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How 2020 Can Be the Year of Transhumanist Politics in America: USTP Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II Interviewed by Steele Archer on the Debt Nation Show

How 2020 Can Be the Year of Transhumanist Politics in America: USTP Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II Interviewed by Steele Archer on the Debt Nation Show

Gennady Stolyarov II
Steele Archer


On November 24, 2019, U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II spoke extensively with Steele Archer on the Debt Nation show regarding recent transhumanist political developments and possibilities to come in 2020, including how 2020 can shape up to become the year of transhumanism in American politics, across the conventional spectrum, with Zoltan Istvan running as a Republican, Andrew Yang running as a Democrat, several Libertarian candidates sympathetic to a highly technological future – with their supporters having the potential to be drawn to the Transhumanist Presidential campaign of Johannon Ben Zion, who will remain in the race all the way to the general election, long after all the other parties’ primaries have concluded.

Watch this conversation here.

Also discussed were subjects such as how transhumanism can give a new sense of purpose and rekindle the belief in progress among Americans, how transhumanism can inaugurate a more rational politics, which seeks creative solutions to replace wedge issues with win-win outcomes, and the key points from the USTP Chairman’s Third Anniversary Message and how they will be implemented so as to further enhance and grow the USTP.

Join the U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party for free, no matter where you reside. Click here to apply in less than a minute.

 

U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party Chairman’s Third Anniversary Message

U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party Chairman’s Third Anniversary Message

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Gennady Stolyarov II


On October 7, 2019, the United States Transhumanist Party celebrated its five-year anniversary, right after a milestone 2019 Presidential Primary election and the acceptance speech of the winning candidate, Johannon Ben Zion, who has been endorsed by the USTP to run for President of the United States in 2020.  November 17, 2019, only a month and a half after these momentous events, marks three years since I became Chairman of the USTP. While the vigorous, extensively discussed, and thoroughly tabulated primary election was the USTP’s most significant undertaking during its third year, occupying the majority of our efforts between April and October 2019, several other achievements are noteworthy as well.

In January 2019, the U.S. Transhumanist Party merged with the Transhuman Party and, after the dissolution of the Transhuman National Committee of the United States, became the sole remaining explicitly transhumanist U.S. political organization – the last, best hope for transhumanist politics to succeed, given that the USTP has continued to grow and attract public interest, even as other organizations failed to gather the necessary momentum and engagement of their members. In the words of Professor Angel Marchev, Sr., at the VSIM-2019 Conference in Ravda, Bulgaria, “This year it was empirically proved that direct democracy is a bad idea for starting projects. Leadership parties adopt a model that is working, and the fact that all three political centers in the United States were united is the best illustration of that. Leadership is necessary; direct democracy is not the way to do big projects – to change the world. […] Without quality leaders, you can’t do anything.” While the USTP has relied extensively on democratic processes in developing its Platform and endorsing its 2020 candidate for President of the United States, experience obliges me to agree with Professor Marchev’s fundamental point; indeed, even to organize and oversee democratic processes, leadership is required. There must be an umpire to objectively monitor and enforce the rules of engagement, and there must be a systematic, organized way to coordinate the logistics and infrastructure that enable voting and member participation to occur.

It is most impressive and gratifying when the energy to achieve great tasks arises spontaneously from within the community, but even in those cases, a call to action is necessary, as is the demarcation of the parameters of the task. A superb example of this phenomenon in action was our project to create Free Transhumanist Symbols which any person may use to represent the concept of transhumanism in general. The purpose of this project and the conditions for providing symbols (i.e., that they must be made available freely for use by others – either by being released into the public domain or via a Creative Commons license) galvanized the creativity of individual members to contribute a plethora of high-quality symbols within mere days. However, only leadership with a principled vision can provide the incentives and the structure for such creativity to become instantiated and for its fruits to be made available to the world. This experience, like so many others over the past year, has taught me that active engagement by leadership is a vital prerequisite for a member-driven, participatory organization to be feasible.

Even in organizations where conceptual policy stances are determined by voting, leadership is required for the everyday implementation of these agreed-upon concepts into practice. The USTP’s first test of this practical application in a legislative context came during March-May 2019, when we successfully achieved significant improvements to the provisions of Nevada Assembly Bill 226 by informing legislators of the true potential and limitations of implantable microchip technology – particularly through the testimony of Anastasia Synn and the Cyborg and Transhumanist Forum – the first transhumanist event in the halls of a State legislature.

Another important function of leadership is to present the public face of an organization, as the USTP leadership was able to do in the course of numerous events – both in-person and virtual – during the past year – including the Young Americans for Liberty meeting at the University of Nevada, Reno (February 16, 2019), Wellness and Longevity Seminar in Burbank, California (August 24, 2019 – also watch the subsequent discussion panel), the VSIM-2019 Conference in Ravda, Bulgaria (September 6, 2019), and RAAD Fest 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada (October 3-6, 2019) – as well as interviews and conversations such as those with Tobias Teufel (July 9, 2019), James Strole (July 16, 2019),  Johannon Ben Zion (August 24, 2019), Steele Archer (July 1, 2019, July 31, 2019, August 7, 2019, September 10, 2019, September 25, 2019, September 29, 2019, and October 14, 2019),  Brent Nally (October 12, 2019), and Dr. Bill Andrews (October 12, 2019). Candidate Johannon Ben Zion on his campaign tour has already visited Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania, New York, and San Francisco and engaged with transhumanist and futurist organizations in those locations, as well as with scientific research institutions, policy think tanks, and political figures from other parties. The role of leadership is to represent the organization accurately and systematically to those who seek to educate themselves about the organization’s purpose, values, goals, and positions.

Membership growth has continued to be a core focus of the USTP leadership over the past year. As of this writing, the USTP has 1,859 members, as compared to 1,187 one year ago. The net number of members joining during the third year of my tenure as Chairman (672) materially increased from those joining during the second year (487), and it is my hope that the USTP might be able to surpass the 2,000-member milestone by the end of 2019. The USTP’s growth remains steady and is accelerating slightly; however, much work remains to be done in order to bridge the awareness gap regarding transhumanism and attract the numerous implicit transhumanists in the general public to the USTP. For this, continued outreach and projects to promote the visibility of transhumanism and the USTP will be necessary. Much of the USTP’s focus during 2020 will be on coordinating with the Ben Zion 2020 Presidential campaign to maximize its impact and enable it to achieve levels of public awareness similar to what the tireless 2016 campaign efforts of Zoltan Istvan were able to accomplish.

Numerous avenues for progress are open before us. While predicting the future is notoriously difficult and never exactly accurate, some noteworthy endeavors are on the horizon for the USTP.

  • Development of Tiered Membership: In a member-driven organization, the members who are more active and who have demonstrated an in-depth understanding of the organization’s positions, values, and operations should be rewarded with additional influence over the decisions made within the organization. Hitherto, every member of the USTP has had one vote in our internal elections. While this approach has yielded productive results in the course of the USTP votes thus far, it can nonetheless be improved. The vote of a long-time, dedicated transhumanist with extensive knowledge of transhumanist ideas as well as a high degree of familiarity with the USTP should have more influence than that of a completely new member who may have thus far only filled out our membership form but has not yet had time to study the USTP’s history and operations. Accordingly, USTP leadership will explore the possibility of developing a weighted or tiered voting system where members who demonstrate a strong commitment to and a thorough understanding of the USTP will be able to earn additional votes in so doing. The key to such a system, however, is objectivity; a set of criteria needs to be established that any member could potentially meet with the requisite effort and study, and whose satisfaction can be easily validated. Accordingly, USTP leadership welcomes suggestions as to what criteria might be used to objectively award additional voting power to members who fulfill such criteria.
  • Continued Membership Growth by Reaching New Demographics: Over the past year, I have come to the conclusion that the USTP has already engaged those segments of the existing transhumanist movement which are capable of becoming constructively involved with the USTP. In order to grow much further, the USTP needs to encompass individuals who are new to the transhumanist movement and to interest individuals from constituencies that share key common goals with the USTP. Many of these individuals are currently implicit transhumanists; they lead their lives in a manner that generally welcomes new technological advances and often have an optimistic outlook on the impacts of technology on humankind’s future. For those people to become aware of the transhumanist movement and involved with the USTP will require continued diligent communication by USTP leadership in as many forums as are made available to us. With each communication, recognition of the transhumanist movement spreads, and our ideas become expressed in “mainstream” discussions to a slightly greater extent. I was recently quite pleased to be able to assist teams of university students with a debate project regarding transhumanism, longevity, and their implications. After two conversations of approximately an hour in length each, I was able to convey insights about what transhumanism stands for, as well as answers to common objections and persuasive arguments in favor of transhumanism. Several days after our conversation, I received an e-mail from one of the debate teams, announcing that it had won the debate in its class, having taken a position in support of transhumanism. “Not only that,” one of the debaters informed me, “but we asked the class after we learned the result if we had actually changed anybody’s minds on the topic, and about half the class said that we had.” This is ultimately the most effective way to change minds – through in-depth interaction with a relatively small number of people at a time, but in a manner that makes an impact and enables the insights to spread throughout the society. Debates like this one are welcome signs that the cultural conversation is shifting toward actively engaging the ideas of transhumanism, which is necessary for these ideas to become instantiated in mainstream discourse and drive a more rapid rate of advancement. This path to growth does not yield instantaneous large-scale results, but it does represent the most sustainable and long-term successful approach, since it cultivates genuine, informed understanding of transhumanist ideas, which can then be spread to others by those who have become newly but accurately aware of them.
  • Continued Creation and Creative Utilization of Media: Since the emergence of Steele Archer’s Debt Nation channel as a hub for in-depth conversations among transhumanists, as well as the extensive efforts of Johannon Ben Zion to interview notable transhumanists, futurists, and life-extensionists on his Futurist New Deal Podcast, the public has greater access than ever before to the discourse that occurs on a regular basis within the transhumanist community. Such discourse is now memorialized and shared with the world, and those who are interested in day-to-day developments within the USTP and the transhumanist movement now have several venues which can provide them with detailed updates. The most important aspect of effective communication with the media is not ideological alignment; some will agree with us, whereas others will disagree and critique us – but that is to be expected for any growing movement with the promise of bringing about major change. The most important task, rather, is to accurately convey the facts about transhumanism and the USTP so that they are reported on accurately. Unfortunately, we live in an era where “fake news” abounds, and the quest for sensationalism, as well as merely sloppy journalism can lead to rumors, fabrications, and unverified assertions being published or broadcast as if they were facts. A community characterized by robust internal dialogue and ready to articulate the facts to those who need to receive them is our strongest possible asset in preventing misinformation from becoming dominant.
  • Anti-Troll Campaign: Unfortunately, one of the greatest obstacles to the success of the transhumanist movement comes from within – from a small faction of petty and adversarial detractors whose primary motive is power and who seek to smear other individuals and organizations within the transhumanist movement when those individuals and organizations take initiative and act independently of the detractors. These “trolls” often behave in a toxic manner – gratuitously insulting other transhumanists, leveling invented false allegations, or becoming fixated on non-issues that are then used as an excuse to disparage others and seek to thwart promising initiatives. Unfortunately, because the transhumanist movement is still small, these trolls presently have disproportionate power. Because some of them have credentials in academia and are experts in some area of research, their toxic and antisocial behavior has been tolerated for far too long. Indeed, even more unfortunately, some of the trolls have become ensconced in so-called “transhumanist” groups on Facebook which actually purge much genuine transhumanist content. But professional achievement is no excuse for mistreating one’s fellow human beings or intentionally undermining others for perceived personal power gain. In order for transhumanism to grow and achieve widespread respectability, our movement needs to take a stand against the small handful of obstructionist and corrosive personalities who would rather undermine their fellow transhumanists than come to terms with growth whose parameters they cannot personally dictate. During the next year, the USTP will send a strong signal that toxic behavior will no longer be countenanced; the trolls and their malicious tendencies will be publicly identified and called out – and a clear message will be sent that our movement does not welcome those who continue to gratuitously attack, ban, harass, and intimidate reasonable transhumanists.
  • Candidates for Non-Presidential Offices: Now that the 2019 Electronic Primary has concluded and the Ben Zion 2020 Presidential campaign is well underway, it is possible for the USTP to consider endorsing candidates for other federal, state, and local offices – and we would welcome interested individuals who wish to put themselves forward for such consideration. I anticipate that a several substantial candidate-endorsement and Platform votes will take place at various times during the next year.
  • Building Alliances with Like-Minded Organizations: The USTP will continue to build its network of Allied Organizations, seeking areas of common ground, such as advocacy for longevity, support for emerging technologies, pursuit of electoral and political reforms, and encouragement of cultural rationality. For some of these organizations, the best approach will be ad hoc collaboration on issue-specific initiatives. For other organizations, where the alignment is deeper, opportunities for longer-lasting strategic partnerships should be explored.
  • Development of a Systematic Plan for Ballot Access: While ballot access is an extremely formidable hurdle to overcome, the USTP will endeavor to maximize the realistic possibilities for Johannon Ben Zion, and possibly future endorsed candidates for other offices, to appear on as many ballots as possible. This will require a systematic survey of the ballot-access requirements in each jurisdiction and the identification of “low-hanging fruit” – those jurisdictions where ballot access is easiest to attain. The USTP will then develop an action plan for how that ballot access may be attained and what resources may be realistically necessary to achieve this – especially for a non-monetary organization operated entirely by volunteers.

While in the first five years of its existence and in the first three years of my tenure as Chairman, the USTP laid the groundwork for a vibrant, growing, and distinctive organization, the next five years may well be the period in which transhumanism becomes a household word – a concept that enters mainstream discourse and becomes seen more accurately as the worldview that can enable humankind to overcome its deleterious limits and select the best of all possible futures. The USTP leadership will endeavor to continue building an organization where members can readily participate and work on the instantiation of their visions toward such a future – all while actualizing the common goals and values of the Transhumanist Party and the broader transhumanist community. In the course of working toward the best possible future, we should also create the best possible version of transhumanism to serve as its vanguard.

U.S. Transhumanist Party Chairman’s Second Anniversary Message

U.S. Transhumanist Party Chairman’s Second Anniversary Message

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Gennady Stolyarov II


It astonishes me that two years have elapsed since I became Chairman of the U.S. Transhumanist Party on November 17, 2016. Nonetheless, in retrospect, it seems that we are living in a different epoch from the one in which I stepped into this leadership role. In this epoch, transhumanism is no longer a fringe extreme; while we are a small political party, we occupy the sensible moderate ground – the civilized center of political discourse – precisely because we reject the downward spiral of toxicity, tribalism, political violence, and zero-sum partisanship which characterizes both the Democratic and Republican Parties today. Many people beyond the historic core transhumanist constituencies ought to find our message appealing, if they only knew about the Transhumanist Party and what it actually stands for.

While 2017 was a year of focusing on developing our now-extensive Platform, 2018 was characterized by increased outreach, more frequent events and interviews, steady membership growth (doubling our membership to 1,187 as of this writing), and the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s first foray into electoral politics under my Chairmanship. For a summary of our achievements in 2018, I encourage you to watch my speech at RAAD Fest 2018 in San Diego, CA, entitled “The U.S. Transhumanist Party: Four Years of Advocating for the Future” and attended by over 1,000 people.

We endorsed two candidates during this election season, James D. Schultz and myself. While Mr. Schultz fell slightly short of the 1,500 petition signatures required by New York law for ballot access, he did obtain 1,239 signatures, which shows that transhumanism can attract supporters in the four-figure range with diligent advocacy.

My own campaign for the Board of Trustees of the Indian Hills General Improvement District (IHGID) in Nevada was able to proceed to the general-election stage, since ballot access was available without the need to submit petitions. I ultimately obtained 520 votes out of 2,024 residents who cast their ballots. While I did not win a seat on the Board, 25.7% – more than a quarter – of the voters cast affirmative ballots in my favor.

While I would have preferred to win, this outcome still shows that my campaign – on which I spent no money but rather utilized social media, in-person appearances in public places, videos, and word of mouth – enabled me to reach more than a quarter of the residents after beginning with essentially zero name recognition in the area. Transhumanism, when articulated in a mainstream-friendly manner, can elicit support from people across the political spectrum and in all walks of life. We just need to continue to spread our message with determination and deliberate regarding ways of reaching constituencies who might not have become aware of transhumanism yet – perhaps because our methods of communication have not yet overlapped with their preferred media and social circles.

I am not particularly disappointed regarding the outcome of the IHGID Board election, since even getting to the stage where a Transhumanist-Party-endorsed candidate appeared on the ballot and received 520 votes constitutes major progress, since even Zoltan Istvan in 2016 had to campaign as a write-in candidate and so did not receive an official count of the votes cast in his favor. Furthermore, in my experience, the IHGID Board of Trustees is extremely open to resident input. As a resident, I have always been able to speak my mind at the Board meetings and make suggestions that have had substantive impacts. I am confident that the elected Board members are good people who have the well-being of the residents in mind, and that each of them will be receptive to at least a significant portion of my ideas in the future. Furthermore, I think this campaign helped me incrementally in the longer term to build ties with people in my community and to become more involved and able to have a voice in the many ongoing interesting developments that affect it.

From the standpoint of improving the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s political acumen, however, with a result such as the outcome of the IHGID vote, it is important to understand what happened and why and to see what this can teach about politics, the spread of information, and human dynamics more generally.

What factors could explain this outcome, to the best of my knowledge? Some of the electoral dynamics involved surprised me. Residents were able to choose up to three candidates, and it seems rather unusual to me that so few did. My calculations (which I am happy to share in greater detail upon request) indicate the following:

Of those IHGID residents who voted in 2018 at all:
– 878 voters did not make a selection.
– 605 voters only made 1 choice.
– 1,281 voters only made 2 choices.
– 138 voters made 3 choices. (I am one of those voters.)

It is possible that some voters did not understand that they could select multiple candidates. I expected that my best outcome would arise in a situation where I would be seen as a “consensus candidate” whom other candidates would be agreeable to supporting. However, this situation could only materialize if most, or at least many, voters voted for three choices.

However, the majority of those who voted actually selected two options rather than three. This suggests that they knew their prerogatives – so the possibilities are (a) they only voted for candidates whose names they recognized; and/or (b) there could have been a coalition between some two of the candidates (I do not know which two and would have no way of knowing), who informed their supporters to support both of them but not select a third.

However, the most disappointing explanation possible (if true) is this: names were arranged in alphabetical order by last name on the ballot, and some voters might have just picked the first name or the first two or three names. This could indeed have happened in an election which was not all that controversial, where there were no “hot-button” issues, where all the candidates were on friendly terms, where very little money was spent (none on my end), and where probably many voters only minimally informed themselves about the candidates.

My campaign, based on all indications, dominated on the Internet and social media – yet there are many residents of the District who do not appear to use the Internet or social media to any great extent. All of my interactions with residents who knew of my campaign have been extremely positive, but I posit that there exists a large demographic whom my efforts did not reach because there was not any online medium to even facilitate an in-person interaction (e.g., they did not see my announcements on Nextdoor.com and did not watch the candidate videos; also, their in-person activities do not overlap with mine). How to reach such constituents is a perpetual challenge, especially because I only practice genteel campaign tactics – e.g., no door-to-door soliciting or other intrusive messaging; I let people process information at their own convenience. I hypothesize that the only real way to attain recognition from non-Internet users is to build a reputation over many years of participation in in-person community activities. The contemporary world is quite fragmented, so those activities have been rarer than I would like – but there may be more opportunities over the coming years. I raise the more general question of how transhumanists can be more effective in reaching constituencies that are not as active online as most of us technology enthusiasts. What tactics can work to build both name recognition and good will? Comments and suggestions are most welcome.

For me, my next proximate political area of focus will be continuing to build the U.S. Transhumanist Party in its national and international presence and intellectual influence. There is much effort that could be put forth in this area in the immediate future.

  • We have already opened a new exposure period to consider clarifying amendments to the Transhumanist Bill of Rights. While the Transhumanist Bill of Rights is achieving significant media coverage, we need to be vigilant against basic factual inaccuracies regarding the representation of its contents. These amendments will enable us to steer the narrative toward what transhumanists actually think and value, rather than unwarranted assumptions and associations made by persons whose agendas often steer them in the direction of manufacturing straw-man positions that transhumanists do not, in fact, espouse.
  • In early 2019 we will conduct the selection process for the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s 2020 Presidential candidate. Unlike the major political parties, we will have a short campaign season for contenders and an electronic, ranked-preference primary held during the same timeframe for all members, no matter where they reside. This will be a practical implementation of Sections XXVIII, XXIX, and XXX of our Platform. We are still looking for potential candidates for political office at any level in 2020, but having a Presidential candidate will be important as a high-profile educational approach to expose vast numbers of people to transhumanist ideas and aspirations. For this role we are seeking an erudite, articulate, scientifically literate individual with sufficient resources to self-fund a campaign and an absolute commitment to carry such a campaign through to Election Day in November 2020.
  • We need to continue to press toward our crucial threshold goal of 10,000 members. Membership is free and quick to acquire, and now brings several additional benefits with it. Please persuade as many people as you can to go to our free Membership Application Form at https://transhumanist-party.org/membership/ and sign up in less than a minute, no matter where they reside.
  • We need existing members to organize grassroots initiatives – which can include meetups, presentations, writing of articles and policy papers, and outreach within their local communities. If you engage in activism on behalf of the U.S. Transhumanist Party, please contact me and let me know what you wish to do or have done already, and we will publicize it as an example to other members of what is possible. No matter what your skill set, there are many constructive possibilities for you to contribute to our movement and the public’s recognition of it. An active presence in public discourse matters most of all at this stage. Be creative in how you bring that active presence into being!
  • We need to create State-level Transhumanist Parties in every State. If your State is not represented on our list of State Parties, you are welcome to form a State-level party yourself and contact me about doing so. While you explore the relevant requirements for official formation, even beginning a Facebook group for coordination among the members of the embryonic State-level Transhumanist Party would be a major step forward.
  • We need to expand our Foreign Ambassador program to as many countries as possible. The U.S. Transhumanist Party is proud of its international membership and the many fruitful ways in which we have coordinated with transhumanists in other countries. The more representatives we have abroad, the more opportunities there will be for transhumanism to become an integrated global phenomenon that guides the policies of all nations in pro-technology, pro-life-extension, pro-reason directions. To apply to become a Foreign Ambassador, fill out our application form here.
  • We need to continue improving our internal infrastructure, from developing a more efficient voting system (while preserving the ranked-preference method, but hopefully automating the instant runoffs and the publication of results) to adding more features to our website to encourage members to visit it more frequently and participate in discussions and other initiatives available through it. If you have not actively participated on the U.S. Transhumanist Party website yet, we would be interested to know why not, and what additional elements of the website might encourage you to participate in the future.

If you were to retain only several key insights from this message, they would be the following:

  • Attaining basic public awareness remains the major challenge of the U.S. Transhumanist Party and of transhumanism in general.
  • Growth in active members who operate at the grassroots level is the key to overcoming this challenge. Encourage others to sign up for free here.
  • Our message is appealing to the mainstream when properly articulated, but to succeed in doing so, we need to be in control of the narrative and speak for ourselves, instead of letting the media and intellectual opponents portray us as caricatured straw-men.
  • The moment the general public becomes tired of the partisan toxicity of the major political parties to the extent of actually creating a political vacuum, we need to be ready with a constructive alternative. We already have the conceptual alternative prepared; now we need to prepare the infrastructure to deploy and expand it.
  • There is much that you as an individual can do. Do it!

May the next year of my Chairmanship see the U.S. Transhumanist Party attain many of its goals and achieve unprecedented growth and impact for the transhumanist movement. If this happens, it will be because you, our members, will have made it happen.

Sincerely,
Gennady Stolyarov II, FSA, ACAS, MAAA, CPCU, ARe, ARC, API, AIS, AIE, AIAF
Chairman, United States Transhumanist Party
Chief Executive, Nevada Transhumanist Party
Editor-in-Chief, The Rational Argumentator
Author, Death is Wrong

U.S. Transhumanist Party Chairman’s Anniversary Message

U.S. Transhumanist Party Chairman’s Anniversary Message

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Gennady Stolyarov II


On November 17, 2016, I became the Chairman of the United States Transhumanist Party. It was a turbulent era in American politics, although it now appears to me to have been a distinct prior epoch. The offer of Chairmanship from Zoltan Istvan came at exactly the right time. I was seriously considering emigrating from the United States, which would have been a mistake. For this role, however, an expatriate Chairman would not do; Zoltan asked me to remain for at least six months – hopefully a year – and then re-assess the situation. One does not get handed leadership of a political party often (or virtually ever), so this was a unique opportunity to make a difference in American politics in a constructive way, with instant gains in prominence, and without the distasteful maneuvering that many conventional political figures feel compelled to engage in to attain a comparable position.

It has been a year, and I am staying. I have indeed reassessed the situation, or perhaps the situation has been transformed so considerably than the already transitional interpretive framework of late 2016 can no longer adequately describe our present political reality. Whereas then the tumult seemed to have stemmed from a single source, we now inhabit a distinctly different sort of chaotic era, in which the chaos emanates from virtually all partisan factions espousing conventional political ideologies. The United States has not, despite my fears at the time, succumbed to dictatorship or totalitarianism – and, despite some ill-advised policy decisions and unfortunate increases in certain forms of intolerance and hatred (on both the right and the left), there are no waves of nativist “ethnic cleansing”; there are, thankfully and for now, no massive riots in the vast majority of cities, the vast majority of the time. Daily life proceeds in a largely peaceful, largely orderly fashion – and may that continue.

Yet the United States’ societal and cultural fabric has been torn to shreds by the climate of escalating partisan vitriol, in which being aligned with one’s “team” (be it one of the major political parties or more minor factions on the conventional left-right axis) is seen as more important than the reasoned pursuit of truth. Partisanship erodes the norms of civility and the disposition of good will with which it is important to approach discourse with others. When hyper-partisans insist that civilized discussion or even association with “the other side” is not possible (and their characterization of who comprises the “other side” becomes ever more sweeping by the day), they throw wide open the door to less genteel approaches to politics – the political violence that can claim lives, ruin infrastructure, and set back the progress of our civilization. The great immediate danger in American politics is not that squads of jack-booted enforcers will crack down on anyone who displeases their masters; it is, rather, that the increasing toxicity of prevailing political rhetoric will poison the minds and conduct of ordinary people, turning them against one another and inaugurating a low-key war of all against all, which necessarily cannot remain low-key for long. Hyper-partisanship is not, however, a grass-roots phenomenon, but has been fueled by behemoth political machines, with armies of paid political operatives, lobbyists, and “opposition research” firms honing the most effective ways to besmirch and divide people for range-of-the-moment electoral gains. Only a truly transpartisan organization, immune to the influence of this apparatus, can turn the tide against its malignancy.

The United States Transhumanist Party has stood as a bulwark against this toxic partisan tendency, inviting membership by individuals of all conventional or unconventional political beliefs, as long as they agree with our three broadly framed Core Ideals (and even sometimes if they do not), advocating for a worldwide acceleration of technological innovation and for making its products accessible to all, conducting transparent public discussions and votes using ranked-reference techniques that solve long-standing incentive problems of voters, and doing it all as a non-monetary organization, through the collaboration of volunteers and people of good will. We genuinely seek to embody and practice inclusivity, diversity, and tolerance – instead of weaponizing these terms to serve a particular preconceived political and social agenda and partisan machine. We transcend the destructive culture wars, just as we transcend so many other pointless divisions. We seek to be a microcosm of the society that will emerge after all this “sound and fury, signifying nothing” subsides, when people will come to see the toxicity as fatiguing and passé, and the task of building a new era can unfold in earnest. We need to focus on championing the advances that can benefit everyone through dramatically longer lifespans, vastly increased prosperity, and opportunities for individual self-actualization. Unlike identity politics, which focuses on what sets people apart, transhumanist politics seeks to bring all sentient entities together to forge the advances that can benefit each and all.

On the anniversary of my Chairmanship, the highlight of my day was a message from an individual who has been a member for as long as I have been Chairman. He told me that his membership in the U.S. Transhumanist Party has been one of the most important events in his life. What we do matters; it inspires people to strive for a brighter future; it coalesces a community of visionaries, achievers, innovators, and friends. Amid the tumult of the contemporary world, we preserve the transformative ambition that life can and should be better – that human existence need not be nasty, brutish, or short – that age-old problems can be solved with sufficient knowledge and ingenuity – and that the fates of our ancestors need not be our own.

We have achieved much since the U.S. Transhumanist Party was opened to membership during my tenure as Chairman. I provided an overview of the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s key recent achievements in this brief video, which I prepared for the Transvision 2017 conference in Brussels.

Here, I will supplement, rather than repeat, the contents of that video presentation.

Many aspects of our Platform and processes enable the U.S. Transhumanist Party to stand out in American politics. The following are just several examples.

We are the first political party in the United States to use ranked-preference voting on its internal ballots. During the next year we will explore options for rendering this voting process even more streamlined and user-friendly. We will be searching for software that could simultaneously present all of the options and their text to voters, and automatically tabulate instant runoffs and their results, similarly to how the initial votes are tabulated today.

We are the only political party in the world – to our knowledge – which extends membership to anyone capable of forming a reasoned political opinion – including children and citizens of other countries, who may become Allied Members. Our Foreign Ambassador program specifically focuses on building connections with future-oriented thinkers in other countries and working to build transhumanism into a global, collaborative movement where ideas are exchanged and developed without regard to national boundaries.

The U.S. Transhumanist Party is one of only two political parties in the United States, along with the Green Party, that supports the complete abolition of nuclear weapons. Our Platform, in Article III, Section IV, reads that “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.” While this remains a minority political position in the United States, the abolition of nuclear weapons recently received support at the United Nations via the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017. With the threat of nuclear war remaining disturbingly real, an increasing number of people and institutions are coming to recognize this dire existential risk and seek its alleviation. We welcome collaboration with any of them.

The U.S. Transhumanist Party was the first political party in the United States to suggest a universal basic income or unconditional basic income (UBI) as an option in dealing with the impacts of automation, job uncertainty, and the sub-optimalities of conventional, conditional, and cumbersome welfare systems. Now various jurisdictions are experimenting with some versions of UBI, and this concept is being actively discussed at the United Nations. We stand ready to offer our views and recommendations in this conversation – encouraging UBI systems that would preserve the core, elegant logic of an unconditional basic income available to all. Per Article III, Section XVI of our Platform, “the United States Transhumanist Party holds that all sentient entities should be the beneficiaries of an unconditional universal basic income, whereby the same minimum amount of money or other resources is provided irrespective of a sentient entity’s life circumstances, occupations, or other income sources, so as to provide a means for the basic requirements of existence and liberty to be met.” This vision, if championed consistently, can dramatically improve the life circumstances of many individuals throughout the world.

Our most important near-term objectives were recently outlined in our new, extensive FAQ document. Because of their importance, and the indication they provide regarding how the next year of the U.S. Transhumanist Party will unfold, I provide them again below.

  1. Grow in membership. We need to reach at least 10,000 members in order to have the widespread reach and internal, member-driven governance structures that we envision to be the most effective. You can help by joining for free and encouraging others to join by filling out our fast, simple Membership Application Form.
  2. Coordinate with State-level Transhumanist Parties. Various such State-level Parties exist, and some are already officially registered with their respective Secretaries of State. We have catalogued the State-level Transhumanist Parties known to us here. Work with them if you reside in a State where such a Party already exists. If such a Party does not exist, we encourage you to form one and contact us when you are contemplating doing so.
  3. Hold events and publish materials to influence public opinion. Ultimately, we seek to change minds to encourage widespread public advocacy of emerging technologies and a major redirection of resources toward such technologies’ funding, development, and dissemination. We encourage U.S. Transhumanist Party members to also organize their own events and submit articles for publication on our website.
  4. Explore running candidates at the local level. Interested candidates will likely need to officially run as independents at this time, but if they agree with key aspects of our Platform, they may receive the endorsement of the U.S. Transhumanist Party.
  5. Gradually create the infrastructure to meet State ballot-access requirements. In almost every State, obtaining ballot access unfortunately requires at least thousands of petition signatures (hand-signed), obtained within a relatively short period of time. We need to build up a sufficient network of volunteers in every State in order for petition-gathering to be feasible. However, our emphasis on membership growth and coordination with State-level Transhumanist Parties is part of our effort to eventually get there and field candidates for State-level office.

Another unique approach that we are pursuing is our search for a candidate for the U.S. Transhumanist Party 2020 Presidential ticket. Unlike other parties, we seek to attract not the most politically ambitious, but rather the most erudite, thoughtful, and melioristic individuals to apply for the role. To this end, under the editorship of the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s Education and Media Advisor, Newton Lee, we are compiling a book that will feature essays by leading transhumanist thinkers, Advisors, and members of the U.S. Transhumanist Party. This book, tentatively titled Transhumanism: In the Image of Humans, will hopefully convey both the depth and breadth of transhumanist thought, such that at least one of the leading minds of our era might be sufficiently intrigued as to join our movement and seek to further these ideas by running a Presidential campaign based on the highest standards of discourse, conduct, and policy-oriented reasoning for the improvement of the human condition.

The tumult of our times is evidence that Robert Heinlein’s forecast of an era he termed the Crazy Years has come to pass. Charting the path from our current Crazy Years to a bright and universally uplifting transhumanist future will be no easy task, but no task is more vital. By a spectacular confluence of events, which still astounds me in retrospect, the Chairmanship of the U.S. Transhumanist Party has placed me in a unique position within this moment in history, where many radically divergent paths are possible for both humankind in general and for us as individuals. The path of amelioration and abundance of time and resources for all is still open, and the Transhumanist Party will endeavor to show the way to all those who seek the new era, and to build our civilization into a global and universal, human and transhuman cosmopolity – which should extend as far and as boundlessly as our own lives and well-being.

Will you join us in this effort? If so, becoming a member is free and easy – and the best of possible futures may be our joint reward.

Sincerely,
Gennady Stolyarov II, FSA, ACAS, MAAA, CPCU, ARe, ARC, API, AIS, AIE, AIAF
Chairman, United States Transhumanist Party
Chief Executive, Nevada Transhumanist Party
Editor-in-Chief, The Rational Argumentator
Author, Death is Wrong