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The Curative Education and Research Initiative (CERI) – Proposal by R. Nicholas Starr

The Curative Education and Research Initiative (CERI) – Proposal by R. Nicholas Starr

R. Nicholas Starr


Editor’s Note: The U.S. Transhumanist Party (USTP) has published this view by our member R. Nicholas Starr in order to invite discussion on the issues he raises, although the USTP Platform does not endorse his proposal to tax religious institutions at this time. Indeed, the USTP Platform, in Section XXXVI, states that “The United States Transhumanist Party supports the elimination of graduated taxation and income taxation more generally. Instead, 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 tax should be built into the price of goods from such large businesses and should not impede transaction efficiency in any manner. Transactions pertaining to wages, salaries, gifts, donations, barter, employee benefits, and inheritances should remain completely untaxed, as should transactions involving solely individuals and/or small businesses, for whom the establishment of a tax-reporting infrastructure would be onerous. Furthermore, all taxes on land and property should be abolished.” An income tax on religious institutions, which primarily derive their income from donations, would be a tax on donations that the USTP Platform does not support. Moreover, it would create the need for a new tax-reporting infrastructure, and the USTP Platform tends toward the opposite approach of leveraging the reporting capabilities that already exist to create a seamless tax system that is barely noticed by ordinary people as they go about their daily lives. Furthermore, in Sections XX and XXV of its Platform, the USTP indicates support for religious tolerance and openness to religious individuals who may be receptive to technological progress and therefore may be valued allies and participants in the transhumanist movement. While we agree with Mr. Starr that additional science education and improved scientific literacy among the population would be highly beneficial, we would invite discussion of other ways in which it might be achieved. Also, we would invite any religious transhumanists to respond to Mr. Starr’s article with their own perspectives. 

~ Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman, United States Transhumanist Party, December 27, 2020


The Curative Education and Research Initiative (CERI)

Religion is the father of all existential risk. To reverse its damage, I propose a 2.5% federal income tax on religious institutions to fund public school education and scientific research. Support for this can be found throughout the USTP Platform, but specifically Sections II, VII, XII, and XXXII.

America needs more science! Not just “traditional” sciences like biology or chemistry, but social sciences and their companion the arts as well. And while the USTP has identified many areas that are lacking scientific attention or funding, we should also address scientific illiteracy, and even resentment, in the United States. New research means very little if the average American does not understand the research, results, or how it benefits them and the rest of humanity.

The US also needs to improve research and public education of social sciences. Anthropology and sociology are relegated to fringe college courses when it should help form the core of American education system. Cultural ignorance and hatred restrict the free exchange of ideas and thus future research needs. And when elementary schools glorify figures like Christopher Columbus and marginalize the indigenous people he and those who came after him oppressed, how can we expect society to move forward?

All Americans need to come together to plan for and fight against any number of issues and existential threats that science is currently researching or that may arise in the future. Racism and societal intolerance not only affect the free exchange of ideas, but also stifle research of problems in specific communities that many Americans deem “undesirable” and not worthy of study (drugs, sex work).

The biggest existential threat to humanity isn’t climate change, racism, or nuclear war. The greatest threat is the mindset that begat them. When “God” gave dominion over the planet to man, the church set climate change in motion. When holy texts tell their faction they are superior to the others, this creates habits of oppression and subjugation. In short, humanity is still paying for the fiction turned perceived fact created millennia ago. The time for it to end is now.

Science is the silver bullet to ignorance and superstition. A well-educated public gets us there.

To fund this initiative I propose a 2.5% tax on religious institutions to fund public-school education and scientific research. Payment of this tax does not grant any new access from churches into schools (school prayer, previously excluded religious clubs, proselytizing, recruitment, etc.), input or direction of scientific research being funded by these taxes, or any previously prohibited religious involvement in government. The purpose of this tax is to fund programs that benefit all people living in the United States, as decided by the scientific data, and advance social and scientific understanding in the classroom and in every day life.

Why tax religious institutions?

  • Religion in America is a 1.2-trillion-dollar untaxed industry. A 2.5% tax would add $30 billion annually in federal tax revenue. Note: enforcing property taxes on all religious institutions would provide approximately $500 billion.
  • Tax breaks for religious institutions is a form of government subsidy. This forces all tax-paying Americans to support the church regardless of their religious beliefs.
  • Religious organizations have a long history of prohibiting or stifling scientific research, something that continues to this day (e.g., with stem cells).
  • Religious organizations claim to financially support charity work, but there is no mandate to do so or requirement for how much is spent on charitable efforts. Additionally, what each organization considers charity may be detrimental to marginalized communities (LGBTQ conversion camps) and humanity internationally (missionary work overseas, historical support of slavery).
  • Religious institutions have been, and continue to be, safe havens for misogyny, racism, intolerance, and violence. They owe a debt to society for the harm caused.

What should be funded with this money

  • Public education (current federal education budget is $64 billion)
    • Science
    • Social Studies
    • Arts
  • Federal entities for science and the arts
    • National Science Foundation (NSF – current budget of $8.3 billion)
    • National Institutions of Health (NIH – current budget of $39 billion)
    • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA – current budget of $22.6 billion)
    • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA – current budget of $5.35 billion)
    • National Endowment for the Arts (NEA – current budget of $162 million)

As the primary objective of this proposal is to improve public education, it should be required that the largest sum of money should be put into public schools. However due to ever-changing financial needs, how this money is split shall be redetermined every two years by the legislative body. These numbers are based on the federal budget, but should this proposal be modified and adopted for state use, funding shall be sent to public education and scientific organizations that provide similar services as those noted above to the state.

This is controversial proposal. But it is also a modest tithe that can do a lot of good to change the country, and the world, for the better. Our country has gone above and beyond when it comes to supporting religious institutions and their members while asking for nothing but promises in return. It is time for these organizations to support the whole public.

Ryan Starr (R. Nicholas Starr) is a member of the U.S. Transhumanist Party and the founder of the Transhumanist Party of Colorado

U.S. Transhumanist Party Positions on 2020 California Ballot Propositions

U.S. Transhumanist Party Positions on 2020 California Ballot Propositions

Gennady Stolyarov II


The United States Transhumanist Party  offers the following brief statements of position on the ballot propositions currently before California voters in the 2020 General Election.

Summary

California Proposition 14 – Stem Cell Research Institute Bond Initiative: Support

California Proposition 15 – Tax on Commercial and Industrial Properties for Education and Local Government Funding Initiative: Oppose

California Proposition 16 – Repeal Proposition 209 Affirmative Action Amendment: Oppose

California Proposition 17 – Voting Rights Restoration for Persons on Parole Amendment: Support

California Proposition 18 – Primary Voting for 17-Year-Olds Amendment: Support

California Proposition 19 – Property Tax Transfers, Exemptions, and Revenue for Wildfire Agencies and Counties Amendment: Neutral

California Proposition 20 – Criminal Sentencing, Parole, and DNA Collection Initiative: Oppose

California Proposition 21 – Local Rent Control Initiative: Oppose

California Proposition 22 – App-Based Drivers as Contractors and Labor Policies Initiative: Support

California Proposition 23 – Dialysis Clinic Requirements Initiative: Oppose

California Proposition 24 – Consumer Personal Information Law and Agency Initiative: Neutral

California Proposition 25 – Replace Cash Bail with Risk Assessments Referendum: Support


California Ballot Proposition 14 Stem Cell Research Institute Bond Initiative Support

Summary of Ballot Proposition:

“● Authorizes $5.5 billion in state general obligation bonds to fund grants from the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine to educational, non-profit, and private entities for: stem cell and other medical research, including training; stem cell therapy development and delivery; research facility construction; and associated administrative expenses.

● Dedicates $1.5 billion to research and therapy for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, stroke, epilepsy, and other brain and central nervous system diseases and conditions.

● Appropriates General Fund moneys to pay bond debt service.

● Expands programs promoting stem cell and other medical research, therapy development and delivery, and student and physician training and fellowships.”

(BallotPedia)

Position of the U.S. Transhumanist Party: The U.S. Transhumanist Party strongly supports California Ballot Proposition 14, which will allocate major funds for life-saving and life-extending research into stem-cell therapies as well as the fight against ailments such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and epilepsy. The U.S. Transhumanist Party has long supported significant increases in research funding in all of the aforementioned areas. Indeed, Article VI, Section V, of the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform reads: “The United States Transhumanist Party supports concerted research in effort to eradicate disease and illness that wreak havoc upon and cause death of sapient beings. We strongly advocate the increase and redirection of research funds to conduct research and experiments and to explore life, science, technology, medicine, and extraterrestrial realms to improve all sentient entities.” Ballot Proposition 14 is an example of the precise kinds of research funding that are referenced in Article VI, Section V.

California Ballot Proposition 15 Tax on Commercial and Industrial Properties for Education and Local Government Funding Initiative Oppose

Summary of Ballot Proposition:

“● Increases funding for K-12 public schools, community colleges, and local governments by requiring that commercial and industrial real property be taxed based on current market value, instead of purchase price.

● Exempts from taxation changes: residential properties; agricultural land; and owners of commercial and industrial properties with combined value of $3 million or less.

● Any additional educational funding will supplement existing school funding guarantees.

● Exempts small businesses from personal property tax; for other businesses, provides $500,000 exemption”

(BallotPedia)

Position of the U.S. Transhumanist Party: The U.S. Transhumanist Party opposes property taxes and thus opposes any net increases to property taxes. Article VI, Section XXXVI, of the USTP Platform states that “all taxes on land and property should be abolished.” California Ballot Proposition 15 would greatly increase property taxes on net by changing the basis for taxation from the purchase price to the current market value. Moreover, this shift would unduly burden businesses in California, since the market value of most California properties is artificially inflated due to irrational restrictions on new development, which greatly constrain the supply of buildings of every sort. While the aspect of Proposition 15 to exempt small businesses from personal property tax is admirable – since personal property taxes also should not exist – it is nonetheless possible for Proposition 15 to harm small businesses which rent real estate from larger organizations. If a larger organization is still obligated to pay the higher property tax based on the market value of the leased building, much of the added expense is likely to be passed on to the small-business tenant.

California Ballot Proposition 16 Repeal Proposition 209 Affirmative Action Amendment Oppose

Summary of Ballot Proposition:

“● Permits government decision-making policies to consider race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin to address diversity by repealing article I, section 31, of the California Constitution, which was added by Proposition 209 in 1996.

● Proposition 209 generally prohibits state and local governments from discriminating against, or granting preferential treatment to, individuals or groups on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, education, or contracting.

● Does not alter other state and federal laws guaranteeing equal protection and prohibiting unlawful discrimination.

(BallotPedia.)

Position of the U.S. Transhumanist Party: The U.S. Transhumanist Party strongly opposes California Ballot Proposition 16 – a measure which would overturn the justified 1996 Proposition 209, which prohibited the State of California from considering race, sex, color, ethnicity, and national origin in public employment, public education, and public contracting. Proposition 209 should remain, and circumstantial attributes over which people have no control should not be considered in making the official policy of the State of California.

The U.S. Transhumanist Party is committed to cosmopolitanism, inclusivity, and fair treatment of all individuals, irrespective of attributes (some of which pseudoscientific descriptors to begin with) such as race, ethnicity, or national origin, among the others listed.

Article VI, Section II, of the USTP Platform states, in part, that “The United States Transhumanist Party supports all acceptance, tolerance, and inclusivity of individuals and groups of all races, genders, classes, religions, creeds, and ideologies. Accordingly, the United States Transhumanist Party condemns any hostile discrimination or legal restrictions on the basis of national origin, skin color, birthplace, ancestry, gender identity, or any manner of circumstantial attribute tied to a person’s lineage or accident of birth. Furthermore, the United States Transhumanist Party strongly opposes any efforts to enforce said restrictions regardless of cause or motivation thereof.”

California Ballot Proposition 16 would open the door to hostile discrimination against applicants seeking state employment or other services – based on their national origin, skin color, ethnicity, or other currently protected attributes. This is unacceptable, even if the motivation is to make amends for past injustices. Multiple wrongs do not make a right. Race-based or nationality-based preferences are always inherently unjust, because they sacrifice consideration of the genuine and unique attributes of each individual in favor of circumstantial descriptors which do not define the essence of that individual. Furthermore, any measure that embraces “reverse discrimination” renders itself vulnerable to later being turned into the instrument of the very discrimination it seeks to combat; all it would take is a shift of the people in power and the prevailing ideologies of the day. Racial preferences of any sort are odious and have no place in a society that truly rejects racism.

California Ballot Proposition 17 Voting Rights Restoration for Persons on Parole Amendment Support

Summary of Ballot Proposition: “Amends state constitution to restore voting rights to persons who have been disqualified from voting while serving a prison term as soon as they complete their prison term.”

(BallotPedia.)

Position of the U.S. Transhumanist Party: The U.S. Transhumanist Party supports California Ballot Proposition 17, since there is no reason to deprive the essential right to vote from individuals who have completed their prison sentences. The Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Version 3.0, Article XXXVIII, states,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.” Nothing in the USTP’s affirmation of the “universal and equal suffrage of sentient entities” would justify depriving of the right to vote an individual who has been released from prison with the intent of reintegration of that individual into the processes of society – one of which is voting. Additionally, many individuals on parole had been previously imprisoned because of nonviolent “victimless” offenses for which the USTP supports decriminalization altogether. For instance, a person on parole for a marijuana possession offense should not be deprived of the right to vote, since marijuana possession should never have been a crime to begin with. Even for those who committed genuine crimes, the ability to vote once they are on parole would not raise the risk of recidivism and, on the contrary, might interest some of these individuals in staying involved in the operations of civilized society on peaceful terms.

California Ballot Proposition 18   Primary Voting for 17-Year-Olds Amendment Support

Summary of Ballot Proposition:

● The California Constitution currently permits individuals who are at least 18 years old on the date of an election to vote in that election.

● Amends constitution to permit 17-year-olds who will be at least 18 years old and otherwise eligible to vote at the time of the next general election to vote in any primary or special election that occurs before the next general election.

(BallotPedia.)

Position of the U.S. Transhumanist Party: The U.S. Transhumanist Party supports California Ballot Proposition 18, a modest expansion of the right to vote in the primaries to 17-year-olds who will be turning 18 on the day of the general election. The U.S. Transhumanist Party is generally supportive of expanding the franchise to sentient entities capable of forming political opinions, as 17-year-olds clearly are. Article VI, Section XXIII, of the USTP Platform states that

“The United States Transhumanist Party supports the rights of children to exercise liberty in proportion to their rational faculties and capacity for autonomous judgment.” Most 17-year-olds are clearly capable of understanding the issues being voted and forming autonomous, rational judgments regarding them. Indeed, because many such individuals are students who have recently studied U.S. government, civics, and history, they would be more likely than the typical voter to have correct factual information about the U.S. political system at their disposal.

The USTP would go further than California Ballot Proposition 18 and enfranchise all children and teenagers who can demonstrate knowledge of the American system of government and the candidates and issues being voted on. This would, indeed, be a more stringent set of criteria than currently expected of adult voters and would contribute to a more informed electorate. However, California Ballot Proposition 18 is clearly a modest step in the correct direction.

California Ballot Proposition 19 Property Tax Transfers, Exemptions, and Revenue for Wildfire Agencies and Counties Amendment Neutral

Summary of Ballot Proposition:

“● Permits homeowners who are over 55, severely disabled, or whose homes were destroyed by wildfire or disaster, to transfer their primary residence’s property tax base value to a replacement residence of any value, anywhere in the state.

● Limits tax benefits for certain transfers of real property between family members.

● Expands tax benefits for transfers of family farms.

● Allocates most resulting state revenues and savings (if any) to fire protection services and reimbursing local governments for taxation-related changes.”

(BallotPedia.)

Position of the U.S. Transhumanist Party: The U.S. Transhumanist Party is neutral on California Ballot Proposition 19. The USTP generally opposes property taxes and thus considers any expansion of credits or exemptions that would lower the property-tax burden to be beneficial. However, Ballot Proposition 19 is a mixture of expanding and limiting exemptions from property taxes. In particular, according to Ballotpedia, “The ballot measure would eliminate the parent-to-child and grandparent-to-grandchild exemption in cases where the child or grandchild does not use the inherited property as their principal residence, such as using a property a rental house or a second home.” It is difficult to weigh the impacts of the additional tax exemptions and exemption removals vis-à-vis one another, especially since different components of this measure will affect different individuals, and any systematic comparison of benefits and costs across individuals is methodologically problematic to say the least. The best policies are Pareto-efficient, in that they benefit at least one person without harming any other person. California Ballot Proposition 19 is certainly not Pareto-efficient. Because of the ambiguous effects of California Ballot Proposition 19, the U.S. Transhumanist Party as an organization does not take a stance on this measure and recommends that its members make their decisions by individually considering the potential benefits and costs and how this measure might affect them personally, if at all.

California Ballot Proposition 20 Criminal Sentencing, Parole, and DNA Collection Initiative Oppose

Summary of Ballot Proposition:

“● Limits access to parole programs established for non-violent offenders who have completed the full term of their primary offense by eliminating eligibility for certain offenses.

● Changes standards and requirements governing parole decisions under this program.

● Authorizes felony charges for specified theft crimes currently chargeable only as misdemeanors, including some theft crimes where the value is between $250 and $950.

● Requires persons convicted of specified misdemeanors to submit to collection of DNA samples for state database.”

(BallotPedia.)

Position of the U.S. Transhumanist Party: The U.S. Transhumanist Party opposes California Ballot Proposition 20, as this measure would have the net effect of significantly increasing the population in prison for relatively minor criminal offenses, such as petty thefts and various nonviolent crimes. Such crimes are better addressed through restitution than through imprisonment. According to the fiscal impact statement for this measure, as related by Ballotpedia, there would arise “Increased state and local correctional costs likely in the tens of millions of dollars annually, primarily related to increases in county jail populations and levels of community supervision.”

Article VI, Section XV, of the USTP Platform states, “The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to significantly reduce the massive incarcerated population in America by using innovative technologies to monitor criminals outside of prison.” California Ballot Proposition 20 would go in the opposite direction by reducing opportunities for criminals to receive parole. Instead of continuing to overload the prison system, the California State Government should invest in monitoring technologies such as personal drones that would follow certain parolees during their daily activities and have the ability to alert law enforcement if the parolee attempts to commit a criminal offense that would have a victim.

California Ballot Proposition 21 Local Rent Control Initiative Oppose

Summary of Ballot Proposition:

“● Amends state law to allow local governments to establish rent control on residential properties over 15 years old. Allows local limits on annual rent increases to differ from current statewide limit.

● Allows rent increases in rent-controlled properties of up to 15 percent over three years at start of new tenancy (above any increase allowed by local ordinance).

● Exempts individuals who own no more than two homes from new rent-control policies.

● In accordance with California law, prohibits rent control from violating landlords’ right to fair financial return.”

(BallotPedia.)

Position of the U.S. Transhumanist Party: While the U.S. Transhumanist Party considers the cost of housing, including rental housing, in California to be unreasonably high – indeed, wildly exorbitant on a historically unprecedented scale – the U.S. Transhumanist Party nonetheless opposes California Ballot Proposition 21 and rent-control measures more generally. Article XVIII of the Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Version 3.0, expresses the right of all sentient entities to “housing or other appropriate shelter” – and thus affordability in housing is a goal embraced by the U.S. Transhumanist Party. Rent control, however, is a poor means toward that goal.

The path toward improving housing affordability is to greatly increase the supply of housing, which is tightly restricted in California due to pressure from NIMBY special interests and local anti-development activist groups. In the absence of such new construction, rent control creates undesirable incentives that harm tenants of rent-controlled buildings, including situations where landlords would be motivated to pressure the tenants to leave by indirect means, such as failing to adequately maintain the building or trying to intentionally find or engineer minor lease violations and over-zealously pursue such violations as a means to legally evict the tenants.

In order to generally reduce housing and rental costs in California, a massive building program using 3D-printing technologies and other innovative construction methods would be a far superior option to rent-controlling the existing California housing stock, which is already quite old and in need of significant maintenance.

California Ballot Proposition 22 – App-Based Drivers as Contractors and Labor Policies Initiative – Support

Summary of Ballot Proposition:

“● Classifies drivers for app-based transportation (rideshare) and delivery companies as ‘independent contractors,’ not ‘employees,’ unless company: sets drivers’ hours, requires acceptance of specific ride and delivery requests, or restricts working for other companies.

● Independent contractors are not covered by various state employment laws—including minimum wage, overtime, unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation.

● Instead, independent-contractor drivers would be entitled to other compensation—including minimum earnings, healthcare subsidies, and vehicle insurance.

● Restricts certain local regulation of app-based drivers.

● Criminalizes impersonation of drivers.”

(BallotPedia.)

Position of the U.S. Transhumanist Party: The U.S. Transhumanist Party supports California Ballot Proposition 22 in order to enable technologically driven economic progress in the personal transportation industry, which has been brought about by ridesharing services (a.k.a. transportation network companies) but which has been hampered in California by the passage of Assembly Bill 5, which had classified rideshare drivers as employees of the platforms they use and thus precipitated a threat of pullout from California by the transportation network companies, such as Uber and Lyft.

Article VI, Section IX, of the USTP Platform, reads, in part, that “The United States Transhumanist Party supports all emerging technologies that have the potential to improve the human condition” – and innovative, technologically driven ridesharing platforms are among such emerging technologies, subsumed in Section IX under “applications for the sharing of durable goods” (in this case, vehicles).

The flawed classification of ridesharing services’ drivers as employees is contrary to many of those drivers’ own wishes, as employees often do not have the flexibility to set their own hours or the conditions of their work, and such flexibility is a primary attraction of becoming a rideshare driver. It is clear that classifying ridesharing services’ drivers as employees is intended as protectionism for legacy taxicab companies, whose business model has often resulted in sub-optimal treatment of consumers and thus led to widespread consumer frustration. On the other hand, most consumers have expressed overwhelming satisfaction with ridesharing services. California Ballot Proposition 22 restores the more reasonable classification of ridesharing services’ drivers as independent contractors while affording them basic protections regarding their earnings, healthcare, and vehicle insurance. Those who perceived the classification of such drivers as employees to be necessary to afford them the aforementioned benefits were mistaken; the benefits can be conferred by law without the restrictions and added costs that employee status would entail.

California Ballot Proposition 23 Dialysis Clinic Requirements Initiative Oppose

Summary of Ballot Proposition:

“● Requires at least one licensed physician on site during treatment at outpatient kidney dialysis clinics; authorizes California Department of Public Health to exempt clinics from this requirement if there is a shortage of qualified licensed physicians and the clinic has at least one nurse practitioner or physician assistant on site.

Requires clinics to report dialysis-related infection data to state and federal governments.

● Prohibits clinics from closing or reducing services without state approval.

● Prohibits clinics from refusing to treat patients based on the source of payment for care.”

(BallotPedia.)

Position of the U.S. Transhumanist Party: The U.S. Transhumanist Party opposes California Ballot Proposition 23 primarily because of the requirement that at least one licensed physician be on site during treatment at outpatient kidney dialysis clinics. Because of the dire shortage of available physicians, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, this requirement would mean that many dialysis clinics would be unable to operate or offer life-serving services to patients who require dialysis.

More generally, the U.S. Transhumanist Party advocates lowering barriers to entry into the medical profession and recognizing numerous areas of patient care which could be provided effectively and affordably without the presence of full-fledged MDs.

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

Thus, the USTP advocates the development of competitively offered certifications for dialysis specialists who would be able to provide patients with quality care and respond effectively to emergencies or complications. However, the USTP strongly opposes any mandate that would prohibit a clinic that offers a lifesaving service from operating if no physician is on site.

California Ballot Proposition 24 Consumer Personal Information Law and Agency Initiative Neutral

Summary of Ballot Proposition:

“● Permits consumers to: (1) prevent businesses from sharing personal information; (2) correct inaccurate personal information; and (3) limit businesses’ use of “sensitive personal information”—including precise geolocation; race; ethnicity; religion; genetic data; private communications; sexual orientation; and specified health information.

● Establishes California Privacy Protection Agency to additionally enforce and implement consumer privacy laws and impose fines.

● Changes criteria for which businesses must comply with laws.

● Prohibits businesses’ retention of personal information for longer than reasonably necessary.

● Triples maximum penalties for violations concerning consumers under age 16.

Authorizes civil penalties for theft of consumer login information, as specified.”

(BallotPedia.)

Position of the U.S. Transhumanist Party: The U.S. Transhumanist Party is neutral on California Ballot Proposition 24, a 50-page measure whose net effects on consumer privacy and control over personal data would be unclear.

The USTP strongly supports individual privacy. Article VI, Section I, of the USTP Platform, reads, in part, that “The United States Transhumanist Party strongly supports individual privacy and liberty over how to apply technology to one’s personal life. The United States Transhumanist Party holds that each individual should remain completely sovereign in the choice to disclose or not disclose personal activities, preferences, and beliefs within the public sphere.”

While some of the provisions in California Ballot Proposition 24 are intended to support the right of individual privacy, the USTP questions the length and complexity of the measure, when effective protections for privacy could be articulated in a straightforward and concise manner. Various privacy advocates are split on California Ballot Proposition 24, and many have alleged that the length and complexity of the measure are the result of various carve-outs that allow large companies to collect significant amounts of data on consumers without their consent, sometimes in ways that are more permissive than current California law – the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018. Furthermore, California Ballot Proposition 24 would appear to allow “pay for privacy” schemes, instead of privacy being the default. The USTP holds that the basic option for any service should be that the consumer owns all of his, her, or its data – and if the consumer is to be asked to give control over any such data to a third party, the consumer should be affirmatively rewarded for such a decision (for instance, via micropayments or other special benefits) – instead of being denied access to the default service for refusing to give another party control over the consumer’s personal data.

Ultimately, because the net impacts of California Ballot Proposition 24 on privacy are difficult to ascertain, the U.S. Transhumanist Party encourages its California members to study the proposal’s components and the issues involved and to individually weigh the potential benefits and costs of this measure in order to arrive at a reasonable personal position.

California Ballot Proposition 25 Replace Cash Bail with Risk Assessments Referendum Support

Summary of Ballot Proposition:

“A ‘Yes’ vote approves, and a ‘No’ vote rejects, a 2018 law that:

  • Replaced the money bail system (for obtaining release from jail before trial) with a system based on a determination of public safety and flight risk.
  • Limits detention of a person in jail before trial for most misdemeanors.”

(BallotPedia.)

Position of the U.S. Transhumanist Party: The U.S. Transhumanist Party supports California Ballot Proposition 25, which would uphold the 2018 Senate Bill 10 – legislation that has performed well in reducing California’s jailed population such that nonviolent accused persons who are determined by a thoughtful risk assessment not to be flight risks could be released on their own recognizance without the need for cash bail. The USTP supports reductions in the incarcerated population, and this applies before a person undergoes trial just as it applies afterward if that person is convicted. The ability to make a bail payment is not a determinant of a person’s objective risk to others, and most accused individuals end up purchasing bail bonds due to the inability to afford the bail amount out of pocket. While the bail amount gets returned to the defendant after trial, the bail-bond amount gets paid to a third-party bail agent. A person who goes to trial and is exonerated for the alleged offense should not be made any poorer as a result, yet the system of cash bail channels many people in already precarious financial situations into arrangements which lead exactly to such impoverishment.

 

Announcement Regarding California Transhumanist Party E-Governance Referendum, Encouragement to Participate, and USTP Chairman Stolyarov’s Answers

Announcement Regarding California Transhumanist Party E-Governance Referendum, Encouragement to Participate, and USTP Chairman Stolyarov’s Answers

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The United States Transhumanist Party encourages all of its members to participate in the E-Governance Referendum designed by the California Transhumanist Party.

Please read the description of the California Transhumanist Party E-Governance Referendum here.

California Transhumanist Party Chairman Newton Lee characterized the E-Governance Referendum as the California Transhumanist Party’s “first step in establishing electronic democracy, where every citizen becomes a part of collective decision-making process.”

The California Transhumanist Party E-Governance Referendum is independent of the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform, and the USTP Platform will continue to determine USTP policy positions in all respects. However, the California Transhumanist Party E-Governance Referendum is an interesting experiment in aggregation and analysis of views on policy issues by a mediated artificial superintelligence (mASI) called Uplift.  Per the description of the objectives of the referendum, “Building Better Policy in e-Governance AI-Driven Research is a part of the Uplift mASI research program that has the goal of a better understanding of how technology can be used to develop better policy. The project has a number of partners and related projects and sub-projects where we hope to explore our project vision around the application of particular key technologies in AI, comprising primarily the application of collective intelligence systems in e-governance—but also including blockchain, AGI cognitive architectures, and other distributed AI systems.”

David J. Kelley of AGI Laboratory, who developed the Uplift mASI, stated that “Uplift is about raising the apotheosis of organizations to a higher, more awakened state that can increase profits, save jobs, help the environment, and optimize society.”

On June 14, 2020, the U.S. Transhumanist Party hosted a Virtual Enlightenment Salon featuring David J. Kelley as its guest, in which an extensive discussion of Uplift and the E-Governance Referendum transpired. Watch the video of this Virtual Enlightenment Salon here.

The four questions in the California Transhumanist Party E-Governance Referendum (for which you may enter responses after clicking on the links below) are the following:

  1. Should the government keep Universal Basic Income (UBI), a “stimulus package” introduced to Americans during the COVID-related crisis?
  2. Should the government impose a higher income tax on the wealthy individuals in order to pay the Universal Basic Salary to US citizens?
  3. Should we have free universal medical care?
  4. Should the police be defunded? Consider alternatives and how such a policy could be used to force changes in local departments. Please consider how this would realistically be done?

Referendum-related questions should be directed at the mASI system running the study: mASI@Uplift.bio


U.S. Transhumanist Party Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II’s Responses to the California Transhumanist Party E-Governance Referendum

USTP Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II provided the following answers to the questions on the California Transhumanist Party E-Governance Referendum, based on the positions taken in the USTP Platform and the Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Version 3.0.

Every individual, whether or not that person is a member of the U.S. Transhumanist Party or the California Transhumanist Party, is able to participate in the California Transhumanist Party E-Governance Referendum. All individuals are encouraged to vote their conscience, and Chairman Stolyarov’s answers are presented to express one set of responses, but not necessarily the only set of responses, that would be consistent with the USTP Platform.

Question 1:

Should the government keep Universal Basic Income, introduced to Americans as a “stimulus package” during the COVID-related crisis?

Answer: Yes

What caveats do you have to your position?

The Universal Basic Income must be implemented without raising net taxes on any segment of the population. The Universal Basic Income also must not be means-tested, and the same amount must apply to all. Desirably, the Universal Basic Income should replace at least some traditional, means-tested welfare systems and thus reduce the cost of administration.

Are there key details that your position requires to maintain that position?

The most effective way of funding a Universal Basic Income would be a land dividend or resource dividend, where governmentally owned land or other natural resources would be leased (or, in the case of perishable resources, sold) to private parties with certain environmentally friendly stipulations, and with the proceeds being used to fund the Universal Basic Income.

Any means-testing or conditionality of a Universal Basic Income would defeat its purpose, as it would reintroduce the same burdensome costs of administration which render traditional means-tested welfare systems counterproductive from a cost-benefit standpoint.

How do you feel about your position and this question?

I feel strongly that Universal Basic Income could work if it is truly unconditional and does not involve redistribution of existing wealth. However, I strongly feel that Universal Basic Income will fail if it is modified to lack universality or to involve a redistributive taxation mechanism that raises taxes on higher income-earners.

Do you have any other thoughts on this topic that would be important to note?

The “trials” of Universal Basic Income that are being undertaken in various countries are not true instances of a Universal Basic Income, because they are often targeted toward specific poorer or unemployed segments of the population, and because they have an expiration date, which alters the incentives of the recipients of the funds and increases the uncertainty felt by those recipients.. Any perceived failures or insufficiencies of such “trials” should not be used to discredit the concept of a true Universal Basic Income.

Do you want to be included in the collective discussion with the AI systems on this referendum and study only related exchanges? 

Yes.

Question 2:

Should the government impose a higher income tax on the wealthy individuals in order to pay the Universal Basic Salary to U.S. citizens?

Answer: No.

What caveats do you have to your position?

Income taxes should not be raised and, on the contrary, should be repealed entirely. There should not be any graduated taxation of incomes. All taxation should be in the form of a single flat percentage-of-sales tax applicable only to purchases from businesses whose combined nationwide revenues from all affiliates exceed a specified threshold. This tax should be built into the price of goods from such large businesses and should not impede transaction efficiency in any manner or even be felt by consumers as they go about their day-to-day activities.

Are there key details that your position requires to maintain that position?

Income taxation presents a disincentive to work and creates a special compliance burden on individuals by means of the complexity of the tax code and the need to make tax-return filings. This compliance burden is more of a drain on productivity than the actual amount of the tax and particularly affects middle-class taxpayers who often submit their own tax returns using their own efforts. Moreover, graduated income taxation creates disincentives for upward economic mobility and particularly penalizes up-and-coming middle-class individuals who seek to improve their financial well-being. The ultra-wealthy can easily afford the higher tax rates in the upper income brackets or can shelter their incomes from taxation, but the middle-class and upper-middle-class taxpayers bear the full burdens. This, indeed, creates barriers to entry into the economic elite and prevents the full extent of desirable competition for wealth acquisition through productive and societally beneficial means.

How do you feel about your position and this question?

I feel strongly that any increase in any income tax would be counterproductive.

Do you have any other thoughts on this topic that would be important to note?

A federal land dividend or resource dividend would be a far superior way of funding a Universal Basic Income.

Do you want to be included in the collective discussion with the AI systems on this referendum and study only related exchanges? 

Yes.

Question 3:

Should we have free universal medical care?

Answer: Yes.

What caveats do you have to your position?

Medical care should be universal and eventually free, but not necessarily provided by government, and private competition in the provision of services should always be permitted. People should also always be permitted to pay for any medical treatments they wish to receive from any reasonably qualified provider. The way to achieve eventually free medical care is through the progress of science and technology that would dramatically reduce costs, not through compelling everyone to participate in a government program. Achieving a system of de facto free, universal medical care will realistically require a transitional period where medical care will become increasingly accessible but still require patients to pay some portion of the cost while the necessary technologies for free or nearly free delivery of care are developed and mature.

Are there key details that your position requires to maintain that position?

Medical care can become universal in much the same way that access to food is virtually universal in the “developed” world today, even though there is no government program for food distribution that everyone is required to participate in. There is a role for government in providing various safety nets and medical infrastructure for public-health reasons – such as ample hospital surge capacity in the event of pandemics, and stockpiles of personal protective equipment and other essential medical supplies. To the extent that government-supplied healthcare can improve health outcomes among the less well-off and thereby prevent the spread of infectious diseases and other maladies, this could be beneficial. Moreover, patient choice and private options, supplied on a competitive market, must always remain available. It is possible for a future system of universal healthcare to consist of a free, baseline, governmentally provided option with a large number of private competing options – including for the same services that the government option may be providing. Technological innovation and competition may drive the cost of the private options to eventually be close to zero, just as access to e-mail is virtually free today because of freedom of innovation and ample options, as well as revenue models that do not require the end users to pay. Moreover, private philanthropy can and should play a significant role in covering the costs of medical care for those in need.

How do you feel about your position and this question?

There is considerably ambiguity as to what people mean when they refer to “free” and “universal” medical care. Depending on what they actually mean, I could feel favorably inclined (as in the case of technologically driven major reductions in cost and improvements in access to care), or averse (as in the case of governmentally mandated “single payer” systems).

Do you have any other thoughts on this topic that would be important to note?

A “single payer” system of care, or a system such the Canadian one which allows no private options, is not actually a free or a universal system of care. Any system that rations care by requiring patients to wait is neither free nor universal. Moreover, any system that is funded by taxation is not free. A truly free, universal system of medical care will not involve queuing, rationing, or taxpayer subsidies. It may be funded by a superabundance of resources produced at nearly no cost by emerging technologies of advanced manufacturing and automation.

Do you want to be included in the collective discussion with the AI systems on this referendum and study only related exchanges? 

Yes.

Question 4:

Should the police be defunded? Consider alternatives and how such a policy could be used to force changes in local departments. Please consider how this would realistically be done.

Answer: No.

What caveats do you have to your position? The police should not be defunded altogether, but funding should be redirected toward more humane and less violent means of apprehending criminals and de-escalating situations. Funding currently used for militarized police forces should be devoted to technologies that can peacefully incapacitate offenders and provide effective passive defense for police officers, as well as improved training for police that prioritizes non-violent conflict resolution. Some net reduction of police funding may be justified, but some manner of police force should continue to exist to help keep the peace, or else violent crime will escalate out of control.

Are there key details that your position requires to maintain that position?

Defunding the police may be counterproductive by leaving people vulnerable to actual violent criminals. However, serious police reform is necessary – including eliminating qualified immunity, curbing the power of police unions, requiring police body cameras and protecting recordings from tampering by police, facilitating objective, external investigations of alleged police misconduct, prohibiting no-knock raids and chokeholds, and requiring that police use non-lethal means unless their lives are genuinely threatened. Most importantly, the default operating protocols of police must be revised in the United States to be more similar to those in countries where killings by police are minimal.

How do you feel about your position and this question?

I feel ambivalent about calls to “defund the police”, because they are seldom accompanied by specific measures that would replace the role of the police in combatting actual violent crime. Sometimes, those who advocate “defunding” the police actually advocate a reduction and/or redirection of the funds to other conflict-resolution methods, and in those cases I am more favorably inclined – since not all instances of misbehavior require police intervention to correct.

Do you have any other thoughts on this topic that would be important to note?

Any effective police reform needs to focus on the root causes of police militarization and reflexively lethal use of force. Such root causes include the misguided War on Drugs and War on Terror, as well the existence of artificial and protectionist barriers to economic opportunity for many individuals, which lead those individuals to be channeled into lives of crime.

Do you want to be included in the collective discussion with the AI systems on this referendum and study only related exchanges? 

Yes.

Proposal by C.H. Antony on a U.S. Transhumanist Party Working Group on Universal Basic Income (UBI) Implementation

Proposal by C.H. Antony on a U.S. Transhumanist Party Working Group on Universal Basic Income (UBI) Implementation

logo_bgC. H. Antony


The United States Transhumanist Party seeks any willing individuals to participate in the discussion of a proposal by Mr. C.H. Antony to craft detailed ideas for achieving the implementation of an unconditional Universal Basic Income (UBI) system. To indicate your interest and provide ideas in relation to Mr. Antony’s proposal, please post in the comments below.

Background: The United States Transhumanist Party supports a major streamlining of fiscal policy, combined with a streamlining of the manner in which financial support is provided by government to individuals. Sections XVI, XXXV, and XXXVI of the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform address, respectively, UBI, reduction of the U.S. national debt, and dramatic tax simplification. Our goal, therefore, is a government that has as little debt as possible, and whose revenues and transfer payments are as straightforward as possible.

Section XVI [Adopted by a vote of the members during March 26 – April 1, 2017]: Given the inevitability of technology eventually replacing the need for the labor of sentient entities, 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.

Section XXXV [Adopted by a vote of the members during May 7-13, 2017]:  The United States Transhumanist Party considers it imperative to achieve reductions of the United States national debt in order to avoid calamitous scenarios of extreme inflation, default, and burdensome future tax increases on individuals. The United States Transhumanist Party supports the following measures to reduce the national debt:

  1. Elimination of wasteful federal spending on programs, goods, and services where equivalent positive results could be obtained through lower expenditures.
  2. Cessation of foreign military occupations and the return of American troops to be stationed exclusively on American territory. However, if a mutually appropriate defense treaty with another country requires the United States to station troops in that country, those troops would be allowed to remain there until the treaty obligations are fulfilled or reduced by mutual agreement with the affected country. If the United States continues to station troops in any country due to mutually appropriate defense treaties, the United States Transhumanist Party supports greater reciprocity in allowing military personnel from that country to be stationed in the United States for purposes of training and information exchange.
  3. Removal of barriers to technological innovation and technologically driven economic growth, in order that a surge in such growth could increase federal revenues so as to generate increasing surpluses, as long as federal spending does not materially rise from current levels.
  4. Elimination of the current cumbersome system of federal contracting, which favors politically connected incumbent firms whose advantage consists of navigating the system, rather than performing the best possible work. Instead, all federal agencies should be empowered to purchase supplies and equipment and to requisition projects from any entity capable of satisfying an immediate need at a reasonable cost. Exclusive and preferential contracts for particular entities should be prohibited, and all payments by federal agencies for work by non-employees should be determined on a case-by-case basis.
  5. Digitization of as many federal services and functions as possible – to eliminate the waste and expense of paperwork, physical queues, and legacy information technology systems.

Section XXXVI [Adopted by a vote of the members during May 7-13, 2017]: The United States Transhumanist Party supports the elimination of graduated taxation and income taxation more generally. Instead, 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 tax should be built into the price of goods from such large businesses and should not impede transaction efficiency in any manner. Transactions pertaining to wages, salaries, gifts, donations, barter, employee benefits, and inheritances should remain completely untaxed, as should transactions involving solely individuals and/or small businesses, for whom the establishment of a tax-reporting infrastructure would be onerous. Furthermore, all taxes on land and property should be abolished.

The following proposal is not a final outline of solutions, nor is it, in its present form, a reflection of the positions of the U.S. Transhumanist Party. Rather, it is a set of ideas put forth by Mr. Antony in a desire to elicit the expertise of those who are willing to contribute to a policy paper that the U.S. Transhumanist Party may develop in order to put forward a viable plan for making a Universal Basic Income a reality, beginning from today’s conditions. The specific content of that paper is to be determined based on the contributions and deliberations of any future working group. 


Discussion by C.H. Antony: I have a stepped plan based on my own limited knowledge that I think is the ticket, but I need to combine the work of individuals with expertise in the following fields:

  • Economics with an understanding of federal spending.
  • Corporate law with an understanding of the Constitution’s position on corporations.
  • A tax professional who can weigh the benefits/detriments within the previously described fields.
  • Someone who can discuss sociological matters pertaining to a UBI and who can show statistical models of the argument.

The following is the essence of my model.

I. Calculate the minimum necessary expense of the GDP necessary to fund a functioning government with regard to the following conditions:

  1. Fully automated IRS that only employs a handful of programmers and analysts to maintain and upgrade the automated systems and address potential or reported errors. Apply this model elsewhere in government where possible.
  2. Cancel all social programs with the intent of replacement with UBI (i.e., SSDI, SSI, Food stamps, VA Income, Tax Credits, etc.).
  3. Consolidate redundant government agencies and eliminate certain specialized enforcement branches. Examples: we don’t need five intelligence agencies when a single well-organized agency could perform all the same functions, BATF can be disbanded, etc.
  4. A fully funded modern military where no soldier’s family barely makes it above the poverty line.
  5. No foreign payments without a tangible financial return to the US in the form of goods or services.
  6. No federal pensions of any kind for any level of service. [Constitutionally, this would only be possible for new hires going forward.]
  7. Save and invest 18% for our own economic growth and to outpace global inflation.
  8. Apply AI and automation as liberally as possible where it can replace functionaries at all levels.

II. Eliminate all federal income tax on private individuals and small businesses and also eliminate income taxes at local and state levels. Determine a fair and sustainable Flat Sales Tax paid on all non-essential purchases that is paid directly into the UBI fund. Sales-tax-exempt items would be the following:

  1. Food stuffs.
  2. Water
  3. Sewer and waste services.
  4. Electricity and other domestic use fuels.
  5. Medical and health-related items.
  6. Educational items and services.
  7. Home and land purchases that are the primary residence; no annual property taxes.

III. Further reduce the federal budget by saving on prosecuting victimless crimes (consensual prostitution, recreational narcotic use, etc.) and remove the state as an entity that may be called as a victim in a crime.

IV. Allow free air-time, equally disseminated, for any candidate running for political office. Social media and digital streaming are more than adequate in this era to give every candidate an equal voice for the people to hear and vote on. States should be directed to follow the same model.

V. Create a payment schedule whereby the national debt is paid in full as quickly as possible from the GDP alone.

VI. Restructure corporate taxes to be both competitive with the rest of the world and be useful to the UBI fund. Determine qualifications where a small business may incorporate that does not punish a successful small business, has clear advantages, and encourages growth within a new corporate structure.

VII. Create a fund whereby two years of field-specific education is available to every adult American citizen. Apply a nation-wide school voucher program to grades K-12, allowing schools to compete for students through quality and safety.

VIII. Create a fund that provides unlimited and free healthcare at a fair market value to all US citizens.

IX. Encourage a near-zero human labor manufacturing trend in the US with an eye on converting other nations into customers and partners for products of US companies.

X. Aim for an average of $52,000 per year for each adult American citizen (approximately 250,000,000 adult citizens).

I believe the above, when fleshed out and mathematically modeled, will serve as a succinct and presentable plan that we could, essentially, sell to voters causing representatives to take notice and have to discuss it publically.

This model in no way, I feel, reflects any form of socialism or communism, as it does not take a dime out of the pockets of any one higher-wage earner for the purpose of giving it to a lower-wage earner. It is self-scalable for inflation and deflation without affecting an individual’s quality of life. It in no way precludes anyone from seeking and obtaining opportunity and earning potentials beyond the UBI, thusly not endangering free market capitalism.

Also, I believe the easiest sell will be to corporations that are already having to maneuver the cost of human labor vs. automation. They can help push the reforms by leveraging lobbying power for us.

C. H. Antony is a member of the U.S. Transhumanist Party. He may be contacted here

Review of Frank Pasquale’s “A Rule of Persons, Not Machines: The Limits of Legal Automation” – Article by Adam Alonzi

Review of Frank Pasquale’s “A Rule of Persons, Not Machines: The Limits of Legal Automation” – Article by Adam Alonzi

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Adam Alonzi


From the beginning Frank Pasquale, author of The Black Box Society: The Secret Algorithms That Control Money and Information, contends in his new paper “A Rule of Persons, Not Machines: The Limits of Legal Automation” that software, given its brittleness, is not designed to deal with the complexities of taking a case through court and establishing a verdict. As he understands it, an AI cannot deviate far from the rules laid down by its creator. This assumption, which is not even quite right at the present time, only slightly tinges an otherwise erudite, sincere, and balanced coverage of the topic. He does not show much faith in the use of past cases to create datasets for the next generation of paralegals, automated legal services, and, in the more distant future, lawyers and jurists.

Lawrence Zelanik has noted that when taxes were filed entirely on paper, provisions were limited to avoid unreasonably imposing irksome nuances on the average person. Tax-return software has eliminated this “complexity constraint.” He goes on to state that without this the laws, and the software that interprets it, are akin to a “black box” for those who must abide by them. William Gale has said taxes could be easily computed for “non-itemizers.” In other words, the government could use information it already has to present a “bill” to this class of taxpayers, saving time and money for all parties involved. However, simplification does not always align with everyone’s interests. TurboTax’s business, which is built entirely on helping ordinary people navigate the labyrinth is the American federal income tax, noticed a threat to its business model. This prompted it to put together a grassroots campaign to fight such measures. More than just another example of a business protecting its interests, it is an ominous foreshadowing of an escalation scenario that will transpire in many areas if and when legal AI becomes sufficiently advanced.  

Pasquale writes: “Technologists cannot assume that computational solutions to one problem will not affect the scope and nature of that problem. Instead, as technology enters fields, problems change, as various parties seek to either entrench or disrupt aspects of the present situation for their own advantage.”

What he is referring to here, in everything but name, is an arms race. The vastly superior computational powers of robot lawyers may make the already perverse incentive to make ever more Byzantine rules ever more attractive to bureaucracies and lawyers. The concern is that the clauses and dependencies hidden within contracts will quickly explode, making them far too detailed even for professionals to make sense of in a reasonable amount of time. Given that this sort of software may become a necessary accoutrement in most or all legal matters means that the demand for it, or for professionals with access to it, will expand greatly at the expense of those who are unwilling or unable to adopt it. This, though Pasquale only hints at it, may lead to greater imbalances in socioeconomic power. On the other hand, he does not consider the possibility of bottom-up open-source (or state-led) efforts to create synthetic public defenders. While this may seem idealistic, it is fairly clear that the open-source model can compete with and, in some areas, outperform proprietary competitors.

It is not unlikely that within subdomains of law that an array of arms races can and will arise between synthetic intelligences. If a lawyer knows its client is guilty, should it squeal? This will change the way jurisprudence works in many countries, but it would seem unwise to program any robot to knowingly lie about whether a crime, particularly a serious one, has been committed – including by omission. If it is fighting against a punishment it deems overly harsh for a given crime, for trespassing to get a closer look at a rabid raccoon or unintentional jaywalking, should it maintain its client’s innocence as a means to an end? A moral consequentialist, seeing no harm was done (or in some instances, could possibly have been done), may persist in pleading innocent. A synthetic lawyer may be more pragmatic than deontological, but it is not entirely correct, and certainly shortsighted, to (mis)characterize AI as only capable of blindly following a set of instructions, like a Fortran program made to compute the nth member of the Fibonacci series.

Human courts are rife with biases: judges give more lenient sentences after taking a lunch break (65% more likely to grant parole – nothing to spit at), attractive defendants are viewed favorably by unwashed juries and trained jurists alike, and the prejudices of all kinds exist against various “out” groups, which can tip the scales in favor of a guilty verdict or to harsher sentences. Why then would someone have an aversion to the introduction of AI into a system that is clearly ruled, in part, by the quirks of human psychology?  

DoNotPay is an an app that helps drivers fight parking tickets. It allows drivers with legitimate medical emergencies to gain exemptions. So, as Pasquale says, not only will traffic management be automated, but so will appeals. However, as he cautions, a flesh-and-blood lawyer takes responsibility for bad advice. The DoNotPay not only fails to take responsibility, but “holds its client responsible for when its proprietor is harmed by the interaction.” There is little reason to think machines would do a worse job of adhering to privacy guidelines than human beings unless, as mentioned in the example of a machine ratting on its client, there is some overriding principle that would compel them to divulge the information to protect several people from harm if their diagnosis in some way makes them as a danger in their personal or professional life. Is the client responsible for the mistakes of the robot it has hired? Should the blame not fall upon the firm who has provided the service?

Making a blockchain that could handle the demands of processing purchases and sales, one that takes into account all the relevant variables to make expert judgements on a matter, is no small task. As the infamous disagreement over the meaning of the word “chicken” in Frigaliment v. B.N.S International Sales Group illustrates, the definitions of what anything is can be a bit puzzling. The need to maintain a decent reputation to maintain sales is a strong incentive against knowingly cheating customers, but although cheating tends to be the exception for this reason, it is still necessary to protect against it. As one official on the  Commodity Futures Trading Commission put it, “where a smart contract’s conditions depend upon real-world data (e.g., the price of a commodity future at a given time), agreed-upon outside systems, called oracles, can be developed to monitor and verify prices, performance, or other real-world events.”  

Pasquale cites the SEC’s decision to force providers of asset-backed securities to file “downloadable source code in Python.” AmeriCredit responded by saying it  “should not be forced to predict and therefore program every possible slight iteration of all waterfall payments” because its business is “automobile loans, not software development.” AmeriTrade does not seem to be familiar with machine learning. There is a case for making all financial transactions and agreements explicit on an immutable platform like blockchain. There is also a case for making all such code open source, ready to be scrutinized by those with the talents to do so or, in the near future, by those with access to software that can quickly turn it into plain English, Spanish, Mandarin, Bantu, Etruscan, etc.

During the fallout of the 2008 crisis, some homeowners noticed the entities on their foreclosure paperwork did not match the paperwork they received when their mortgages were sold to a trust. According to Dayen (2010) many banks did not fill out the paperwork at all. This seems to be a rather forceful argument in favor of the incorporation of synthetic agents into law practices. Like many futurists Pasquale foresees an increase in “complementary automation.” The cooperation of chess engines with humans can still trounce the best AI out there. This is a commonly cited example of how two (very different) heads are better than one.  Yet going to a lawyer is not like visiting a tailor. People, including fairly delusional ones, know if their clothes fit. Yet they do not know whether they’ve received expert counsel or not – although, the outcome of the case might give them a hint.

Pasquale concludes his paper by asserting that “the rule of law entails a system of social relationships and legitimate governance, not simply the transfer and evaluation of information about behavior.” This is closely related to the doubts expressed at the beginning of the piece about the usefulness of data sets in training legal AI. He then states that those in the legal profession must handle “intractable conflicts of values that repeatedly require thoughtful discretion and negotiation.” This appears to be the legal equivalent of epistemological mysterianism. It stands on still shakier ground than its analogue because it is clear that laws are, or should be, rooted in some set of criteria agreed upon by the members of a given jurisdiction. Shouldn’t the rulings of law makers and the values that inform them be at least partially quantifiable? There are efforts, like EthicsNet, which are trying to prepare datasets and criteria to feed machines in the future (because they will certainly have to be fed by someone!).  There is no doubt that the human touch in law will not be supplanted soon, but the question is whether our intuition should be exalted as guarantee of fairness or a hindrance to moving beyond a legal system bogged down by the baggage of human foibles.

Adam Alonzi is a writer, biotechnologist, documentary maker, futurist, inventor, programmer, and author of the novels A Plank in Reason and Praying for Death: A Zombie Apocalypse. He is an analyst for the Millennium Project, the Head Media Director for BioViva Sciences, and Editor-in-Chief of Radical Science News. Listen to his podcasts here. Read his blog here.

Financing the Future – Article by R. Nicholas Starr

Financing the Future – Article by R. Nicholas Starr

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R. Nicholas Starr


Editor’s Note: As noted by the author, Mr. Starr, the U.S. Transhumanist Party publishes this article to motivate discussion on a topic where individual transhumanists have varying perspectives. In May 2017 the U.S. Transhumanist Party adopted the following position on taxation in its Platform in Article III, Section XXXVI, of its Constitution:

Section XXXVI [Adopted by a vote of the members during May 7-13, 2017]: The United States Transhumanist Party supports the elimination of graduated taxation and income taxation more generally. Instead, 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 tax should be built into the price of goods from such large businesses and should not impede transaction efficiency in any manner. Transactions pertaining to wages, salaries, gifts, donations, barter, employee benefits, and inheritances should remain completely untaxed, as should transactions involving solely individuals and/or small businesses, for whom the establishment of a tax-reporting infrastructure would be onerous. Furthermore, all taxes on land and property should be abolished.

~ Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman, United States Transhumanist Party, February 6, 2018


Since 2016, the U.S. Transhumanist Party has expanded, both in membership and in policy initiatives. And while we have created an ideal foundation for how we want to change our country and our world, voting on ideas isn’t enough. We must take the next step making these ambitions a reality, and it is one step that many of us would rather avoid talking about: how do we pay for all of this?

Individual transhumanists come from all shades of the fiscal spectrum. Many believe that a techno-libertarian approach would be the best way to fund the transhumanist movement, while others look towards traditional taxation methods to provide the necessary capital. While there are many ways to skin this lab-grown bio-engineered pig, the Party as a singular entity needs to determine the best method for funding our lofty goals.

Allow me to make the first controversial suggestion.

The United States is, at this point, completely reliant on capitalism. So reliant, in fact, that we lean on it for political-decision making like the exoskeletons we hope to mass produce in the near future. It’s what holds this country up. And yet it is this political-economic system that is creating staggering wealth inequality. Corporations continue to grow massive wealth while the general public struggles to afford their products.

I propose reorganizing the tax structure so that corporations actually pay taxes and eliminate personal income taxes. By relieving this financial burden on the American citizen, it is possible to enable people to actually afford to improve their lives while increasing the amount of money running through the economy. Sadly, removing personal income tax is not enough, especially when you begin to consider that many employees will likely be replaced by automation. Simply put, corporate entities need pay up. They need to support the political system that supports them. But will that cause business to simply abandon the country all together? While technically possible, it seems unlikely. For as long as there are consumers in the country, business will always want to be located as close as possible to their target market.

There is also an option to modify the above recommendation. Automating the workforce comes with some financial burdens, this has been widely discussed. But there is another, less thought of, burden – that of computing power. How can large-scale automation be achieved without large-scale processing? So instead of shifting the tax burden entirely from individuals to businesses, we could establish a blockchain distribution of computing that businesses would pay individuals to use during times when your computer is otherwise idle. A modest portion would then be taxed to support the infrastructure that both the business and the individual are using. In essence, this is a Universal Basic Income that is supported by capitalism.

Is this an oversimplification of a complex issue? Yes. And I hope that the neglected details spark a healthy and productive discussion on the matter. This is just the opinion of one member, and not the position of the U.S. Transhumanist Party. I encourage every reader to give their thoughts on this difficult and divisive topic in the comments.

Ryan Starr (R. Nicholas Starr) is the is the leader of the Transhumanist Party of Colorado and founder of the Transhumanists of the Sierras

Results of Platform Vote #4 and Adopted Sections

Results of Platform Vote #4 and Adopted Sections

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Gennady Stolyarov II


The U.S. Transhumanist Party conducted its fifth vote of the members and the fourth vote on its platform planks on May 7 through May 13, 2017. Official ballot options can be found here.

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

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

Section XXXIII: The United States Transhumanist Party stands for the rights of any sentient entities defined in the Preamble to the Transhumanist Bill of Rights as possessing Level 5 or more advanced information integration. Any such sentient entities, including new kinds of sentient entities that may be discovered or developed in the future, shall be considered to be autonomous beings with full rights, and shall not be made subservient to humans, unless they as individuals pose direct, empirically evident threats to the lives of others. The protections of full individual rights shall extend to Level 5 or higher-level artificial intelligences. However, Level 4 or lower-level entities – including domain-specific artificial intelligences that have not achieved sentience – may be utilized as part of the production systems of the future, in a similar manner to machines, algorithms, computer programs, and non-human animals today and based on similar ethical considerations.

Section XXXIV:  The United States Transhumanist Party holds that 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.

The United States Transhumanist Party supports the use of technologies which increase monitoring of police action and policing activities, with expressed goals of increasing policing accountability.

The United States Transhumanist Party advocates for a requirement that data pertaining to recordings of police action be transmitted and recorded beyond police control, so as to be protected from falsification, deletion, and selective curation by police.

Section XXXV:  The United States Transhumanist Party considers it imperative to achieve reductions of the United States national debt in order to avoid calamitous scenarios of extreme inflation, default, and burdensome future tax increases on individuals. The United States Transhumanist Party supports the following measures to reduce the national debt:

1. Elimination of wasteful federal spending on programs, goods, and services where equivalent positive results could be obtained through lower expenditures.

2. Cessation of foreign military occupations and the return of American troops to be stationed exclusively on American territory. However, if a mutually appropriate defense treaty with another country requires the United States to station troops in that country, those troops would be allowed to remain there until the treaty obligations are fulfilled or reduced by mutual agreement with the affected country. If the United States continues to station troops in any country due to mutually appropriate defense treaties, the United States Transhumanist Party supports greater reciprocity in allowing military personnel from that country to be stationed in the United States for purposes of training and information exchange.

3. Removal of barriers to technological innovation and technologically driven economic growth, in order that a surge in such growth could increase federal revenues so as to generate increasing surpluses, as long as federal spending does not materially rise from current levels.

4. Elimination of the current cumbersome system of federal contracting, which favors politically connected incumbent firms whose advantage consists of navigating the system, rather than performing the best possible work. Instead, all federal agencies should be empowered to purchase supplies and equipment and to requisition projects from any entity capable of satisfying an immediate need at a reasonable cost. Exclusive and preferential contracts for particular entities should be prohibited, and all payments by federal agencies for work by non-employees should be determined on a case-by-case basis.

5. Digitization of as many federal services and functions as possible – to eliminate the waste and expense of paperwork, physical queues, and legacy information technology systems.

Section XXXVI: The United States Transhumanist Party supports the elimination of graduated taxation and income taxation more generally. Instead, 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 tax should be built into the price of goods from such large businesses and should not impede transaction efficiency in any manner. Transactions pertaining to wages, salaries, gifts, donations, barter, employee benefits, and inheritances should remain completely untaxed, as should transactions involving solely individuals and/or small businesses, for whom the establishment of a tax-reporting infrastructure would be onerous. Furthermore, all taxes on land and property should be abolished.

Section XXXVII: The United States Transhumanist Party supports more proportional representation of professions and occupations among legislative and executive government officials, instead of a system in which the plurality of political offices are held by attorneys. In particular, the United States Transhumanist Party holds that a greater proportion of politicians should possess training in mathematics, engineering, and the physical and biological sciences.

Section XXXVIII: The United States Transhumanist Party supports emerging alternative energy sources and their technological implementations. However, the United States Transhumanist Party opposes government subsidies for any energy source – including fossil fuels. Instead, the United States Transhumanist Party holds that superior, cleaner, and more efficient energy sources will also tend to become less costly and more broadly adopted under a system of unfettered market competition and innovation.

Section XXXIX: The United States Transhumanist Party supports the creation of a “Transhumanist Olympics” where augmentations and modifications of the human body would not disqualify persons from competing.

Section XL: In addition to its opposition to intolerant interpretations of religious doctrines, the United States Transhumanist Party is furthermore opposed to any interpretation of a secular, non-religious doctrine that results in the rejection of reason, censorship, violation of individual rights, suppression of technological advancement, and attempts to impose certain beliefs by force and/or by legal compulsion. Examples of such doctrines opposed by the United States Transhumanist Party include Stalinism, Maoism, Neo-Malthusianism or eco-primitivism, the death-acceptance movement, and the doctrine of censorship, now prevalent on many college campuses in the United States, in the name of “social justice”, combating “triggers” or “microaggressions”, or avoiding subjectively perceived offense.

Section XLI: The United States Transhumanist Party understands that the role of President comes with great power and responsibility towards all citizens equally, regardless of ethnicity, race, sex, gender, religious conviction or lack thereof, political position, or societal class. It is the United States Transhumanist Party’s view that the President, as an authority figure and head of state, should lead by example. The function of the President is to oversee and support the improvement of well-being for all United States citizens, and the welfare of the nation as a whole.

The United States Transhumanist Party recognizes that the power of the Executive Branch of the federal government has expanded far beyond the originally conceived Constitutional framework, so as to predominate over the Legislative and Judicial Branches, as well as over the institutions of civil society and individuals. The United States Transhumanist Party supports greatly curtailing and restricting the role of the U.S. President so as to confine that role within parameters originally conceived by the framers of the U.S. Constitution – particularly with regard to eliminating the unacceptable current prerogatives to unilaterally launch nuclear strikes and conduct military attacks, and to imprison, spy on, and assassinate Americans and others without due process.

Section XLII: The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to minimize conflicts of interest for government officials created by private businesses, religious institutions, not-for-profit organizations, special-interest groups, and certain individuals. However, the United States Transhumanist Party recognizes that the best way to minimize such conflicts of interest is not to micromanage the conduct of government officials – which can prevent petty improprieties but is inherently unable to avert the most damaging conflicts of interest among the highest echelons of power. Rather, the most promising solution is to reduce the scope of special economic privileges and protections that any government official would be capable of granting, thereby greatly diminishing the incentives of various special interests to even attempt to influence government officials.

Section XLIII: Irrespective of the means by which a government obtains its funds – be it from taxation or from other sources – the United States Transhumanist Party understands that a necessary function of government is to responsibly allocate such funds to protect the rights and increase the well-being of its citizens and other individuals within its jurisdiction. If a government requires the public to contribute to its funding, then the services, utilities, and research produced by that government should be easily and freely accessible to members of the public who have contributed such funds. Any government expenditure should be premised on the goal of increasing the well-being of citizens and other individuals within the government’s jurisdiction in the short, medium, and long terms, with the understanding that government exists to serve the people, and should allocate funds wisely with the intent of maximizing value per dollar for the purpose of protecting individuals’ rights and promoting their well-being.

Section XLIV: The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to have proposed laws accompanied by projections of expected results, including short-term, medium-term, and long-term effects. Such analysis should be based on scientific research and evidence and supported by the scientific and/or academic community with relevant subject-matter expertise. The intent is to have laws proposed to be created for the present day, and for such laws to function or improve in the future.

Section XLV: The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to depoliticize the appointment of Supreme Court Justices, and to further incentivize their impartiality toward political viewpoints.

Section XLVI: The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to revisit, condense, and simplify the law, with a focus on resolving issues among conflicting laws and closing illogical loopholes within the law.

Official Ballot Options for Platform Vote #4

Official Ballot Options for Platform Vote #4

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The 7-day electronic voting period on the fourth set of proposed platform planks of the U.S. Transhumanist Party (14 potential planks in total) will occur from 12:01 a.m. U.S. Pacific Time on May 7, 2017, to 12:01 a.m.  U.S. Pacific Time on May 14, 2017. All members of the U.S. Transhumanist Party who have applied before 12:01 a.m. on May 7, 2017, will be eligible to vote, as long as they have expressed agreement with the three Core Ideals of the Transhumanist Party or have otherwise been rendered eligible to vote at the discretion of the Chairman.

All members who are eligible to vote will be sent a link to an electronic submission form whereby they will be able to cast their ballot.

When you are voting, it is strongly recommended that you keep this page of official ballot options and the submission form open simultaneously in different windows so that you can reference the relevant options as you vote on them. Due to space limitations, the submission form does not list the entire text of all the options.

It is also recommended that you set aside at least thirty minutes to consider and vote on all of the options and read their text closely, as some of the options contain minor variations upon other options. 

For some questions, electronic voting is  conducted by a ranked-preference method on individual articles where more options are possible than would be accommodated by a simple “Yes” or “No” vote. Members should keep in mind that the ranked-preference method eliminates the incentives for strategic voting – so members are encouraged to vote for the options that reflect their individual preferences as closely as possible, without regard for how other members might vote.

Results of the voting will be tabulated during mid-May 2017, with the intent to announce the results approximately 7 days after all votes have been submitted.

NOTE: The titles of the questions and potential Sections are descriptive and informational only and will not appear in the final adopted platform planks (which will be incorporated into Article III of the U.S. Transhumanist Party Constitution). They are intended as concise guides to the subject matter of the questions and potential Sections. Likewise, the letters assigned to Sections within this ballot will not reflect the numbering of the final adopted provisions, which will depend on which Sections are selected by the membership.

NOTE II: The inclusion of any proposals on this ballot does not indicate any manner of endorsement for those proposals by the U.S. Transhumanist Party at this time – except to place those proposals before the members to determine the will of the members with regard to whether or not the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform should incorporate any given proposal.

 


 

Voter Identification

E-mail address

Provide the same e-mail address you used to register for U.S. Transhumanist Party membership. Your ballot will be cross-referenced to our membership rolls, and only ballots with matching e-mail addresses will be counted.

What is your name?

At minimum, first and last name are required, unless you are publicly known by a single-name pseudonym which is not itself a common name. Your identity will not be publicly disclosed by the Transhumanist Party, unless you choose and/or authorize its disclosure. Only other members of the Transhumanist Party will be able to see that you voted, but not how you voted. The nature of the selections made by the members may be disclosed, but, if they are, each individual vote will not be associated with the identity of the voter but rather will be presented in an anonymized manner.

Navigate the Options

Question I. Section E4-A. Protection of Level 5 Sentient Entities
Question II. Section E4-B. Sousveillance. Language on Technologies to Monitor Police
Question III. Section E4-B. Sousveillance. Language on Data Transmission Beyond Police Control
Question IV. Section E4-B. Sousveillance. Language on Sousveillance Laws
Question V. Section E4-C. Reduction of National Debt
Question VI. Section E4-C. Reduction of National Debt. Qualifying Language on Mutually Appropriate Defense Treaties
Question VII. Section E4-C. Reduction of National Debt. Qualifying Language on Reciprocity in the Stationing of Troops
Question VIII. Section E4-D. Tax Reform and Simplification
Question IX. Section E4-E. More Proportional Representation of Professions
Question X. Section E4-F. Alternative Energy
Question XI. Section E4-G. Transhumanist Olympics
Question XII. Section E4-H. Opposition to Secular Censorship
Question XIII. Section E4-I. Role of the U.S. President. Language on the Responsibility of the President
Question XIV. Section E4-I. Role of the U.S. President. Language on Reducing Executive Power
Question XV. Section E4-J. Conflicts of Interest for Government Officials
Question XVI. Section E4-K. Uses of Government Funds
Question XVII. Section E4-L. Use of Scientific Research to Support Laws
Question XVIII. Section E4-M. Appointments of Supreme Court Justices
Question XIX. Section E4-N. Simplification of Law

Proposed Platform Sections

Question I. Section E4-A. Protection of Level 5 Sentient Entities.

Rank-order the Section E4-A Options that you support. Choose “1” for your most highly favored option, “2” for your second-most highly favored option, etc. You may include the option for “No Section of this sort” in your rank-ordering, and it does not need to be your most favored option if you do so. (For instance, some voters might favor some options but think that no language is preferable to some of the other options.)

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

☐ Option E4-A-1. [Based on Proposal by Daniel Yeluashvili]

The United States Transhumanist Party stands for the rights of any sentient entities defined in the Preamble to the Transhumanist Bill of Rights as possessing Level 5 or more advanced information integration. Any such sentient entities, including new kinds of sentient entities that may be discovered or developed in the future, shall be considered to be autonomous beings with full rights, and shall not be made subservient to humans, unless they as individuals pose direct, empirically evident threats to the lives of others. The protections of full individual rights shall extend to Level 5 or higher-level artificial intelligences. However, Level 4 or lower-level entities – including domain-specific artificial intelligences that have not achieved sentience – may be utilized as part of the production systems of the future, in a similar manner to machines, algorithms, computer programs, and non-human animals today and based on similar ethical considerations.

☐ Option E4-A-2. [Based on Proposal by Daniel Yeluashvili, with Caveat Regarding Intentional Creation of Level 5 AIs]

The United States Transhumanist Party stands for the rights of any sentient entities defined in the Preamble to the Transhumanist Bill of Rights as possessing Level 5 or more advanced information integration. Any such sentient entities, including new kinds of sentient entities that may be discovered or developed in the future, shall be considered to be autonomous beings with full rights, and shall not be made subservient to humans, unless they as individuals pose direct, empirically evident threats to the lives of others. The protections of full individual rights shall extend to Level 5 or higher-level artificial intelligences. However, Level 4 or lower-level entities – including domain-specific artificial intelligences that have not achieved sentience – may be utilized as part of the production systems of the future, in a similar manner to machines, algorithms, computer programs, and non-human animals today and based on similar ethical considerations. Furthermore, the intentional creation of Level 5 or higher-level artificial intelligences should be restricted due to their status as human-level beings rather than simple tools, unless responsible safeguards from protecting that status can be established and maintained.

☐ Option E4-A-NO. No Section of this sort.

Question II. Section E4-B. Sousveillance. Language on Technologies to Monitor Police.

Shall the following language be adopted as part of a new Section on the subject of sousveillance within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

“The United States Transhumanist Party supports the use of technologies which increase monitoring of police action and policing activities, with expressed goals of increasing policing accountability.”

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question III. Section E4-B. Sousveillance. Language on Data Transmission Beyond Police Control.

Shall the following language be adopted as part of a new Section on the subject of sousveillance within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

“The United States Transhumanist Party advocates for a requirement that data pertaining to recordings of police action be transmitted and recorded beyond police control, so as to be protected from falsification, deletion, and selective curation by police.”

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question IV. Section E4-B. Sousveillance. Language on Sousveillance Laws.

Shall the following language be adopted as part of a new Section on the subject of sousveillance within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

“The United States Transhumanist Party holds that 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.”

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question V. Section E4-C. Reduction of National Debt.

Shall the following language be adopted as part of a new Section on the subject of the reduction of the national debt within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

Option E4-C-1. The United States Transhumanist Party considers it imperative to achieve reductions of the United States national debt in order to avoid calamitous scenarios of extreme inflation, default, and burdensome future tax increases on individuals. The United States Transhumanist Party supports the following measures to reduce the national debt:”

Select all the options you support. (You can select multiple options for this question.) Selecting any option other than Option E4-C-1-NO favors including the above preface language and the checked options, whereas Option E4-C-1-NO favors omitting the plank in entirety. Any option receiving the majority of votes cast will be included in the ultimately adopted plank. If Option E4-C-1-NO receives the majority of the votes cast, then the plank will not be adopted.

☐ Option E4-C-1-a. Elimination of wasteful federal spending on programs, goods, and services where equivalent positive results could be obtained through lower expenditures.

☐ Option E4-C-1-b. Cessation of foreign military occupations and the return of American troops to be stationed exclusively on American territory.

☐ Option E4-C-1-c. Replacement of all federal taxes with a single percentage-of-sales tax applicable only to purchases from large businesses, intended to be revenue-neutral but automatic in its operation and thereby compatible with seamless compliance and the elimination of the current extensive tax-compliance apparatus.

☐ Option E4-C-1-d. Removal of barriers to technological innovation and technologically driven economic growth, such that a surge in such growth could increase federal revenues so as to generate increasing surpluses, as long as federal spending does not materially rise from current levels.

☐ Option E4-C-1-e. Sales and leases of federally owned land, other than specific unique and distinguished landmarks, for residential, commercial, and philanthropic uses.

☐ Option E4-C-1-f. Elimination of the current cumbersome system of federal contracting, which favors politically connected incumbent firms whose advantage consists of navigating the system, rather than performing the best possible work. Instead, all federal agencies should be empowered to purchase supplies and equipment and to requisition projects from any entity capable of satisfying an immediate need at a reasonable cost. Exclusive and preferential contracts for particular entities should be prohibited, and all payments by federal agencies for work by non-employees should be determined on a case-by-case basis.

☐ Option E4-C-1-g. Digitization of as many federal services and functions as possible – to eliminate the waste and expense of paperwork, physical queues, and legacy information technology systems.

☐ Option E4-C-1-NO. Do not include a Section of this sort.

Question VI. Section E4-C. Reduction of National Debt. Qualifying Language on Mutually Appropriate Defense Treaties.

If Option E4-C-1-b from Question V is adopted, shall the following caveat be inserted?

“However, if a mutually appropriate defense treaty with another country requires the United States to station troops in that country, those troops would be allowed to remain there until the treaty obligations are fulfilled or reduced by mutual agreement with the affected country.”

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question VII. Section E4-C. Reduction of National Debt. Qualifying Language on Reciprocity in the Stationing of Troops.

If Option E4-C-1-b from Question V and the Qualifying Language on Mutually Appropriate Defense Treaties from Question VI are adopted, shall the following further caveat be inserted?

“If the United States continues to station troops in any country due to mutually appropriate defense treaties, the United States Transhumanist Party supports greater reciprocity in allowing military personnel from that country to be stationed in the United States for purposes of training and information exchange.”

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question VIII. Section E4-D. Tax Reform and Simplification.

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

“The United States Transhumanist Party supports the elimination of graduated taxation and income taxation more generally. Instead, 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 tax should be built into the price of goods from such large businesses and should not impede transaction efficiency in any manner. Transactions pertaining to wages, salaries, gifts, donations, barter, employee benefits, and inheritances should remain completely untaxed, as should transactions involving solely individuals and/or small businesses, for whom the establishment of a tax-reporting infrastructure would be onerous. Furthermore, all taxes on land and property should be abolished.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Question IX. Section E4-E. More Proportional Representation of Professions.

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

“The United States Transhumanist Party supports more proportional representation of professions and occupations among legislative and executive government officials, instead of a system in which the plurality of political offices are held by attorneys. In particular, the United States Transhumanist Party holds that a greater proportion of politicians should possess training in mathematics, engineering, and the physical and biological sciences.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Question X. Section E4-F. Alternative Energy.

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

“The United States Transhumanist Party supports emerging alternative energy sources and their technological implementations. However, the United States Transhumanist Party opposes government subsidies for any energy source – including fossil fuels. Instead, the United States Transhumanist Party holds that superior, cleaner, and more efficient energy sources will also tend to become less costly and more broadly adopted under a system of unfettered market competition and innovation.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Question XI. Section E4-G. Transhumanist Olympics.

Rank-order the Section E4-G Options that you support. Choose “1” for your most highly favored option, “2” for your second-most highly favored option, etc. You may include the option for “No Section of this sort” in your rank-ordering, and it does not need to be your most favored option if you do so. (For instance, some voters might favor some options but think that no language is preferable to some of the other options.)

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

☐ Option E4-G-1. [Based on Section XVIII of the Nevada Transhumanist Party Platform] The United States Transhumanist Party supports the creation of a “Transhumanist Olympics” where augmentations and modifications of the human body would not disqualify persons from competing.

☐ Option E4-G-2. [Based on Proposal by Daniel Yeluashvili] The United States Transhumanist Party supports the expansion of the Special Olympics to allow augmentations and modifications of the human body which would not disqualify persons from competing.

☐ Option E4-G-NO. No Section of this sort.

Question XII. Section E4-H. Opposition to Secular Censorship.

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

“In addition to its opposition to intolerant interpretations of religious doctrines, the United States Transhumanist Party is furthermore opposed to any interpretation of a secular, non-religious doctrine that results in the rejection of reason, censorship, violation of individual rights, suppression of technological advancement, and attempts to impose certain beliefs by force and/or by legal compulsion. Examples of such doctrines opposed by the United States Transhumanist Party include Stalinism, Maoism, Neo-Malthusianism or eco-primitivism, the death-acceptance movement, and the doctrine of censorship, now prevalent on many college campuses in the United States, in the name of “social justice”, combatting “triggers” or “microaggressions”, or avoiding subjectively perceived offense.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Question XIII. Section E4-I. Role of the U.S. President. Language on the Responsibility of the President.

Shall the following language be adopted as part of a new Section on the subject of the role of the U.S. President within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

“The United States Transhumanist Party understands that the role of President comes with great power and responsibility towards all citizens equally, regardless of ethnicity, race, sex, gender, religious conviction or lack thereof, political position, or societal class. It is the United States Transhumanist Party’s view that the President, as an authority figure and head of state, should lead by example. The function of the President is to oversee and support the improvement of well-being for all United States citizens, and the welfare of the nation as a whole.”

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question XIV. Section E4-I. Role of the U.S. President. Language on Reducing Executive Power.

Shall the following language be adopted as part of a new Section on the subject of the role of the U.S. President within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

“The United States Transhumanist Party recognizes that the power of the Executive Branch of the federal government has expanded far beyond the originally conceived Constitutional framework, so as to predominate over the Legislative and Judicial Branches, as well as over the institutions of civil society and individuals. The United States Transhumanist Party supports greatly curtailing and restricting the role of the U.S. President so as to confine that role within parameters originally conceived by the framers of the U.S. Constitution – particularly with regard to eliminating the unacceptable current prerogatives to unilaterally launch nuclear strikes and conduct military attacks, and to imprison, spy on, and assassinate Americans and others without due process.”

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question XV. Section E4-J. Conflicts of Interest for Government Officials.

Rank-order the Section E4-J Options that you support. Choose “1” for your most highly favored option, “2” for your second-most highly favored option, etc. You may include the option for “No Section of this sort” in your rank-ordering, and it does not need to be your most favored option if you do so. (For instance, some voters might favor some options but think that no language is preferable to some of the other options.)

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

☐ Option E4-J-1. [Based on Proposal by Martin van der Kroon] The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to minimize conflicts of interest for government officials created by private businesses, religious institutions, not-for-profit organizations, special interest groups, and certain individuals. Some of the aforementioned entities currently exert improper influence by means of directly or indirectly providing incentives considered to have monetary value, or by granting special status or privileges to government officials for the purpose of exerting such improper influence.

☐ Option E4-J-2. The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to minimize conflicts of interest for government officials created by private businesses, religious institutions, not-for-profit organizations, special interest groups, and certain individuals. However, the United States Transhumanist Party recognizes that the best way to minimize such conflicts of interest is not to micromanage the conduct of government officials – which can prevent petty improprieties but is inherently unable to avert the most damaging conflicts of interest among the highest echelons of power. Rather, the most promising solution is to reduce the scope of special economic privileges and protections that any government official would be capable of granting, thereby greatly diminishing the incentives of various special interests to even attempt to influence government officials.

☐ Option E4-J-NO. No Section of this sort.

Question XVI. Section E4-K. Uses of Government Funds.

Rank-order the Section E4-K Options that you support. Choose “1” for your most highly favored option, “2” for your second-most highly favored option, etc. You may include the option for “No Section of this sort” in your rank-ordering, and it does not need to be your most favored option if you do so. (For instance, some voters might favor some options but think that no language is preferable to some of the other options.)

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

☐ Option E4-K-1. [Based on Proposal by Martin van der Kroon]  The United States Transhumanist Party understands that a necessary function of government is to responsibly allocate publicly generated funds obtained via taxes to increase the welfare of the nation and well-being of its citizens. The United States Transhumanist Party strongly supports efforts to allocate funds towards publicly accessible utilities, services, and research that result in an increase of well-being for its citizens in the short, medium, and long terms, with the understanding that government exists to serve the people, and should allocate funds wisely with the intent of maximizing value per dollar for the purpose of citizens’ well-being and the nation’s welfare.

☐ Option E4-K-2. Irrespective of the means by which a government obtains its funds – be it from taxation or from other sources – the United States Transhumanist Party understands that a necessary function of government is to responsibly allocate such funds to protect the rights and increase the well-being of its citizens and other individuals within its jurisdiction. If a government requires the public to contribute to its funding, then the services, utilities, and research produced by that government should be easily and freely accessible to members of the public who have contributed such funds. Any government expenditure should be premised on the goal of increasing the well-being of citizens and other individuals within the government’s jurisdiction in the short, medium, and long terms, with the understanding that government exists to serve the people, and should allocate funds wisely with the intent of maximizing value per dollar for the purpose of protecting individuals’ rights and promoting their well-being.

☐ Option E4-K-NO. No Section of this sort.

Question XVII. Section E4-L. Use of Scientific Research to Support Laws.

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

“The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to have proposed laws accompanied by projections of expected results, including short-term, medium-term, and long-term effects. Such analysis should be based on scientific research and evidence and supported by the scientific and/or academic community with relevant subject-matter expertise. The intent is to have laws proposed to be created for the present day, and for such laws to function or improve in the future.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Question XVIII. Section E4-M. Appointments of Supreme Court Justices.

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

“The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to depoliticize the appointment of Supreme Court Justices, and to further incentivize their impartiality toward political viewpoints.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Question XIX. Section E4-N. Simplification of Law.

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

“The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to revisit, condense, and simplify the law, with a focus on resolving issues among conflicting laws and closing illogical loopholes within the law.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

21-Day Exposure Period for Platform Vote #4

21-Day Exposure Period for Platform Vote #4

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Gennady Stolyarov II


For its upcoming fourth Platform vote, the U.S. Transhumanist Party has received many suggestions from members. This exposure period is intended to encompass as many of these suggestions as possible. A vote will be scheduled on some or all of these items once they have been exposed for at least 21 days. For each item, a 7-day voting period is expected to be opened at the earliest at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, May 7, 2017.

During the exposure period, please post your comments on this thread. If you post comments intended to be considered in voting and/or amending any of these planks 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. Instructions for electronic voting will be sent to members of the U.S. Transhumanist Party via e-mail at that time. 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 if more than a single option is presented for the wording of a particular plank or segment of a plank. Members will be able to rank-order their preferred selections on each individual Platform Section. The original text of each Section 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. “No Section of this sort” will also be a choice, and any Section where a majority of votes favors this option will be not be adopted. Members will also be able to abstain from voting on any given Section.

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 Section titles below are provisional and will be replaced with official numbers for each plank that is adopted. The Section titles are informational only and will not be included in the adopted versions of the platform planks.


Section E4-A. Protection of Level 5 Sentient Entities.

Option E4-A-1. [Based on Proposal by Daniel Yeluashvili]

The United States Transhumanist Party stands for the rights of any sentient entities defined in the Preamble to the Transhumanist Bill of Rights as possessing Level 5 or more advanced information integration. Any such sentient entities, including new kinds of sentient entities that may be discovered or developed in the future, shall be considered to be autonomous beings with full rights, and shall not be made subservient to humans, unless they as individuals pose direct, empirically evident threats to the lives of others. The protections of full individual rights shall extend to Level 5 or higher-level artificial intelligences. However, Level 4 or lower-level entities – including domain-specific artificial intelligences that have not achieved sentience – may be utilized as part of the production systems of the future, in a similar manner to machines, algorithms, computer programs, and non-human animals today and based on similar ethical considerations.

Option E4-A-2. [Based on Proposal by Daniel Yeluashvili, with Caveat Regarding Intentional Creation of Level 5 AIs]

The United States Transhumanist Party stands for the rights of any sentient entities defined in the Preamble to the Transhumanist Bill of Rights as possessing Level 5 or more advanced information integration. Any such sentient entities, including new kinds of sentient entities that may be discovered or developed in the future, shall be considered to be autonomous beings with full rights, and shall not be made subservient to humans, unless they as individuals pose direct, empirically evident threats to the lives of others. The protections of full individual rights shall extend to Level 5 or higher-level artificial intelligences. However, Level 4 or lower-level entities – including domain-specific artificial intelligences that have not achieved sentience – may be utilized as part of the production systems of the future, in a similar manner to machines, algorithms, computer programs, and non-human animals today and based on similar ethical considerations. Furthermore, the intentional creation of Level 5 or higher-level artificial intelligences should be restricted due to their status as human-level beings rather than simple tools, unless responsible safeguards from protecting that status can be established and maintained.

Section E4-B. Sousveillance

Language on Technologies to Monitor Police [Based on Proposal by Bart Davis]

Shall the following language be adopted as part of a new Section on the subject of sousveillance within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

“The United States Transhumanist Party supports the use of technologies which increase monitoring of police action and policing activities, with expressed goals of increasing policing accountability.”

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Language on Data Transmission Beyond Police Control [Based on Proposal by Steve Mann]

Shall the following language be adopted as part of a new Section on the subject of sousveillance within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

“The United States Transhumanist Party advocates for a requirement that data pertaining to recordings of police action be transmitted and recorded beyond police control, so as to be protected from falsification, deletion, and selective curation by police.”

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Language on Sousveillance Laws [Based on Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Version 2.0, Article XIV]

Shall the following language be adopted as part of a new Section on the subject of sousveillance within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

“The United States Transhumanist Party holds that 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.”

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Section E4-C. Reduction of National Debt

Option E4-C-1. The United States Transhumanist Party considers it imperative to achieve reductions of the United States national debt in order to avoid calamitous scenarios of extreme inflation, default, and burdensome future tax increases on individuals. The United States Transhumanist Party supports the following measures to reduce the national debt:

[The question will allow members to select any, all, or none of the measures below, with any measure receiving a majority of the votes being included in the ultimately adopted plank.]

Option E4-C-1-a. Elimination of wasteful federal spending on programs, goods, and services where equivalent positive results could be obtained through lower expenditures.

Option E4-C-1-b. Cessation of foreign military occupations and the return of American troops to be stationed exclusively on American territory.

Option E4-C-1-c. Replacement of all federal taxes with a single percentage-of-sales tax applicable only to purchases from large businesses, intended to be revenue-neutral but automatic in its operation and thereby compatible with seamless compliance and the elimination of the current extensive tax-compliance apparatus.

Option E4-C-1-d. Removal of barriers to technological innovation and technologically driven economic growth, such that a surge in such growth could increase federal revenues so as to generate increasing surpluses, as long as federal spending does not materially rise from current levels.

Option E4-C-1-e. Sales and leases of federally owned land, other than specific unique and distinguished landmarks, for residential, commercial, and philanthropic uses.

Option E4-C-1-f. Elimination of the current cumbersome system of federal contracting, which favors politically connected incumbent firms whose advantage consists of navigating the system, rather than performing the best possible work. Instead, all federal agencies should be empowered to purchase supplies and equipment and to requisition projects from any entity capable of satisfying an immediate need at a reasonable cost. Exclusive and preferential contracts for particular entities should be prohibited, and all payments by federal agencies for work by non-employees should be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Option E4-C-1-g. Digitization of as many federal services and functions as possible – to eliminate the waste and expense of paperwork, physical queues, and legacy information technology systems.

Language on Mutually Appropriate Defense Treaties [Based on Proposal by Ryan Starr]

If Option E4-C-1-b is adopted, shall the following caveat be inserted?

“However, if a mutually appropriate defense treaty with another country requires the United States to station troops in that country, those troops would be allowed to remain there until the treaty obligations are fulfilled or reduced by mutual agreement with the affected country.”

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Language on Reciprocity in the Stationing of Troops [Based on Proposal by Ryan Starr]

If Option E4-C-1-b is adopted, shall the following caveat be inserted?

“If the United States continues to station troops in any country due to mutually appropriate defense treaties, the United States Transhumanist Party supports greater reciprocity in allowing military personnel from that country to be stationed in the United States for purposes of training and information exchange.”

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Section E4-D. Tax Reform and Simplification

Option E4-D-1. [Based on Section III of the Nevada Transhumanist Party Platform]  The United States Transhumanist Party supports the elimination of graduated taxation and income taxation more generally. Instead, 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 tax should be built into the price of goods from such large businesses and should not impede transaction efficiency in any manner. Transactions pertaining to wages, salaries, gifts, donations, barter, employee benefits, and inheritances should remain completely untaxed, as should transactions involving solely individuals and/or small businesses, for whom the establishment of a tax-reporting infrastructure would be onerous. Furthermore, all taxes on land and property should be abolished.

Section E4-E. More Proportional Representation of Professions

Option E4-E-1. [Based on Section IX of the Nevada Transhumanist Party Platform] The United States Transhumanist Party supports more proportional representation of professions and occupations among legislative and executive government officials, instead of a system in which the plurality of political offices are held by attorneys. In particular, the United States Transhumanist Party holds that a greater proportion of politicians should possess training in mathematics, engineering, and the physical and biological sciences.  

Section E4-F. Alternative Energy

Option E4-F-1. [Based on Section IX of the Nevada Transhumanist Party Platform] The United States Transhumanist Party supports emerging alternative energy sources and their technological implementations. However, the United States Transhumanist Party opposes government subsidies for any energy source – including fossil fuels. Instead, the United States Transhumanist Party holds that superior, cleaner, and more efficient energy sources will also tend to become less costly and more broadly adopted under a system of unfettered market competition and innovation.

Section E4-G. Transhumanist Olympics

Option E4-G-1. [Based on Section XVIII of the Nevada Transhumanist Party Platform] The United States Transhumanist Party supports the creation of a “Transhumanist Olympics” where augmentations and modifications of the human body would not disqualify persons from competing.

Option E4-G-2. [Based on Proposal by Daniel Yeluashvili] The United States Transhumanist Party supports the expansion of the Special Olympics to allow augmentations and modifications of the human body which would not disqualify persons from competing.

Section E4-H. Opposition to Secular Censorship

Option E4-H-1. [Based on Section XXVII of the Nevada Transhumanist Party Platform] In addition to its opposition to intolerant interpretations of religious doctrines, the United States Transhumanist Party is furthermore opposed to any interpretation of a secular, non-religious doctrine that results in the rejection of reason, censorship, violation of individual rights, suppression of technological advancement, and attempts to impose certain beliefs by force and/or by legal compulsion. Examples of such doctrines opposed by the United States Transhumanist Party include Stalinism, Maoism, Neo-Malthusianism or eco-primitivism, the death-acceptance movement, and the doctrine of censorship, now prevalent on many college campuses in the United States, in the name of “social justice”, combatting “triggers” or “microaggressions”, or avoiding subjectively perceived offense.

Section E4-I. Role of the U.S. President

Language on the Responsibility of the President [Based on Proposal by Martin van der Kroon]

Shall the following language be adopted as part of a new Section on the subject of the role of the U.S. President within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

“The United States Transhumanist Party understands that the role of President comes with great power and responsibility towards all citizens equally, regardless of ethnicity, race, sex, gender, religious conviction or lack thereof, political position, or societal class. It is the United States Transhumanist Party’s view that the President, as an authority figure and head of state, should lead by example. The function of the President is to oversee and support the improvement of well-being for all United States citizens, and the welfare of the nation as a whole.”

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Language on Reducing Executive Power

Shall the following language be adopted as part of a new Section on the subject of the role of the U.S. President within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

“The United States Transhumanist Party recognizes that the power of the Executive Branch of the federal government has expanded far beyond the originally conceived Constitutional framework, so as to predominate over the Legislative and Judicial Branches, as well as over the institutions of civil society and individuals. The United States Transhumanist Party supports greatly curtailing and restricting the role of the U.S. President so as to confine that role within parameters originally conceived by the framers of the U.S. Constitution – particularly with regard to eliminating the unacceptable current prerogatives to unilaterally launch nuclear strikes and conduct military attacks, and to imprison, spy on, and assassinate Americans and others without due process.”

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Section E4-J. Conflicts of Interest for Government Officials

Option E4-J-1. [Based on Proposal by Martin van der Kroon] The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to minimize conflicts of interest for government officials created by private businesses, religious institutions, not-for-profit organizations, special interest groups, and certain individuals. Some of the aforementioned entities currently exert improper influence by means of directly or indirectly providing incentives considered to have monetary value, or by granting special status or privileges to government officials for the purpose of exerting such improper influence.

Option E4-J-2. The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to minimize conflicts of interest for government officials created by private businesses, religious institutions, not-for-profit organizations, special interest groups, and certain individuals. However, the United States Transhumanist Party recognizes that the best way to minimize such conflicts of interest is not to micromanage the conduct of government officials – which can prevent petty improprieties but is inherently unable to avert the most damaging conflicts of interest among the highest echelons of power. Rather, the most promising solution is to reduce the scope of special economic privileges and protections that any government official would be capable of granting, thereby greatly diminishing the incentives of various special interests to even attempt to influence government officials.

Section E4-K. Uses of Government Funds

Option E4-K-1. [Based on Proposal by Martin van der Kroon]  The United States Transhumanist Party understands that a necessary function of government is to responsibly allocate publicly generated funds obtained via taxes to increase the welfare of the nation and well-being of its citizens. The United States Transhumanist Party strongly supports efforts to allocate funds towards publicly accessible utilities, services, and research that result in an increase of well-being for its citizens in the short, medium, and long terms, with the understanding that government exists to serve the people, and should allocate funds wisely with the intent of maximizing value per dollar for the purpose of citizens’ well-being and the nation’s welfare.

Option E4-K-2. Irrespective of the means by which a government obtains its funds – be it from taxation or from other sources – the United States Transhumanist Party understands that a necessary function of government is to responsibly allocate such funds to protect the rights and increase the well-being of its citizens and other individuals within its jurisdiction. If a government requires the public to contribute to its funding, then the services, utilities, and research produced by that government should be easily and freely accessible to members of the public who have contributed such funds. Any government expenditure should be premised on the goal of increasing the well-being of citizens and other individuals within the government’s jurisdiction in the short, medium, and long terms, with the understanding that government exists to serve the people, and should allocate funds wisely with the intent of maximizing value per dollar for the purpose of protecting individuals’ rights and promoting their well-being.

Section E4-L. Use of Scientific Research to Support Laws

Option E4-L-1. [Based on Proposal by Martin van der Kroon]  The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to have proposed laws accompanied by projections of expected results, including short-term, medium-term, and long-term effects. Such analysis should be based on scientific research and evidence and supported by the scientific and/or academic community with relevant subject-matter expertise. The intent is to have laws proposed to be created for the present day, and for such laws to function or improve in the future.

Section E4-M. Appointments of Supreme Court Justices

Option E4-M-1. [Based on Proposal by Martin van der Kroon] The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to depoliticize the appointment of Supreme Court Justices, and to further incentivize their impartiality toward political viewpoints.

Section E4-N. Simplification of Law

Option E4-N-1. [Based on Proposal by Martin van der Kroon] The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to revisit, condense, and simplify the law, with a focus on resolving issues among conflicting laws and closing illogical loopholes within the law.