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15-Day Exposure Period for Clarifying Amendments to the Transhumanist Bill of Rights

15-Day Exposure Period for Clarifying Amendments to the Transhumanist Bill of Rights

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The U.S. Transhumanist Party will hold an electronic vote of the membership for a seven-day period ending on 12:01 a.m. U.S. Pacific Time on Sunday, December 2, 2018, regarding proposed amendments to the Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Version 2.0. During the present 15-day exposure period, members are welcome to suggest additional amendments for consideration, with the caveat that the amendments in question should be considered to be incremental and clarifying modifications to the Transhumanist Bill of Rights and not radical revisions of the principles behind it – principles which have largely been democratically agreed upon among the U.S. Transhumanist Party membership and which have been further elaborated upon within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform.

The initial clarifying changes exposed here are proposed in response to some misleading media coverage of the Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Version 2.o – coverage that goes beyond positing critical opinions and misrepresents the very text of the Transhumanist Bill of Rights, reading into it provisions that are not there. Accordingly, clarifying changes to the wording may prevent and/or dispel such factual misrepresentations.

For instance, the U.S. Transhumanist Party notes that following misconceptions are salient in a recent article by Jasper Hamill in The Metro. While Mr. Hammill does cite many of the remarks of U.S. Transhumanist Party Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II, which generally characterize the purpose and context of the Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Mr. Hammill, in his analysis, also unfortunately borrows extensively from a factually flawed article by Michael Cook on the bioconservative website BioEdge.  It is always of concern to the U.S. Transhumanist Party when commentators do not clearly distinguish the facts of a given matter – such as what a document actually says – from the ideological lens through which they perceive that matter.

• For example, Mr. Hammill writes, “The bill aims to give all these entities the right to take total control of their own bodies, allowing them to use technology to boost their lifespan or seek euthanasia to end ‘involuntary suffering’.” The U.S. Transhumanist Party responds: The right to end involuntary suffering in Article IV does not refer to euthanasia. It refers to the idea that suffering itself should be abolished for still-living entities who desire this, as expressed in David Pearce’s philosophy of abolitionism. To equate this to euthanasia is short-sighted and fails to appreciate how technology can alleviate suffering without ending life; furthermore, such a portrayal reveals Mr. Hammill’s lack of research into a key philosophical strain within the transhumanist movement and the extent to which transhumanists recognize the possibilities of technology to be truly transformative in enhancing human well-being. The U.S. Transhumanist Party does have Article III, Section L, of its Platform, which supports a highly limited and regulated right to be prescribed a life-ending substance for self-administration by terminally ill patients – but that is nothing like “euthanasia” as commonly understood. Hence, it is important to clarify in Article IV of the Transhumanist Bill of Rights that this Article does not imply a right to euthanasia.

• Mr. Hammill further writes, “It also calls for reproductive freedom, open government, NHS-style healthcare and a universal income given to people whose jobs will ‘inevitably’ be replaced by technology.” The U.S. Transhumanist Party responds: Nowhere in the Transhumanist Bill of Rights is “NHS-style” anything advocated. The right to universal healthcare, as specified in Article VII, does not inherently presuppose any monopolistic, single-payer system and was left deliberately open-ended. Many of the planks in the Platform advocate for significant free-market elements in healthcare systems. Universal healthcare could mean, for instance, that all services become so inexpensive and automated that everyone would be able to readily afford them. However, different members of the U.S. Transhumanist Party would advocate different systems of healthcare delivery. The Transhumanist Bill of Rights focuses on outcomes, rather than prescribing the specific delivery system – and hence it is desirable to clarify Article VII to ensure that the pursuit of universal healthcare can remain open-ended and potentially be arrived at through a variety of means, including those not yet conceived of, while allowing discussion and debate to continue within the transhumanist community about whether private or governmental means, or a combination thereof, would be most effective in achieving radical life extension and universal access to healthcare in the most expeditious timeframe possible.

• The U.S. Transhumanist Party further responds: While U.S. Transhumanist Party members have held various perspectives about the impacts of automation and the future effects that automation would have on opportunities for paid employment, it is important for a bill of rights to endeavor to express universal principles regarding desirable treatment of sentient entities, independent of contingent events (such as whether or not automation will “inevitably” render paid employment obsolete). There are many good reasons to advocate a universal, unconditional basic income even in a world where most people continue to work for a living and earn the majority of their income through traditional jobs.  Accordingly, broadening the starting clause of Article XIX to accommodate a variety of outcomes with regard to the future of automation and employment would strengthen the advocacy of universal basic income in the Transhumanist Bill of Rights.

• Mr. Hammill states that the Transhumanist Bill of Rights “incorporates elements of socialism”, and while there is some common ground in the Transhumanist Bill of Rights with positions that some socialists would find sympathetic, Mr. Hammill’s article curiously does not mention common elements with other political ideologies. It is possible that socialism was singled out because Mr. Hammill wanted to put this document in some pre-existing conceptual pigeonhole, failing to recognize that it is intended to transcend all conventional ideologies, as Chairman Stolyarov recently discussed at length and was even quoted as stating in Mr. Hammill’s article.

• Additionally it has come to the attention of the U.S. Transhumanist Party that Article XXI, which states that “All sentient entities are entitled to join their psyches to a collective noosphere in an effort to preserve self-consciousness in perpetuity”, has often not been sufficiently understood by the general public, even though it expresses a prerogative that is accessible even using today’s technologies. Accordingly, it is desirable for the Transhumanist Bill of Rights to clarify what the noosphere is and that there exist a variety of options for participating in it.

During the exposure period, please post your comments on this thread. If you post comments intended to be considered in voting and/or amending the Transhumanist Bill of Rights in any other electronic medium, please note that you thereby give your consent to have your comments reproduced with attribution or linked within this discussion thread, in order to direct members’ attention and consideration to them.

After the exposure period, a 7-day electronic voting period will occur from 12:01 a.m. U.S. Pacific Time on Sunday, December 2, 2018, to 12:01 a.m.  U.S. Pacific Time on Sunday December 9, 2018. Instructions for electronic voting will be sent to members of the U.S. Transhumanist Party via e-mail. All individuals who are members of the U.S. Transhumanist Party as of the end of the exposure period and who have expressed agreement with its three Core Ideals will be eligible to vote thereafter. You can still vote if you become a member during the exposure period, so please apply here if you are interested. During the 7-day electronic voting period, you will still be able to become a member – but you will only be able to vote in subsequent elections, since we seek for voting on any given issue to be done by those members who have had an opportunity to thoroughly consider that issue and be involved in deliberations regarding it.

Electronic voting will be conducted by a ranked-preference method. Members will be able to rank-order their preferred selections on each individual proposed amendment to the Transhumanist Bill of Rights. The original text of each Article will be available for selection, as well as any reasonable amendments proposed by any member. Leadership of the Transhumanist Party reserves the right to edit any proposed amendment for correctness of spelling and grammar only – but not with regard to the substance, unless the person proposing the amendment requests or consents to a substantive edit.  Members will also be able to abstain from voting on any given article.

The ranked-preference method has the advantage of eliminating a “winner-take-all” or “first-past-the-post” mentality and preventing people from being channeled into voting for sub-optimal choices (in their view) just because they fear an even less palatable alternative prevailing. Within the ranked-preference methodology, if no option obtains a clear majority as voters’ first choice, the option having the fewest first-choice votes is eliminated from consideration, and all those who voted for that option will have their votes assigned to their second-choice options. This process of elimination continues until one particular option has a clear majority of votes.

The Transhumanist Party encourages all members to participate in this process and for other transhumanists to sign up for membership during the exposure period. 

The Amendment titles below are informational only and will not be included in the adopted versions of the platform planks. Other proposed amendments and options for each amendment will be posted here during the exposure period as member suggestions are received.


Options for Proposed Amendments

Amendment TBR-IV. Clarification Regarding the Right to End Involuntary Suffering

Proposal TBR-IV-1: Amend Article IV to add the following statement at the end:

“The right of ending involuntary suffering does not refer to euthanasia but rather to the application of technology to eliminate involuntary suffering in still-living beings, while enabling their lives to continue with improved quality and length.”

Amendment TBR-VII. Clarification Regarding Universal Healthcare

Proposal TBR-VII-1: Amend Article VII to add the following statement at the end:

“A system of universal healthcare does not necessitate any particular means, policy framework, source, or method of payment for delivering healthcare. A system of universal healthcare may be provided privately, by governments, or by some combination thereof, as long as, in practice, healthcare is abundant, inexpensive, accessible, and effective in curing diseases, healing injuries, and lengthening lifespans.”

Proposal TBR-VII-2 [Based on Proposal by Didier Coeurnelle]: Amend Article VII to add the following statement at the end:

“A system of universal healthcare does not necessitate any particular means, policy framework, source, or method of payment for delivering healthcare. A system of universal healthcare may be provided by public institutions, by private organizations, or by some combination thereof, as long as there are legal guarantees that healthcare is to become abundant, inexpensive, accessible, and effective in curing diseases, healing injuries, and lengthening lifespans.”

Amendment TBR-XIX. Expansion of the Context for Universal Basic Income

Proposal TBR-XIX-1: Replace the starting clause of the Article (“Given the inevitability of technology eventually replacing the need for the labor of sentient entities,”) with an alternative clause: “Irrespective of whether or not technology will eventually replace the need for the labor of sentient entities,” – such that the revised Article XIX would read as follows:

“Irrespective of whether or not technology will eventually replace the need for the labor of sentient entities, all sentient entities should be the beneficiaries of an unconditional universal basic income, whereby the same minimum amount of money or other resources is provided irrespective of a sentient entity’s life circumstances, occupations, or other income sources, so as to provide a means for the basic requirements of existence and liberty to be met.”

Amendment TBR-XXI. Additional Information Regarding the Noosphere

Proposal TBR-XXI-1: Amend Article XXI to add the following statement at the end:

“The noosphere is the sphere of human thought and includes, but is not limited to, intellectual systems in the realm of law, education, philosophy, technology, art, culture, and industry. All sentient entities have the right to participate in the noosphere using any level of technology that is conducive to constructive participation.”

Options for Proposed Amendments to Integrate the Provisions of the United Nations Universal Declarations of Human Rights (“UN Declaration”)

Amendment TBR-I. Integration of Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Article I, and UN Declaration Articles 2 and 29:

Proposal TBR-III-1: Amend Article I to read as follows: 

“All sentient entities are hereby entitled to pursue any and all rights within this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS to the degree that they deem desirable – including not at all. All sentient entities are entitled, to the extent of their individual decisions, to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, gender, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, social, or planetary origin, property, birth (including manner of birth), biological or non-biological origins, or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a sentient entity belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing, or under any other limitation of sovereignty. In the exercise of their rights and freedoms, all sentient entities shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order, and the general welfare in a democratic society, which may not undermine the peaceful prerogatives of any individual sentient entity. These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS.”

Amendment TBR-III. Integration of Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Article III, and UN Declaration Article 1:

Proposal TBR-III-1: Amend Article III to read as follows: 

“All sentient entities shall be granted equal and total access to any universal rights to life. All sentient entities are created free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood (without necessitating any particular gender or implying any particular biological or non-biological origin or composition).”

Amendment TBR-XII. Integration of Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Article XII, and UN Declaration Article 16:

Proposal TBR-XII-1: Amend Article XII to read as follows:

“All sentient entities are entitled to reproductive freedom, including through novel means such as the creation of mind clones, monoparent children, or benevolent artificial general intelligence. All sentient entities of full age and competency, without any limitation due to race, nationality, religion, or origin, have the right to marry and found a family or to found a family as single heads of household. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage, and at its dissolution. Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses. All families, including families formed through novel means, are entitled to protection by society and the State. All sentient entities also have the right to prevent unauthorized reproduction of themselves in both a physical and a digital context. Privacy and security legislation should be enacted to prevent any individual’s DNA, data, or other information from being stolen and duplicated without that individual’s authorization.”

Amendment TBR-XIII. Integration of Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Article XIII, and UN Declaration Article 12:

Proposal TBR-XIII-1: Amend Article XIII to read as follows:

“No sentient entity shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his, her, or its privacy, family, home, or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his, her, or its honor and reputation. Every sentient entity has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks. All sentient entities have privacy rights to personal data, genetic material, digital, biographic, physical, and intellectual enhancements, and consciousness. Despite the differences between physical and virtual worlds, equal protections for privacy should apply to both physical and digital environments. Any data, such as footage from a public security camera, archived without the consent of the person(s) about whom the data were gathered and subject to legal retention, shall be removed after a period of seven (7) years, unless otherwise requested by said person(s).”

Amendment TBR-XIV. Integration of Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Article XIV, and UN Declaration Article 9:

Proposal TBR-XIV-1: Amend Article XIV to read as follows:

“No sentient entity shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile. Sousveillance laws should be enacted to ensure that all members of peaceful communities feel safe, to achieve governmental transparency, and to provide counter-balances to any surveillance state. For instance, law-enforcement officials, when interacting with the public, should be required to wear body cameras or similar devices continuously monitoring their activities.”

Amendment TBR-XVI. Integration of Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Article XVI, and UN Declaration Article 7:

Proposal TBR-XVI-1: Amend Article XVI to read as follows:

“All sentient entities are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All sentient entities are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS and against any incitement to such discrimination. All sentient entities should be protected from discrimination based on their physical form in the context of business transactions and law enforcement.”

Amendment TBR-XVII. Integration of Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Article XVII, and UN Declaration Article 3:

Proposal TBR-XVII-1: Amend Article XVII to read as follows: 

“All sentient entities have the right to life, liberty and security of person. All sentient entities have the right to defend themselves from attack, in both physical and virtual worlds.”

Amendment TBR-XVIII. Integration of Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Article XVIII, and UN Declaration Articles 22 and 25:

Proposal TBR-XVIII-1: Amend Article XVIII to read as follows: 

“Societies of the present and future should afford all sentient entities sufficient basic access to wealth and resources to sustain the basic requirements of existence in a civilized society and function as the foundation for pursuits of self-improvement. This includes the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of oneself and one’s family, including food or other necessary sources of energy, clothing, housing or other appropriate shelter, medical care or other necessary physical maintenance, necessary social services, and the right of security in the event of involuntary unemployment, sickness, disability, loss of family support, old age, or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond the sentient entity’s control. Present and future societies should ensure that their members will not live in poverty solely for being born to the wrong parents. All children and other recently created sentient entities, irrespective of the manner or circumstances of their creation, shall enjoy the same social protection. Each sentient entity, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social, and cultural rights indispensable for his, her, or its dignity and the free development of his, her, or its personality.”

Amendment TBR-XX. Integration of Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Article XX, and UN Declaration Article 26:

Proposal TBR-XX-1: Amend Article XX to read as follows: 

“Present and future societies should provide education systems accessible and available to all in pursuit of factual knowledge to increase intellectual acuity; promote critical thinking and logic; foster creativity; form an enlightened collective; attain health; secure the bounty of liberty for all sentient entities for our posterity; and forge new ideas, meanings, and values. All sentient entities have the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available, and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit. Education shall be directed to the full development of the sentient entity’s personality and to the strengthening of respect for all sentient entities’ rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance, and friendship among all nations, racial, religious, and other sentient groups – whether biological, non-biological, or a combination thereof – and shall further the maintenance of peace. Parents and creators of sentient entities have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children or other recently created sentient entities which have not yet developed sufficient maturity to select their own education.”

Amendment TBR-XXV. Addition of New Article to Prohibit Slavery and Involuntary Servitude, Per UN Declaration Article 4:

Proposal TBR-XXV-1: Replace Article XXV with the following text:

“No sentient entity shall be held in slavery or involuntary servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.”

Amendment TBR-XXVI. Addition of New Article to Prohibit Torture and Cruel Punishment, Per UN Declaration Article 5:

Proposal TBR-XXVI-1: Add a new Article to read as follows:

“No sentient entity shall be subjected to torture or to treatment or punishment that is cruel, degrading, inhuman, or otherwise unworthy of sentience or sapience.”

Amendment TBR-XXVII. Addition of New Article on Recognition Before the Law, Per UN Declaration Article 6:

Proposal TBR-XXVII-1: Add a new Article to read as follows:

“Each sentient entity has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.”

Amendment TBR-XXVIII. Addition of New Article on Effective Remedy – Expanded Version of UN Declaration Article 8:

Proposal TBR-XXVIII-1: Add a new Article to read as follows:

“All individual sentient entities have the right to an effective remedy by the competent local, national, international, or interplanetary tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted them by the constitution, by law, and/or by this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS.”

Amendment TBR-XXIX. Addition of New Article on Public Hearings for Criminal Charges – Per UN Declaration Article 10:

Proposal TBR-XXIX-1: Add a new Article to read as follows:

“All individual sentient entities are entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of their individual rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against them.”

Amendment TBR-XXX. Addition of New Article on Presumption of Innocence – Per  UN Declaration Article 11:

Proposal TBR-XXX-1: Add a new Article to read as follows:

“All individual sentient entities charged with a penal offence have the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which they individually have had all the guarantees necessary for their defense. No sentient entity shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.”

Amendment TBR-XXXI. Addition of New Article on Freedom of Movement – Per  UN Declaration Article 13:

Proposal TBR-XXXI-1: Add a new Article to read as follows:

“All sentient entities have the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. Each individual sentient entity has the right to leave any country, including his, her, or its own, and to return to his, her, or its country.”

Amendment TBR-XXXII. Addition of New Article on Right to Seek Asylum – Per  UN Declaration Article 14:

Proposal TBR-XXXII-1: Add a new Article to read as follows:

“All sentient entities have the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution. This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS.”

Amendment TBR-XXXIII. Addition of New Article on Right to Nationality – Per  UN Declaration Article 15:

Proposal TBR-XXXIII-1: Add a new Article to read as follows:

“All sentient entities have the right to a nationality. No sentient entity shall be arbitrarily deprived of his, her, or its nationality nor denied the right to change his, her, or its nationality.”

Amendment TBR-XXXIV. Addition of New Article on Right to Property – Per  UN Declaration Article 17:

Proposal TBR-XXXIV-1: Add a new Article to read as follows:

“All sentient entities have the right to own property alone as well as in association with others. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his, her, or its property.”

Amendment TBR-XXXV. Addition of New Article on Religious Freedom – Expanded Version of UN Declaration Article 18:

Proposal TBR-XXXV-1: Add a new Article to read as follows:

“All sentient entities have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change one’s religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest one’s religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance. This right also includes freedom not to have a religion and to criticize or refuse to engage in any religious practice or belief without adverse legal consequences.”

Amendment TBR-XXXVI. Addition of New Article on Freedom of Opinion and Expression – Per  UN Declaration Article 19:

Proposal TBR-XXXVI-1: Add a new Article to read as follows:

“All sentient entities have the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

Amendment TBR-XXXVII. Addition of New Article on Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association – Per  UN Declaration Article 20:

Proposal TBR-XXXVII-1: Add a new Article to read as follows:

“All sentient entities have the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association. No sentient entity may be compelled to belong to an association.”

Amendment TBR-XXXVIII. Addition of New Article on Right of Political Participation – Per  UN Declaration Article 21:

Proposal TBR-XXXVIII-1: Add a new Article to read as follows:

“All sentient entities have the right to take part in the government of their countries, directly or through freely chosen representatives. All sentient entities have the right of equal access to public service in their countries. The will of the constituent sentient entities shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage of sentient entities and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.”

Amendment TBR-XXXIX. Addition of New Article on Right to Work – Modified Version of UN Declaration Article 23:

Proposal TBR-XXXIX-1: Add a new Article to read as follows: 

“All sentient entities have the right to work, to free choice of employment, and to just and favorable conditions of work, as long as employment is offered or considered economically necessary in the sentient entity’s proximate society and contemporary epoch. All sentient entities who choose to work have the right to equal pay for equal work. All sentient entities who choose to work have the right to just and favorable remuneration, ensuring for themselves and their families an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection, such as a universal basic income. All sentient entities have the right to form and join trade unions for the protection of their interests; however, no sentient entity may be compelled to join a trade union as a condition of employment.”

Amendment TBR-XL. Addition of New Article on Right to Rest and Leisure – Modified Version of UN Declaration Article 24:

Proposal TBR-XL-1: Add a new Article to read as follows:

“All sentient entities have the right to rest and leisure commensurate with the physical requirements of those sentient entities for maintaining optimal physical and mental health, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay in societies where paid employment is considered economically necessary.”

Amendment TBR-XLI. Addition of New Article on Right of Cultural Participation – Per  UN Declaration Article 27:

Proposal TBR-XLI-1: Add a new Article to read as follows:

“All sentient entities have the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts, and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits. All sentient entities have the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary, or artistic production of which they are the authors.”

Amendment TBR-XLII. Addition of New Article on Right to Social and International Order – Per  UN Declaration Article 28:

Proposal TBR-XLII-1: Add a new Article to read as follows:

“All sentient entities are entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS can be fully realized.”

Amendment TBR-XLIII. Addition of New Article to Oppose Destruction of Rights and Freedoms – Per  UN Declaration Article 30:

Proposal TBR-XLIII-1: Add a new Article to read as follows:

“Nothing in this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS may be interpreted as implying for any State, group, or sentient entity any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.”