enforcement Agencies
Question XII. Section E5-J. Protection Against Obstruction of Congresspersons’ Ability to Vote
Question XIII. Section E5-K. Opposition to Civil Asset Forfeiture, Asset Seizure, and Excessive Detainment
Question XIV. Section E5-L. Investigation of Questionable Law-Enforcement Activities
Question XV. Section E5-M. Position on Internal Police Investigations of Misconduct
Question XVI. Section E5-N. Limitations on Favor-Trading Among Police, District Attorneys, and Judges
Question XVII. Section E5-O. Opposition to Special Benefits for Members of Congress
Question XVIII. Section E5-P. United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
Question XIX. Section E5-P. United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Qualifying Language on Homeschooling
Question XX. Section E5-Q. Opposition to Rights-Violating Cultural, Religious, and Social Practices

Proposed Platform Sections

Question I. Section E5-A. Germaneness / Single-Subject Rule for Bills

Shall the following language be adopted as a new Section within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

“The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to have bills proposed without sub-sections or provisions unrelated to the main subject of the bill. A single-subject or germaneness rule for bills would:

  1. Simplify bills, rendering them more accessible and less convoluted;
  2. Enable a focused vote for or against a bill without the possibility of having to accept or reject an embedded unrelated provision; and
  3. Prevent an unrelated provision from being buried within a bill as a possible tactic to have it passed.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Question II. Section E5-B. Opposition to Protectionism and Subsidies

Rank-order the Section E5-B Options that you support. Choose “1” for your most highly favored option, “2” for your second-most highly favored option, etc. You may include the option for “No Section of this sort” in your rank-ordering, and it does not need to be your most favored option if you do so. (For instance, some voters might favor some options but think that no language is preferable to some of the other options.)

If you choose “Abstain”, then do not rank-order any options, as you will be considered to have skipped this question.

☐ Option E5-B-1. [Based on Proposal by Martin van der Kroon] The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to limit protectionism and subsidization of an industry or group of companies. The exception to this would be that of extenuating circumstances, such as natural disasters or catastrophes, in which case a limited window of support could be approved. The United States Transhumanist Party understands that in a free-market society, private businesses, in order to continue their existence, ought to adapt to market changes instead of being shielded from such changes.

☐ Option E5-B-2. [Based on Proposal by Martin van der Kroon, with Complete Rejection of Economic Protectionism and Subsidization without Subsidies for Extenuating Circumstances] The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to abolish economic protectionism and refrain from subsidizing any industry or group of companies. The United States Transhumanist Party understands that in a free-market society, private businesses, in order to continue their existence, ought to adapt to market changes instead of being shielded from such changes.

☐ Option E5-B-NO. No Section of this sort.

Question III. Section E5-C. Bodily Autonomy

Shall the following language be adopted as a new Section within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

“The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to increase autonomy of individuals to decide over their own bodies and holds that individuals should have the legal right to undertake procedures including gender reassignment, hysterectomies, vasectomies, technological augmentation, cosmetic alterations, genetic enhancements, and physical supplementation at or after the age of 18 years, as long as this does not create health hazards or threats to other individuals.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Question IV. Section E5-D. Autonomy to Decide on the Continuation of One’s Own Life

Rank-order the Section E5-D Options that you support. Choose “1” for your most highly favored option, “2” for your second-most highly favored option, etc. You may include the option for “No Section of this sort” in your rank-ordering, and it does not need to be your most favored option if you do so. (For instance, some voters might favor some options but think that no language is preferable to some of the other options.)

If you choose “Abstain”, then do not rank-order any options, as you will be considered to have skipped this question.

☐ Option E5-D-1. [Based on Proposal by Martin van der Kroon] The United States Transhumanist Party supports the autonomy of an individual to decide on the continuation of that individual’s own life.

☐ Option E5-D-2. [Expanded Version with Clarification Regarding Suicide] The United States Transhumanist Party supports the autonomy of an individual to decide on the continuation of that individual’s own life, including the right to choose or not to choose life-extending medical treatments. The United States Transhumanist Party does not consider it practicable or desirable for suicide to be illegal but discourages suicide from a moral standpoint, and furthermore considers that the legal right of suicide should only pertain to the individual and should not extend to any euthanasia or direct administration of a life-ending substance or procedure by any other person. The United States Transhumanist Party has grave concerns with anybody but the individual acting to hasten the end of that individual’s life.

☐ Option E5-D-NO. No Section of this sort.

Question V. Section E5-D. Ancillary Provisions Regarding Autonomy to Decide on the Continuation of One’s Own Life

If Section E5-D regarding the autonomy to decide on the continuation of one’s own life is adopted as part of the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform, shall any of the following ancillary provisions be appended to that Section?

Select all the options you support. (You can select multiple options for this question.)  Any option receiving the majority of votes cast will be included in the ultimately adopted plank, unless Option E5-D-NO prevails in the vote on Question IV above. If you do not favor any of the options below, then you may leave this question blank.

☐ Ancillary Provision E5-D-i. Cultural Promotion of Life. Although each individual should be free to decide upon the duration of his, her, or its own life, the United States Transhumanist Party supports cultural changes and discussions that would encourage all individuals to undertake life-prolonging choices and activities. Advances in medical technology would facilitate more open-ended lifespans and would enable individuals to choose either finite or indefinite lengths of their lives. However, if individuals are recognized as having this autonomy, the United States Transhumanist Party is interested in persuading as many people as possible to decide to preserve their irreplaceable lives instead of hastening their end.

☐ Ancillary Provision E5-D-ii. Protection of Uncoerced Patient Choice. With regard to any legalization of assisted suicide or measures to provide patients with life-ending prescriptions, the United States Transhumanist Party supports stringent legal safeguards to ensure that each individual patient’s choice with regard to such matters is entirely free and uncoerced, and that there is no steering of any particular individual toward a life-ending choice by family members, medical practitioners, health insurers, activists, or any other individual or organization standing to benefit financially from the end of a patient’s life. However, efforts to persuade an individual to prolong his, her, or its life should not be restricted.

☐ Ancillary Provision E5-D-iii. Opposition to Financially Motivated Lobbies and Steering Toward Life-Ending Decisions. The United States Transhumanist Party opposes the emergence of any financially motivated lobby or industry whose primary business model would be assisted suicide or euthanasia, as the existence of such a lobby could create incentives and policies to steer people toward life-ending choices, including through legislation that might favor such “choices” in not-quite-voluntary situations. Instead, any prescription for a life-ending substance should only be provided as an incidental service by a patient’s primary-care physician, with the express written consent of at least one other unaffiliated physician, and the substance in question should only be allowed to be self-administered by the patient directly after a pre-defined time period since the obtaining of the prescription. Once the substance is prescribed, no medical practitioner should be permitted to benefit financially based on any specific choice of the patient to self-administer the substance to end the patient’s life. This position should not be construed to restrict any non-financially motivated political advocacy on the subject of assisted suicide, which involves individuals expressing their views on this subject in a public forum, when those individuals do not stand to gain financially from others choosing to obtain a life-ending substance.

Question VI. Section E5-E. International Organ-Donation System

Shall the following language be adopted as a new Section within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

“The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to establish a cross-border or international organ-donation system so that organ donors who wish to do so may donate their organs in a foreign country. This could pertain to Americans working or traveling in foreign countries, but also foreigners or travelers who pass away within U.S. borders. This system would be particularly useful for saving lives with organs that have a very short preservation duration, and would take too long to be sent to the country of the donor’s nationality.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Question VII. Section E5-F. Sousveillance of Government Officials in a Lawmaking Capacity

Shall the following language be adopted as a new Section within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

“The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to increase the ability for public sousveillance on the functioning of government officials, in particular those who may propose laws, during negotiations and deliberations on proposing bills and national and international trade agreements. Furthermore, the United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to make the current hosting of live-streams from United States Congress more user-friendly and accessible to the public, accompanied by links to proposed bills where applicable.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Question VIII. Section E5-G. Affidavit of Public Interest for Lawmakers

Shall the following language be adopted as a new Section within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

“The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to have a mandatory standard clause or affidavit, affirming that a Representative, Senator, or other Legislative Branch lawmaker proposing a piece of legislation, such as a bill in Congress, has no conflict of interest between serving the public and serving other parties, such as special-interest groups. The clause would have to be signed and dated by the representative before the legislation is allowed to be proposed.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Question IX. Section E5-H. Accountability of Security Agencies to Congress

Shall the following language be adopted as a new Section within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

“The United States Transhumanist Party supports increasing broad accountability of Federal Government departments, agencies, and entities, especially those tasked with national security and / or criminal investigations, to the United States Congress. Currently some agencies may receive government funding without any accountability as to what the funding is used for, often based on arguments that this information is ‘classified’ or ‘may not be revealed in the interest of national security’. This is irresponsible use of taxpayer money.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Question X. Section E5-H. Accountability of Security Agencies to Congress. Qualifying Language on Budgetary Review Committee

If Section E5-H on the accountability of security agencies to congress is adopted, shall the following caveat be inserted?

“The United States Transhumanist Party does acknowledge that such entities or agencies may have security concerns regarding the publication of details of their budget plans. As such, the United States Transhumanist Party supports setting up a special non-partisan security budgetary review committee where more details of budget plans would have to be provided before considering to provide funds to an agency or entity.”

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question XI. Section E5-I. Reduction of Redundancies among Security and Law-Enforcement Agencies

Rank-order the Section E5-I Options that you support. Choose “1” for your most highly favored option, “2” for your second-most highly favored option, etc. You may include the option for “No Section of this sort” in your rank-ordering, and it does not need to be your most favored option if you do so. (For instance, some voters might favor some options but think that no language is preferable to some of the other options.)

If you choose “Abstain”, then do not rank-order any options, as you will be considered to have skipped this question.

☐ Option E5-I-1. [Based on Proposal by Martin van der Kroon] The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to consolidate and reduce redundancies among agencies and entities tasked with national security and law enforcement, as well as to reduce the number of such agencies and entities currently in operation.

☐ Option E5-I-2. [Based on Proposal by Martin van der Kroon, with Caveat by Ryan Starr]  The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to consolidate and reduce some redundancies among agencies and entities tasked with national security and law enforcement, as well as to reduce the number of such agencies and entities currently in operation. However, while supporting the elimination of parallel redundancies which can create problems, the United States Transhumanist Party recognizes that certain types of hierarchical redundancies can help with quality control.

☐ Option E5-I-NO. No Section of this sort.

Question XII. Section E5-J. Protection Against Obstruction of Congresspersons’ Ability to Vote

Shall the following language be adopted as a new Section within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

“The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to ensure that no United States Representative or Senator may be obstructed in their ability to vote on any piece of legislation, or be kept from the Senate or House of Representatives for intra- or extra-curricular political-party activities which interfere with their primary task as representatives of the people within government. For example, protections should exist to prevent situations where Representatives or Senators are forced by their political parties to do fundraising calls during a vote on a bill.”

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question XIII. Section E5-K. Opposition to Civil Asset Forfeiture, Asset Seizure, and Excessive Detainment

Rank-order the Section E5-K Options that you support. Choose “1” for your most highly favored option, “2” for your second-most highly favored option, etc. You may include the option for “No Section of this sort” in your rank-ordering, and it does not need to be your most favored option if you do so. (For instance, some voters might favor some options but think that no language is preferable to some of the other options.)

If you choose “Abstain”, then do not rank-order any options, as you will be considered to have skipped this question.

☐ Option E5-K-1. [Based on Proposal by Martin van der Kroon] The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to restrict and limit civil asset forfeiture laws, and other laws that assist law-enforcement agencies in circumventing the Fourth Amendment, such as asset seizure, or detainment or arrest longer than 48 hours.

☐ Option E5-K-2. [Based on Proposal by Martin van der Kroon, with Modification Regarding Detainment or Arrest] The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to restrict and limit civil asset forfeiture laws, and other laws that assist law-enforcement agencies in circumventing the Fourth Amendment, such as asset seizure, or detainment or arrest in situations where no criminal charges have been filed, except as part of an active interrogation of a person suspected of a crime or unless the person detained or arrested poses a clear and probable danger of inflicting physical harm upon others or their property.

☐ Option E5-K-NO. No Section of this sort.

Question XIV. Section E5-L. Investigation of Questionable Law-Enforcement Activities

Shall the following language be adopted as a new Section within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

“The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to investigate questionable, but currently legal, actions by law-enforcement agencies that have over time garnered critical attention by the public. The safety of the public could benefit from such actions being revisited or revised to limit abuse and to close legal loopholes.”

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question XV. Section E5-M. Position on Internal Police Investigations of Misconduct

Rank-order the Section E5-M Options that you support. Choose “1” for your most highly favored option, “2” for your second-most highly favored option, etc. You may include the option for “No Section of this sort” in your rank-ordering, and it does not need to be your most favored option if you do so. (For instance, some voters might favor some options but think that no language is preferable to some of the other options.)

If you choose “Abstain”, then do not rank-order any options, as you will be considered to have skipped this question.

☐ Option E5-M-1. [Based on Proposal by Martin van der Kroon] The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to prevent law-enforcement agencies from internally investigating missteps within their own departments or precincts, and concluding their internal investigations without further accountability. Instead, investigations regarding police misconduct, criminal activity, felonies, and misdemeanors should be investigated by a different source – for example, a different police department, or a District Attorney for a different area assigned to lead the investigation. The intent of this requirement is to limit the possibility of prejudice and bias toward a member of a given law-enforcement agency by that person’s colleagues, and to restore faith in the public mind that an investigation into police misconduct is done as objectively as possible.

☐ Option E5-M-2. The United States Transhumanist Party considers it important for impartial, objective investigations of alleged police and other law-enforcement misconduct to be pursued. While law-enforcement agencies should not be prohibited from internally investigating potential abuses within their own ranks, such investigations should never be considered exclusive or conclusive, and further external checks and accountability should be instituted. As part of providing such checks and accountability, investigations regarding police misconduct, criminal activity, felonies, and misdemeanors should, in addition to any internal investigation, also be investigated by a different source – for example, a different police department, or a district attorney for a different area assigned to lead the investigation. The intent of this requirement is to limit the possibility of favorably biased or preferential treatment of a member of a given law-enforcement agency by that person’s colleagues, and to restore confidence by the public that an investigation into police misconduct is done as objectively as possible.

☐ Option E5-M-NO. No Section of this sort.

Question XVI. Section E5-N. Limitations on Favor-Trading Among Police, District Attorneys, and Judges

Shall the following language be adopted as a new Section within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

“The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to limit the possibility for police, district attorneys, and judges to favor one another through mutual “back-scratching” accommodations which may cause a particular criminal matter to be resolved in a manner inconsistent with the true facts of the situation or the requirements of applicable law.”

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question XVII. Section E5-O. Opposition to Special Benefits for Members of Congress

Rank-order the Section E5-O Options that you support. Choose “1” for your most highly favored option, “2” for your second-most highly favored option, etc. You may include the option for “No Section of this sort” in your rank-ordering, and it does not need to be your most favored option if you do so. (For instance, some voters might favor some options but think that no language is preferable to some of the other options.)

If you choose “Abstain”, then do not rank-order any options, as you will be considered to have skipped this question.

☐ Option E5-O-1. [Based on Proposal by Martin van der Kroon] The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to prevent members of Congress from receiving special benefits, subsidies, and tax breaks that other citizens do not receive, and that are not necessary to function as a member of Congress. This limitation would pertain, for example, to health-care subsidies that are inaccessible to other citizens.

☐ Option E5-O-2. The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to prevent members of Congress from receiving special benefits, subsidies, and tax breaks that other citizens do not receive, and that are not necessary to function as a member of Congress. This limitation would pertain, for example, to health-care subsidies that are inaccessible to other citizens. However, this limitation would not prevent members of Congress from obtaining working conditions and job-related benefits of the sort which are broadly available, without regard to rank or degree of influence, to other Americans working within the private or public sectors.

☐ Option E5-O-NO. No Section of this sort.

Question XVIII. Section E5-P. United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

Shall the following language be adopted as a new Section within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

“The U.S. Transhumanist Party supports efforts to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and to uphold the Rights of the Child as prescribed therein. This would include abolishing the death penalty for minors federally.”

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question XIX. Section E5-P. United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Qualifying Language on Homeschooling

If Section E5-P on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is adopted, shall the following caveat be inserted?

“The United States Transhumanist Party, however, opposes restrictions on the rights of parents to choose to homeschool their children in any manner that respects the children’s basic freedom of conscience. Any ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child should not be construed to restrict any peaceful, rights-respecting practice of homeschooling.”

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question XX. Section E5-Q. Opposition to Rights-Violating Cultural, Religious, and Social Practices

Rank-order the Section E5-Q Options that you support. Choose “1” for your most highly favored option, “2” for your second-most highly favored option, etc. You may include the option for “No Section of this sort” in your rank-ordering, and it does not need to be your most favored option if you do so. (For instance, some voters might favor some options but think that no language is preferable to some of the other options.)

If you choose “Abstain”, then do not rank-order any options, as you will be considered to have skipped this question.

☐ Option E5-Q-1. [Based on Proposal by Martin van der Kroon] The United States Transhumanist Party opposes those specific cultural, religious, and social practices that violate United States law, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Examples of such unacceptable practices are forced marriage (including child marriage), male and female genital mutilation, and honor killings.

☐ Option E5-Q-2. The United States Transhumanist Party opposes those specific cultural, religious, and social practices that violate individual rights and bodily autonomy. Examples of such unacceptable practices are forced marriage (including child marriage), male and female genital mutilation, and honor killings.

☐ Option E5-Q-NO. No Section of this sort.

The Trolley Problem and Self-Driving Vehicles – Article by B.J. Murphy

The Trolley Problem and Self-Driving Vehicles – Article by B.J. Murphy

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B.J. Murphy


One of the most popular discussions in the field of technology today is that of self-driving vehicles. It’s a topic that brings up both optimistic joy and pessimistic fear, from the elimination of car-related fatalities to the elimination of millions of jobs. I usually stand on the optimistic side of the argument, but I also understand the fear.

After all:

  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were nearly 1.8 million heavy-truck and tractor-trailer drivers in 2014, with a 5% increase per year. Meaning, there are likely around 2 million of these drivers today.
  • There were around 1.33 million delivery truck drivers in 2014, with a 4% increase per year. Meaning, there are over 1.4 million today.
  • There were around 233,700 taxi drivers and chauffeurs in 2014, with a 13% increase per year. Meaning, there are nearly 300,000 of these drivers today.

In other words, with the full mobilization of self-driving vehicles, we’re looking at around (+/-) 4 million jobs being automated in the next few years, thus no longer requiring human labor. This particular risk, however, isn’t what I’m currently focused on. The main focus of this article is on what is known as the “trolley problem” – a thought experiment in ethics that has since been rehashed to serve as “criticism” towards self-driving vehicles.

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Being Excited About Failure – Article by Martin van der Kroon

Being Excited About Failure – Article by Martin van der Kroon

Martin van der Kroon


The much hyped CRISPR-Cas9 genome-editing technique often explained as being the ‘DNA scissors’ or the ‘cut and paste’ technique, has had a setback, and this has me excited.

CRISPR-Cas9 has has the scientific community, and in particular those involved in research and development of genome editing, raving over the roughly past 3 years. It is hailed as a cheap and fast way to edit genomes with great accuracy compared to other genome-editing techniques, and this is true. Now however, researchers have found CRISPR-Cas9 to have some annoying side-effects. The side-effects were found in mice who had their blindness corrected but also caused mutations in other parts of the DNA sequence, roughly 1500 mutations. It is unknown what the consequences of the mutations are at this moment.

“Why am I excited about this setback?” you might ask.

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Would You Allow Your Children To Be Alone With a Robot? – Article by B.J. Murphy

Would You Allow Your Children To Be Alone With a Robot? – Article by B.J. Murphy

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B.J. Murphy


Would you allow your children to be alone with a robot? I ask not for the children’s safety in mind, but rather the robot’s.

As shown in the video provided above, a group of Japanese researchers – from ATR Intelligent Robotics and Communication Laboratories, Osaka University, Ryukoku University, and Tokai University – patrolled a public shopping complex in Osaka using a remotely-operated robot known as Robovie 2.

Children naturally being curious, hordes of them decide to surround the robot when spotted. Some were quite nice and simply wanted to play with the robot. However, others felt the need to attack it either by kicking, punching, or trying to rip its head off.

What I find most fascinating about this is that, like a child, whenever the robot feels like it’s in possible danger (or, rather, there’s an increased probability of danger) – of which it’s able to do so by calculating the probability of abuse based on interaction time, pedestrian density, and the presence of people above or below 4 feet 6 inches in height – the robot then changes course and brings itself within close proximity of a parent for protection.

Robots are, most certainly, coming and will potentially disrupt nearly every major industry in society. However, to ensure their overall safety, it might be best that, whenever a child comes close to one of these robots, a parent should always be nearby – not for the sake of the child, but for the sake of the robot.

Which then raises the question: what is the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s position on protecting robots from unnecessary physical abuse? For now, in accordance with the Party’s Constitution – in particular, Section XXXIII – it states:

“…Level 4 or lower-level entities – including domain-specific artificial intelligences that have not achieved sentience – may be utilized as part of the production systems of the future, in a similar manner to machines, algorithms, computer programs, and non-human animals today and based on similar ethical considerations.”

Speaking as an individual member of the U.S. Transhumanist Party, it is of my opinion that we should begin expanding upon the question of “ethical considerations” in regards to the physical abuse of robots. This shouldn’t be confused as being tantamount to giving robots, regardless of sentience, full rights as that of other sapient beings. That, too, is already addressed in Section XXXIII, which states:

“The United States Transhumanist Party stands for the rights of any sentient entities defined in the Preamble to the Transhumanist Bill of Rights as possessing Level 5 or more advanced information integration. Any such sentient entities, including new kinds of sentient entities that may be discovered or developed in the future, shall be considered to be autonomous beings with full rights, and shall not be made subservient to humans, unless they as individuals pose direct, empirically evident threats to the lives of others. The protections of full individual rights shall extend to Level 5 or higher-level artificial intelligences.”

One might think that this question could be juxtaposed with that of the question of property rights. And, to a certain degree, it would. However, when it comes to robots, we also have to consider the psychological ramifications as well. We deliberately give robots anthropomorphic features given the fact that research has shown, time and again, that, unlike other inanimate objects, robots have the ability to evoke empathetic emotional responses by humans as a result – especially when humans believe those robots are being abused.

In other words, by physically abusing robots, one is then potentially causing psychological harm to other sentient entities in consequence.

This then raises a problematic situation when simply juxtaposing non-sentient robot rights to that of property rights. Unlike other property, robots have the capability of evoking empathy out of humans. Thus my reasoning for wanting to bring this particular topic up for further discussion.

Where should Transhumanists stand – and, in particular, the U.S. Transhumanist Party – in regards to the physical abuse of robots, keeping in mind the potential psychological ramifications that may arise among humans as a direct result?

***

B.J. Murphy is the Director of Social Media of the U.S. Transhumanist Party.

U.S. Transhumanist Party Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II to Moderate RAAD Fest Panel on August 11, 2017

U.S. Transhumanist Party Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II to Moderate RAAD Fest Panel on August 11, 2017

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Gennady Stolyarov II


The U.S. Transhumanist Party is pleased to announce that, as part of its presence at RAAD Fest 2017 in San Diego, Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II will be moderating a panel consisting of transhumanist philosophers, researchers, and activists – including Zoltan Istvan, Dr. Ben Goertzel, Dr. Max More, and Dr. Natasha Vita-More. You can see the full RAAD Fest schedule here.

The panel moderated by Mr. Stolyarov will occur at 10 a.m.  on Friday, August 11, 2017. Machine augmentation of human bodies and minds will be one topic of discussion; transhumanist politics will be another. As previously announced, Mr. Stolyarov will inaugurate the panel with a brief presentation entitled “The U.S. Transhumanist Party: Pursuing a Peaceful Political Revolution for Longevity”.