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Jonathan Mark Schattke Candidate Position Paper

Jonathan Mark Schattke Candidate Position Paper

Jonathan Mark Schattke


Editor’s Note: The U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party (USTP) publishes this position paper by one of our Presidential primary candidates, Jonathan Mark Schattke (Jon Schattke) in an informational capacity, to enable our readers to consider specific policy analyses germane to our member-adopted documents, such as the Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Version 3.0, and the USTP Platform. The USTP has not yet endorsed any Presidential candidate, as such endorsement will occur as a consequence of the forthcoming Electronic Primary in late September 2019. However, in the meantime, the USTP strives to provide accurate information about our candidates’ viewpoints and any content that constitutes a thoughtful analysis of the USTP’s existing documents.  

~ Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman, United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party, August 18, 2019


“Free your immortality” is not just a slogan, it is a guide to achieving what every transhumanist wants – the transcendence of current limits on mental ability and physical bodies.

I am a futurist and firm believer in technology’s power to advance life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Consistency with this means that each being must have ownership of themself, and of their own efforts, and the fruits thereof. Nothing provided by someone else’s labor or capital can therefore be compelled of them to fulfill someone else’s “right.” All a “right” must guarantee is that government will not interfere with the pursuit of the good or service.

I agree with the Transhumanist Bill of Rights. I would like to clarify a couple points.

Sapience must be able to be measured. To qualify for protection, the candidate must ask for it. Nascent sapients, such as children, should be protected also, from the point that their growth to sapience is clearly started. Inactive sapients should be protected if there is a reasonable expectation of reactivation and they have not expressly desired not to be reactivated – “death” should not be treated as an end unless the person has specifically stated they wish to die. This does not mean that an inactive sapient’s property should be under some sort of third-party stewardship; their assets should be put in revocable trust and their heirs appointed trustees.

“Article VII. All sentient entities should be the beneficiaries of a system of universal health care. ” This must not be construed to include a system of third party payer health care; such systems decrease personal cost to zero, increase demand to infinity, and thus introduce rationing by the third party via either wait times or “need assessment.” This is a path to destruction and needless death. Compound this with the problem of calculation of costs in a full government program, and you have societal expense way out of line with societal benefit. “Universal” must merely mean than anyone has the ability to bargain for the service in a free market.

Article XVIII would literally bankrupt any group trying to implement it through government. I believe the Salvation Army model, perhaps with a bit more privacy, would be an effective means – if people need housing and food, have hostels funded by donation and endowments which provide it. This is both more efficient and more just than taxing and redistribution programs.

Regarding Article XIX I believe the “other resources” clause is one I can support. I fully support providing housing and food for those who choose to receive it. However, your well-being may be cared for; your dignity is your own problem. Do not expect dignity while living off the generosity of others.

Now, on to the Platform of the Transhumanist Party. By and large, I am wholeheartedly behind all sections which support individual self-ownership and the extension of this to all sapients.

A few notes on my governance philosophy are in order. I believe strongly that bureaucratic methods of providing goods or services must fail, because they do not have clear demand signals, they do not have any motivation for efficiency, and they do not have accountability. Furthermore, a government is based on force, and so must limit its actions to those things where the force is defensive; using taxes or even tariffs (forced payments) to fund things will morally corrupt even the most wholesome idea. I believe that many current government agencies could and should be spun off into voluntary funded charitable organizations.

I find Section XL particularly poignant considering the current state of affairs in social media. But, hearkening back to individual liberty, we must not solve big tech censorship by stealing their capital or using force to get them to provide services they do not want to. The solution lies in the market-driven alternatives. However, those companies with a government monopoly over any portion of technology should lose their protection immediately should they discriminate on political topics.

Section XXI can be achieved by privatizing the police force, and removing all strictures for victimless violations. If no one is harmed, then it makes no sense to introduce deadly force into the mix (an example is seat-belt laws – people have been killed because of seat belt stops – such actions are literally insane).

Section XXXIV is a must. I have previously advocated for third-party archiving of all government employees’ actions at all times they are on the clock. Any action they take which does not have this video record must be treated as private, and not protected from legal or criminal prosecution. Shoot a person with your camera off, and face murder charges like any other private citizen.

Section IV might be well-intentioned but short-sighted. It should be noted that no nuclear powers have ever engaged in direct war (the most intense conflict between Nuclear Powers to date being the Kashmir conflict), and the acquisition of nuclear weapons has deterred open war against states, most notably the cessation of Arab hostilities against Israel in the 1970s after they acquired nuclear technology and it became known. It might, therefore, be best for all stable states to become nuclear powers.

Section XII is great – until you commit to third-party paying from force. I believe enough people are behind higher education that a privatized Department of Education would be able to fund grants, loans or college-level donated class time for those who are needy and deserving.

Section XXVII, on abolishing the Electoral College, might be a mistake, but it is obvious that the system as provided is failing in some aspects. I, however, fear the tyranny of the ballot box and unbridled democracy.

Section XXXVI states that “the United States Transhumanist Party advocates a flat percentage-of-sales tax applicable only to purchases from businesses whose combined nationwide revenues from all affiliates exceed a specified threshold.” This can clearly bee seen as a fee for service, the service being having existence as a limited liability corporation.

Section LXXIII would seem to be an infringement of the Second Amendment as written. And the temptation of a government with an active armed rebellion to trace the weapon locations of suspected belligerents would be enormous, and we have seen that constitutional and statutory limits on powers mean nothing to governments, especially when at war.

Jon Schattke is one of the candidates for the office of President of the United States, competing for the USTP’s endorsement in the 2019 Electronic Primary. 

An Open Letter to the Transhumanist Community – Article by Arin Vahanian

An Open Letter to the Transhumanist Community – Article by Arin Vahanian

Arin Vahanian


During the events that have transpired over the past few weeks, many of which have affected (and not in positive ways, sometimes) the USTP, Humanity+, and other organizations in the Transhumanism movement, I have mostly refrained from sharing my opinions and thoughts. However, I feel it is time now to share something that has been on my mind for a while.

But before I do so, I would like to express my disappointment at the level of discourse I am seeing in our community as a whole. Just a few days ago, the USTP released a statement condemning the vicious, vindictive manner in which someone in the Transhumanist community treated other members, as well as USTP Officers.

Instead of using this as a rallying cry for greater cooperation, an opportunity for increased self-awareness, as well as coordination on our shared goals, we now, yet again, have a candidate attacking another candidate, insulting their intelligence, not to mention their physical appearance.

Such petty, cruel behavior not only reflects negatively upon the person engaging in such behavior, but also reflects negatively on Transhumanism as a whole.

The sad truth of the matter, and what has been on my mind for a long while, but which I have been reluctant to share, is that many of the things that members of the general public dislike about Transhumanism, we have displayed here with great fervor, whether intentionally, or not.

Indeed, in some ways, we ourselves have become our worst enemies, treating each other with disdain, pretending that we are somehow more intelligent than others, disregarding the legitimate objections people have brought forward about the consequences of technology, ignoring how bizarre or unhinged some of our behaviors and actions may appear to the public, and being generally disconnected from the needs of the population as a whole.

However, it is not only a single candidate or person who is responsible for helping to create an environment in which arrogance, narcissism, unstable behavior, a lack of civility, pettiness, and a lack of empathy have persisted.

Sadly, we in the Transhumanist community are all responsible, because we have all allowed this sort of behavior to continue, over many months and many years. To be sure, this sort of behavior has been around long before this current USTP Presidential campaign started, but it continues, nonetheless.

One thing I have been passionate about and dedicated to from day one is to change the public’s perception of Transhumanism. To grow a movement that is small, into a worldwide force that is capable of great positive change, requires us to have a finger on the pulse of the views of the general public.

Vitriol is still vitriol, and venom is still venom, whether we sling it with bows and arrows, or whether we drop it like a bomb. We have no business complaining about the lack of civility in politics, in any country, when we ourselves are guilty of incivility. We should not lament the proliferation of cyberbullying when we ourselves engage in the same behavior.

We could say, once again, that the way we conduct ourselves in front of the general public influences greatly their opinions about Transhumanism, but this message has been nearly as ineffective as advocating for peace in the Middle East. We could say, once again, that we are a team, and that the shared goals we have are far more important than our disagreements with each other, but that doesn’t seem to have helped very much. We could say, once again, that humanity could benefit greatly from increased longevity, improved health, and the complete eradication of poverty, but even this, surprisingly, doesn’t seem to register with some people.

So let me put it this way, instead – the next time you think about hurling abuse at someone in our community, the next time you feel like getting even with someone for their past transgressions, consider the fact that in just a few decades, unless we achieve our objectives with anti-aging research and life extension, everyone here will likely be dead.

Dead, as in, they will no longer be able to hold a loved one in their arms. Dead, as in, they’ll never again feel the warm rays of the sun caressing their face on a summer morning. Dead, as in, they’ll never have the pleasure of tasting their favorite food again, or any food, for that matter.

In many ways, the movement has never been stronger. Transhumanism has been garnering more press coverage, thanks to the efforts of people like Zoltan Istvan. USTP membership has grown substantially in recent weeks and months, thanks to the leadership of Gennady Stolyarov. The work that pioneers such as Fereidoun Esfandiary (also known as FM-2030), Aubrey de Grey, Nick Bostrom, and Jose Cordeiro have done over decades has helped built the foundation for what we are able to do now.

Every time we attack each other, we dishonor the legacy the hard-working people in our movement have created. Every time we attack each other, it sets us back from important work we could be doing to help humanity with its greatest challenges.

Contrary to what some people may think, the work that Transhumanists are doing does not only benefit the Transhumanist community; it benefits people who don’t even know about us. It benefits people who are suffering from a rare disease and feel there is no light at the end of the tunnel. It benefits people who are struggling with crippling poverty, having to make a choice between starving to death or being homeless.

The indignation we may feel, righteous or not, at the lack of awareness and acceptance of our movement among the general public, isn’t the general public’s fault. It is simply because we have been unable, thus far, to clearly demonstrate, with a compassionate and unified voice, the many worthy and noble projects we are engaged in, as well as our vision, mission, and purpose. But there is no rule that says that this state of affairs has to continue.

Being able to demonstrate to the world the optimistic, humanitarian, and thoughtful goals of Transhumanism requires us to take a good look in the mirror and decide who we are, and who we want to be. But most importantly, it requires us to be optimistic, humanitarian, and thoughtful, ourselves. How we treat others is an indication, on some level, of how we look at the world as a whole.

Requesting that people be treated with respect, dignity, and kindness is not authoritarianism or fascism. It is called being a better human being. And one of the core tenets of Transhumanism is being a better human being. So let us start today, right now, by being better, not just to ourselves, but also to each other.

Arin Vahanian is Director of Marketing for the U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party. 

Directed Duties and Inalienable Rights: A Brief Summary – Article by Daniel Yeluashvili

Directed Duties and Inalienable Rights: A Brief Summary – Article by Daniel Yeluashvili

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Daniel Yeluashvili


Editor’s Note: This guest article by Daniel Yeluashvili is being published in order to further discussion on the nature of rights and how rights might look in the future. It does not, however, represent any official position of the U.S. Transhumanist Party. We recognize that different members of the U.S. Transhumanist Party may approach the subject of rights, and whether inalienable rights exist, from a wide variety of philosophical frameworks and backgrounds. 

~ Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman, United States Transhumanist Party, September 14, 2017


“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” These words were written by our Founding Fathers in 1776, on a document that, despite having no binding legal powers of its own, has not only served as a touchstone of hundreds of legal cases in America but inspired subsequent Documents of Freedom to be written, namely, the Constitution and appended Bill of Rights. However, contemporary political philosopher Hillel Steiner has upended the foundation of America’s moral codex in his essay “Directed Duties and Inalienable Rights” by positing, nimbly but firmly, that inalienable rights do not and cannot exist. Therefore, no aspect of American laws or rights comes from a God of any kind, in direct contradiction to much of the fundamentalist rhetoric heard throughout America today. Steiner proves this point in three ways: first, by deriving his conclusion from the presupposition of the cogency of the Will Theory of rights, second, by doing the same from the Interest Theory, and third, casually proving that he never needed to work with either theory in the first place and constructing an independent argument he calls the Moral Primacy Thesis. This thesis is derived from the work of Wesley Hohfeld, a prominent legal theorist who used a form of logic designed for ethical concepts to prove that nobody has an inherent “right,” in the conventional sense, to anything.

Steiner begins his argument with the Will Theory, a legal theory of moral rights supported by philosophers such as Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Carl von Savigny, and Steiner himself. The Will Theory, given its emphasis on granting rights through the power of personal choice, grants the power to demand and force someone to perform an action or, alternatively, willingly give up the right to make that demand in the first place. Per the Will Theory, nobody’s rights can forcibly be taken away, but they can be voided through one’s own inaction or inability to make a choice. By its very definition, inalienable rights within the framework of the Will Theory cannot exist.

By contrast, the Interest Theory takes a different approach. Championed by the likes of notable philosopher Jeremy Bentham, the Interest Theory suggests that rights exist solely to protect one’s personal interests rather than to exert liberty or choice of any kind. While such rights can’t be given up as easily as within the framework of the Will Theory, Steiner makes the case that, per the second page of the attached essay, “a necessary and sufficient condition of being a rights-holder is that those interests would be adversely affected by the breach of a duty.” A duty, in this context, refers to whichever demand one make make of someone else. If you demand of someone, for example, that they not look at your browser history to protect the interest of hiding your mind-uploading memes from the world and they do it anyway, this would be a breach of a duty on their behalf. This is no better than the Will Theory: instead of personally rescinding one’s rights through incompetence, now they can be taken away by others. Once again, no rights within this framework would be genuinely inalienable.

After so clearly formulating two arguments against the existence of inalienable rights, Steiner throws them out the window by constructing a new one entirely: the Moral Primacy Thesis. This thesis is based on Hohfeldian deontic logic, a system of logic designed for ethical concepts which, ipso facto, does not universally guarantee a right without the possibility of said right being taken away. The four most basic types of rights that Hohfeld defines are powers, immunities, privileges, and claims. Privileges give access to something without guaranteeing the safety and stability of said privilege, meaning that they are ephemeral and may be taken away at any time. A more stable version of privileges would be claims, which restrict others from gaining the same access that is guaranteed by one’s privileges. Claims can be countered in two ways, by oneself or others, one in the short term and one in the long term. The short-term counter to a claim is a power, which waives, annuls, or transfers said claim. The long-term counter to a claim, which prevents it from being modified in the future, is an immunity. Even by this logic, no rights are inherently inalienable. If they were, such a legal concept would be politically omnipotent and illogical. Thus, no aspect of America’s ostensibly “God-given rights” has any bearing on political philosophy or moral theory.

Daniel Yeluashvili is a student at San Francisco State University and a member of the U.S. Transhumanist Party.