Gennady Stolyarov II Anastasia Synn R. Nicholas Starr
Watch the video containing 73 minutes of excerpts from the Cyborg and Transhumanist Forum, held on May 15, 2019, at the Nevada State Legislature Building.
The Cyborg and Transhumanist Forum at the Nevada Legislature on May 15, 2019, marked a milestone for the U.S. Transhumanist Party and the Nevada Transhumanist Party. This was the first time that an official transhumanist event was held within the halls of a State Legislature, in one of the busiest areas of the building, within sight of the rooms where legislative committees met. The presenters were approached by tens of individuals – a few legislators and many lobbyists and staff members. The reaction was predominantly either positive or at least curious; there was no hostility and only mild disagreement from a few individuals. Generally, the outlook within the Legislative Building seems to be in favor of individual autonomy to pursue truly voluntary microchip implants. The testimony of Anastasia Synn at the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 26, 2019, in opposition to Assembly Bill 226, is one of the most memorable episodes of the 2019 Legislative Session for many who heard it. It has certainly affected the outcome for Assembly Bill 226, which was subsequently further amended to restore the original scope of the bill and only apply the prohibition to coercive microchip implants, while specifically exempting microchip implants voluntarily received by an individual from the prohibition. The scope of the prohibition was also narrowed by removing the reference to “any other person” and applying the prohibition to an enumerated list of entities who may not require others to be microchipped: state officers and employees, employers as a condition of employment, and persons in the business of insurance or bail. These changes alleviated the vast majority of the concerns within the transhumanist and cyborg communities about Assembly Bill 226.
From left to right: Gennady Stolyarov II, Anastasia Synn, and Ryan Starr (R. Nicholas Starr)
This Cyborg and Transhumanist Forum comes at the beginning of an era of transhumanist political engagement with policymakers and those who advise them. It was widely accepted by the visitors to the demonstration tables that technological advances are accelerating, and that policy decisions regarding technology should only be made with adequate knowledge about the technology itself – working on the basis of facts and not fears or misconceptions that arise from popular culture and dystopian fiction. Ryan Starr shared his expertise on the workings and limitations of both NFC/RFID microchips and GPS technology and who explained that cell phones are already far more trackable than microchips ever could be (based on their technical specifications and how those specifications could potentially be improved in the future). U.S. Transhumanist Party Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II introduced visitors to the world of transhumanist literature by bringing books for display – including writings by Aubrey de Grey, Bill Andrews, Ray Kurzweil, Jose Cordeiro, Ben Goertzel, Phil Bowermaster, and Mr. Stolyarov’s own book “Death is Wrong” in five languages. It appears that there is more sympathy for transhumanism within contemporary political circles than might appear at first glance; it is often transhumanists themselves who overestimate the negativity of the reaction they expect to receive. But nobody picketed the event or even called the presenters names; transhumanist ideas, expressed in a civil and engaging way – with an emphasis on practical applications that are here today or due to arrive in the near future – will be taken seriously when there is an opening to articulate them.
The graphics for the Cyborg and Transhumanist Forum were created by Tom Ross, the U.S. Transhumanist Party Director of Media Production.
Become a member of the U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party free of charge, no matter where you reside.
In light of recent legislative action pursued by the United States Transhumanist Party (USTP), and the urgent need for response on a topic that could have been identified much earlier, I propose the establishment of a legislation tracking and analysis structure as detailed below. The goal is not necessarily to write new legislation (we have no members currently serving in government positions), but to act as a think tank or watchdog organization as legislation is presented in federal or state governments.
Compilation of a comprehensive topic/keyword database, sorted into issue groups
If possible, the creation of a legislative keyword tracking program made available to analysts in a cross platform or web-based architecture
A chain of command detailing positions and the responsibilities their responsibilities
• Artificial Intelligence
• Biohacking hardware
• Biomedical research and practical application
• Computer and data sciences
• Environment and ecology
• Existential risk
• Foreign policy
• Life extension
• Privacy, surveillance, and security
• Science and exploration
Keywords shall be gathered for each issue, and analysts should be provided with a thorough and frequently updated list from which to search all available resources (legislation trackers, search engines, government databases, etc.). Eventually, understanding the massive amount of work this would require, we should develop our own legislation tracking system to streamline operations and increase effectiveness.
The Legislative Director would ideally have a background in law/policy making. It would be the responsibility of the Legislative Director to inform the Chairman of all relevant legislation on a state and federal level as provided by analysts or personal observation. It would also be the Legislative Director’s responsibility to identify national policy trends and make suggestions for yearly priorities. The Legislative Director should, when necessary, reach out to our expert Advisors as listed on the USTP Advisors page.
Analysts would ideally have knowledge of/passion for the issues they desire to monitor. There should be no limit to how many analysts cover any particular issue, and individual analysts can cover multiple issues if they desire. Before an analyst submits a legislative report to the Legislative Director, they must provide a link to the legislation and try to answer the following:
How urgent is the matter?
Could this cause harm to an individual’s physical/mental health or civil rights?
Which article of our Platform does this pertain to?
If none, please explain its relevance.
Does this apply to other issue groups?
What do you propose the Party do?
Provide evidence to support your position.
Many of these issues will overlap each other, which is ideal, as it may provide different analyst perspectives on a particular issue. Many of these issues may also have other prominent organizations (ACLU, EFF) that may be better equipped to address a particular issue. In such cases it is important that we identify to what extent the topic impacts our platform and whether or not it relates to future technology/advancements or present-day capabilities.
This is by no means an exhaustive recommendation, and the nature of this body should be flexible to meet the USTP’s current and future needs. Please provide your comments, recommendations, and criticisms below.
It astonishes me that two years have elapsed since I became Chairman of the U.S. Transhumanist Party on November 17, 2016. Nonetheless, in retrospect, it seems that we are living in a different epoch from the one in which I stepped into this leadership role. In this epoch, transhumanism is no longer a fringe extreme; while we are a small political party, we occupy the sensible moderate ground – the civilized center of political discourse – precisely because we reject the downward spiral of toxicity, tribalism, political violence, and zero-sum partisanship which characterizes both the Democratic and Republican Parties today. Many people beyond the historic core transhumanist constituencies ought to find our message appealing, if they only knew about the Transhumanist Party and what it actually stands for.
While 2017 was a year of focusing on developing our now-extensive Platform, 2018 was characterized by increased outreach, more frequent events and interviews, steady membership growth (doubling our membership to 1,187 as of this writing), and the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s first foray into electoral politics under my Chairmanship. For a summary of our achievements in 2018, I encourage you to watch my speech at RAAD Fest 2018 in San Diego, CA, entitled “The U.S. Transhumanist Party: Four Years of Advocating for the Future” and attended by over 1,000 people.
We endorsed two candidates during this election season, James D. Schultz and myself. While Mr. Schultz fell slightly short of the 1,500 petition signatures required by New York law for ballot access, he did obtain 1,239 signatures, which shows that transhumanism can attract supporters in the four-figure range with diligent advocacy.
My own campaign for the Board of Trustees of the Indian Hills General Improvement District (IHGID) in Nevada was able to proceed to the general-election stage, since ballot access was available without the need to submit petitions. I ultimately obtained 520 votes out of 2,024 residents who cast their ballots. While I did not win a seat on the Board, 25.7% – more than a quarter – of the voters cast affirmative ballots in my favor.
While I would have preferred to win, this outcome still shows that my campaign – on which I spent no money but rather utilized social media, in-person appearances in public places, videos, and word of mouth – enabled me to reach more than a quarter of the residents after beginning with essentially zero name recognition in the area. Transhumanism, when articulated in a mainstream-friendly manner, can elicit support from people across the political spectrum and in all walks of life. We just need to continue to spread our message with determination and deliberate regarding ways of reaching constituencies who might not have become aware of transhumanism yet – perhaps because our methods of communication have not yet overlapped with their preferred media and social circles.
I am not particularly disappointed regarding the outcome of the IHGID Board election, since even getting to the stage where a Transhumanist-Party-endorsed candidate appeared on the ballot and received 520 votes constitutes major progress, since even Zoltan Istvan in 2016 had to campaign as a write-in candidate and so did not receive an official count of the votes cast in his favor. Furthermore, in my experience, the IHGID Board of Trustees is extremely open to resident input. As a resident, I have always been able to speak my mind at the Board meetings and make suggestions that have had substantive impacts. I am confident that the elected Board members are good people who have the well-being of the residents in mind, and that each of them will be receptive to at least a significant portion of my ideas in the future. Furthermore, I think this campaign helped me incrementally in the longer term to build ties with people in my community and to become more involved and able to have a voice in the many ongoing interesting developments that affect it.
From the standpoint of improving the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s political acumen, however, with a result such as the outcome of the IHGID vote, it is important to understand what happened and why and to see what this can teach about politics, the spread of information, and human dynamics more generally.
What factors could explain this outcome, to the best of my knowledge? Some of the electoral dynamics involved surprised me. Residents were able to choose up to three candidates, and it seems rather unusual to me that so few did. My calculations (which I am happy to share in greater detail upon request) indicate the following:
Of those IHGID residents who voted in 2018 at all:
– 878 voters did not make a selection.
– 605 voters only made 1 choice.
– 1,281 voters only made 2 choices.
– 138 voters made 3 choices. (I am one of those voters.)
It is possible that some voters did not understand that they could select multiple candidates. I expected that my best outcome would arise in a situation where I would be seen as a “consensus candidate” whom other candidates would be agreeable to supporting. However, this situation could only materialize if most, or at least many, voters voted for three choices.
However, the majority of those who voted actually selected two options rather than three. This suggests that they knew their prerogatives – so the possibilities are (a) they only voted for candidates whose names they recognized; and/or (b) there could have been a coalition between some two of the candidates (I do not know which two and would have no way of knowing), who informed their supporters to support both of them but not select a third.
However, the most disappointing explanation possible (if true) is this: names were arranged in alphabetical order by last name on the ballot, and some voters might have just picked the first name or the first two or three names. This could indeed have happened in an election which was not all that controversial, where there were no “hot-button” issues, where all the candidates were on friendly terms, where very little money was spent (none on my end), and where probably many voters only minimally informed themselves about the candidates.
My campaign, based on all indications, dominated on the Internet and social media – yet there are many residents of the District who do not appear to use the Internet or social media to any great extent. All of my interactions with residents who knew of my campaign have been extremely positive, but I posit that there exists a large demographic whom my efforts did not reach because there was not any online medium to even facilitate an in-person interaction (e.g., they did not see my announcements on Nextdoor.com and did not watch the candidate videos; also, their in-person activities do not overlap with mine). How to reach such constituents is a perpetual challenge, especially because I only practice genteel campaign tactics – e.g., no door-to-door soliciting or other intrusive messaging; I let people process information at their own convenience. I hypothesize that the only real way to attain recognition from non-Internet users is to build a reputation over many years of participation in in-person community activities. The contemporary world is quite fragmented, so those activities have been rarer than I would like – but there may be more opportunities over the coming years. I raise the more general question of how transhumanists can be more effective in reaching constituencies that are not as active online as most of us technology enthusiasts. What tactics can work to build both name recognition and good will? Comments and suggestions are most welcome.
For me, my next proximate political area of focus will be continuing to build the U.S. Transhumanist Party in its national and international presence and intellectual influence. There is much effort that could be put forth in this area in the immediate future.
We have already opened a new exposure period to consider clarifying amendments to the Transhumanist Bill of Rights. While the Transhumanist Bill of Rights is achieving significant media coverage, we need to be vigilant against basic factual inaccuracies regarding the representation of its contents. These amendments will enable us to steer the narrative toward what transhumanists actually think and value, rather than unwarranted assumptions and associations made by persons whose agendas often steer them in the direction of manufacturing straw-man positions that transhumanists do not, in fact, espouse.
In early 2019 we will conduct the selection process for the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s 2020 Presidential candidate. Unlike the major political parties, we will have a short campaign season for contenders and an electronic, ranked-preference primary held during the same timeframe for all members, no matter where they reside. This will be a practical implementation of Sections XXVIII, XXIX, and XXX of our Platform. We are still looking for potential candidates for political office at any level in 2020, but having a Presidential candidate will be important as a high-profile educational approach to expose vast numbers of people to transhumanist ideas and aspirations. For this role we are seeking an erudite, articulate, scientifically literate individual with sufficient resources to self-fund a campaign and an absolute commitment to carry such a campaign through to Election Day in November 2020.
We need to continue to press toward our crucial threshold goal of 10,000 members. Membership is free and quick to acquire, and now brings several additional benefits with it. Please persuade as many people as you can to go to our free Membership Application Form at https://transhumanist-party.org/membership/ and sign up in less than a minute, no matter where they reside.
We need existing members to organize grassroots initiatives – which can include meetups, presentations, writing of articles and policy papers, and outreach within their local communities. If you engage in activism on behalf of the U.S. Transhumanist Party, please contact me and let me know what you wish to do or have done already, and we will publicize it as an example to other members of what is possible. No matter what your skill set, there are many constructive possibilities for you to contribute to our movement and the public’s recognition of it. An active presence in public discourse matters most of all at this stage. Be creative in how you bring that active presence into being!
We need to create State-level Transhumanist Parties in every State. If your State is not represented on our list of State Parties, you are welcome to form a State-level party yourself and contact me about doing so. While you explore the relevant requirements for official formation, even beginning a Facebook group for coordination among the members of the embryonic State-level Transhumanist Party would be a major step forward.
We need to expand our Foreign Ambassador program to as many countries as possible. The U.S. Transhumanist Party is proud of its international membership and the many fruitful ways in which we have coordinated with transhumanists in other countries. The more representatives we have abroad, the more opportunities there will be for transhumanism to become an integrated global phenomenon that guides the policies of all nations in pro-technology, pro-life-extension, pro-reason directions. To apply to become a Foreign Ambassador, fill out our application form here.
We need to continue improving our internal infrastructure, from developing a more efficient voting system (while preserving the ranked-preference method, but hopefully automating the instant runoffs and the publication of results) to adding more features to our website to encourage members to visit it more frequently and participate in discussions and other initiatives available through it. If you have not actively participated on the U.S. Transhumanist Party website yet, we would be interested to know why not, and what additional elements of the website might encourage you to participate in the future.
If you were to retain only several key insights from this message, they would be the following:
Attaining basic public awareness remains the major challenge of the U.S. Transhumanist Party and of transhumanism in general.
Growth in active members who operate at the grassroots level is the key to overcoming this challenge. Encourage others to sign up for free here.
Our message is appealing to the mainstream when properly articulated, but to succeed in doing so, we need to be in control of the narrative and speak for ourselves, instead of letting the media and intellectual opponents portray us as caricatured straw-men.
The moment the general public becomes tired of the partisan toxicity of the major political parties to the extent of actually creating a political vacuum, we need to be ready with a constructive alternative. We already have the conceptual alternative prepared; now we need to prepare the infrastructure to deploy and expand it.
There is much that you as an individual can do. Do it!
May the next year of my Chairmanship see the U.S. Transhumanist Party attain many of its goals and achieve unprecedented growth and impact for the transhumanist movement. If this happens, it will be because you, our members, will have made it happen.
On November 17, 2016, I became the Chairman of the United States Transhumanist Party. It was a turbulent era in American politics, although it now appears to me to have been a distinct prior epoch. The offer of Chairmanship from Zoltan Istvan came at exactly the right time. I was seriously considering emigrating from the United States, which would have been a mistake. For this role, however, an expatriate Chairman would not do; Zoltan asked me to remain for at least six months – hopefully a year – and then re-assess the situation. One does not get handed leadership of a political party often (or virtually ever), so this was a unique opportunity to make a difference in American politics in a constructive way, with instant gains in prominence, and without the distasteful maneuvering that many conventional political figures feel compelled to engage in to attain a comparable position.
It has been a year, and I am staying. I have indeed reassessed the situation, or perhaps the situation has been transformed so considerably than the already transitional interpretive framework of late 2016 can no longer adequately describe our present political reality. Whereas then the tumult seemed to have stemmed from a single source, we now inhabit a distinctly different sort of chaotic era, in which the chaos emanates from virtually all partisan factions espousing conventional political ideologies. The United States has not, despite my fears at the time, succumbed to dictatorship or totalitarianism – and, despite some ill-advised policy decisions and unfortunate increases in certain forms of intolerance and hatred (on both the right and the left), there are no waves of nativist “ethnic cleansing”; there are, thankfully and for now, no massive riots in the vast majority of cities, the vast majority of the time. Daily life proceeds in a largely peaceful, largely orderly fashion – and may that continue.
Yet the United States’ societal and cultural fabric has been torn to shreds by the climate of escalating partisan vitriol, in which being aligned with one’s “team” (be it one of the major political parties or more minor factions on the conventional left-right axis) is seen as more important than the reasoned pursuit of truth. Partisanship erodes the norms of civility and the disposition of good will with which it is important to approach discourse with others. When hyper-partisans insist that civilized discussion or even association with “the other side” is not possible (and their characterization of who comprises the “other side” becomes ever more sweeping by the day), they throw wide open the door to less genteel approaches to politics – the political violence that can claim lives, ruin infrastructure, and set back the progress of our civilization. The great immediate danger in American politics is not that squads of jack-booted enforcers will crack down on anyone who displeases their masters; it is, rather, that the increasing toxicity of prevailing political rhetoric will poison the minds and conduct of ordinary people, turning them against one another and inaugurating a low-key war of all against all, which necessarily cannot remain low-key for long. Hyper-partisanship is not, however, a grass-roots phenomenon, but has been fueled by behemoth political machines, with armies of paid political operatives, lobbyists, and “opposition research” firms honing the most effective ways to besmirch and divide people for range-of-the-moment electoral gains. Only a truly transpartisan organization, immune to the influence of this apparatus, can turn the tide against its malignancy.
The United States Transhumanist Party has stood as a bulwark against this toxic partisan tendency, inviting membership by individuals of all conventional or unconventional political beliefs, as long as they agree with our three broadly framed Core Ideals (and even sometimes if they do not), advocating for a worldwide acceleration of technological innovation and for making its products accessible to all, conducting transparent public discussions and votes using ranked-reference techniques that solve long-standing incentive problems of voters, and doing it all as a non-monetary organization, through the collaboration of volunteers and people of good will. We genuinely seek to embody and practice inclusivity, diversity, and tolerance – instead of weaponizing these terms to serve a particular preconceived political and social agenda and partisan machine. We transcend the destructive culture wars, just as we transcend so many other pointless divisions. We seek to be a microcosm of the society that will emerge after all this “sound and fury, signifying nothing” subsides, when people will come to see the toxicity as fatiguing and passé, and the task of building a new era can unfold in earnest. We need to focus on championing the advances that can benefit everyone through dramatically longer lifespans, vastly increased prosperity, and opportunities for individual self-actualization. Unlike identity politics, which focuses on what sets people apart, transhumanist politics seeks to bring all sentient entities together to forge the advances that can benefit each and all.
On the anniversary of my Chairmanship, the highlight of my day was a message from an individual who has been a member for as long as I have been Chairman. He told me that his membership in the U.S. Transhumanist Party has been one of the most important events in his life. What we do matters; it inspires people to strive for a brighter future; it coalesces a community of visionaries, achievers, innovators, and friends. Amid the tumult of the contemporary world, we preserve the transformative ambition that life can and should be better – that human existence need not be nasty, brutish, or short – that age-old problems can be solved with sufficient knowledge and ingenuity – and that the fates of our ancestors need not be our own.
We have achieved much since the U.S. Transhumanist Party was opened to membership during my tenure as Chairman. I provided an overview of the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s key recent achievements in this brief video, which I prepared for the Transvision 2017 conference in Brussels.
Here, I will supplement, rather than repeat, the contents of that video presentation.
Many aspects of our Platform and processes enable the U.S. Transhumanist Party to stand out in American politics. The following are just several examples.
We are the first political party in the United States to use ranked-preference voting on its internal ballots. During the next year we will explore options for rendering this voting process even more streamlined and user-friendly. We will be searching for software that could simultaneously present all of the options and their text to voters, and automatically tabulate instant runoffs and their results, similarly to how the initial votes are tabulated today.
We are the only political party in the world – to our knowledge – which extends membership to anyone capable of forming a reasoned political opinion – including children and citizens of other countries, who may become Allied Members. Our Foreign Ambassador program specifically focuses on building connections with future-oriented thinkers in other countries and working to build transhumanism into a global, collaborative movement where ideas are exchanged and developed without regard to national boundaries.
The U.S. Transhumanist Party is one of only two political parties in the United States, along with the Green Party, that supports the complete abolition of nuclear weapons. Our Platform, in Article III, Section IV, reads that “In recognition of the dire existential threat that nuclear weapons pose to sapient life on Earth – including as a result of such weapons’ accidental deployment due to system failures or human misunderstanding – the United States Transhumanist Party advocates the complete dismantlement and abolition of all nuclear weapons everywhere, as rapidly as possible.” While this remains a minority political position in the United States, the abolition of nuclear weapons recently received support at the United Nations via the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017. With the threat of nuclear war remaining disturbingly real, an increasing number of people and institutions are coming to recognize this dire existential risk and seek its alleviation. We welcome collaboration with any of them.
The U.S. Transhumanist Party was the first political party in the United States to suggest a universal basic income or unconditional basic income (UBI) as an option in dealing with the impacts of automation, job uncertainty, and the sub-optimalities of conventional, conditional, and cumbersome welfare systems. Now various jurisdictions are experimenting with some versions of UBI, and this concept is being actively discussed at the United Nations. We stand ready to offer our views and recommendations in this conversation – encouraging UBI systems that would preserve the core, elegant logic of an unconditional basic income available to all. Per Article III, Section XVI of our Platform, “the United States Transhumanist Party holds that all sentient entities should be the beneficiaries of an unconditional universal basic income, whereby the same minimum amount of money or other resources is provided irrespective of a sentient entity’s life circumstances, occupations, or other income sources, so as to provide a means for the basic requirements of existence and liberty to be met.” This vision, if championed consistently, can dramatically improve the life circumstances of many individuals throughout the world.
Our most important near-term objectives were recently outlined in our new, extensive FAQ document. Because of their importance, and the indication they provide regarding how the next year of the U.S. Transhumanist Party will unfold, I provide them again below.
Grow in membership. We need to reach at least 10,000 members in order to have the widespread reach and internal, member-driven governance structures that we envision to be the most effective. You can help by joining for free and encouraging others to join by filling out our fast, simple Membership Application Form.
Coordinate with State-level Transhumanist Parties. Various such State-level Parties exist, and some are already officially registered with their respective Secretaries of State. We have catalogued the State-level Transhumanist Parties known to us here. Work with them if you reside in a State where such a Party already exists. If such a Party does not exist, we encourage you to form one and contact us when you are contemplating doing so.
Hold events and publish materials to influence public opinion. Ultimately, we seek to change minds to encourage widespread public advocacy of emerging technologies and a major redirection of resources toward such technologies’ funding, development, and dissemination. We encourage U.S. Transhumanist Party members to also organize their own events and submit articles for publication on our website.
Explore running candidates at the local level. Interested candidates will likely need to officially run as independents at this time, but if they agree with key aspects of our Platform, they may receive the endorsement of the U.S. Transhumanist Party.
Gradually create the infrastructure to meet State ballot-access requirements. In almost every State, obtaining ballot access unfortunately requires at least thousands of petition signatures (hand-signed), obtained within a relatively short period of time. We need to build up a sufficient network of volunteers in every State in order for petition-gathering to be feasible. However, our emphasis on membership growth and coordination with State-level Transhumanist Parties is part of our effort to eventually get there and field candidates for State-level office.
Another unique approach that we are pursuing is our search for a candidate for the U.S. Transhumanist Party 2020 Presidential ticket. Unlike other parties, we seek to attract not the most politically ambitious, but rather the most erudite, thoughtful, and melioristic individuals to apply for the role. To this end, under the editorship of the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s Education and Media Advisor, Newton Lee, we are compiling a book that will feature essays by leading transhumanist thinkers, Advisors, and members of the U.S. Transhumanist Party. This book, tentatively titled Transhumanism: In the Image of Humans, will hopefully convey both the depth and breadth of transhumanist thought, such that at least one of the leading minds of our era might be sufficiently intrigued as to join our movement and seek to further these ideas by running a Presidential campaign based on the highest standards of discourse, conduct, and policy-oriented reasoning for the improvement of the human condition.
The tumult of our times is evidence that Robert Heinlein’s forecast of an era he termed the Crazy Years has come to pass. Charting the path from our current Crazy Years to a bright and universally uplifting transhumanist future will be no easy task, but no task is more vital. By a spectacular confluence of events, which still astounds me in retrospect, the Chairmanship of the U.S. Transhumanist Party has placed me in a unique position within this moment in history, where many radically divergent paths are possible for both humankind in general and for us as individuals. The path of amelioration and abundance of time and resources for all is still open, and the Transhumanist Party will endeavor to show the way to all those who seek the new era, and to build our civilization into a global and universal, human and transhuman cosmopolity – which should extend as far and as boundlessly as our own lives and well-being.
Will you join us in this effort? If so, becoming a member is free and easy – and the best of possible futures may be our joint reward.
As of May 17, 2017, six months have passed since I became the second Chairman in the history of the United States Transhumanist Party. When Zoltan Istvan originally requested that I assume leadership of the Transhumanist Party from him, he did so with the expectation that I would agree to remain in the Chairman role for at least six months. Now that my first six months have elapsed, I realize that the task of building a self-sustaining organization is just beginning. From the standpoint of the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s history, the initial period of my tenure has been characterized by peaceful, steady growth. The following achievements, in particular, have been notable:
Development of a broad and thoughtful Platform (Article III of our Constitution) as a result of four electronic voting periods held this year so far. This Platform consists of 46 sections and can reasonably be considered transpartisan, incorporating some of the best elements of many schools of political thought, without being dogmatically entrenched in any of them and without falling prey to the downward-spiraling hyper-polarization of contemporary mainstream politics.
Recruitment of 457 members thus far. We hope to be able to grow this number substantially!
An illustrious set of 12 Advisors who have contributed highly valued subject-matter expertise.
A regularly updated, state-of-the-art website with official announcements as well as member-submitted articles and posts, along with discussion threads where members can interact on subjects of their choice. The website is complemented by our Facebook page and group.
In other words, we have begun to lay the groundwork for an effective political organization, but this is a task of years rather than months. At this early stage, the Transhumanist Party’s main impact will be on public opinion, rather than on the ballot box directly. To maximize that impact now, we need both more members and more activity from existing members. The vision of the Transhumanist Party as a member-driven organization holds that individual members would exercise their initiative in proposing and carrying out projects that utilize their unique talents. You can simply e-mail me to request a Delegation of Authority to undertake an endeavor on behalf of the U.S. Transhumanist Party – and, if your idea has potential, you may become a Member Delegate and affiliate your project with us. A speech, meet-up, discussion group, video, representation at a public event, or online promotion and advocacy on behalf of the Transhumanist Party would all be welcomed – as would member submissions of written works (both non-fiction and fiction), techno-positive artwork, and relevant scientific research (if you have the right to share or republish it – for instance, under a Creative Commons license). Other creative ideas for influencing public opinion and attracting new members would be welcomed as well. You are always encouraged to share our membership application form with others, and to emphasize that we offer the most cosmopolitan, inclusive, and logistically easy-to-obtain member status of any political party in the United States, and likely in the world today.
In order to highlight the unique value proposition offered by the U.S. Transhumanist Party, which renders it worthy of active support and considerable growth, I would like to identify some principles of conduct which have set us apart from other political organizations, and which will continue to distinguish the Transhumanist Party during my tenure as Chairman. (I would also like to acknowledge the input of Martin van der Kroon, our new Director of Recruitment, in suggesting and helping to frame some of these principles.)
At this time, the U.S. Transhumanist Party is a non-monetary organization. As an organization, we have no assets or liabilities. All of our activities are made possible by volunteers, who use their own property and retain ownership and control of that property as individuals. The U.S. Transhumanist Party does not accept donations or have any revenues or expenses as an organization. Therefore, there is no room for monetary influence by any politically connected special interest. We have effectively “taken money out of politics” – at least with respect to our own operations. Indeed, this manner of operation simulates (however imperfectly) the manner in which organizations would function in a future of technological radical abundance, which would be “post-scarcity” in the sense of basic human needs being always readily fulfillable, and which would therefore not pose the all-too-common conflicts between money and integrity that we observe in our era. The U.S. Transhumanist Party does not aim to take in money; rather, our purpose is to promote ideas that could enable us personally to reach that future of radical abundance – both by living long enough to witness it and by advocating the specific technologies that will greatly augment material production. Donations should instead be directed to the researchers working to expand lifespans and develop other technologies of the future.
The U.S. Transhumanist Party resolutely opposes the downward spiral of incivility, hatred, and even occasional violence that have come to characterize politics in the United States and in some other Western countries over the past two years. We see politics as being about policy first, and are committed to focusing on constructive solutions of the pressing problems of our time – both through technology and through advocacy. We are also uniquely situated to take a longer-term view and advocate policies that could improve our lives decades and centuries from now, since we are not bound to the myopic focus which often comes with the desire to win proximate elections at all costs. The U.S. Transhumanist Party does not condone ad hominem attacks or smear campaigns, including against persons with whom we disagree from a policy perspective or whose actions we may find reprehensible (although we may certainly express criticism of such specific actions, where warranted). We always aim to engage in civil discourse and to seek common ground with others where possible. However, we also always aim to remain rational and driven by facts, evidence, and logic. We may, as we deem necessary, respond to any policy or political behavior with thoughtful communication, based on the information available, and acknowledge when gaps of information exist to as to prevent definitive statements. The U.S. Transhumanist Party is committed to reason in the political arena.
The U.S. Transhumanist Party’s commitment to reason means that we value freedom of speech highly and insist on the importance of constructive criticism where warranted. We strive to avoid “flame” wars, tribal politics, or political witch hunts. We renounce political violence categorically, as it can derail our civilization and needlessly damage and destroy lives that could instead have taken a productive course and contributed to technological and societal progress. Per Article I, Section III, Operating Principle 2 of our Constitution, we will automatically disassociate ourselves from any individual engaging in such violence, threats of violence, or intentional prevention of peaceful gatherings. At the same time, we would seek for anyone – whether they agree with or dissent from our stances – to engage us in honest, good-faith, constructive dialogue about how political systems could be improved to make a future of universal radical abundance possible. Both collaboration and civil criticism – by us and of us – are welcome. We will positively acknowledge others, regardless of their political position, who engage in reasoned thought, action, and debate. We will not have internal censorship and will not attempt to project censorship outward. We seek to create not an intellectual “safe space” but rather a vehicle for discovery, problem-solving, and positive cultural transformation.
The U.S. Transhumanist Party will not chain itself to pre-existing ideological “packages” and will not espouse a dogmatic approach with regard to any such “package”. We do articulate many principles and strongly held convictions – particularly regarding the feasibility and desirability of radical technological progress – but those convictions need not prevent us from seeking common ground with individuals who may have some similar goals but may use different vocabulary to articulate them. We recognize that any person who approaches the realm of ideas with sincere intentions for constructive outcomes, would be able to generate ideas of merit. Whatever religious, non-religious, political, or philosophical labels others may associate with themselves, we will not dismiss their ideas solely in reaction to such labels. Rather, we will consider these ideas based on the merits of the arguments made. We also recognize that we are not alone in striving for a better future and acknowledge that technological innovations and medical advancement are likely to happen at an accelerating rate regardless of any influence by the U.S. Transhumanist Party. This insight should give us hope and comfort, as our contributions will not be the only ones that improve the human condition. Others who hold different views from ours may, even inadvertently, contribute to human progress in ways that we would find clearly favorable. Too many past and present organizations have fallen into the unfortunate and highly limiting trap of ideological purism. We will endeavor not to let ideological constraints prevent us from being open to positive possibilities and opportunities arising from the work of others.
If the above principles of conduct inspire you to work toward a new political ideal, then I encourage you to contribute your efforts to the Transhumanist Party and to help spread awareness of it among others. Please e-mail me if you would like to organize a project on the Transhumanist Party’s behalf, and please encourage other thoughtful persons to join us as well. No individual alone can advance humankind into its next era, but the sum of our efforts might just be able to take us there.