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Why Aren’t We Afraid of Death?: The First Step Toward Defeating Aging – Article by Alex Kadet

Why Aren’t We Afraid of Death?: The First Step Toward Defeating Aging – Article by Alex Kadet

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Alex Kadet


The pain of those fighting to extend human life expectancy

Science articles frequently mention the search for the “elixir of eternal youth.” What a pleasant thought! While we are busy living our lives, the science of extending them is moving at a dizzying pace, and we need only to wait until the international science community plates the solution, ready to serve, right? This statement illustrates how perceptions of reality are skewed toward desired outcomes.

Ask any reputable scientist, activist, or entrepreneur interested in extending human life about the subject, however, and you will learn that the reality is very different. For instance, here is a quotation from Aubrey de Grey, founder of the SENS (Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence) Research Foundation and pioneering researcher in the science of aging:

Aubrey de Grey

“. . . if I got a billion dollars today, we would probably bring forward the defeat of aging by about ten years. And it’s a lot of lives, maybe four hundred million.”

I suppose we all understand how insignificant one billion dollars is compared with the global annual expenditures on health care and science. The cost of health care in the United States alone exceeded 3.3 trillion dollars in 2016 and is growing rapidly.

What do these numbers mean? That, without a doubt, humanity is not even close to curing aging, even in the twenty-first century.

Longevity advocacy

At a glance, it seems odd that the idea of extending human life needs advocacy, but longevity scientists and advocates understand that the only obstacle to the development of a cure for aging is a lack of resources: time and money. The dollar has strong voting power, and human lifespan extension is not at the top of the ballot.

For some reason, not enough people are willing to do what objectively seems rational, to overcome the obstacles and diseases that aging causes. What appears to transhumanists, scientists, and researchers to be an undeniable benefit for humankind seems unimportant or even detrimental to others. Dying of old age seems dignified to some people, but in truth it is honorable only in the movies. Therefore, advocacy needs to be prioritized over seemingly more practical immediate problems.

Many people who work in the field of longevity studies are tormented by a fundamental question: If one acknowledges one’s mortality, isn’t working toward radical life extension a most rational use of one’s time? After all, millions of people, with trillions of dollars combined, have a nonzero chance of radically extending life expectancy within the next ten years.

A primary goal of longevity advocates is to attract investments and endorsements from international organizations, including scientific foundations and businesses, and increase the visibility and appeal of research on anti-aging therapy. We aim to market anti-aging science effectively, and raise the prestige of working in our industry to that of working for a venture-capital or tech startup.

Large-scale work must begin now, for a simple reason.

The population of the planet is rapidly aging.

The average age of the world populace is increasing at an alarming pace. Globally, the demographic comprising people aged sixty years or older is growing faster than any other group. If this trend continues, by 2050 the number of seniors in the world will more than double, from 962 million to 2.1 billion. Such a significant change in the composition of the population will inevitably affect economies and societies.

Throughout the history of humankind, aging has been viewed as an inevitable process, leading not so much to illness and suffering (which have always been treated as if separate from aging) but rather to physical death.

Let me draw your attention to the importance of distinguishing between improving the quality of life of the rapidly aging population and developing a treatment for aging.

It is also important to understand that when we talk about defeating aging, we do not put it as equal to immortality. Extending longevity will largely take the form of increasing productive life span and preventing suffering — not only fatigue, reduced physical strength, and impaired memory, but also the internal conflict of remaining young at heart and full of ambition in an aging body. Longevity specialists believe that victory over suffering is achievable and will be a victory over an absolute evil.

Why do we work so hard to treat the effects of aging while doing almost nothing to slow aging itself? Aging is literally a matter of life and death, and yet it commands almost no attention.

Life-Extension Myths

The vast majority of people and organizations (including the World Health Organization, billionaire entrepreneurs, the United Nations, and entire nations) do not include addressing the problems of aging in their short- or long-term agendas. They do not consider aging to be a real and distinct problem. Why not?

Maybe extending human life would be unnatural?

The answer is no.

  • Self-preservation is characteristic of all organisms and is one of the so-called “basic instincts” [1]. All organisms achieve self-preservation by purposefully reducing their own entropy (that is, using external resources to compensate for inevitable energy loss) and maintaining homeostasis (steady internal conditions).
  • People tend to consider aging and age-related diseases to be separate and distinct phenomena, as if aging is different from other abnormalities of the human body. Such thinking is fundamentally flawed. Most people do not have ethical problems with using medicine to treat suffering, but cognitive dissonance often produces ethical objections to therapies designed to treat aging, which is widely treated with dignity and respect, even viewed as sacred.
  • As the seventeenth-century philosopher Baruch Spinoza wrote in his Ethics, “The mind, both in so far as it has clear and distinct ideas, and also in so far as it has confused ideas, endeavors to persist in its being for an indefinite period, and of this endeavor it is conscious” [2]. It is human nature to attempt to survive as long as possible.

[For the interested reader: philosophical and ethical issues that inevitably arise in the fight against aging are discussed in detail in Steven Horrobin’s The Future of Aging, chapter three, “Towards Naturalistic Transcendence: The Value of Life and Life Extension to Persons as Conative Processes.”]

Perhaps the problem is that it is simply impossible to stop the human body from aging?

I don’t think so.

Gerontologists (people who study the science of aging) agree that slowing or preventing aging (that is, eliminating the faults of and repairing the accumulated damage to the body) is a purely technological problem and can be solved. Additionally, the existence of several animal species that are closely evolutionarily related to humans but live much longer than we do demonstrates that extended longevity is possible.

A “road map” for achieving longevity escape velocity has already been developed in the form of a series of specific steps and studies [4], [5]. We cannot predict which research will result in the elongation of the human life span, as there are multiple hypotheses to be tested, but if any current or future research yields actionable results, our most daring imaginings could be surpassed.

But what if we succeed in extending longevity and the resulting future is undesirable?

No, we will not die due to overpopulation.

  • The world’s human population has increased almost fourfold in the past one hundred years, and far from suffering as a result, we now live longer and enjoy greater quality of life than ever before. In fact, natural population decline is causing its own problems in several countries. In the 1970s, adherents of Thomas Malthus’s belief that unchecked population growth inevitably exhausts resources and yields poverty and degradation predicted a worldwide famine and demographic catastrophe by the year 2000. Their predictions did not come true, as they hadn’t taken into account the rapid expansion of agriculture and food production that did occur [6].

Decades will pass before the demographic consequences of victory over aging begin to impact our lives significantly. We will have enough time to adapt to the new circumstances [7].

No, the secret world elite cannot capture the “philosopher’s stone” and enslave the rest of us.

  • In the first years after antibiotics were discovered, they were available only to the rich. Similarly, today such complex and expensive medical interventions as organ transplantation are not widely available, but this is not a reason to ban them [7]. The treatment of aging will likely be very expensive initially, but as soon as the technology becomes known, endeavors to optimize it and expand its availability will inevitably begin. This is an axiom in modern society. It is already impossible (sometimes frighteningly) to keep significant information secret, and in the case of longevity studies, humanity will benefit.

In view of the preceding, we have no reason to doubt that victory over aging is achievable and will be favorable for humanity.

[For the interested reader: you can find more debunked myths here.]


Scientists and science advocates are working to dispel the above myths, but unfortunately their work has not yet produced the desired outcomes. Although it would seem that the possibility of a cure for aging would attract large amounts of resources and greatly impact human worldview and actions, we simply haven’t seen such an effect.

What if the motivation for our inaction doesn’t come from a rational place?

I believe that the general lack of interest in treating aging comes from a lack of fear of aging, as humans tend not to be consciously afraid of death. Where there is no fear of a phenomenon, there is no aim to eliminate it.

So, why aren’t we afraid of death?

  • Fear is a basic emotion based on the self-preservation instinct. It precipitates as a sudden cognitive and behavioral change stimulated by imminent danger [8].
  • Fear can reinforce social connections, such as when an escape for help calls for collective defense [9]. There are many threats in the world, and fear encourages us to change our behavior and unite in order to protect ourselves against them.

Cancer, terrorism, war, air crashes, environmental degradation, global climate change: these and many other dangers have been accounted for in the multibillion-dollar budgets of individual countries, international organizations, private foundations, and nonprofits. Aging is not on the list. I believe I know why.

In his Pulitzer Prize–winning book The Denial of Death, cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker explored the hypothesis that civilization is based not on the suppression of sexuality, as Sigmund Freud believed, but on the suppression of the inherent human fear of death.

Becker argued that at one extreme, civilization is a way for humankind to contain the anxiety of death, and at the other extreme, an individual’s character can be viewed as a complex of defenses against fear of death. In other words, all of our motivation, the whole set of human cognitive attitudes and emotional experiences, is aimed at avoiding the awareness of our own mortality [10].

Despite the fact that we will die someday, few of us think about mortality on a regular basis. In one way or another we become acquainted with death while still children, but our psyche is unable to process the phenomenon fully. Consequently, according to Becker, the unconscious mind forms a complex of balances and defenses that prevent contact with the horror of death.

The existential psychotherapist Irvin Yalom holds a similar point of view on the structure of the human psyche. In his book Existential Psychotherapy, he explores in detail how fear of death permeates the whole being, and how much of human activity implicitly results from this fear.

Mental defenses allow us to maintain mental health and keep from sliding into madness. On the other hand, the same defenses limit our freedom and program our reactions. Dependencies, workaholism, daily rituals, narcissism, anxiety, depression . . . The list of such defenses is long, and we utilize them to reduce our fear of death [11]. Becoming aware of one’s own defense strategies is the first step toward freedom from the limitations of the psyche and cognitive distortions.

Ernest Becker’s theory has been further developed and experimentally confirmed in the framework of terror management theory (TMT) [12]. For the first time in psychology, the horror of death has been studied as an experimental variable. In one study, researchers effected a horror of death in participants, activated their awareness of the inevitability of death, and studied the resulting defense mechanisms. Having experienced the anxiety of facing their own mortality, participants were asked to evaluate punishments for violators of cultural norms; these participants chose far more severe punishments than did the control group [13].

After thirty years of research, terror management theory maintains that the most basic reason death is upsetting and motivating is because it undermines the most basic motive of all, which is a prerequisite for all other need satisfaction — staying alive. More specifically, death is a unique motivator because (1) most of an organism’s biological systems function to keep the organism alive, thus averting death; (2) death must be avoided to enhance opportunities for reproduction and care of offspring, both of which are essential for gene perpetuation; (3) death is the only absolutely inevitable future event; and (4) death threatens to undermine all desires, whether for pleasure, belonging, certainty, meaning, control, competence, self-actualization, or growth [14]. I will discuss these facts in more detail in forthcoming articles.

Cultural worldview (religion, nationalism, etc.) and self-esteem are two common buffers that protect our unconscious from the anxiety of death. Almost every religion is predicated on a belief in an afterlife, thereby allowing adherents to control fear by ignoring or denying death. Also, self-esteem and culture fill life with value, helping us to surpass death symbolically by creating the illusion of continuing to exist through the contributions we make that will outlive us or because the community we identify with will continue to exist after our personal death [15].

Cognitive distortions, such as magical thinking or the denying to believe in our own mortality, push out existential questions from our conscious mind, gently urging us to concentrate on the less painful questions of being [12].

To begin truly active work on increasing human life expectancy and defeating age-related diseases, humankind needs to realize the finiteness of life.

Demystifying common defense mechanisms and the tricks our minds play to make us disregard our own mortality will be necessary in the fight against aging. Increasing awareness is often enough to motivate people to examine their defense mechanisms and resolve the cognitive distortions that make work on aging so unapproachable.

Right now, with modern science making possible technologies that had not even been imaginable before, it’s time to face our fear — to recognize the problem of human aging, and frame it not as a philosophical question of being but as an engineering challenge.

Readers of this article will probably not instantly become gerontologists (scientists specializing in the biology of aging) or sponsors of fundamental scientific research; however, an awareness that aging and death are real can only increase mindfulness for anyone who dares to face it, thus making them happier in the long run [16].

P.S.: Become a Radical Life Extension Hero! Support my research on the Patreon!

I am open to any discussion on the topic of longevity studies. Also, I am preparing a speech on the psychological effects of suppressing the fear of death. Experience shows that even a brief overview of this topic stimulates interest in the treatment of aging.

Furthermore, I am beginning research in the field of experimental social psychology and plan to use TMT techniques to identify optimal ways for delivering the message of longevity activists. If you are interested in collaboration of any kind, feel free to contact me here.

I’d like to thank Ekaterina Gorbacheva and Zachary Vigna for their editorial help.

Alex Kadet is a transhumanist, longevity activist, entrepreneur, and expert in death studies. He is also a member of the U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party.

Sources:

[1] Pavlov I. P. “Twenty years of experience in the objective research of the higher nervous activity.” Science, Moscow, 1973: p. 237.

[2] Spinoza, B. Ethics. Part 3, proposition 9. 1677.

[3] Vishnevsky, A. G. “Reproduction of the population and society.” Мoscow, 1982: p. 110.

[4https://www.lifespan.io/the-rejuvenation-roadmap/

[5https://www.ted.com/talks/aubrey_de_grey_says_we_can_avoid_aging

[6] Trewavas, A. “Malthus foiled again and again.” Nature, 418 (6898), September 2002: pp. 668–670

[7] Sethe, S. & de Magalhaes, J. P. “Ethical Perspectives in Biogerontology.” In: Ethics, Health Policy and (Anti-) Aging: Mixed Blessings, ed. Schermer, M. & Pinxten, W. Springer, Dordrecht, Netherlands, 2013: pp. 173–188.

[8] Izard, I. The Emotions of Humans. Мoscow, 1980: p. 52–71.

[9] Eibl-Eibesfeldt, I. Ethology: The biology of behavior. Oxford, England, 1970

[10] Becker, E. The Denial of Death. Simon & Schuster, New York, 1973.

[11] Yalom, I. D. Existential Psychotherapy. Basic Books, New York”, 1980.

[12] Greenberg, J., Pyszczynski, T. & Solomon, S. “The causes and consequences of a need for self-esteem: A terror management theory.” In: Public Self and Private Self, ed. R. F. Baumeister. Springer-Verlag, New York, 1986: pp. 189–212.

[13] Rosenblatt, A., Greenberg, J., Solomon S., Pyszczynski, T. & Lyon, D. “Evidence for terror management theory: I. The effects of mortality salience on reactions to those who violate or uphold cultural values.” J. Pers. Soc. Psychol., Vol. 57, 1989: pp. 681–90.

[14] Pyszczynski, T., Solomon, S., & Greenberg, J. L. “Thirty Years of Terror Management Theory: From Genesis to Revelation.” Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Vol. 52, 2015: pp. 1–70.

[15] Pyszczynski, T., Solomon, S., & Greenberg, J. L. (2015). Thirty Years of Terror Management Theory: From Genesis to Revelation. In Advances in Experimental Social Psychology (Vol. 52, pp. 1–70): Psychological Mechanisms Through Which Thoughts of Death Affect Behavior

[16] Killingsworth, M. A. & Gilbert, D. T.. “A Wandering Mind Is an Unhappy Mind.” Science, Vol. 330, issue 6006, 2010: p. 932.

2020 New Year’s and New Decade’s Message by Victor Bjoerk

2020 New Year’s and New Decade’s Message by Victor Bjoerk

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Victor Bjoerk


Picture of the M87 Black Hole – First-ever image of a black hole and a major accomplishment of the 2010s

Happy New Year and Decade, everyone!

I celebrated it this year in San Francisco, as I managed to get an opportunity in aging research here. I’ve always celebrated in Sweden before, with relatives or friends, and the last years’ celebrations have been with AI researcher Anders Sandberg. However, I’m certainly not stuck to any routine to mark it, and who knows where one may be in the future, if one may celebrate it in space even!

I still recall thinking about what would happen in the future back in 1999. Although, of course, our time calculation is completely arbitrary and not rooted in anything the universe cares about, we nonetheless like to set certain dates of when X event will happen when writing the history of humanity.

Back then I was a small child, and while I lacked a particular interest in aging research, I certainly read a lot of popular science and liked to think about what would happen during the upcoming millennia. Certainly, genetic enhancement of humans was high on that list and its happening now! Look, for example, at Luxturna and Zolgensma, the 2 approved gene therapies so far.

We should all be very happy to be alive now instead of during the previous 4 billion years life has existed. It’s been the best decade in history, ever. We have not only the basic logistics for keeping most people alive on a day-to-day basis with a good quality of life, but this also leads to a lot of spare time to develop technology.

Back in about 2008, when working in a nursing home as a teenager, I realized that I did not want to end up in that state within the next few decades. I did not feel that age-related disease belonged in an otherwise advanced high-tech society that respected human rights reasonably well. Since then, on most days, I’ve probably read new scientific papers on the topic, I went to university and studied molecular biology, I became director of Heales – which is a scientific think tank in Brussels – and set up the biannual EHA (Eurosymposium on Healthy Aging) conference series together with Sven Bulterijs.

I never intended to become a scientist for the sake of it; I just want to get the biggest problem in the history of humanity solved.

There are a lot of reasons for optimism. The 2010s saw unprecedented investment in this area, and many therapeutic aging interventions emerged. Among the ones most well-known are innovations in clearing senescent cells with senolytic drugs, leading to aging reversal.

So I just hope this trajectory of advancement continues as the public also becomes more informed. I’ve learnt that hype comes in cycles; lots of buzzwords and overoptimistic speculation flow around, but eventually also real products come out of the research (yes, even in biotechnology). The question is when enough therapies can be put together into an old person and systemically bring that person back to youth.

So I wish everyone a happy new year and decade, whatever your pursuits are, hoping that at the end of this decade we can summarize it, saying that we did what was possible.

I hope everyone had a fun celebration!

Victor Bjoerk has worked for the Gerontology Research Group, the Longevity Reporter, and the Fraunhofer-Institut für Zelltherapie und Immunologie. He has promoted awareness throughout Europe of emerging biomedical research and the efforts to reverse biological aging. He is now a molecular biologist and working for BioAge in San Francisco. 

Results of Platform Vote #7 and Adopted Sections

Results of Platform Vote #7 and Adopted Sections

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Gennady Stolyarov II


The U.S. Transhumanist Party conducted its twelfth vote of the members and the seventh vote on its platform planks between December 25, 2019, and January 1, 2020. 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 new or amended sections of Article III of the U.S. Transhumanist Party Constitution were adopted.

Section LXXXIII [Adopted by a vote of the members during December 25, 2019 – January 1, 2020]: The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party opposes any development or deployment of weapons systems that are capable of killing or injuring human beings in the absence of an explicit command by a human being to take action in every specific instance. Autonomous drones, vehicles, or other combat systems may not be permitted to make life-or-death decisions on the basis of a program, algorithm, predictive model, or any other means other than a specific decision by a human being who is closely familiar with the circumstances surrounding any given military situation. Accordingly, the United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots and other initiatives to abolish all autonomous weapons and preclude the development of such weapons.

Section LXXXIV [Adopted by a vote of the members during December 25, 2019 – January 1, 2020]: The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports research into the process of ectogenesis, the ability of organisms to be incubated and to grow to the point of independent survival, within an artificial environment that provides such organisms with all the necessities of biological survival and development. Furthermore, the United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports the widespread deployment and use of the technology of ectogenesis once such technology becomes safe and practical. Ectogenesis has the potential to benefit humans and other species alike, restoring extinct species and bolstering the numbers of endangered species, as well as alleviating the burdens of human pregnancy and rendering the divisive debate over abortion obsolete by reconciling the right to life of a fetus with the freedom of a woman to choose not to carry that fetus.

Section LXXXV [Adopted by a vote of the members during December 25, 2019 – January 1, 2020]: The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports any relaxation or elimination on caps in the United States federal budget regarding spending on scientific and technological research, including research in medicine and public health. Funding for science that can improve the human condition should not be subject to the vagaries of partisan political standoffs over the federal budget. Accordingly, the United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports the Raise the Caps initiative and any other elimination of artificial restrictions of the allocations of funding to scientific and technological projects.

Section LXXXVI [Adopted by a vote of the members during December 25, 2019 – January 1, 2020]: The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports efforts to give citizens more accessible and safer ways to report misconduct, corruption, constitutional rights violations, international human rights violations, and other similar infractions by police, including local police departments, as well as by federal law-enforcement agencies, such as Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), to an investigative organization, whether civilian in nature or a special investigative department within the judicial system.

Such efforts could, for example, involve having a mandate that every police department and federal law-enforcement agency website have a ‘banner’ on its website that allows citizens to report misbehavior by said police department or federal law-enforcement agency via a national reporting system. Reporting of misbehavior would not inhibit any constitutional rights, such as filing a lawsuit.

If a valid complaint is found after investigation, this could result in a fine, a reduction of funding, or a reduction of salary for the responsible officials as a means of punishment. Said money would be allocated back to the relevant level of government to increase the well-being of citizens.

A periodic report of all reported missteps by law-enforcement agencies should be made publicly available, including breakdowns of valid and invalid claims, as well as reports per region, among other useful breakdowns.

Section LXXXVII [Adopted by a vote of the members during December 25, 2019 – January 1, 2020]: The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports a requirement that any educational institution that receives federal funding must greatly reduce its expenditures on internal bureaucracy and administration, in part by eliminating the requirement for students to complete any hard-copy paperwork and by enabling ubiquitous free, electronic completion and submission of all required forms.

Section LXXXVIII [Adopted by a vote of the members during December 25, 2019 – January 1, 2020]: The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports a requirement that any educational institution that receives federal funding must openly publish all even partially federally funded research produced by that institution in readily downloadable electronic format without any cost to the general public, including any paywalls or access fees from academic journals that feature such research. This requirement would not apply to research projects solely supported by private funds or which do not require funding altogether; in those circumstances, the direct authors of such research would retain copyright to it and the ability to publish it in the manner they see fit.

Section LXXXIX [Adopted by a vote of the members during December 25, 2019 – January 1, 2020]: The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports a prohibition against police being equipped with military-grade hardware, including assault weapons, military armored vehicles, or any other offensive equipment primarily designed for battlefield use.

Section XC [Adopted by a vote of the members during December 25, 2019 – January 1, 2020]: The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports a requirement for police to be equipped with rubber bullets as standard ammunition and only to use regular, lethal bullets in situations where there is an immediate and previously known threat to the safety of members of the general public. More generally, police should be trained to use every possible technique for non-lethal incapacitation of offenders, prior to any recourse to lethal force.

Section XCI [Adopted by a vote of the members during December 25, 2019 – January 1, 2020]: The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports efforts to encourage police departments to use electric vehicles. This would have the advantages of reducing emissions of pollutants into the air, as well as moving police forces away from militarized vehicles, which are less likely to be electrically powered.

Section XCII [Adopted by a vote of the members during December 25, 2019 – January 1, 2020]: The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports the installment of monitoring systems in police vehicles to track whether the police are violating traffic laws, with the exception of situations where speeding or other technical infractions may be necessary to apprehend other known or suspected violators or criminal offenders. The ability of police to violate traffic laws with impunity is damaging to public perception, as law enforcement should first and foremost set an example for society to follow. By holding law enforcement accountable for minor infractions such as traffic violations, it will be possible to develop a police force that serves as an example to the public.

Section XCIII [Adopted by a vote of the members during December 25, 2019 – January 1, 2020]: The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports efforts to provide a path to legalization for all current undocumented immigrants living and working in the United States, free of restrictions based on country of origin, economic status, education, length of residency, or any other criteria, other than history of violent criminal activity.

Section XCIV [Adopted by a vote of the members during December 25, 2019 – January 1, 2020]: The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports efforts to end detention of all migrants for immigration violations not related to violent crimes. All current people serving jail terms for immigration issues with no additional crimes involved with the arrest must be released, and the path to citizenship started immediately. Those for whom an additional charge was involved would need to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, with serious infractions – such as any violent offenses – potentially justifying additional detainment.

Section XCV [Adopted by a vote of the members during December 25, 2019 – January 1, 2020]:  The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports measures to modernize and streamline the immigration process and eliminate the backlogs for those already in the queue. The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party advocates simplifying the documentation process, eliminating all requirements for filling out hard-copy paperwork, and utilizing technology to cut wait times and bureaucratic delays.

Section XCVI [Adopted by a vote of the members during December 25, 2019 – January 1, 2020]: The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports the immediate abolition of all private prison facilities and the termination of arrangements with private contractors for detention or immigration and border enforcement. Punishment for crimes, expect for situations of self-defense from the immediate commission of a crime, should be a function reserved for government alone and should never involve a profit motive, which creates incentives to artificially inflate the appearance of criminal behavior and the punishment of lesser infractions. In order to preserve the capacity for inmates and detainees to be housed in humane conditions, the United States Federal Government, as well as State and local governments, should have the prerogative to appropriate the facilities previously used by private prisons and private detention contractors, after providing appropriate one-time compensation for the property involved.

Section XCVII [Adopted by a vote of the members during December 25, 2019 – January 1, 2020]: The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports the establishment of a federal land dividend, whereby currently unused federal lands, with the exception of national parks, national forests, and notable landmarks, will be leased to private corporations that agree to operate in an environmentally conscientious manner, with the proceeds of the lease funding a universal basic income for the United States population.

Moreover, Section XVI has been amended to read as follows:

Section XVI [Adopted by a vote of the members during March 26 – April 1, 2017; amended by a vote of the members during December 25, 2019 – January 1, 2020]: Irrespective of whether or not technology will eventually replace the need for the labor of sentient entities, the United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman 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.

New Decade’s Message for the 2020s by USTP Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II

New Decade’s Message for the 2020s by USTP Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II

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Gennady Stolyarov II


As 2019 draws to a close, Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman of the United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party and Editor-in-Chief of The Rational Argumentator, expresses hope that humankind will emerge from the “Crazy Years” and offers ten concrete resolutions for human achievement during the 2020s. This message was recorded on December 31, 2019, and is available for viewing here.

As 2019 draws to a close, let us bid farewell and good riddance to a decade which could, in retrospect be referred to using the prophetic Robert Heinlein term, “The Crazy Years” – a turbulent, conflicted decade during which, while glimmers of hope appeared on multiple fronts of technological advancement, society and culture have clearly declined due to the rise of incivility, tribalism, authoritarianism, identity politics, and mass breakdowns of sanity. It is no secret that I had hoped for humankind to have been farther along the path of advancement by now than it has actually come. The great conflict of our decade – between the marvels that have been built by the creative and rational higher faculties of the human mind and the biases, fallacies, vulnerabilities, and atrocities spawned by its darkest evolved recesses – between the Apollonian heights and the Dionysian depths of human nature – will carry on into the 2020s and perhaps beyond. To win this conflict, those of us who desire a brighter future need to advocate for more progress, faster innovation, greater rationality, higher standards of civility and morality, and a long-term outlook that seeks to cultivate the best in human beings.

As the winds of fortune shift, some of us individually will rise, and others will fall. This certainly was the case this past decade. In so many respects, for me, it has been marked by colossal achievements and improvements, but also tectonic shifts in my own life which were not of my initiative – to which I needed to respond and adapt and preserve what I valued in the aftermath. Reflecting back on the end of 2009, and comparing it to today, I realize that absolutely everything about the circumstances of my life is now different… and yet I myself am essentially the same. I believe that it is this core of myself, this fundamentally constant and consistent identity, which has carried me through the crises and enabled me to defy adversity and arise stronger every time – to pursue new endeavors and take on new roles while remaining the same essential individual, to learn from the empirical evidence before me while maintaining the same convictions and understanding of the good. The events of the 2010s have illustrated for me that, indeed, peace and stability in life must ultimately come from within – although it is not a matter of withdrawal into the self or mere self-affirmation, as some popular creeds would claim. Rather, it is the self that must devise and implement solutions to the crises of the day while pursuing consistent improvement in as many dimensions as possible, and preserving that essential core intact.

It is beyond our power to live a decade over again, but we can harness the best of its aftermath and turn the coming decade into a superior and more rational one. Some of us will create resolutions as individuals, and then pursue plans of varying degrees of specificity and likelihood of success. But perhaps it is best to consider the resolutions we would wish to have for humankind as a whole. It is all well and good, of course, to wish for progress and prosperity, but it is also well-known that the resolutions which have the greatest likelihood of succeeding are those which are accompanied by concrete indicators of fulfillment. Therefore, I propose the following ten resolutions for humankind during the decade of the 2020s, which will enable us to empirically identify whether or not they have been fulfilled at the decade’s end.

  1. Construct the next world’s tallest building – because humankind must always reach higher.
  2. Build a base on the Moon – because it is time to colonize other worlds.
  3. Land a human on Mars – because it is time to expand beyond our orbit.
  4. Establish the first fully operational seastead communities – because it is time for human habitation to expand beyond land and for jurisdictional experimentation to resume in earnest.
  5. Have at least one person live beyond 120 years again – mathematically possible given that 10 of today’s supercentenarians are 114 or older; it is time to begin to approach Jeanne Calment’s longevity record of 122 years once more.
  6. Cut all world nuclear-weapon stockpiles in half – more than this has been done before, and so this is really quite a modest goal, but it is imperative to reverse the trajectory of the current arms race. Complete nuclear disarmament by all powers would, of course, be preferable, to finally dispel the “MAD” cloud of annihilation looming over our species.
  7. Compose 100 tonal symphonies – because it is time to rediscover beauty.
  8. Develop medically effective cures for every type of cancer – because, really, it is decades past time.
  9. End the decade with 50 percent of all vehicles on the road at level 2 autonomy or greater – because road deaths are a travesty and should become a relic of a barbaric past.
  10. Experience at least one year in which no country is at war with any other, with “war” including armed insurgencies and terrorist attacks – because national, ethnic, religious, and ideological warfare needs to be relegated to the past.

Of course, there are many worthwhile objectives not encompassed above, and it is my hope that efforts to reach those goals will also advance in parallel. You may have a list of ten resolutions for humankind that differs from mine, but they may be compatible nonetheless. The overarching aim, however, is to restore humanity’s much-needed confidence in progress, to emerge from the postmodern swamp of self-doubt and deconstruction and return to the heights of ennobling ambition and creation. Concrete benchmarks to track our progress can also serve the dual purpose of motivating people everywhere to undertake great tasks. A certain President has expressed the desire to make America great again, but I would venture to say that he has not selected the proper means for doing so. I challenge everyone during the next decade to make the world great again and demonstrate that the most impressive achievements and the most lasting solutions to our age-old problems are still to come. This is the message of transhumanism, and I hope that it can become the theme of the next decade – so that when I speak to you again at the decade’s end, we can reflect upon the wonders that have been built.

Join the U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party for free, no matter where you reside. Apply here in less than a minute. 

U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party General Discussion Thread for the First Quarter of 2020

U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party General Discussion Thread for the First Quarter of 2020

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The purpose of this post is to facilitate member comments pertaining to transhumanism and the U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party (USTP), which might not specifically fit the subjects of any other post or article on the USTP website. This is the place for members to offer suggestions or converse about any areas of emerging technologies and their political, moral, societal, cultural, and esthetic implications. The general discussion thread is also an ideal location to suggest or propose platform planks that may be considered for future platform voting, and/or bring our attention to emerging legislative and societal developments that may affect the course and impact of emerging technologies.

The USTP will endeavor to open one of these general comment threads per quarter. This comment thread pertains to the months of January, February, and March 2020.

Type in your comments below. Please note that, to protect against spambots, the first comment by any individual will be moderated. After passing moderation, a civil commenter should be able to post comments without future moderation – although we cannot guarantee that the technical aspect of this functionality will work as intended 100% of the time.

Official Ballot Options for Platform Vote #7

Official Ballot Options for Platform Vote #7

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The 7-day electronic voting period on the seventh set of proposed platform planks of the U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party (15 potential planks and 1 potential amendment in total) will occur from 1:01 a.m. U.S. Pacific Time on December 25, 2019, to 1:01 a.m.  U.S. Pacific Time on January 1, 2020. All members of the U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party (USTP) who have applied before 1:01 a.m. on December 25, 2019, will be eligible to vote, as long as they have expressed agreement with the three Core Ideals of the USTP 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 early January 2020, 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 / Transhuman 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 / Transhuman 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. The nature of the selections made by the members may be disclosed, but, if they are, each individual vote will not be associated with the identity of the voter but rather will be presented in an anonymized manner.

Navigate the Options

Proposed Platform Sections

Question I. Section E7-A. Opposition to Autonomous Weapons
Question II. Section E7-B. Ectogenesis
Question III. Section E7-C. Elimination of Caps on Scientific Expenditures
Question IV. Section E7-D. Improved Reporting of Law-Enforcement Misconduct
Question V. Section E7-E. Requirement for Educational Institutions That Receive Federal Funding to Reduce Administrative Costs
Question VI. Section E7-F. Requirement for Educational Institutions That Receive Federal Funding to Publish Research Free of Charge to the General Public
Question VII. Section E7-G. Prohibition of Police from Carrying Military-Grade Hardware
Question VIII. Section E7-H. Requirement for Police to Use Rubber Bullets as Standard Ammunition
Question IX. Section E7-I. Encouragement for Police to Use Electric Vehicles
Question X. Section E7-J. Tracking of Police Violations of Traffic Laws
Question XI. Section E7-K. Path to Legalization of Current Immigrants
Question XII. Section E7-L. Elimination of Detention of Immigrants for Non-Violent Infractions
Question XIII. Section E7-M. Streamlining of Immigration Process
Question XIV. Section E7-N. Abolition of Private Prisons and Detention Facilities
Question XV. Section E7-O. Federal Land Dividend

Proposed Amendments to Existing Planks

Question XVI. Amendment to Section XVI on Universal Basic Income to Align with Version 3.0 of the Transhumanist Bill of Rights

Proposed Platform Sections

Question I. Section E7-A. Opposition to Autonomous Weapons

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

“The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party opposes any development or deployment of weapons systems that are capable of killing or injuring human beings in the absence of an explicit command by a human being to take action in every specific instance. Autonomous drones, vehicles, or other combat systems may not be permitted to make life-or-death decisions on the basis of a program, algorithm, predictive model, or any other means other than a specific decision by a human being who is closely familiar with the circumstances surrounding any given military situation. Accordingly, the United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots and other initiatives to abolish all autonomous weapons and preclude the development of such weapons.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Question II. Section E7-B. Ectogenesis

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

“The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports research into the process of ectogenesis, the ability of organisms to be incubated and to grow to the point of independent survival, within an artificial environment that provides such organisms with all the necessities of biological survival and development. Furthermore, the United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports the widespread deployment and use of the technology of ectogenesis once such technology becomes safe and practical. Ectogenesis has the potential to benefit humans and other species alike, restoring extinct species and bolstering the numbers of endangered species, as well as alleviating the burdens of human pregnancy and rendering the divisive debate over abortion obsolete by reconciling the right to life of a fetus with the freedom of a woman to choose not to carry that fetus.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Question III. Section E7-C. Elimination of Caps on Scientific Expenditures

Rank-order the Section E7-C 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 E7-C-1. [Based on Suggestion by John Marlowe] The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports any relaxation or elimination on caps in the United States federal budget regarding spending on peaceful scientific and technological research, including research in medicine and public health. Funding for science that can improve the human condition should not be subject to the vagaries of partisan political standoffs over the federal budget. Accordingly, the United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports the Raise the Caps initiative and any other elimination of artificial restrictions of the allocations of funding to peaceful scientific and technological projects.

Option E7-C-2. [Modification by Jared V to Remove the Adjective “Peaceful” in Reference to Scientific and Technological Projects] The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports any relaxation or elimination on caps in the United States federal budget regarding spending on scientific and technological research, including research in medicine and public health. Funding for science that can improve the human condition should not be subject to the vagaries of partisan political standoffs over the federal budget. Accordingly, the United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports the Raise the Caps initiative and any other elimination of artificial restrictions of the allocations of funding to scientific and technological projects.

☐ Option E7-C-NO. No Section of this sort.

Question IV. Section E7-D. Improved Reporting of Law-Enforcement Misconduct

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

“The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports efforts to give citizens more accessible and safer ways to report misconduct, corruption, constitutional rights violations, international human rights violations, and other similar infractions by police, including local police departments, as well as by federal law-enforcement agencies, such as Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), to an investigative organization, whether civilian in nature or a special investigative department within the judicial system.

“Such efforts could, for example, involve having a mandate that every police department and federal law-enforcement agency website have a ‘banner’ on its website that allows citizens to report misbehavior by said police department or federal law-enforcement agency via a national reporting system. Reporting of misbehavior would not inhibit any constitutional rights, such as filing a lawsuit.

“If a valid complaint is found after investigation, this could result in a fine, a reduction of funding, or a reduction of salary for the responsible officials as a means of punishment. Said money would be allocated back to the relevant level of government to increase the well-being of citizens.

“A periodic report of all reported missteps by law-enforcement agencies should be made publicly available, including breakdowns of valid and invalid claims, as well as reports per region, among other useful breakdowns.”

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Question V. Section E7-E. Requirement for Educational Institutions That Receive Federal Funding to Reduce Administrative Costs

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

“The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports a requirement that any educational institution that receives federal funding must greatly reduce its expenditures on internal bureaucracy and administration, in part by eliminating the requirement for students to complete any hard-copy paperwork and by enabling ubiquitous free, electronic completion and submission of all required forms.”

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Question VI. Section E7-F. Requirement for Educational Institutions That Receive Federal Funding to Publish Research Free of Charge to the General Public

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

“The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports a requirement that any educational institution that receives federal funding must openly publish all even partially federally funded research produced by that institution in readily downloadable electronic format without any cost to the general public, including any paywalls or access fees from academic journals that feature such research. This requirement would not apply to research projects solely supported by private funds or which do not require funding altogether; in those circumstances, the direct authors of such research would retain copyright to it and the ability to publish it in the manner they see fit.”

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Question VII. Section E7-G. Prohibition of Police from Carrying Military-Grade Hardware

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

“The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports a prohibition against police being equipped with military-grade hardware, including assault weapons, military armored vehicles, or any other offensive equipment primarily designed for battlefield use.”

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Question VIII. Section E7-H. Requirement for Police to Use Rubber Bullets as Standard Ammunition

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

“The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports a requirement for police to be equipped with rubber bullets as standard ammunition and only to use regular, lethal bullets in situations where there is an immediate and previously known threat to the safety of members of the general public. More generally, police should be trained to use every possible technique for non-lethal incapacitation of offenders, prior to any recourse to lethal force.”

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Question IX. Section E7-I. Encouragement for Police to Use Electric Vehicles

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

“The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports efforts to encourage police departments to use electric vehicles. This would have the advantages of reducing emissions of pollutants into the air, as well as moving police forces away from militarized vehicles, which are less likely to be electrically powered.”

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Question X. Section E7-J. Tracking of Police Violations of Traffic Laws

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

“The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports the installment of monitoring systems in police vehicles to track whether the police are violating traffic laws, with the exception of situations where speeding or other technical infractions may be necessary to apprehend other known or suspected violators or criminal offenders. The ability of police to violate traffic laws with impunity is damaging to public perception, as law enforcement should first and foremost set an example for society to follow. By holding law enforcement accountable for minor infractions such as traffic violations, it will be possible to develop a police force that serves as an example to the public.”

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Question XI. Section E7-K. Path to Legalization of Current Immigrants

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

“The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports efforts to provide a path to legalization for all current undocumented immigrants living and working in the United States, free of restrictions based on country of origin, economic status, education, length of residency, or any other criteria, other than history of violent criminal activity.”

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Question XII. Section E7-L. Elimination of Detention of Immigrants for Non-Violent Infractions

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

“The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports efforts to end detention of all migrants for immigration violations not related to violent crimes. All current people serving jail terms for immigration issues with no additional crimes involved with the arrest must be released, and the path to citizenship started immediately. Those for whom an additional charge was involved would need to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, with serious infractions – such as any violent offenses – potentially justifying additional detainment.”

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Question XIII. Section E7-M. Streamlining of Immigration Process

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

“The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports measures to modernize and streamline the immigration process and eliminate the backlogs for those already in the queue. The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party advocates simplifying the documentation process, eliminating all requirements for filling out hard-copy paperwork, and utilizing technology to cut wait times and bureaucratic delays.”

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Question XIV. Section E7-N. Abolition of Private Prisons and Detention Facilities

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

“The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports the immediate abolition of all private prison facilities and the termination of arrangements with private contractors for detention or immigration and border enforcement. Punishment for crimes, expect for situations of self-defense from the immediate commission of a crime, should be a function reserved for government alone and should never involve a profit motive, which creates incentives to artificially inflate the appearance of criminal behavior and the punishment of lesser infractions. In order to preserve the capacity for inmates and detainees to be housed in humane conditions, the United States Federal Government, as well as State and local governments, should have the prerogative to appropriate the facilities previously used by private prisons and private detention contractors, after providing appropriate one-time compensation for the property involved.”

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Question XV. Section E7-O. Federal Land Dividend

Rank-order the Section E7-O 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 E7-O-1. The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports the establishment of a federal land dividend, whereby currently unused federal lands, with the exception of national parks and notable landmarks, will be leased to private corporations that agree to operate in an environmentally conscientious manner, with the proceeds of the lease funding a universal basic income for the United States population.

Option E7-O-2. [Modification by Jared V to Include National Forests as Protected Lands] The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports the establishment of a federal land dividend, whereby currently unused federal lands, with the exception of national parks, national forests, and notable landmarks, will be leased to private corporations that agree to operate in an environmentally conscientious manner, with the proceeds of the lease funding a universal basic income for the United States population.

☐ Option E7-O-NO. No Section of this sort.

Proposed Amendments to Existing Planks

Question XVI. Amendment to Section XVI on Universal Basic Income to Align with Version 3.0 of the Transhumanist Bill of Rights

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

Select one of the following options.

☐ Current Version of Section XVI. 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.

☐ Amendment XVI-1. [Revision to Align with Article XIX Version 3.0 of the Transhumanist Bill of Rights]

Irrespective of whether or not technology will eventually replace the need for the labor of sentient entities, the United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman 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.

 Abstain.

USTP Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II Interviewed by Roen Horn of the Eternal Life Fan Club

USTP Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II Interviewed by Roen Horn of the Eternal Life Fan Club

Gennady Stolyarov II
Roen Horn


Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman of the U.S. Transhumanist Party, was interviewed on December 14, 2019, by Roen Horn of the Eternal Life Fan Club. Topics discussed included recent developments in transhumanist politics, the Presidential campaign of Johannon Ben Zion, transhumanist elements in the candidacies of Zoltan Istvan and Andrew Yang, how to persuade religious individuals to be more receptive to the ideas of transhumanism and life extension, prospects for the transhumanist movement to find a spokesperson regarding life extension as influential as Greta Thunberg has been regarding climate-change activism, preservation of the self and “I-ness”, existential risks, and longevity themes in film and literature.

References

Ben Zion 2020 Campaign Website
Johannon Ben Zion Candidate Profile

Join the U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party for free, no matter where you reside. Click here to apply in less than a minute.

24-Day Exposure Period for Platform Vote #7

24-Day Exposure Period for Platform Vote #7

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Gennady Stolyarov II


For its upcoming seventh Platform vote, the U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party (USTP) has received a large volume of suggestions from members. This exposure period is intended to encompass the most salient of these suggestions. The forthcoming Platform vote is intended to “catch up” on the processing of suggestions that could not be immediately addressed due to limited resources in the course of the 2019 Presidential Primary season. It is likely that additional Platform votes will follow in early 2020 to address remaining items of interest to the USTP membership.

A vote will be scheduled on some or all of these items once they have been exposed for at least 24 days. For each item, a 7-day voting period is expected to be opened at the earliest on Wednesday, December 25, 2019.

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 / Transhuman 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 U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party reserves the right to edit any proposed amendment for correctness of spelling and grammar. “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 U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman 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 E7-A. Opposition to Autonomous Weapons

Option E7-A-1. [Based on Suggestion by Mike DiVerde and Dan Elton] The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party opposes any development or deployment of weapons systems that are capable of killing or injuring human beings in the absence of an explicit command by a human being to take action in every specific instance. Autonomous drones, vehicles, or other combat systems may not be permitted to make life-or-death decisions on the basis of a program, algorithm, predictive model, or any other means other than a specific decision by a human being who is closely familiar with the circumstances surrounding any given military situation. Accordingly, the United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots and other initiatives to abolish all autonomous weapons and preclude the development of such weapons.

Section E7-B. Ectogenesis

Option E7-B-1. The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports research into the process of ectogenesis, the ability of organisms to be incubated and to grow to the point of independent survival, within an artificial environment that provides such organisms with all the necessities of biological survival and development. Furthermore, the United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports the widespread deployment and use of the technology of ectogenesis once such technology becomes safe and practical. Ectogenesis has the potential to benefit humans and other species alike, restoring extinct species and bolstering the numbers of endangered species, as well as alleviating the burdens of human pregnancy and rendering the divisive debate over abortion obsolete by reconciling the right to life of a fetus with the freedom of a woman to choose not to carry that fetus.

Section E7-C. Elimination of Caps on Scientific Expenditures

Option E7-C-1. [Based on Suggestion by John Marlowe] The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports any relaxation or elimination on caps in the United States federal budget regarding spending on peaceful scientific and technological research, including research in medicine and public health. Funding for science that can improve the human condition should not be subject to the vagaries of partisan political standoffs over the federal budget. Accordingly, the United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports the Raise the Caps initiative and any other elimination of artificial restrictions of the allocations of funding to peaceful scientific and technological projects.

Option E7-C-2. [Modification by Jared V to Remove the Adjective “Peaceful” in Reference to Scientific and Technological Projects] The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports any relaxation or elimination on caps in the United States federal budget regarding spending on scientific and technological research, including research in medicine and public health. Funding for science that can improve the human condition should not be subject to the vagaries of partisan political standoffs over the federal budget. Accordingly, the United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports the Raise the Caps initiative and any other elimination of artificial restrictions of the allocations of funding to scientific and technological projects.

Section E7-D. Improved Reporting of Law-Enforcement Misconduct

Option E7-D-1. [Based on Suggestion by Martin van der Kroon]

The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports efforts to give citizens more accessible and safer ways to report misconduct, corruption, constitutional rights violations, international human rights violations, and other similar infractions by police, including local police departments, as well as by federal law-enforcement agencies, such as Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), to an investigative organization, whether civilian in nature or a special investigative department within the judicial system.

Such efforts could, for example, involve having a mandate that every police department and federal law-enforcement agency website have a ‘banner’ on its website that allows citizens to report misbehavior by said police department or federal law-enforcement agency via a national reporting system. Reporting of misbehavior would not inhibit any constitutional rights, such as filing a lawsuit.

If a valid complaint is found after investigation, this could result in a fine, a reduction of funding, or a reduction of salary for the responsible officials as a means of punishment. Said money would be allocated back to the relevant level of government to increase the well-being of citizens.

A periodic report of all reported missteps by law-enforcement agencies should be made publicly available, including breakdowns of valid and invalid claims, as well as reports per region, among other useful breakdowns.

Section E7-E. Requirement for Educational Institutions That Receive Federal Funding to Reduce Administrative Costs

Option E7-E-1. [Based on Suggestion by Martin van der Kroon]

The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports a requirement that any educational institution that receives federal funding must greatly reduce its expenditures on internal bureaucracy and administration, in part by eliminating the requirement for students to complete any hard-copy paperwork and by enabling ubiquitous free, electronic completion and submission of all required forms.

Section E7-F. Requirement for Educational Institutions That Receive Federal Funding to Publish Research Free of Charge to the General Public

Option E7-F-1. The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports a requirement that any educational institution that receives federal funding must openly publish all even partially federally funded research produced by that institution in readily downloadable electronic format without any cost to the general public, including any paywalls or access fees from academic journals that feature such research. This requirement would not apply to research projects solely supported by private funds or which do not require funding altogether; in those circumstances, the direct authors of such research would retain copyright to it and the ability to publish it in the manner they see fit.

Section E7-G. Prohibition of Police from Carrying Military-Grade Hardware

Option E7-G-1. [Based on Suggestion by Martin van der Kroon]

The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports a prohibition against police being equipped with military-grade hardware, including assault weapons, military armored vehicles, or any other offensive equipment primarily designed for battlefield use.

Section E7-H. Requirement for Police to Use Rubber Bullets as Standard Ammunition

Option E7-H-1. [Based on Suggestion by Martin van der Kroon]

The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports a requirement for police to be equipped with rubber bullets as standard ammunition and only to use regular, lethal bullets in situations where there is an immediate and previously known threat to the safety of members of the general public. More generally, police should be trained to use every possible technique for non-lethal incapacitation of offenders, prior to any recourse to lethal force.

Section E7-I. Encouragement for Police to Use Electric Vehicles

Option E7-I-1. [Based on Suggestion by R. Nicholas Starr]

The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports efforts to encourage police departments to use electric vehicles. This would have the advantages of reducing emissions of pollutants into the air, as well as moving police forces away from militarized vehicles, which are less likely to be electrically powered.

Section E7-J. Tracking of Police Violations of Traffic Laws

Option E7-J-1. [Based on Suggestion by Martin van der Kroon]

The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports the installment of monitoring systems in police vehicles to track whether the police are violating traffic laws, with the exception of situations where speeding or other technical infractions may be necessary to apprehend other known or suspected violators or criminal offenders. The ability of police to violate traffic laws with impunity is damaging to public perception, as law enforcement should first and foremost set an example for society to follow. By holding law enforcement accountable for minor infractions such as traffic violations, it will be possible to develop a police force that serves as an example to the public.

Section E7-K. Path to Legalization of Current Immigrants

Option E7-K-1. [Based on Suggestion by Jennifer Huse]

The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports efforts to provide a path to legalization for all current undocumented immigrants living and working in the United States, free of restrictions based on country of origin, economic status, education, length of residency, or any other criteria, other than history of violent criminal activity.

Section E7-L. Elimination of Detention of Immigrants for Non-Violent Infractions

Option E7-L-1. [Based on Suggestion by Jennifer Huse]

The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports efforts to end detention of all migrants for immigration violations not related to violent crimes. All current people serving jail terms for immigration issues with no additional crimes involved with the arrest must be released, and the path to citizenship started immediately. Those for whom an additional charge was involved would need to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, with serious infractions – such as any violent offenses – potentially justifying additional detainment.

Section E7-M. Streamlining of Immigration Process

Option E7-M-1. [Based on Suggestion by Jennifer Huse]

The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports measures to modernize and streamline the immigration process and eliminate the backlogs for those already in the queue. The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party advocates simplifying the documentation process, eliminating all requirements for filling out hard-copy paperwork, and utilizing technology to cut wait times and bureaucratic delays.

Section E7-N. Abolition of Private Prisons and Detention Facilities

Option E7-N-1. [Based on Suggestion by Jennifer Huse, with Expansions]

The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports the immediate abolition of all private prison facilities and the termination of arrangements with private contractors for detention or immigration and border enforcement. Punishment for crimes, expect for situations of self-defense from the immediate commission of a crime, should be a function reserved for government alone and should never involve a profit motive, which creates incentives to artificially inflate the appearance of criminal behavior and the punishment of lesser infractions. In order to preserve the capacity for inmates and detainees to be housed in humane conditions, the United States Federal Government, as well as State and local governments, should have the prerogative to appropriate the facilities previously used by private prisons and private detention contractors, after providing appropriate one-time compensation for the property involved.

Section E7-O. Federal Land Dividend

Option E7-O-1.

The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports the establishment of a federal land dividend, whereby currently unused federal lands, with the exception of national parks and notable landmarks, will be leased to private corporations that agree to operate in an environmentally conscientious manner, with the proceeds of the lease funding a universal basic income for the United States population.

Option E7-O-2. [Modification by Jared V to Include National Forests as Protected Lands]

The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party supports the establishment of a federal land dividend, whereby currently unused federal lands, with the exception of national parks, national forests, and notable landmarks, will be leased to private corporations that agree to operate in an environmentally conscientious manner, with the proceeds of the lease funding a universal basic income for the United States population.

Proposed Amendments to Existing Planks

Members will be given the option to either retain existing language of a plank or to adopt any of the listed proposed amendments. Ranked-preference voting will be conducted for any Section for which more than one amendment has been proposed. Members will also be able to abstain from each vote.

1. Amendments to Section XVI on Universal Basic Income to Align with Version 3.0 of the Transhumanist Bill of Rights

Current Version of Section XVI. 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.

Amendment XVI-1. [Revision to Align with Article XIX Version 3.0 of the Transhumanist Bill of Rights]

Irrespective of whether or not technology will eventually replace the need for the labor of sentient entities, the United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman 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.

How 2020 Can Be the Year of Transhumanist Politics in America: USTP Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II Interviewed by Steele Archer on the Debt Nation Show

How 2020 Can Be the Year of Transhumanist Politics in America: USTP Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II Interviewed by Steele Archer on the Debt Nation Show

Gennady Stolyarov II
Steele Archer


On November 24, 2019, U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II spoke extensively with Steele Archer on the Debt Nation show regarding recent transhumanist political developments and possibilities to come in 2020, including how 2020 can shape up to become the year of transhumanism in American politics, across the conventional spectrum, with Zoltan Istvan running as a Republican, Andrew Yang running as a Democrat, several Libertarian candidates sympathetic to a highly technological future – with their supporters having the potential to be drawn to the Transhumanist Presidential campaign of Johannon Ben Zion, who will remain in the race all the way to the general election, long after all the other parties’ primaries have concluded.

Watch this conversation here.

Also discussed were subjects such as how transhumanism can give a new sense of purpose and rekindle the belief in progress among Americans, how transhumanism can inaugurate a more rational politics, which seeks creative solutions to replace wedge issues with win-win outcomes, and the key points from the USTP Chairman’s Third Anniversary Message and how they will be implemented so as to further enhance and grow the USTP.

Join the U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party for free, no matter where you reside. Click here to apply in less than a minute.

 

U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party Chairman’s Third Anniversary Message

U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party Chairman’s Third Anniversary Message

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Gennady Stolyarov II


On October 7, 2019, the United States Transhumanist Party celebrated its five-year anniversary, right after a milestone 2019 Presidential Primary election and the acceptance speech of the winning candidate, Johannon Ben Zion, who has been endorsed by the USTP to run for President of the United States in 2020.  November 17, 2019, only a month and a half after these momentous events, marks three years since I became Chairman of the USTP. While the vigorous, extensively discussed, and thoroughly tabulated primary election was the USTP’s most significant undertaking during its third year, occupying the majority of our efforts between April and October 2019, several other achievements are noteworthy as well.

In January 2019, the U.S. Transhumanist Party merged with the Transhuman Party and, after the dissolution of the Transhuman National Committee of the United States, became the sole remaining explicitly transhumanist U.S. political organization – the last, best hope for transhumanist politics to succeed, given that the USTP has continued to grow and attract public interest, even as other organizations failed to gather the necessary momentum and engagement of their members. In the words of Professor Angel Marchev, Sr., at the VSIM-2019 Conference in Ravda, Bulgaria, “This year it was empirically proved that direct democracy is a bad idea for starting projects. Leadership parties adopt a model that is working, and the fact that all three political centers in the United States were united is the best illustration of that. Leadership is necessary; direct democracy is not the way to do big projects – to change the world. […] Without quality leaders, you can’t do anything.” While the USTP has relied extensively on democratic processes in developing its Platform and endorsing its 2020 candidate for President of the United States, experience obliges me to agree with Professor Marchev’s fundamental point; indeed, even to organize and oversee democratic processes, leadership is required. There must be an umpire to objectively monitor and enforce the rules of engagement, and there must be a systematic, organized way to coordinate the logistics and infrastructure that enable voting and member participation to occur.

It is most impressive and gratifying when the energy to achieve great tasks arises spontaneously from within the community, but even in those cases, a call to action is necessary, as is the demarcation of the parameters of the task. A superb example of this phenomenon in action was our project to create Free Transhumanist Symbols which any person may use to represent the concept of transhumanism in general. The purpose of this project and the conditions for providing symbols (i.e., that they must be made available freely for use by others – either by being released into the public domain or via a Creative Commons license) galvanized the creativity of individual members to contribute a plethora of high-quality symbols within mere days. However, only leadership with a principled vision can provide the incentives and the structure for such creativity to become instantiated and for its fruits to be made available to the world. This experience, like so many others over the past year, has taught me that active engagement by leadership is a vital prerequisite for a member-driven, participatory organization to be feasible.

Even in organizations where conceptual policy stances are determined by voting, leadership is required for the everyday implementation of these agreed-upon concepts into practice. The USTP’s first test of this practical application in a legislative context came during March-May 2019, when we successfully achieved significant improvements to the provisions of Nevada Assembly Bill 226 by informing legislators of the true potential and limitations of implantable microchip technology – particularly through the testimony of Anastasia Synn and the Cyborg and Transhumanist Forum – the first transhumanist event in the halls of a State legislature.

Another important function of leadership is to present the public face of an organization, as the USTP leadership was able to do in the course of numerous events – both in-person and virtual – during the past year – including the Young Americans for Liberty meeting at the University of Nevada, Reno (February 16, 2019), Wellness and Longevity Seminar in Burbank, California (August 24, 2019 – also watch the subsequent discussion panel), the VSIM-2019 Conference in Ravda, Bulgaria (September 6, 2019), and RAAD Fest 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada (October 3-6, 2019) – as well as interviews and conversations such as those with Tobias Teufel (July 9, 2019), James Strole (July 16, 2019),  Johannon Ben Zion (August 24, 2019), Steele Archer (July 1, 2019, July 31, 2019, August 7, 2019, September 10, 2019, September 25, 2019, September 29, 2019, and October 14, 2019),  Brent Nally (October 12, 2019), and Dr. Bill Andrews (October 12, 2019). Candidate Johannon Ben Zion on his campaign tour has already visited Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania, New York, and San Francisco and engaged with transhumanist and futurist organizations in those locations, as well as with scientific research institutions, policy think tanks, and political figures from other parties. The role of leadership is to represent the organization accurately and systematically to those who seek to educate themselves about the organization’s purpose, values, goals, and positions.

Membership growth has continued to be a core focus of the USTP leadership over the past year. As of this writing, the USTP has 1,859 members, as compared to 1,187 one year ago. The net number of members joining during the third year of my tenure as Chairman (672) materially increased from those joining during the second year (487), and it is my hope that the USTP might be able to surpass the 2,000-member milestone by the end of 2019. The USTP’s growth remains steady and is accelerating slightly; however, much work remains to be done in order to bridge the awareness gap regarding transhumanism and attract the numerous implicit transhumanists in the general public to the USTP. For this, continued outreach and projects to promote the visibility of transhumanism and the USTP will be necessary. Much of the USTP’s focus during 2020 will be on coordinating with the Ben Zion 2020 Presidential campaign to maximize its impact and enable it to achieve levels of public awareness similar to what the tireless 2016 campaign efforts of Zoltan Istvan were able to accomplish.

Numerous avenues for progress are open before us. While predicting the future is notoriously difficult and never exactly accurate, some noteworthy endeavors are on the horizon for the USTP.

  • Development of Tiered Membership: In a member-driven organization, the members who are more active and who have demonstrated an in-depth understanding of the organization’s positions, values, and operations should be rewarded with additional influence over the decisions made within the organization. Hitherto, every member of the USTP has had one vote in our internal elections. While this approach has yielded productive results in the course of the USTP votes thus far, it can nonetheless be improved. The vote of a long-time, dedicated transhumanist with extensive knowledge of transhumanist ideas as well as a high degree of familiarity with the USTP should have more influence than that of a completely new member who may have thus far only filled out our membership form but has not yet had time to study the USTP’s history and operations. Accordingly, USTP leadership will explore the possibility of developing a weighted or tiered voting system where members who demonstrate a strong commitment to and a thorough understanding of the USTP will be able to earn additional votes in so doing. The key to such a system, however, is objectivity; a set of criteria needs to be established that any member could potentially meet with the requisite effort and study, and whose satisfaction can be easily validated. Accordingly, USTP leadership welcomes suggestions as to what criteria might be used to objectively award additional voting power to members who fulfill such criteria.
  • Continued Membership Growth by Reaching New Demographics: Over the past year, I have come to the conclusion that the USTP has already engaged those segments of the existing transhumanist movement which are capable of becoming constructively involved with the USTP. In order to grow much further, the USTP needs to encompass individuals who are new to the transhumanist movement and to interest individuals from constituencies that share key common goals with the USTP. Many of these individuals are currently implicit transhumanists; they lead their lives in a manner that generally welcomes new technological advances and often have an optimistic outlook on the impacts of technology on humankind’s future. For those people to become aware of the transhumanist movement and involved with the USTP will require continued diligent communication by USTP leadership in as many forums as are made available to us. With each communication, recognition of the transhumanist movement spreads, and our ideas become expressed in “mainstream” discussions to a slightly greater extent. I was recently quite pleased to be able to assist teams of university students with a debate project regarding transhumanism, longevity, and their implications. After two conversations of approximately an hour in length each, I was able to convey insights about what transhumanism stands for, as well as answers to common objections and persuasive arguments in favor of transhumanism. Several days after our conversation, I received an e-mail from one of the debate teams, announcing that it had won the debate in its class, having taken a position in support of transhumanism. “Not only that,” one of the debaters informed me, “but we asked the class after we learned the result if we had actually changed anybody’s minds on the topic, and about half the class said that we had.” This is ultimately the most effective way to change minds – through in-depth interaction with a relatively small number of people at a time, but in a manner that makes an impact and enables the insights to spread throughout the society. Debates like this one are welcome signs that the cultural conversation is shifting toward actively engaging the ideas of transhumanism, which is necessary for these ideas to become instantiated in mainstream discourse and drive a more rapid rate of advancement. This path to growth does not yield instantaneous large-scale results, but it does represent the most sustainable and long-term successful approach, since it cultivates genuine, informed understanding of transhumanist ideas, which can then be spread to others by those who have become newly but accurately aware of them.
  • Continued Creation and Creative Utilization of Media: Since the emergence of Steele Archer’s Debt Nation channel as a hub for in-depth conversations among transhumanists, as well as the extensive efforts of Johannon Ben Zion to interview notable transhumanists, futurists, and life-extensionists on his Futurist New Deal Podcast, the public has greater access than ever before to the discourse that occurs on a regular basis within the transhumanist community. Such discourse is now memorialized and shared with the world, and those who are interested in day-to-day developments within the USTP and the transhumanist movement now have several venues which can provide them with detailed updates. The most important aspect of effective communication with the media is not ideological alignment; some will agree with us, whereas others will disagree and critique us – but that is to be expected for any growing movement with the promise of bringing about major change. The most important task, rather, is to accurately convey the facts about transhumanism and the USTP so that they are reported on accurately. Unfortunately, we live in an era where “fake news” abounds, and the quest for sensationalism, as well as merely sloppy journalism can lead to rumors, fabrications, and unverified assertions being published or broadcast as if they were facts. A community characterized by robust internal dialogue and ready to articulate the facts to those who need to receive them is our strongest possible asset in preventing misinformation from becoming dominant.
  • Anti-Troll Campaign: Unfortunately, one of the greatest obstacles to the success of the transhumanist movement comes from within – from a small faction of petty and adversarial detractors whose primary motive is power and who seek to smear other individuals and organizations within the transhumanist movement when those individuals and organizations take initiative and act independently of the detractors. These “trolls” often behave in a toxic manner – gratuitously insulting other transhumanists, leveling invented false allegations, or becoming fixated on non-issues that are then used as an excuse to disparage others and seek to thwart promising initiatives. Unfortunately, because the transhumanist movement is still small, these trolls presently have disproportionate power. Because some of them have credentials in academia and are experts in some area of research, their toxic and antisocial behavior has been tolerated for far too long. Indeed, even more unfortunately, some of the trolls have become ensconced in so-called “transhumanist” groups on Facebook which actually purge much genuine transhumanist content. But professional achievement is no excuse for mistreating one’s fellow human beings or intentionally undermining others for perceived personal power gain. In order for transhumanism to grow and achieve widespread respectability, our movement needs to take a stand against the small handful of obstructionist and corrosive personalities who would rather undermine their fellow transhumanists than come to terms with growth whose parameters they cannot personally dictate. During the next year, the USTP will send a strong signal that toxic behavior will no longer be countenanced; the trolls and their malicious tendencies will be publicly identified and called out – and a clear message will be sent that our movement does not welcome those who continue to gratuitously attack, ban, harass, and intimidate reasonable transhumanists.
  • Candidates for Non-Presidential Offices: Now that the 2019 Electronic Primary has concluded and the Ben Zion 2020 Presidential campaign is well underway, it is possible for the USTP to consider endorsing candidates for other federal, state, and local offices – and we would welcome interested individuals who wish to put themselves forward for such consideration. I anticipate that a several substantial candidate-endorsement and Platform votes will take place at various times during the next year.
  • Building Alliances with Like-Minded Organizations: The USTP will continue to build its network of Allied Organizations, seeking areas of common ground, such as advocacy for longevity, support for emerging technologies, pursuit of electoral and political reforms, and encouragement of cultural rationality. For some of these organizations, the best approach will be ad hoc collaboration on issue-specific initiatives. For other organizations, where the alignment is deeper, opportunities for longer-lasting strategic partnerships should be explored.
  • Development of a Systematic Plan for Ballot Access: While ballot access is an extremely formidable hurdle to overcome, the USTP will endeavor to maximize the realistic possibilities for Johannon Ben Zion, and possibly future endorsed candidates for other offices, to appear on as many ballots as possible. This will require a systematic survey of the ballot-access requirements in each jurisdiction and the identification of “low-hanging fruit” – those jurisdictions where ballot access is easiest to attain. The USTP will then develop an action plan for how that ballot access may be attained and what resources may be realistically necessary to achieve this – especially for a non-monetary organization operated entirely by volunteers.

While in the first five years of its existence and in the first three years of my tenure as Chairman, the USTP laid the groundwork for a vibrant, growing, and distinctive organization, the next five years may well be the period in which transhumanism becomes a household word – a concept that enters mainstream discourse and becomes seen more accurately as the worldview that can enable humankind to overcome its deleterious limits and select the best of all possible futures. The USTP leadership will endeavor to continue building an organization where members can readily participate and work on the instantiation of their visions toward such a future – all while actualizing the common goals and values of the Transhumanist Party and the broader transhumanist community. In the course of working toward the best possible future, we should also create the best possible version of transhumanism to serve as its vanguard.