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In Support of “Unfit for the Future”: When the Vessel is Unfit for the Task – Article by Hilda Koehler

In Support of “Unfit for the Future”: When the Vessel is Unfit for the Task – Article by Hilda Koehler

Hilda Koehler


This essay has been submitted for publication to the Journal of Posthuman Studies.

This essay is written in support of the ideas presented by Julian Savulescu and Ingmar Persson in their book Unfit for the Future: the Need for Moral Enhancement. I will argue that Savulescu and Persson’s arguments for moral bioenhancement should be given more serious consideration, on the grounds that moral bioenhancement will most likely be humanity’s best chance at ensuring its future ethical progress, since our current achievements in rapid ethical progress have been highly contingent on economic progress and an increasing quality of life. As a vehicle for for ethical progress, this is becoming increasingly untenable as the world enters a new period of resource scarcity brought about by the ravages of climate change. This essay will also respond to some of the claims against human genetic enhancement, and transhumanism in general, made by critic John Gray. Finally, the concluding remarks of this essay will examine a possible long-term drawback to moral bioenhancement which has not net been raised by Savulescu’s critics thus far – namely, that genetically altering future human beings to be less aggressive could unintentionally result in them becoming complacent to a point of lacking self-preservation.

Maslow and Malthus

Ethical philosophers in Steven Pinker’s camp may argue that the consideration of moral bioenhancement is absurd because moral education has apparently been sufficient enough to bring forth radical moral progress in terms of civil liberties in the 20th and 21st centuries. The 20th century heralded in never-before-seen progress in terms of the civil rights granted to women, ethnic minorities, LGBT+ people, and the working class. As Pinker points out, crime rates plummeted over the past 150 years, and so has the total number of wars being fought throughout the world. Savulescu admits that this is a valid point.

However, Savulescu’s main point of contention is that while the overall rates of violent crime have been drastically reduced, rapid advancements in technology have enabled rouge individuals to inflict more mass damage than at any other point in human history. While overall rates of interpersonal violence and warfare are decreasing, advancements in technology have exponentially increased the ability of individual actors to inflict harm on others to a greater extent than at any other point in human history. It takes just one lone Unabomber-type anarchist to genetically engineer a strain of smallpox virus in a backyard laboratory, to start a pandemic killing millions of innocent people, argues Savulescu. A statistic he constantly cites is that 1% of the overall human population are psychopaths. This means that there are approximately 77 million psychopaths alive today.

I would like to raise a further point in support of Savulescu’s argument. I would argue that the exceptional progress in ethics and civil rights that the developed world has witnessed in the last century has been the result of unprecedented levels of economic growth and vast improvements in the average quality of life. The life spans, health spans, and accessibility of food, medicine, and consumer goods seen in developed economies today would have been an unbelievable utopian dream as little as 250 years ago. One of X Prize Foundation chairman Peter Diamandis’s favorite quips is that our standard of living has increased so exponentially that the average lower-income American has a far higher quality of life than the wealthiest of robber barons did in the 19th century.

As Pinker himself points out, the first moral philosophies of the Axial Age arose when our ancestors finally became agriculturally productive enough to no longer worry about basic survival. Once they had roofs over their heads and sufficient grain stores, they could begin to wax lyrical about philosophy, the meaning of life, and the place of the individual in wider society. Arguably, the same correlation was strongly demonstrated in the post-World War II era in the developed economies of the world. Once the population’s basic needs are not just met, but they are also provided with access to higher education and a burgeoning variety of consumer goods, they’re much less likely to be in conflict with “out” groups over scarce resources. Similarly, incredible advancements in maternal healthcare and birth control played a major role in the socio-economic emancipation of women.

Our ethical progress being highly contingent on economic progress and quality of life should concern us for one major reason – climate change and the resource scarcity that follows it. The UN estimates that the world’s population will hit 9.8 billion by 2050. At the same time, food insecurity and water scarcity are going to become increasingly common. According to UNICEF, 1.3 million people in Madagascar are now at risk of malnutrition, due to food shortages caused by cyclones and droughts. There could as many as 25 million more children worldwide suffering from climate-change-caused malnutrition by the middle of this century. This is on top of the 149 million malnourished children below 5 years old, who are already suffering from stunted growth, as of 2019.

This is the worst-case scenario that climate-change doomsdayers and authors of fiction revolving around dystopian civilizational collapse keep on warning us of. There is a legitimate fear that a rapid dwindling of access to food, medical care, and clean water could lead currently progressive developed economies to descend back into pre-Enlightenment levels of barbarism. Looting and black markets for necessities could flourish, while riots break out over access to food and medical supplies. Ostensibly, worsening scarcity could encourage the proliferation of human trafficking, especially of females from desperate families. The idea is often dismissed as wildly speculative alarmist screed by a considerable number of middle-income city dwellers living in developed nations. Food shortages caused by climate change have mostly affected the sub-Saharan Africa and India, where they’re far out of sight and out of mind to most people in developed economies.

However, the World Bank estimates that 140 million people could become refugees by 2050, as a result of climate change. These populations will predominantly be from Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia, but it is likely that a significant percentage of them will seek asylum in Europe and America. And developed Western economies will only be spared from the worst effects of climate change for so long. North Carolina has already been afflicted by severe flooding caused by Hurricane Florence in 2018, just as it was  affected by Hurricane Matthew which had struck two years earlier. Climate journalist David Wallace-Wells has gone so far as to claim that a four degree increase in global temperature by 2100 could result in resource scarcity so severe, that it will effectively double the number of wars we see in the world today.

Savulescu argues that the fact that we’ve already let climate change and global income inequality get this bad is itself proof that we’re naturally hardwired towards selfishness and short-term goals.

A Response to John Gray

As one of the most well-known critics of transhumanism, John Gray has said that it is naive to dream that humanity’s future will somehow be dramatically safer, more humane, and more rational than its past. Gray claims that humanity’s pursuit of moral progress will ultimately never see true fruition, because our proclivities towards irrationality and self-preservation will inevitably override our utopian goals in the long run. Gray cites the example of torture, which was formally banned in various treaties across Europe during the 20th century. However, this hasn’t stopped the US from torturing prisoners of war with all sorts of brutal methods, in Afghanistan and Iraq. Gray claims that this is proof that moral progress can be rolled back just as easily as it is made. Justin E. H. Smith makes similar arguments about the inherent, biologically-influenced cognitive limits of human rational thinking, although he does not explicitly criticise transhumanism itself. And Savulescu agrees with him. Throughout their argument, both Savulescu and Persson hammer home the assertion that humans have a much greater predilection towards violence than altruism.

But here Gray is making a major assumption – that future generations of human beings will continue to have the same genetically-predisposed psychology and cognitive capabilities as we currently do. Over millennia, we have been trying to adapt humanity to a task that evolution did not predispose us towards. We’ve effectively been trying to carry water from a well using a colander. We might try to stop the water from leaking out from the colander as best we can by cupping its sides and bottom with our bare palms, but Savulescu is proposing a radically different solution; that we should re-model the colander into a proper soup bowl.

It seems that Gray is overlooking some of his own circular reasoning which he uses to perpetuate his arguments against transhumanist principles and genetic enhancement. He argues that humanity will never truly be able to overcome our worst proclivities towards violence and selfishness. However, he simultaneously argues that endeavoring to enhance our cognitive capabilities and dispositions towards rationality and altruism are a lost cause that will be ultimately futile. Following Gray’s line of reasoning will effectively keep humanity stuck in a catch-22 situation where we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t. Gray is telling us that we need to resign ourselves to never being able to have a proper water-holding vessel while simultaneously discouraging us from considering the possibility of going to a workshop to weld the holes in our colander shut.

Windows of Opportunity

There is one final reason for which I will argue for greater urgency in considering Savulescu’s proposal seriously. Namely, we are currently have a very rare window of opportunity to execute it practically. If Gray is right about the likelihood that moral progress can be rolled back more easily than it is made, then he should acknowledge that we need to take full advantage of the current moral progress in developed economies, while we still have the chance to. Rapid advancements in CRISPR technologies and gene-editing are increasing the practical viability of moral bioenhancement without the consumption of neurotransmitters. Savulescu argues that we need to strike while the iron is hot; while the world economy is still relatively healthy and while STEM fields are still receiving billions in funding for research and development.

If nothing else, a rather intellectually sparse appeal to novelty can be made in defence of Savulescu’s proposal. Given that climate change could be the greatest existential risk humanity has ever faced in its whole history to date, we should begin considering more radical options to deal with its worst ravages. The limited faculties of rationality and altruism which nature has saddled us with have brought us millennia of warfare, genocide, radical inequality in resource distribution, and sexual violence. We keep on saying “never again” after every single cataclysmic man-made tragedy, but “again” still keeps on happening. Now is as good a time as ever to consider the possibility that humanity’s cognitive faculties are themselves fundamentally flawed, and inadequate to cope with the seemingly insurmountable challenges that lie ahead of us.

A Possible Future Negative Consequence of Moral Bioenhancement to be Considered

Multiple objections to Savulescu’s proposal have been raised by authors such as Alexander Thomas and Rebecca Bennett. I would like to raise another possible objection to moral bioenhancement, although I myself am a proponent of it. A possible unforeseen consequence of radically genetically reprogramming homo sapiens to be significantly less selfish and prone to aggression could be that this will simultaneously destroy our drive for self-improvement. One could argue that the only reason human beings have made it far enough to become the most technologically advanced and powerful species in our solar system was precisely because our drive for self-preservation and insatiable desire for an ever-increasing quality of life. You could claim that if we had just remained content to be hunter-gatherers, we would never have gotten to the level of civilization we’re at now. It’s more likely that we would have gone extinct on the savannah like our other hominid cousins, who were not homo sapiens.

Our inability to be satisfied with the naturally-determined status quo is the very reason the transhumanist movement itself exists. What happens, then, if we genetically re-dispose homo sapiens to become more selfless and less aggressive? Could this policy ironically backfire and create future generations of human beings who become complacent about technological progress and self-improvement? Furthermore, what happens if these future generations of morally bioenhanced human beings face new existential threats which require them to act urgently? What happens if they face an asteroid collision or a potential extraterrestrial invasion (although the latter seems to be far less likely)? We don’t want to end up genetically engineering future generations of human beings who are so devoid of self-preservation that they accept extinction as an outcome they should just peacefully resign themselves to. And if human beings become a space-faring species and end up making contact with a highly-advanced imperialist alien species bent on galaxy-wide colonization, our future generations will have to take up arms in self-defence.

This raises the question of whether it might be possible to simultaneously increase the human propensity towards altruism and non-violence towards other human beings, while still preserving the human predisposition towards ensuring our overall survival and well-being. If such a radical re-programming of humanity’s cognitive disposition is possible, it’s going to be a very delicate balancing act. This major shortcoming is one that proponents of moral bioenhancement have not yet formulated a plausible safety net for. Techno-utopian advocates claim that we could one day create a powerful artificial intelligence programme that will indefinitely protect humanity against unforeseen attacks from extraterrestrials or possible natural catastrophes. More serious discussion needs to be devoted to finding possible ways to make moral bioenhancement as realistically viable as possible.

Conclusion

The arguments put forth by Savulescu in Unfit for the Future should be reviewed with greater urgency and thoughtful consideration, and this essay has argued in favour of this appeal. We cannot take the great strides in civil rights made in the last 100 years, which have been heavily dependent on economic development and the growth of the capitalist world economy, for granted. As resource scarcity brought about by climate change looms on the near horizon, the very system which the 20th and 21st centuries’ great ethical progress has been contingent upon threatens to crumble. Gray is right in arguing that the human animal is fundamentally flawed and that repeated historical attempts at better models of moral systems have failed to truly reform humanity. And this is where Savulescu proposes a controversial answer to Gray’s resignation to humanity’s impending self-destruction. We must consider reforming the human animal itself. As the field of gene-editing and the development of impulse-controlling neurotransmitter drugs continue to show great promise, world governments and private institutions should begin to view these as viable options to creating a less short-sighted, less-aggressive, and more rational version of homo sapiens 2.0. There are only so many more global-scale man-made catastrophes that mankind can further inflict upon itself and the planet, before this radical proposal is finally undertaken as a last resort.

Hilda Koehler is a fourth-year political science major at the National University of Singapore. She is a proud supporter of the transhumanist movement and aims to do her best to promote transhumanism and progress towards the Singularity.

Results of Platform Vote #6 and Adopted Sections

Results of Platform Vote #6 and Adopted Sections

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Gennady Stolyarov II


The U.S. Transhumanist Party conducted its seventh vote of the members and the sixth vote on its platform planks on November 11 through November 17, 2017. Official ballot options can be found here.

Detailed results of the voting have been tabulated here. In two instances, where no majority was reached in the first round of voting, options were selected based on the ranked-preference method with instant runoffs.

As a result, the following new or amended sections of Article III of the U.S. Transhumanist Party Constitution were adopted.

Section II: The United States Transhumanist Party supports all acceptance, tolerance, and inclusivity of individuals and groups of all races, genders, classes, religions, creeds, and ideologies. Accordingly, the United States Transhumanist Party condemns any hostile discrimination or legal restrictions on the basis of national origin, skin color, birthplace, ancestry, gender identity, or any manner of circumstantial attribute tied to a person’s lineage or accident of birth. Furthermore, the United States Transhumanist Party strongly opposes any efforts to enforce said restrictions regardless of cause or motivation thereof. Additionally, any institution that uses violence, suppression of free speech, or other unconstitutional or otherwise illegal methods will be disavowed and condemned by the United States Transhumanist Party, with an efficient, non-violent alternative to said institution being offered to achieve its goals if they align with the Party’s interests.

Section XXVII: The United States Transhumanist Party advocates Constitutional reform to abolish the Electoral College in the United States Presidential elections and render the plurality of the popular vote the sole criterion for the election of President.

Section LIX: 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 misconduct, negligence, abuse, criminal activity, felonies, and misdemeanors allegedly committed by police, district attorneys, and judges, should, in addition to any internal investigation, also be conducted by a civilian organization outside the justice system. 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.

Section LXIV: The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to create a reasonable minimum timeframe between the proposal of a bill and the voting procedure. To ensure a reasonable timeframe is proportional to the number of pages of a proposed bill, a time period per each specified amount of pages could be adopted. For example, and without committing to specific numerical magnitudes, a 24-hour period within a working week per every 20 pages could be adopted to ensure all members of Congress involved have sufficient time to read through and study a proposed bill’s implications. Such measures would prevent a bill from being introduced shortly before the voting process. They would also have the added side effect that proposals might become more concise, as the length of a bill would influence the consideration time.

In addition to this, after the proposal has been submitted, any amendments must be explicitly discussed in a public forum with the same degree of thorough consideration and same rules pertaining to the timeframe of consideration as allowed for the original proposal.

Section LXV: The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to ensure a jury is fully informed on its rights and responsibilities, including jury nullification. The United States Transhumanist Party also supports efforts to prevent false claims being made regarding the rights and responsibilities of the jury.

Section LXVI: As an intermediate step toward the goal of complete nuclear disarmament and a potential pragmatic compromise in any future negotiations for disarmament, the United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to significantly reduce the United States nuclear stockpile, and to replace or transfer a small part (between 1 percent and 10 percent) of this stockpile, to mobile nuclear platforms such as submarines. An enemy may currently target the stationary nuclear bombs directly. Having a largely hidden mobile fleet of nuclear bombs would render it much more difficult for any enemy to target the nuclear arsenal, while still maintaining the nuclear deterrent option in sufficient capacity. This would further have the effect of lowering the budget required to maintain the nuclear stockpile, as it could be drastically downsized.

Section LXVII: The United States Transhumanist Party supports the right for individuals to have autonomy over, and utilize their bodies to earn money, including through activities such as prostitution, as long as such activities arise from a person’s own free will (e.g., not under duress), and the person is not endangering the health or well-being of others, including but not limited to the communication of sexually transmissible diseases.

Legalization would give those who wish to engage in prostitution the safety and protection of the law – for example, so that they may report abuse and would be prone to being exploited. It would also open the possibility for such individuals to unionize if they wish to do so. Furthermore, legalization would decrease government spending on what is ultimately a ‘moral crusade’.

However, the United States Transhumanist Party unequivocally condemns any manner of human trafficking, child exploitation, and other abuse that involves a violation of the autonomy and consent of any individual. The legalization of prostitution should be combined with stronger efforts to combat these dangerous and exploitative practices.

The legalization of prostitution could furthermore enable more effective action against human trafficking and involuntary exploitation, as, when prostitution is legalized, employees in this industry would become subject to the protections of the law. Legalization would help focus resources on combating the trafficking of humans rather than catching workers who chose this profession voluntarily.

Section LXVIII: The United States Transhumanist Party holds that any statement made by an elected official and/or public servant to members of the public in a public forum as part of that official’s or public servant’s job duties, and available to be heard, read, or otherwise understood in a public setting, physical or digital, should be considered a part of the public record and treated as an official statement of their office and position. This requirement does not extend to statements made by an elected official and/or public servant in the capacity of a private citizen or in the expression of a personal opinion or other position unrelated to the exercise of the official’s or public servant’s job duties.

Section LXIX: The United States Transhumanist Party holds that state and federal governments should establish an artificial intelligence (AI) analysis system for measuring risk of proposed legislation. Such a system could provide an impartial look at what legislation could cause harm or unintended consequences. Submitted policies would receive a score from 0 to 100, and the AI system would state what possible negative impacts may result. This system should be publicly accessible for submissions and for security audit. This is not intended to create or enact laws, but simply to serve as a tool to measure risk versus reward.

Section LXX: The United States Transhumanist Party strongly opposes the possibility for any political party to determine the boundaries and borders of any voting district. The United States Transhumanist Party supports measures that require any efforts to have the districts potentially redrawn, when necessary due to migration for example, to be left to an automated system such as an artificial intelligence (AI) designed for this task.

Section LXXI: The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to remove the possibility for a President to sign an international agreement among two or more nations by executive order. This would prevent a President from engaging in international affairs without support from the Congress, and likewise would make it more difficult to exit an international agreement, as support from Congress would need to exist in order for such an exit to occur. This would furthermore ensure that the United States becomes a more trustworthy nation in the eyes of the international community.

Section LXXII: The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to create a framework for an international or world passport. This framework could, for example, be administered through the United Nations, and the passport could be valid only for those countries who have proven to meet the standards, set by participating countries, required to ensure safety. Given that the European Union has an ID valid within its borders, and the United States has a similar agreement with Canada, imagining these forms of identification being combined shows that a world passport is not a farfetched or alien idea.

Section LXXIII:  The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to mandate that new firearms will be produced with an embedded registration chip, as well as the registration number engraved on the firearm. The chip would have a registration number, a ‘trace online’ code, and a ‘lost or stolen’ code. The firearm would be accompanied by a physical and digital certificate of ownership with a registration number, the ‘trace online’ number, and the ‘lost or stolen’ number. The embedded chip would render it much harder to make the firearm untraceable. The number and codes involved would have to be unique identifiers.

When a firearm would be lost or stolen, the owner of the firearm and holder of the certificate would report the firearm to the authorities as lost or stolen using the ‘lost or stolen’ number. The intent of having a separate reporting number is to ensure that, in the event that a firearm is stolen or taken without consent, the offender cannot report the firearm as stolen, or as found again. When a firearm owner suspects the firearm is simply mislocated – for example, in the car or in the house, or perhaps taken by a family member, the owner could trace the firearm online via GPS on an online map, using the ‘trace online’ code. The ‘trace online’ code would never be revealed to law enforcement.

Law enforcement would have a device that can confirm the registration number of a firearm in close proximity, similar to contactless payments. On the other hand the detection range would be greater when a firearm has been reported lost or stolen by the owner of the firearm in question with the ‘lost and stolen’ number. A firearm that would not have been reported lost or stolen to law enforcement by the owner of the firearm with the ‘lost or stolen’ number would not be traceable from a greater distance by law enforcement.

This would ensure the privacy, safety, and peace of mind of firearm owners who might otherwise feel law enforcement would trace firearms without legal justification. At the same time, this measure would decrease the probability of stolen firearms never being found, and possibly ending in the hands of people with ill intent.

Section LXXIV: The United States Transhumanist Party supports the creation of an office of a Public Civil-Rights Prosecutor. Our current justice system is flawed. Only people with substantial wealth can afford lawyers to take legal action against those who attack a person’s rights. While there are organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which offer help for some cases, their ability to do so is severely limited and typically non-existent in the lower courts. A Public Civil-Rights Prosecutor’s office will help guarantee that, no matter who a person is or the position of the offending party, a person’s rights cannot be assailed without consequence.

Section LXXV: The United States Transhumanist Party supports lowering spending by the Department of Defense and the U.S. Military, which amounts to hundreds of billions of dollars per year and includes unchecked wastefulness. Reducing military spending would free up money for more important goals, such as curing disease, which collectively kills many more people than military conflict or war by an exponential degree.

Section LXXVI: The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to hold institutions, corporations, and states accountable for usage of federal money with a specific intended purpose. When an entity has been granted any form of funding with a specifically intended purpose, such as disaster relief or specific educational funds, and these funds are misappropriated or used for other purposes well outside of the scope of what they were intended for, the entity in question ought to restitute the funding that was made available.

Section LXXVII: The United States Transhumanist Party supports increases in the budget for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Numerous biotech CEOs have recently made the case to increase the NIH budget, because the NIH conducts research that their companies would not be able to invest in, as investments not leading directly to a product would affect the bottom line. 33% of all the publications from NIH research are cited in corporate patents, so it stimulates new product development. A major driver for economic progress and reducing the suffering of those in pain, the NIH is essentially a public charity that brings us into the future. Whether one supports limited or expansive government, the NIH does not seek to regulate anything nor impose laws on anyone. It exclusively conducts medical research to help the sick.

Section LXXVIII: The U.S. Transhumanist Party supports efforts to reinstate the rights to vote for convicted felons who have received and served their punishment, in order to present them the opportunity to participate in society as otherwise normal citizens.

Section LXXIX: The United States Transhumanist Party supports repealing the current requirement in the United States that drugs or treatments may not be used, even on willing patients, unless approval for such drugs or treatments is received from the Food and Drug Administration. Such requirements are a profound violation of patient sovereignty; a person who is terminally ill is unable to choose to take a risk on an unapproved drug or treatment unless this person is fortunate enough to participate in a clinical trial. Even then, once the clinical trial ends, the treatment must be discontinued, even if it was actually successful at prolonging the person’s life. This is not only profoundly tragic, but morally unconscionable as well. The most critical reform needed is to allow unapproved drugs and treatments to be marketed and consumed. If the FDA wishes to strongly differentiate between approved and unapproved treatments, then a strongly worded warning label could be required for unapproved treatments, and patients could even be required to sign a consent form stating that they have been informed of the risks of an unapproved treatment. This reform to directly extend many lives and to redress a moral travesty should be the top political priority of advocates of indefinite life extension. Over the coming decades, its effect will be to allow cutting-edge treatments to reach a market sooner and thus to enable data about those treatments’ effects to be gathered more quickly and reliably. Because many treatments take 10-15 years to receive FDA approval, this reform could by itself speed up the real-world advent of indefinite life extension by over a decade.

Section LXXX: The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to increase opportunities for entry into the medical profession. The current system for licensing doctors is highly monopolistic and protectionist – the result of efforts by the American Medical Association in the early 20th century to limit entry into the profession in order to artificially boost incomes for its members. The medical system suffers today from too few doctors and thus vastly inflated patient costs and unacceptable waiting times for appointments. Instead of prohibiting the practice of medicine by all except a select few who have completed an extremely rigorous and cost-prohibitive formal medical schooling, governments in the Western world should allow the market to determine different tiers of medical care for which competing private certifications would emerge. For the most specialized and intricate tasks, high standards of certification would continue to exist, and a practitioner’s credentials and reputation would remain absolutely essential to convincing consumers to put their lives in that practitioner’s hands. But, with regard to routine medical care (e.g., annual check-ups, vaccinations, basic wound treatment), it is not necessary to receive attention from a person with a full-fledged medical degree. Furthermore, competition among certification providers would increase quality of training and lower its price, as well as accelerate the time needed to complete the training. Such a system would allow many more young medical professionals to practice without undertaking enormous debt or serving for years (if not decades) in roles that offer very little remuneration while entailing a great deal of subservience to the hierarchy of an established institution. Ultimately, without sufficient doctors to affordably deliver life-extending treatments when they become available, it would not be feasible to extend these treatments to the majority of people.

Section LXXXI: The United States Transhumanist Party supports reforms to the patent system that prevent the re-patenting of drugs and medical devices, or the acquisition of any exclusive or monopoly rights over those drugs and devices, once they have become generic or entered the public domain. Appallingly, many pharmaceutical companies today attempt to re-patent drugs that have already entered the public domain, simply because the drugs have been discovered to have effects on a disease different from the one for which they were originally patented. The result of this is that the price of the re-patented drug often spikes by orders of magnitude compared to the price level during the period the drug was subject to competition. Only a vibrant and competitive market, where numerous medical providers can experiment with how to improve particular treatments or create new ones, can allow for the rate of progress needed for the people alive today to benefit from radical life extension.

Section LXXXII: The United States Transhumanist Party supports reforms to reduce the lengths of times over which medical patents could be effective. Medical patents – in essence, legal grants of monopoly for limited periods of time – greatly inflate the cost of drugs and other treatments. Especially in today’s world of rapidly advancing biotechnology, a patent term of 20 years essentially means that no party other than the patent holder (or someone paying royalties to the patent holder) may innovate upon the patented medicine for a generation, all while the technological potential for such innovation becomes glaringly obvious. As much innovation consists of incremental improvements on what already exists, the lack of an ability to create derivative drugs and treatments that tweak current approaches implies that the entire medical field is, for some time, stuck at the first stages of a treatment’s evolution – with all of the expense and unreliability this entails. Even with shortened patent terms, the original developer of an innovation will still always benefit from a first-mover advantage, as it takes time for competitors to catch on. If the original developer can maintain high-quality service and demonstrate the ability to sell a safe product, then the brand-name advantage alone can secure a consistent revenue stream without the need for a patent monopoly.

Official Ballot Options for Platform Vote #6

Official Ballot Options for Platform Vote #6

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The 7-day electronic voting period on the sixth set of proposed platform planks of the U.S. Transhumanist Party (19 potential planks and 3 potential amendments in total) will occur from 12:01 a.m. U.S. Pacific Time on November 11, 2017, to 12:01 a.m.  U.S. Pacific Time on November 18, 2017. All members of the U.S. Transhumanist Party who have applied before 12:01 a.m. on November 11, 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 November 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

Proposed Platform Sections

Question I. Section E6-A. Minimum Timeframe for Voting on a Bill

Question II. Section E6-A. Minimum Timeframe for Voting on a Bill – Ancillary Provision Options

Question III. Section E6-B. Fully Informed Juries

Question IV. Section E6-C. Elimination of Stationary Nuclear Stockpile

Question V. Section E6-D. Legalization of Prostitution

Question VI. Section E6-D. Legalization of Prostitution – Ancillary Provisions

Question VII. Section E6-E. Public Records of Official Statements

Question VIII. Section E6-F. Artificial Intelligence System to Analyze Risk of Proposed Legislation

Question IX. Section E6-G. Opposition to Partisan Determination of Voting Districts

Question X. Section E6-H. Limitation of Presidential Authority over International Agreements

Question XI. Section E6-I. International or World Passport

Question XII. Section E6-J. Registration Chip for New Firearms

Question XIII. Section E6-K. Public Civil-Rights Prosecutor

Question XIV. Section E6-L. Lowering Military Spending

Question XV. Section E6-M. Accountability for Use of Federal Grants

Question XVI. Section E6-N. Increased Funding for the National Institutes of Health

Question XVII. Section E6-O. Reinstatement of Voting Rights to Felons Who Have Served Their Punishment

Question XVIII. Section E6-P. Repeal of FDA Approval Requirements for Drug Tests on Willing Patients

Question XIX. Section E6-Q. Abolition of Medical Licensing Protectionism

Question XX. Section E6-R. Abolition of Ability to Re-Patent Generic Medicines and Devices

Question XIX. Section E6-Q. Abolition of Medical Licensing Protectionism

Proposed Amendments to Existing Planks

Question XXII. Amendments to Section II on Anti-Bigotry to Encompass “Alt-Left” Groups or Simplify / Generalize Section II

Question XXIII. Amendments to Section XXVII on Abolition of the Electoral College

Question XXIV. Amendments to Section LIX on External Investigations of Law-Enforcement Misconduct

 

Proposed Platform Sections

Question I. Section E6-A. Minimum Timeframe for Voting on a Bill

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 create a reasonable minimum timeframe between the proposal of a bill and the voting procedure. To ensure a reasonable timeframe is proportional to the number of pages of a proposed bill, a time period per each specified amount of pages could be adopted. For example, and without committing to specific numerical magnitudes, a 24-hour period within a working week per every 20 pages could be adopted to ensure all member of Congress involved have sufficient time to read through and study a proposed bill’s implications. Such measures would prevent a bill from being introduced shortly before the voting process. They would also have the added side effect that proposals might become more concise, as the length of a bill would influence the consideration time.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Question II. Section E6-A. Minimum Timeframe for Voting on a Bill – Ancillary Provision Options

If Section E6-A regarding the minimum timeframe for voting on a bill is adopted as part of the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform, which one, if any, of the following ancillary provisions shall be appended to that Section?

Rank-order the Section E6-A Ancillary Provision 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 Ancillary Provision Option 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.

☐ Ancillary Provision Option E6-A-i. [Based on Proposal by Martin van der Kroon]  In addition to this, after the proposal has been submitted, no change may be made to the proposal to prevent changing the substance of a proposal.

☐ Ancillary Provision Option E6-A-ii. [Based on Proposal by Gennady Stolyarov II] In addition to this, after the proposal has been submitted, any amendments must be explicitly discussed in a public forum with the same degree of thorough consideration and same rules pertaining to the timeframe of consideration as allowed for the original proposal.

☐ Ancillary Provision Option E6-A-NO. No Ancillary Provision Option of this sort.

Question III. Section E6-B. Fully Informed Juries

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 a jury is fully informed on its rights and responsibilities, including jury nullification. The United States Transhumanist Party also supports efforts to prevent false claims being made regarding the rights and responsibilities of the jury.”

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question IV. Section E6-C. Elimination of Stationary Nuclear Stockpile

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

“As an intermediate step toward the goal of complete nuclear disarmament and a potential pragmatic compromise in any future negotiations for disarmament, the United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to significantly reduce the United States nuclear stockpile, and to replace or transfer a small part (between 1 percent and 10 percent) of this stockpile, to mobile nuclear platforms such as submarines. An enemy may currently target the stationary nuclear bombs directly. Having a largely hidden mobile fleet of nuclear bombs would render it much more difficult for any enemy to target the nuclear arsenal, while still maintaining the nuclear deterrent option in sufficient capacity. This would further have the effect of lowering the budget required to maintain the nuclear stockpile, as it could be drastically downsized.”

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question V. Section E6-D. Legalization of Prostitution

Rank-order the Section E6-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 E6-D-1. [Based on Proposal by Martin van der Kroon]

The United States Transhumanist Party supports the right for individuals to have autonomy over, and utilize their bodies to earn money, including through activities such as prostitution, as long as such activities arise from a person’s own free will (e.g., not under duress), and the person is not endangering the health or well-being of others.

Legalization would give those who wish to engage in prostitution the safety and protection of the law – for example, so that they may report abuse and would be prone to being exploited. It would also open the possibility for such individuals to unionize if they wish to do so. Furthermore, legalization would decrease government spending on what is ultimately a ‘moral crusade’.

☐ Option E6-D-2. [Based on Proposal by Martin van der Kroon, with Added Wording by Ajay Davis]

The United States Transhumanist Party supports the right for individuals to have autonomy over, and utilize their bodies to earn money, including through activities such as prostitution, as long as such activities arise from a person’s own free will (e.g., not under duress), and the person is not endangering the health or well-being of others, including but not limited to the communication of sexually transmissible diseases.

Legalization would give those who wish to engage in prostitution the safety and protection of the law – for example, so that they may report abuse and would be prone to being exploited. It would also open the possibility for such individuals to unionize if they wish to do so. Furthermore, legalization would decrease government spending on what is ultimately a ‘moral crusade’.

☐ Option E6-D-NO. No Section of this sort.

Question VI. Section E6-D. Legalization of Prostitution – Ancillary Provisions

If Section E6-D regarding the legalization of prostitution 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 E6-D-NO prevails in the vote on Question V above. If you do not favor any of the options below, then you may leave this question blank.

☐ Ancillary Provision E6-D-i. Opposition to Human Trafficking and Exploitation. However, the United States Transhumanist Party unequivocally condemns any manner of human trafficking, child exploitation, and other abuse that involves a violation of the autonomy and consent of any individual. The legalization of prostitution should be combined with stronger efforts to combat these dangerous and exploitative practices.

☐ Ancillary Provision E6-D-ii. Legalization of Prostitution as Enabling More Effective Combating of Human Trafficking and Exploitation. The legalization of prostitution could furthermore enable more effective action against human trafficking and involuntary exploitation, as, when prostitution is legalized, employees in this industry would become subject to the protections of the law. Legalization would help focus resources on combating the trafficking of humans rather than catching workers who chose this profession voluntarily.

Question VII. Section E6-E. Public Records of Official Statements

Rank-order the Section E6-E 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 E6-E-1. [Based on Proposal by Ryan Starr, with Clarifications Suggested by Martin van der Kroon]

The United States Transhumanist Party holds that any statement made by an elected official and/or public servant to members of the public in a public forum, and available to be heard, read, or otherwise understood in a public setting, physical or digital, should be considered a part of the public record and treated as an official statement of their office and position.

☐ Option E6-E-2. [Based on Proposal by Ryan Starr, with Further Clarifications Regarding the Capacity in Which the Official Acts]

The United States Transhumanist Party holds that any statement made by an elected official and/or public servant to members of the public in a public forum as part of that official’s or public servant’s job duties, and available to be heard, read, or otherwise understood in a public setting, physical or digital, should be considered a part of the public record and treated as an official statement of their office and position. This requirement does not extend to statements made by an elected official and/or public servant in the capacity of a private citizen or in the expression of a personal opinion or other position unrelated to the exercise of the official’s or public servant’s job duties.

☐ Option E6-E-NO. No Section of this sort.

Question VIII. Section E6-F. Artificial Intelligence System to Analyze Risk of Proposed Legislation

Rank-order the Section E6-F 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 E6-F-1. [Based on Proposal by Ryan Starr]

The United States Transhumanist Party holds that state and federal governments should establish an artificial intelligence (AI) analysis system for measuring risk of proposed legislation. Such a system could provide an impartial look at what legislation could cause harm or unintended consequences. Submitted policies would receive a score from 0 to 100, and the AI system would state what possible negative impacts may result. This system should be publicly accessible for submissions and for security audit. This is not intended to create or enact laws, but simply to serve as a tool to measure risk versus reward.

☐ Option E6-F-2. [Based on Proposal by Ryan Starr, with Added Wording by Daniel Yeluashvili on Blocking Certain Laws]

The United States Transhumanist Party holds that state and federal governments should establish an artificial intelligence (AI) analysis system for measuring risk of proposed legislation. Such a system could provide an impartial look at what legislation could cause harm or unintended consequences. Submitted policies would receive a score from 0 to 100, and the AI system would state what possible negative impacts may result. This system should be publicly accessible for submissions and for security audit. This is not intended to create or enact laws, but simply to serve as a tool to measure risk versus reward. However, such an AI system should be used to block laws that have a 50% or greater probability of negatively affecting the majority of the population.

☐ Option E6-F-NO. No Section of this sort.

Question IX. Section E6-G. Opposition to Partisan Determination of Voting Districts

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

“The United States Transhumanist Party strongly opposes the possibility for any political party to determine the boundaries and borders of any voting district. The United States Transhumanist Party supports measures that require any efforts to have the districts potentially redrawn, when necessary due to migration for example, to be left to an automated system such as an artificial intelligence (AI) designed for this task.”

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question X. Section E6-H. Limitation of Presidential Authority over International Agreements

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 remove the possibility for a President to sign an international agreement among two or more nations by executive order. This would prevent a President from engaging in international affairs without support from the Congress, and likewise would make it more difficult to exit an international agreement, as support from Congress would need to exist in order for such an exit to occur. This would furthermore ensure that the United States becomes a more trustworthy nation in the eyes of the international community.”

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question XI. Section E6-I. International or World Passport

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 create a framework for an international or world passport. This framework could, for example, be administered through the United Nations, and the passport could be valid only for those countries who have proven to meet the standards, set by participating countries, required to ensure safety. Given that the European Union has an ID valid within its borders, and the United States has a similar agreement with Canada, imagining these forms of identification being combined shows that a world passport is not a farfetched or alien idea.”

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question XII. Section E6-J. Registration Chip for New Firearms

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 mandate that new firearms will be produced with an embedded registration chip, as well as the registration number engraved on the firearm. The chip would have a registration number, a ‘trace online’ code, and a ‘lost or stolen’ code. The firearm would be accompanied by a physical and digital certificate of ownership with a registration number, the ‘trace online’ number, and the ‘lost or stolen’ number. The embedded chip would render it much harder to make the firearm untraceable. The number and codes involved would have to be unique identifiers.

“When a firearm would be lost or stolen, the owner of the firearm and holder of the certificate would report the firearm to the authorities as lost or stolen using the ‘lost or stolen’ number. The intent of having a separate reporting number is to ensure that, in the event that a firearm is stolen or taken without consent, the offender cannot report the firearm as stolen, or as found again. When a firearm owner suspects the firearm is simply mislocated – for example, in the car or in the house, or perhaps taken by a family member, the owner could trace the firearm online via GPS on an online map, using the ‘trace online’ code. The ‘trace online’ code would never be revealed to law enforcement.

“Law enforcement would have a device that can confirm the registration number of a firearm in close proximity, similar to contactless payments. On the other hand the detection range would be greater when a firearm has been reported lost or stolen by the owner of the firearm in question with the ‘lost and stolen’ number. A firearm that would not have been reported lost or stolen to law enforcement by the owner of the firearm with the ‘lost or stolen’ number would not be traceable from a greater distance by law enforcement.

“This would ensure the privacy, safety, and peace of mind of firearm owners who might otherwise feel law enforcement would trace firearms without legal justification. At the same time, this measure would decrease the probability of stolen firearms never being found, and possibly ending in the hands of people with ill intent.”

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question XIII. Section E6-K. Public Civil-Rights Prosecutor

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

“The United States Transhumanist Party supports the creation of an office of a Public Civil-Rights Prosecutor. Our current justice system is flawed. Only people with substantial wealth can afford lawyers to take legal action against those who attack a person’s rights. While there are organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which offer help for some cases, their ability to do so is severely limited and typically non-existent in the lower courts. A Public Civil-Rights Prosecutor’s office will help guarantee that, no matter who a person is or the position of the offending party, a person’s rights cannot be assailed without consequence.”

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question XIV. Section E6-L. Lowering Military Spending

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

“The United States Transhumanist Party supports lowering spending by the Department of Defense and the U.S. Military, which amounts to hundreds of billions of dollars per year and includes unchecked wastefulness. Reducing military spending would free up money for more important goals, such as curing disease, which collectively kills many more people than military conflict or war by an exponential degree.”

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question XV. Section E6-M. Accountability for Use of Federal Grants

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 hold institutions, corporations, and states accountable for usage of federal money with a specific intended purpose. When an entity has been granted any form of funding with a specifically intended purpose, such as disaster relief or specific educational funds, and these funds are misappropriated or used for other purposes well outside of the scope of what they were intended for, the entity in question ought to restitute the funding that was made available.”

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question XVI. Section E6-N. Increased Funding for the National Institutes of Health

Rank-order the Section E6-N 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 E6-N-1. [Based on Proposal by John Marlowe]

The United States Transhumanist Party supports increases in the budget for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Numerous biotech CEOs have recently made the case to increase the NIH budget, because the NIH conducts research that their companies would not be able to invest in, as investments not leading directly to a product would affect the bottom line. 33% of all the publications from NIH research are cited in corporate patents, so it stimulates new product development. A major driver for economic progress and reducing the suffering of those in pain, the NIH is essentially a public charity that brings us into the future. Whether one supports limited or expansive government, the NIH does not seek to regulate anything nor impose laws on anyone. It exclusively conducts medical research to help the sick.

☐ Option E6-N-2. [Based on Proposal by John Marlowe, with Modification to Require Offsetting Decreases in Military Spending]

The United States Transhumanist Party supports increases in the budget for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), provided that such increases are offset by equivalent or greater decreases in military spending. Numerous biotech CEOs have recently made the case to increase the NIH budget, because the NIH conducts research that their companies would not be able to invest in, as investments not leading directly to a product would affect the bottom line. 33% of all the publications from NIH research are cited in corporate patents, so it stimulates new product development. A major driver for economic progress and reducing the suffering of those in pain, the NIH is essentially a public charity that brings us into the future. Whether one supports limited or expansive government, the NIH does not seek to regulate anything nor impose laws on anyone. It exclusively conducts medical research to help the sick.

☐ Option E6-N-NO. No Section of this sort.

Question XVII. Section E6-O. Reinstatement of Voting Rights to Felons Who Have Served Their Punishment

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 reinstate the rights to vote for convicted felons who have received and served their punishment, in order to present them the opportunity to participate in society as otherwise normal citizens.”

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question XVIII. Section E6-P. Repeal of FDA Approval Requirements for Drug Tests on Willing Patients

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

“The United States Transhumanist Party supports repealing the current requirement in the United States that drugs or treatments may not be used, even on willing patients, unless approval for such drugs or treatments is received from the Food and Drug Administration. Such requirements are a profound violation of patient sovereignty; a person who is terminally ill is unable to choose to take a risk on an unapproved drug or treatment unless this person is fortunate enough to participate in a clinical trial. Even then, once the clinical trial ends, the treatment must be discontinued, even if it was actually successful at prolonging the person’s life. This is not only profoundly tragic, but morally unconscionable as well. The most critical reform needed is to allow unapproved drugs and treatments to be marketed and consumed. If the FDA wishes to strongly differentiate between approved and unapproved treatments, then a strongly worded warning label could be required for unapproved treatments, and patients could even be required to sign a consent form stating that they have been informed of the risks of an unapproved treatment. This reform to directly extend many lives and to redress a moral travesty should be the top political priority of advocates of indefinite life extension. Over the coming decades, its effect will be to allow cutting-edge treatments to reach a market sooner and thus to enable data about those treatments’ effects to be gathered more quickly and reliably. Because many treatments take 10-15 years to receive FDA approval, this reform could by itself speed up the real-world advent of indefinite life extension by over a decade.”

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question XIX. Section E6-Q. Abolition of Medical Licensing Protectionism

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 opportunities for entry into the medical profession. The current system for licensing doctors is highly monopolistic and protectionist – the result of efforts by the American Medical Association in the early 20th century to limit entry into the profession in order to artificially boost incomes for its members. The medical system suffers today from too few doctors and thus vastly inflated patient costs and unacceptable waiting times for appointments. Instead of prohibiting the practice of medicine by all except a select few who have completed an extremely rigorous and cost-prohibitive formal medical schooling, governments in the Western world should allow the market to determine different tiers of medical care for which competing private certifications would emerge. For the most specialized and intricate tasks, high standards of certification would continue to exist, and a practitioner’s credentials and reputation would remain absolutely essential to convincing consumers to put their lives in that practitioner’s hands. But, with regard to routine medical care (e.g., annual check-ups, vaccinations, basic wound treatment), it is not necessary to receive attention from a person with a full-fledged medical degree. Furthermore, competition among certification providers would increase quality of training and lower its price, as well as accelerate the time needed to complete the training. Such a system would allow many more young medical professionals to practice without undertaking enormous debt or serving for years (if not decades) in roles that offer very little remuneration while entailing a great deal of subservience to the hierarchy of an established institution. Ultimately, without sufficient doctors to affordably deliver life-extending treatments when they become available, it would not be feasible to extend these treatments to the majority of people.”

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question XX. Section E6-R. Abolition of Ability to Re-Patent Generic Medicines and Devices

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

“The United States Transhumanist Party supports reforms to the patent system that prevent the re-patenting of drugs and medical devices, or the acquisition of any exclusive or monopoly rights over those drugs and devices, once they have become generic or entered the public domain. Appallingly, many pharmaceutical companies today attempt to re-patent drugs that have already entered the public domain, simply because the drugs have been discovered to have effects on a disease different from the one for which they were originally patented. The result of this is that the price of the re-patented drug often spikes by orders of magnitude compared to the price level during the period the drug was subject to competition. Only a vibrant and competitive market, where numerous medical providers can experiment with how to improve particular treatments or create new ones, can allow for the rate of progress needed for the people alive today to benefit from radical life extension.”

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question XXI. Section E6-S. Reduction of Medical Patent Timeframes

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

“The United States Transhumanist Party supports reforms to reduce the lengths of times over which medical patents could be effective. Medical patents – in essence, legal grants of monopoly for limited periods of time – greatly inflate the cost of drugs and other treatments. Especially in today’s world of rapidly advancing biotechnology, a patent term of 20 years essentially means that no party other than the patent holder (or someone paying royalties to the patent holder) may innovate upon the patented medicine for a generation, all while the technological potential for such innovation becomes glaringly obvious. As much innovation consists of incremental improvements on what already exists, the lack of an ability to create derivative drugs and treatments that tweak current approaches implies that the entire medical field is, for some time, stuck at the first stages of a treatment’s evolution – with all of the expense and unreliability this entails. Even with shortened patent terms, the original developer of an innovation will still always benefit from a first-mover advantage, as it takes time for competitors to catch on. If the original developer can maintain high-quality service and demonstrate the ability to sell a safe product, then the brand-name advantage alone can secure a consistent revenue stream without the need for a patent monopoly.”

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Proposed Amendments to Existing Planks

Question XXII. Amendments to Section II on Anti-Bigotry to Encompass “Alt-Left” Groups or Simplify / Generalize Section II

Rank-order the Options for Amendments to Section II that you support, if any. Choose “1” for your most highly favored option, “2” for your second-most highly favored option, etc. You may include the option for “Current Version of Section II” in your rank-ordering, and it does not need to be your most favored option if you do so.

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

☐ Current Version of Section II. The United States Transhumanist Party abhors all racism, nativism, xenophobia, and sexism. Accordingly, the United States Transhumanist Party condemns any hostile discrimination or legal restrictions on the basis of national origin, skin color, birthplace, ancestry, gender identity, or any manner of circumstantial attribute tied to a person’s lineage or accident of birth. Furthermore, the United States Transhumanist Party strongly opposes any efforts to close national borders, restrict immigration of peaceful individuals, or deny opportunities to individuals on the basis of ethnicity, race, or national origin. The United States Transhumanist Party unequivocally condemns all demagogues who seek to segregate individuals on the basis of national origin, race, or ethnicity. In particular, The United States Transhumanist Party opposes movements describing themselves as “white nationalism”, “America First”, “race realism”, and the “alt-right” – as well as the counterparts of those movements in other countries.

☐ Amendment II-1. [Addition of New Paragraph on “Alt-Left” Movements, Reflecting Recommendation by Scott Jurgens]

The United States Transhumanist Party abhors all racism, nativism, xenophobia, and sexism. Accordingly, the United States Transhumanist Party condemns any hostile discrimination or legal restrictions on the basis of national origin, skin color, birthplace, ancestry, gender identity, or any manner of circumstantial attribute tied to a person’s lineage or accident of birth. Furthermore, the United States Transhumanist Party strongly opposes any efforts to close national borders, restrict immigration of peaceful individuals, or deny opportunities to individuals on the basis of ethnicity, race, or national origin. The United States Transhumanist Party unequivocally condemns all demagogues who seek to segregate individuals on the basis of national origin, race, or ethnicity. In particular, The United States Transhumanist Party opposes movements describing themselves as “white nationalism”, “America First”, “race realism”, and the “alt-right” – as well as the counterparts of those movements in other countries.

While opposing movements based on hostile discrimination on circumstantial attributes, the United States Transhumanist Party also condemns movements on the “alt-left” which attempt to stifle free speech, use violence to prevent the expression of “alt-right” or even non-left-wing sentiments, or promote retributive circumstantial discrimination, which should be rejected along with the original acts of circumstantial discrimination against which the “alt-left” is reacting. The United States Transhumanist Party unequivocally opposes the use of violence against lives and property and the disruption of the peaceful conduct of daily life by movements calling themselves “Antifa”, “By Any Means Necessary”, or “Black Lives Matter” – even as the United States Transhumanist Party remains strongly opposed to fascism and strongly supports efforts to protect black Americans and all other Americans from police brutality and all other forms of violence. It is imperative that only peaceful, rights-respecting tactics and reforms be used in the efforts to thwart fascism and prevent police brutality.

☐ Amendment II-2. [Addition of New Paragraph on “Alt-Left” Movements, Reflecting Suggestions by B.J. Murphy to Include Individual Supporters and Emphasize the Right of Self-Defense]

The United States Transhumanist Party abhors all racism, nativism, xenophobia, and sexism. Accordingly, the United States Transhumanist Party condemns any hostile discrimination or legal restrictions on the basis of national origin, skin color, birthplace, ancestry, gender identity, or any manner of circumstantial attribute tied to a person’s lineage or accident of birth. Furthermore, the United States Transhumanist Party strongly opposes any efforts to close national borders, restrict immigration of peaceful individuals, or deny opportunities to individuals on the basis of ethnicity, race, or national origin. The United States Transhumanist Party unequivocally condemns all demagogues who seek to segregate individuals on the basis of national origin, race, or ethnicity. In particular, The United States Transhumanist Party opposes movements describing themselves as “white nationalism”, “America First”, “race realism”, and the “alt-right” – as well as the counterparts of those movements in other countries – and individual supporters of those movements.

While opposing movements based on hostile discrimination on circumstantial attributes, the United States Transhumanist Party also condemns movements on the “alt-left” which attempt to stifle free speech, use violence to prevent the expression of “alt-right” or even non-left-wing sentiments, or promote retributive circumstantial discrimination, which should be rejected along with the original acts of circumstantial discrimination against which the “alt-left” is reacting. The United States Transhumanist Party unequivocally opposes the use of violence against lives and property and the disruption of the peaceful conduct of daily life by movements calling themselves “Antifa”, “By Any Means Necessary”, or “Black Lives Matter” and by individual supporters of those movements – even as the United States Transhumanist Party remains strongly opposed to fascism and strongly supports efforts to protect black Americans and all other Americans from police brutality and all other forms of violence. It is imperative that only peaceful, rights-respecting tactics and reforms be used in the efforts to thwart fascism and prevent police brutality.

However, the United States Transhumanist Party also recognizes the difference between committing violence for the sake of violence and committing violence as a means of self-defense – especially against fascism – and therefore does not condemn purely defensive violence.

☐ Amendment II-3. [Simplification, Reflecting Recommendation by Martin van der Kroon

The United States Transhumanist Party opposes any movement or group, and individual members of such movements or groups, that utilize and justify the use of violence, bullying, doxxing, intimidation, and other coercive or privacy-infringing tactics in a quest to force their goals or display dominance, regardless of political orientation, leaning, or ideology.

☐ Amendment II-4. [Simplification, Reflecting Recommendation by Daniel Yeluashvili

The United States Transhumanist Party supports all acceptance, tolerance, and inclusivity of individuals and groups of all races, genders, classes, religions, creeds, and ideologies. Accordingly, the United States Transhumanist Party condemns any hostile discrimination or legal restrictions on the basis of national origin, skin color, birthplace, ancestry, gender identity, or any manner of circumstantial attribute tied to a person’s lineage or accident of birth. Furthermore, the United States Transhumanist Party strongly opposes any efforts to enforce said restrictions regardless of cause or motivation thereof. Additionally, any institution that uses violence, suppression of free speech, or other unconstitutional or otherwise illegal methods will be disavowed and condemned by the United States Transhumanist Party, with an efficient, non-violent alternative to said institution being offered to achieve its goals if they align with the Party’s interests.

Question XXIII. Amendments to Section XXVII on Abolition of the Electoral College

Rank-order the Options for Amendments to Section XXVII that you support, if any. Choose “1” for your most highly favored option, “2” for your second-most highly favored option, etc. You may include the option for “Current Version of Section XXVII” in your rank-ordering, and it does not need to be your most favored option if you do so.

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

☐ Current Version of Section XXVII. The United States Transhumanist Party advocates Constitutional reform to abolish the Electoral College in the United States Presidential elections and render the plurality of the popular vote the sole criterion for the election of President. While the original intent of the Electoral College as a deliberative body to check the passions of the poorly informed masses and potentially overturn the election of a demagogue may have been noble, the reality has not reflected this intention. Instead, the Electoral College has enabled votes from less cosmopolitan, less tolerant, more culturally ossified and monolithic areas of the country to disproportionately sway the outcome of Presidential elections, to the detriment of individual liberty and progress.

☐ Amendment XXVII-1. [Removal of Last Sentence, Reflecting Recommendation by Scott Jurgens] The United States Transhumanist Party advocates Constitutional reform to abolish the Electoral College in the United States Presidential elections and render the plurality of the popular vote the sole criterion for the election of President. While the original intent of the Electoral College as a deliberative body to check the passions of the poorly informed masses and potentially overturn the election of a demagogue may have been noble, the reality has not reflected this intention.

☐ Amendment XXVII-2. [Removal of Last Two Sentences, Reflecting Recommendation by Scott Jurgens] The United States Transhumanist Party advocates Constitutional reform to abolish the Electoral College in the United States Presidential elections and render the plurality of the popular vote the sole criterion for the election of President.

Question XXIV. Amendments to Section LIX on External Investigations of Law-Enforcement Misconduct

Shall the current version of Section LIX be retained in the United States Transhumanist Party Platform, or shall Section LIX be amended as stated in Amendment LIX-1 below?

Select one of the following options.

☐ Current Version of Section LIX. 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.

☐ Amendment LIX-1. [Replacement of Second-to-Last Sentence to Require a Civilian Investigating Organization, Based on Recommendation by Ryan Starr] 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 misconduct, negligence, abuse, criminal activity, felonies, and misdemeanors allegedly committed by police, district attorneys, and judges, should, in addition to any internal investigation, also be conducted by a civilian organization outside the justice system. 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.

 Abstain.