U.S. Transhumanist Party Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II presents an overview of the Transhumanist Party at RAAD Fest 2017
The U.S. Transhumanist Party is pleased to announce that we will have our own conference room available at RAAD Fest 2018 in San Diego, California, during September 20-23, 2018. During the hours after the main RAAD Fest events, visitors – existing Transhumanist Party members, media representatives, researchers, and members of the general public who are curious about our positions and activities – will be able to visit the room to find out about the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s endeavors and ways in which people of all backgrounds and skill sets would be able to contribute. There will be opportunities for new members to sign up and for both formal and informal conversations. We hope to see as many U.S. Transhumanist Party members as possible at RAAD Fest 2018!
It is possible to register for RAAD Fest 2018 at the website raadfest.com. By entering the code TRANSHUMAN, attendees will be able to save $50 off of the cost of registration.
Attendees of limited financial means – such as students – are encouraged to attend, and our conversation with Jim Strole of the Coalition for Radical Life Extension, the organizer of RAAD Fest, has led us to discover that a special no-meals registration price will be offered. (Cost of meals is ordinarily included in the price of admission.)
Further Information from the RAAD Fest Organizers
– To get the special $50 discount, a person needs to register under GENERAL REGISTRATION; enter your code to get a price of $497 with Meals.
– Student Pricing: There is 1 option on the site: You cannot use a discount code with this option, as it has already been discounted to $397 WITHOUT MEALS.
– Student Registration, NO MEALS: Pricing will be $397.
We will have a light selection of finger foods in the room allocated for Transhumanist Party Members at 11.45 a.m. onFriday & Saturday at no cost.
U.S. Transhumanist Party Vote on the Question of Endorsing Candidate James D. Schultz for the New York State Assembly District 2
The U.S. Transhumanist Party will hold an electronic vote of the membership for a seven-day period ending on 12:01 a.m. U.S. Pacific Time on Wednesday, April 11, 2018, on the question of whether to endorse James D. Schultz, who will be running for New York State Assembly District 2in the 2018 general election. Registered U.S. Transhumanist Party members as of 12:01 a.m. U.S. Pacific Time on Wednesday, April 4, 2018, would be able to cast their ballots on this question and will be sent their ballots via e-mail.
Mr. Schultz would officially be running as an independent candidate, but New York law allows independent candidates to use a “political party designation” next to their names. If endorsed by the U.S. Transhumanist Party membership (a majority of those casting their ballots, excluding abstentions), Mr. Schultz would be able to use “Transhumanist Party” as his political party designation.
James D. Schultz
Statement by James Schultz:
The reason I want to run as a Transhumanist is to expand the party brand and knowledge of its existence. I one day want to run a local chapter of the party. I believe this is the best way to expand.
My current stage is fundraising, and I am waiting for the legal opportunity to get ballot signatures.
James Schultz’s 8-Point Platform and Parallels in the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform
1. Legalization of Marijuana
Parallel in U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform [emphasis added]:
Section XIV [Adopted by a vote of the members during March 26 – April 1, 2017]: The United States Transhumanist Party supports an end to the costly drug war, which is often an infringement upon the lives and liberties of innocent citizens who do not use drugs but fall victim to militant enforcement of drug prohibitions. The United States Transhumanist Party supports legalization of mild recreational drugs such as marijuana.
2. Removal of Red-Light Cameras
Parallel in U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform:
[No specific mention of red-light cameras, but the U.S. Transhumanist Party does oppose mass surveillance, and there is the possibility of red-light cameras being overly sensitive in identifying “violations” which may have been immaterial or necessary for safety purposes.]
Section I[Adopted by a vote of the members during January 15-21, 2017]:The United States Transhumanist Party strongly supports individual privacy and liberty over how to apply technology to one’s personal life. The United States Transhumanist Party holds that each individual should remain completely sovereign in the choice to disclose or not disclose personal activities, preferences, and beliefs within the public sphere. As such, the United States Transhumanist Party opposes all forms of mass surveillance and any intrusion by governmental or private institutions upon non-coercive activities that an individual has chosen to retain within his, her, or its private sphere. However, the United States Transhumanist Party also recognizes that no individuals should be protected from peaceful criticism of any matters that those individuals have chosen to disclose within the sphere of public knowledge and discourse.
3. Government Funding of Student Laptops and Class Smart Boards
Parallel in U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform:
Section XII [Adopted by a vote of the members during March 26 – April 1, 2017]: The United States Transhumanist Party holds that present and future societies should provide education systems accessible and available to all in pursuit of factual knowledge to increase intellectual acuity; promote critical thinking and logic; foster creativity; form an enlightened collective; attain health; secure the bounty of liberty for all sentient entities for our posterity; and forge new ideas, meanings, and values.
The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to reduce the cost of education while improving its access. In particular, the United States Transhumanist Party supports freely available, open-source, methods of learning, teaching, credentialing, and cultural creation that integrate emerging technologies into every facet of the learning process. The United States Transhumanist Party primarily advocates private innovation to deliver such educational improvements, but also advocates the application of these improvements to all publicly funded educational institutions. The United States Transhumanist Party holds that every person should aspire toward intellectual, moral, and esthetic enlightenment and sophistication and should contribute toward bringing about a new Age of Reason, where the highest reaches of intellectual activity are attainable and eagerly pursued by the majority of the population.
The United States has upheld basic education since the American Revolution. The United States Transhumanist Party believes, in keeping with what basic education was in the 1700s, relative to the state of technology given the advancement in society at the time, that ‘basic’ education should be defined as college, and that a key part of our agenda is to help encourage a more successful generation by paying for a ‘basic’ education up to and including college degrees.
4. Term Limits
[No specific mention in U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform.]
5. Environmental Protection
Parallels in U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform:
[No generalized mention of environmental protection in U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform, but there is mention of supporting alternative energy sources and protecting particular species of animals from killing and cruelty, as well as support of the environmentally friendly development of biologically identical meat products that do not involve the killing of animals.]
Section XXIV [Adopted by a vote of the members during March 26 – April 1, 2017]: The United States Transhumanist Party supports the promotion of animal welfare to the extent it does not conflict with human well-being. However, the United States Transhumanist Party opposes “animal liberation” movements that seek to return animals to the wilderness or espouse any attempts to separate domesticated animals from human influence. In particular, the United States Transhumanist Party supports the prohibition of cruelty to animals and a complete abolition of euthanasia of healthy animals by animal shelters. The United States Transhumanist Party supports a complete prohibition on the killing of non-contagious, non-aggressive dogs, cats, dolphins, whales, elephants, horses, tortoises, parrots, and primates. Furthermore, the United States Transhumanist Party supports the development and widespread consumption of artificially grown, biologically identical meat products that do not involve the killing of animals.
Section XXXVIII [Adopted by a vote of the members during May 7-13, 2017]: The United States Transhumanist Party supports emerging alternative energy sources and their technological implementations. However, the United States Transhumanist Party opposes government subsidies for any energy source – including fossil fuels. Instead, the United States Transhumanist Party holds that superior, cleaner, and more efficient energy sources will also tend to become less costly and more broadly adopted under a system of unfettered market competition and innovation.
6. State Net Neutrality
Parallels in Positions Expressed by the U.S. Transhumanist Party:
“All sentient entities, with the exception only of those in legal detention, have the right to private internet access without such access being prohibited or circumvented by either private corporations or governmental bureaucracy.”
Section XXXIV [Adopted by a vote of the members during May 7-13, 2017]: The United States Transhumanist Party holds that sousveillance laws should be enacted to ensure that all members of peaceful communities feel safe, to achieve governmental transparency, and to provide counter-balances to any surveillance state. For instance, law-enforcement officials, when interacting with the public, should be required to wear body cameras or similar devices continuously monitoring their activities.
The United States Transhumanist Party supports the use of technologies which increase monitoring of police action and policing activities, with expressed goals of increasing policing accountability.
The United States Transhumanist Party advocates for a requirement that data pertaining to recordings of police action be transmitted and recorded beyond police control, so as to be protected from falsification, deletion, and selective curation by police.
8. Reduced Ballot-Access Requirements
Parallel in U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform:
Section XIX [Adopted by a vote of the members during March 26 – April 1, 2017]: The United States Transhumanist Party supports an end to the two-party political system in the United States and a substantially greater inclusion of “third parties” in the political process through mechanisms such as proportional representation and the elimination of stringent ballot-access requirements. The United States Transhumanist Party also seeks to limit the influence of lobbying by politically connected special interests, while increasing the influence of advocacy by intelligent laypersons.
U.S. Transhumanist Party to Participate in RAAD Fest 2018
The U.S. Transhumanist Party will again be represented at RAAD Fest in San Diego. Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II will be attending RAAD Fest 2018 and will be moderating a panel of speakers as well as presenting regarding the accomplishments of the Transhumanist Party over the most recent year as of September 20-23, 2018. There will be an opportunity for a sizable Transhumanist Party presence, and we are contemplating a meeting of U.S. Transhumanist Party members that would be open to the public and media.
It is possible to register for RAAD Fest 2018 at the website raadfest.com. By entering the code TRANSHUMAN, attendees will be able to save $50 off of the cost of registration.
More details regarding Mr. Stolyarov’s presence and activities at RAAD Fest 2018 will be announced as they become available. We look forward to seeing you there!
Announcement of California Transhumanist Party 2nd Leadership Meeting on Sunday, April 22, 2018
I am pleased to announce our 2nd Leadership Meeting on Earth Day, Sunday, April 22nd, 2018, at Woodbury University with a special treat: combining a peace conference movie screening and a Transhumanist Party meeting.
According to BallotPedia, if you wish to run for office as an independent candidate in the following states, as well as Washington, D.C., it appears that you may be able to use a “political party designation” to affiliate yourself with a party (such as the Transhumanist Party) which does not yet have ballot access in those states. This would save us tremendous effort and resources in coordinating massive petition-signing initiatives.
If you reside in the above states, wish to run for office, and wish to be affiliated with the Transhumanist Party, please contact me via e-mail here and explain your situation. If we could have candidates in half of the states in the U.S. during the 2018 elections, this would constitute a major shift in the political landscape.
~ Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman, United States Transhumanist Party, February 27, 2018
U.S. Transhumanist Party Announces Alliance with the Institute for Education, Research, and Scholarships (IFERS)
The U.S. Transhumanist Party is pleased to announce its alliance with the Institute for Education, Research, and Scholarships (IFERS). Visit the website of IFERS here. See the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s page of Allied Organizations.
Established in 2004, the Institute for Education, Research, and Scholarships (IFERS) is an award-winning California-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity organization dedicated to improving society by providing resources to high-achieving students, scientific researchers, community nonprofit projects, and educational organizations. IFERS believes in changing the world for the better through education, research, and scholarships. Its ultimate goal is to create a better world with lasting peace, prosperity, and universal rights for all.
I am also the founding chairman of the California Transhumanist Party since 2017. We support (1) significant life extension and quality of life improvement achieved through the progress of science and technology, (2) an inclusive cultural, societal, and political atmosphere informed and animated by reason and science to foster peace, prosperity, and universal rights for all, and (3) efforts to use science, technology, and rational discourse to reduce and eliminate various existential risks to the human species.
We look forward to collaborations with IFERS on worthwhile projects that U.S. Transhumanist Party members will be able to participate in so as to advance scientific and technological education and research in order to accelerate the arrival of a brighter future for as many people as possible.
Concrete Transhumanism – An Overview of Emerging Instantiations and the Transhuman Present Project
Transhumanism is a philosophy of lofty aspirations and universally applicable substance. Yet, when articulated at its usual level of abstraction, it is often misunderstood, especially if commonplace cultural connotations, myths, and fears from popular fiction inject nefarious undertones into what ought to be seen straightforwardly as a salutary overcoming of (deleterious) human limitations and a dramatic expansion of our potential through the application of science, technology, and rationality. Some accuse transhumanists of being a cabal of Illuminati who somehow secretly run the world. (How is this even possible, I wonder?) Others believe that transhumanists seek to turn humankind into the Borg from Star Trek or to create a dystopia where only a handful of rich Silicon Valley entrepreneurs will live forever at everyone else’s expense. Of course, no transhumanist actually even remotely resembles these stereotypes – and while it would have been quite helpful to have a few more Silicon Valley entrepreneurs as allies, the reality remains that the vast majority of transhumanists, including leaders of the movement, are people of ordinary means and relatively ordinary life situations. Transhumanists as people have much more in common with those who are unaware of, or hold misconceptions regarding, transhumanism than the latter persons think!
So what, then, sets transhumanists apart? Although we are generally people of ordinary means and circumstances, we are also people of extraordinary vision, and we see the world around us as in the midst of technological transformation which not only will have, but is already having, paradigm-shifting effects on everyday life. We are not beholden to status quo bias; we recognize that the present is a transitional state, and that life has not always been like this, nor will it always remain the way it is now.
Until recently, few efforts have been made to illustrate this observation concretely. But dedicated small associations of transhumanists are emerging to show the world what a transhuman present looks like. Through the projects they put into practice, the general public might get a glimpse of a transhuman existence, and in what directions it may head during the coming years and decades.
The Transhuman House and Foundation Library
If today’s technological capabilities were fully integrated into a residence, or even a room inside a residence, what would this look like? The Transhuman House, established in 2017, aims to answer this question. Version 1.0 of the Transhuman House opened to the public in Provo, Utah, in June 2017, even including an option for guests to rent a room via AirBnB. (See images from a 3D tour of Version 1.0 here.) The Transhuman House contains a showcase of emerging technologies, such as Nest, Alexa, and the Microsoft HoloLens. While observing and interacting with these examples of today’s devices – which either are already available or soon will become available for consumer adoption – visitors have the opportunity to read and study works from the Foundation Library – a wide-ranging collection of philosophical, scientific, technological, and fictional works exploring the ideas of transhumanism as well as visions of potential futures and specific pathways toward bringing those futures into being. In November 2017 the Transhuman House expanded into Version 2.0, moving into a larger (3-bedroom) building and adding touch screens and a giant touch-operable wall panel with which visitors can interact to learn about ongoing projects by transhumanist entrepreneurs and activists. Might most residences ten years in the future look somewhat like the Transhuman House? Now that there is a concrete illustration of what is possible even today, visitors have the opportunity to ponder the question of its wider applicability. The creators of the Transhuman House have given us a glimpse into what everyday life might look like with the emerging “transhuman” technologies more fully integrated into it. Some of these technologies are already available to consumers – so if you would like to create your own partial version of a “Transhuman House”, you may have the opportunity to begin setting up some of the components today.
Zero State – The Alternate Reality Game
The Zero State is a Social Futurist Community – described as “an organization formed in 2011 to work toward the establishment of a pro-technology, Transhumanist, distributed, virtual State. ZS’ motto is ‘Positive Social Change Through Technology’.” As one of the Zero State’s co-founders, Dirk Bruere, explains, the primary meaning of the name “Zero State” is “the lowest energy state of a system, the place to which everything returns when the energy runs out.” The Zero State has had several incarnations, the latest of which is an Alternate Reality Game (ARG), whose fictional premise is that the participants are representatives of twelve technologically advanced Houses, which have become the dominant influences in a post-dystopian late 21st century – a new era subsequent to the turmoil that (in this fictional timeline) would characterize the proximate future. The real-world application of the game involves members of the twelve Zero State Houses undertaking projects today which would enable the more salutary aspects of that distant future to take shape. Through the approach of gamification and interesting storylines woven into concrete projects, it is hoped that this format will motivate more people who are interested in the promise of emerging technologies and their societal impacts to take specific actions to realize the kind of world we would wish to see.
The U.S. Transhumanist Party, of which I am the Chairman, recently initiated a collaboration with the Zero State under the auspices of House Rhadamanth. I anticipate that the gamification format will be particularly useful in achieving projects where large numbers of distributed, volunteer participants are required for success. There is a strong potential for synergies between the Zero State and the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s Transhuman Present project, announced below.
The Transhuman Present Project
The U.S. Transhumanist Party represents a broad spectrum of members from throughout the world, who consider themselves transhumanists and who have expressed alignment with our three Core Ideals:
Ideal 1. The Transhumanist Party supports significant life extension achieved through the progress of science and technology.
Ideal 2. The Transhumanist Party supports a cultural, societal, and political atmosphere informed and animated by reason, science, and secular values.
Ideal 3. The Transhumanist Party supports efforts to use science, technology, and rational discourse to reduce and eliminate various existential risks to the human species.
The Transhuman Present project is our next step for reaching out to our members and others who consider themselves transhumanists and inviting them to show us what transhumanism means for them in their own lives. Participation is easy and available in a variety of formats. Here is how to get involved:
Create a post on any social medium with the hashtags #TranshumanPresent and/or #IAmTranshuman. To render us aware of the post, you can either link it to the U.S. Transhumanist Party Facebook page, or e-mail Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II at gennadystolyarovii [at] gmail [dot] com with your submission. Make sure that we are able to download or otherwise access the content of the post.
The post should contain some manner of specific illustration – for instance, a photo, video, drawing, diagram, audio file, or other interactive medium – showing how your life, environment, or aspirations can already be recognized as “transhuman” in terms of incorporating emerging technologies to expand your potential and the potential of those around you. The post may also include artistic elements that express your vision and aspirations for the future – as long as these elements are your original work or specific to your setting. (In other words, we would like to see how individual transhumanists have made their own lives more transhuman – not just reposts of images highlighting the work of famous individuals like Aubrey de Grey, Ray Kurzweil, or Elon Musk.)
The goal of the project is to collect many contributions from a diverse range of transhumanists and to illustrate to the public that the ideals we hold are accessible, capable of integration with ordinary life, and of practical relevance to living in today’s technological era. You are encouraged to use the tools of social media to promote your post and the hashtags #TranshumanPresent and #IAmTranshuman. Consider creative ways of spreading these messages (for instance, integrating the hashtags into videos or taking a photograph of yourself holding a poster beginning with “#IAmTranshuman because…”) The best submissions will focus on answering questions such as the following:
a. How are you using technology in ways that greatly broaden your potential compared to what was possible in even the proximate past?
b. How does your life look differently now as a result of emerging technologies? In what directions is your life being recognizably transformed?
c. What previously insurmountable barriers has technology enabled you to overcome?
d. What achievements can you show the world, which were possible due to the role that technology has played in your life?
Contributions to the project are open to the general public, and one does not need to be a member of the U.S. Transhumanist Party in order to contribute. However, the U.S. Transhumanist Party reserves the right to curate any submissions and to assemble videos, collages, or other media using the content therein. Furthermore, by making a submission, the content creator grants the U.S. Transhumanist Party and any of its Officers a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive right to use and distribute the content at their discretion, without any further requirement of additional permissions or express or implied compensation.
Because the U.S. Transhumanist Party is an all-volunteer, non-monetary organization, the contributions to the Transhuman Present project will not receive monetary compensation, but they are likely to receive public exposure and may benefit the contributor through increased recognition and inspiration for others to adopt the contributor’s ideas and values toward the realization of a better future.
Contributions to the Transhuman Present project are open until July 1, 2018, at which time the U.S. Transhumanist Party will compile the results into videos, collages, and potentially other media that will show the world the range of transhumanist endeavors and improvements to living standards that are possible today. While we are a young political party, and the road toward winning elections is a long one, we can profoundly influence public opinion much sooner by providing a reputable and appealing vision of what is possible if our principles are put into practice.
Gennady Stolyarov II, FSA, ACAS, MAAA, CPCU, ARe, ARC, API, AIS, AIE, AIAF, is the Chairman of the United States Transhumanist Party. Find out more about Mr. Stolyarov here.
Announcement of U.S. Transhumanist Party Collaboration with the Zero State (ZS) and Participation in the ZS Alternate Reality Game
The U.S. Transhumanist Party is pleased to announce its incipient collaboration with a Social Futurist community based in the United Kingdom – the Zero State (ZS) – described as “an organization formed in 2011 to work toward the establishment of a pro-technology, Transhumanist, distributed, virtual State. ZS’ motto is ‘Positive Social Change Through Technology’.” As one of the Zero State’s co-founders, Dirk Bruere, explains, the primary meaning of the name “Zero State” is “the lowest energy state of a system, the place to which everything returns when the energy runs out.”
Given that the U.S. Transhumanist Party strongly supports such pro-technology initiatives as advocated by the Zero State, as well as distributed systems for participation in political processes, throughout its Platform (particularly Article III, Sections V, VI, VIII, IX, XIII) and also supports various forms of political, economic, and cultural experimentation in Article III, Section XXII, our collaboration with the Zero State is a logical fit for implementing our own vision for as many polities throughout the world which open themselves to ambitious experiments in paradigm-shifting technologies.
The most recent incarnation of the Zero State is that of an Alternate Reality Game (ARG), whose premise is described on this page. The game is pursued by twelve Houses, described as follows:
The Zero State is organised into twelve Houses, and each of those Houses began with twelve Founding Members.
The first five of those are the Core members, each of whom leads their own crew of “subsid” (subsidiary/affiliated) members. The five Core members of each House together comprise a kind of meta-team, known as the House’s Core Team. That Core Team is tasked with establishing their House in the years 12017-12018, by recruiting, developing the House’s internal culture and traditions, and working on projects known as Missions.
Dr. M. Amon Twyman (Ámon Ásentir), who co-founded the Zero State, has kindly designated the use of one of the twelve Zero State Houses – House Rhadamanth – for activities that would further the goals of the U.S. Transhumanist Party. The announcement of this development is available here and reads as follows:
House Rhadamanth is now seeking both additional Core Members and Subsidiary Members to populate it. The purpose of this arrangement will be to engage transhumanists, futurists, and life-extensionists to pursue, in a “gamified” manner, the projects that will advance the objectives of the U.S. Transhumanist Party in the real world, all the while strengthening the network of connections and beneficial interactions among future-oriented thinkers throughout the world. If you are interested in joining, please e-mail Gennady Stolyarov II here. We are interested in 10 other individuals who would be able to devote a reasonable amount of time to actively advancing ongoing projects such as the following:
(1) The U.S. Transhumanist Party infographic project, which it is hoped will result in detailed visual representations that would, in essence, serve as a map of the terrain of transhumanist and life-extensionist organizations, social-media pages, and key individuals.
(2) Participation in distributed computing projects (for instance, Folding@home) aimed at fundamental research that could help accelerate the arrival of cures to various diseases. The U.S. Transhumanist Party previously announced this activism project here.
(3) Campaigns for writing and advocacy on particular issues – for instance, rejuvenation biotechnology research, rights of patients of rare diseases to pursue experimental treatments, or the official recognition of biological aging as a disease.
We welcome ideas for any other projects that could be pursued in this “gamified” format as well. Much of the Alternate Reality Game remains to be developed, but the early participants will have the opportunity to shape many of its parameters and contents. The U.S. Transhumanist Party sees promise in this additional way to strengthen ties within the international transhumanist movement and explore opportunities for collaborative endeavors among transhumanists and futurists of various persuasions and backgrounds.
Gennady Stolyarov II is the Chairman of the United States Transhumanist Party. Read more about Mr. Stolyarov here.
We are the Lifespan – Video and Commentary by the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation
The U.S. Transhumanist Party is pleased to share this message and video from our allies at LEAF – the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation. The video includes a short clip of remarks from U.S. Transhumanist Party Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II, taken from his video for the “I am the Lifespan” campaign.
As you might remember, during the month of October (often called Longevity Month) we at LEAF were accepting videos to hear your reasons why defeating the diseases of aging is so important — and hear from you we did!
Dozens of videos poured in, and this #GivingTuesday we at LEAF are so proud to share with you all a video that shows how strong we can be when we join forces for longer, healthier lives — how together #WeAreTheLifespan.
Finally, to illustrate the importance of speaking freely on what you care about, we are pleased to let you know of the developments related to the recent Open Consultation on the 13th draft programme of work of the WHO. As we wrote not long ago, the problems related to population aging and corresponding health and social issues were left out of the draft, and we invited the members of the community to step in and recommend an improvement.
90% of responses during the Open Consultation (out of around 400 responses) underlined the need to make healthy longevity one of the priorities for the 13th programme of work, and the WHO have recognized this. A joint effort of many pro-longevity organizations made that happen.
Each voice matters. Your voice matters. So please, keep being active and vocal, and let’s become the generation who can say: “I helped set all people free from age-related diseases. I helped defeat aging.”
Thank you, and happy #GivingTuesday!
U.S. Transhumanist Party Chairman’s Anniversary Message
On November 17, 2016, I became the Chairman of the United States Transhumanist Party. It was a turbulent era in American politics, although it now appears to me to have been a distinct prior epoch. The offer of Chairmanship from Zoltan Istvan came at exactly the right time. I was seriously considering emigrating from the United States, which would have been a mistake. For this role, however, an expatriate Chairman would not do; Zoltan asked me to remain for at least six months – hopefully a year – and then re-assess the situation. One does not get handed leadership of a political party often (or virtually ever), so this was a unique opportunity to make a difference in American politics in a constructive way, with instant gains in prominence, and without the distasteful maneuvering that many conventional political figures feel compelled to engage in to attain a comparable position.
It has been a year, and I am staying. I have indeed reassessed the situation, or perhaps the situation has been transformed so considerably than the already transitional interpretive framework of late 2016 can no longer adequately describe our present political reality. Whereas then the tumult seemed to have stemmed from a single source, we now inhabit a distinctly different sort of chaotic era, in which the chaos emanates from virtually all partisan factions espousing conventional political ideologies. The United States has not, despite my fears at the time, succumbed to dictatorship or totalitarianism – and, despite some ill-advised policy decisions and unfortunate increases in certain forms of intolerance and hatred (on both the right and the left), there are no waves of nativist “ethnic cleansing”; there are, thankfully and for now, no massive riots in the vast majority of cities, the vast majority of the time. Daily life proceeds in a largely peaceful, largely orderly fashion – and may that continue.
Yet the United States’ societal and cultural fabric has been torn to shreds by the climate of escalating partisan vitriol, in which being aligned with one’s “team” (be it one of the major political parties or more minor factions on the conventional left-right axis) is seen as more important than the reasoned pursuit of truth. Partisanship erodes the norms of civility and the disposition of good will with which it is important to approach discourse with others. When hyper-partisans insist that civilized discussion or even association with “the other side” is not possible (and their characterization of who comprises the “other side” becomes ever more sweeping by the day), they throw wide open the door to less genteel approaches to politics – the political violence that can claim lives, ruin infrastructure, and set back the progress of our civilization. The great immediate danger in American politics is not that squads of jack-booted enforcers will crack down on anyone who displeases their masters; it is, rather, that the increasing toxicity of prevailing political rhetoric will poison the minds and conduct of ordinary people, turning them against one another and inaugurating a low-key war of all against all, which necessarily cannot remain low-key for long. Hyper-partisanship is not, however, a grass-roots phenomenon, but has been fueled by behemoth political machines, with armies of paid political operatives, lobbyists, and “opposition research” firms honing the most effective ways to besmirch and divide people for range-of-the-moment electoral gains. Only a truly transpartisan organization, immune to the influence of this apparatus, can turn the tide against its malignancy.
The United States Transhumanist Party has stood as a bulwark against this toxic partisan tendency, inviting membership by individuals of all conventional or unconventional political beliefs, as long as they agree with our three broadly framed Core Ideals (and even sometimes if they do not), advocating for a worldwide acceleration of technological innovation and for making its products accessible to all, conducting transparent public discussions and votes using ranked-reference techniques that solve long-standing incentive problems of voters, and doing it all as a non-monetary organization, through the collaboration of volunteers and people of good will. We genuinely seek to embody and practice inclusivity, diversity, and tolerance – instead of weaponizing these terms to serve a particular preconceived political and social agenda and partisan machine. We transcend the destructive culture wars, just as we transcend so many other pointless divisions. We seek to be a microcosm of the society that will emerge after all this “sound and fury, signifying nothing” subsides, when people will come to see the toxicity as fatiguing and passé, and the task of building a new era can unfold in earnest. We need to focus on championing the advances that can benefit everyone through dramatically longer lifespans, vastly increased prosperity, and opportunities for individual self-actualization. Unlike identity politics, which focuses on what sets people apart, transhumanist politics seeks to bring all sentient entities together to forge the advances that can benefit each and all.
On the anniversary of my Chairmanship, the highlight of my day was a message from an individual who has been a member for as long as I have been Chairman. He told me that his membership in the U.S. Transhumanist Party has been one of the most important events in his life. What we do matters; it inspires people to strive for a brighter future; it coalesces a community of visionaries, achievers, innovators, and friends. Amid the tumult of the contemporary world, we preserve the transformative ambition that life can and should be better – that human existence need not be nasty, brutish, or short – that age-old problems can be solved with sufficient knowledge and ingenuity – and that the fates of our ancestors need not be our own.
We have achieved much since the U.S. Transhumanist Party was opened to membership during my tenure as Chairman. I provided an overview of the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s key recent achievements in this brief video, which I prepared for the Transvision 2017 conference in Brussels.
Here, I will supplement, rather than repeat, the contents of that video presentation.
Many aspects of our Platform and processes enable the U.S. Transhumanist Party to stand out in American politics. The following are just several examples.
We are the first political party in the United States to use ranked-preference voting on its internal ballots. During the next year we will explore options for rendering this voting process even more streamlined and user-friendly. We will be searching for software that could simultaneously present all of the options and their text to voters, and automatically tabulate instant runoffs and their results, similarly to how the initial votes are tabulated today.
We are the only political party in the world – to our knowledge – which extends membership to anyone capable of forming a reasoned political opinion – including children and citizens of other countries, who may become Allied Members. Our Foreign Ambassador program specifically focuses on building connections with future-oriented thinkers in other countries and working to build transhumanism into a global, collaborative movement where ideas are exchanged and developed without regard to national boundaries.
The U.S. Transhumanist Party is one of only two political parties in the United States, along with the Green Party, that supports the complete abolition of nuclear weapons. Our Platform, in Article III, Section IV, reads that “In recognition of the dire existential threat that nuclear weapons pose to sapient life on Earth – including as a result of such weapons’ accidental deployment due to system failures or human misunderstanding – the United States Transhumanist Party advocates the complete dismantlement and abolition of all nuclear weapons everywhere, as rapidly as possible.” While this remains a minority political position in the United States, the abolition of nuclear weapons recently received support at the United Nations via the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017. With the threat of nuclear war remaining disturbingly real, an increasing number of people and institutions are coming to recognize this dire existential risk and seek its alleviation. We welcome collaboration with any of them.
The U.S. Transhumanist Party was the first political party in the United States to suggest a universal basic income or unconditional basic income (UBI) as an option in dealing with the impacts of automation, job uncertainty, and the sub-optimalities of conventional, conditional, and cumbersome welfare systems. Now various jurisdictions are experimenting with some versions of UBI, and this concept is being actively discussed at the United Nations. We stand ready to offer our views and recommendations in this conversation – encouraging UBI systems that would preserve the core, elegant logic of an unconditional basic income available to all. Per Article III, Section XVI of our Platform, “the United States Transhumanist Party holds that all sentient entities should be the beneficiaries of an unconditional universal basic income, whereby the same minimum amount of money or other resources is provided irrespective of a sentient entity’s life circumstances, occupations, or other income sources, so as to provide a means for the basic requirements of existence and liberty to be met.” This vision, if championed consistently, can dramatically improve the life circumstances of many individuals throughout the world.
Our most important near-term objectives were recently outlined in our new, extensive FAQ document. Because of their importance, and the indication they provide regarding how the next year of the U.S. Transhumanist Party will unfold, I provide them again below.
Grow in membership. We need to reach at least 10,000 members in order to have the widespread reach and internal, member-driven governance structures that we envision to be the most effective. You can help by joining for free and encouraging others to join by filling out our fast, simple Membership Application Form.
Coordinate with State-level Transhumanist Parties. Various such State-level Parties exist, and some are already officially registered with their respective Secretaries of State. We have catalogued the State-level Transhumanist Parties known to us here. Work with them if you reside in a State where such a Party already exists. If such a Party does not exist, we encourage you to form one and contact us when you are contemplating doing so.
Hold events and publish materials to influence public opinion. Ultimately, we seek to change minds to encourage widespread public advocacy of emerging technologies and a major redirection of resources toward such technologies’ funding, development, and dissemination. We encourage U.S. Transhumanist Party members to also organize their own events and submit articles for publication on our website.
Explore running candidates at the local level. Interested candidates will likely need to officially run as independents at this time, but if they agree with key aspects of our Platform, they may receive the endorsement of the U.S. Transhumanist Party.
Gradually create the infrastructure to meet State ballot-access requirements. In almost every State, obtaining ballot access unfortunately requires at least thousands of petition signatures (hand-signed), obtained within a relatively short period of time. We need to build up a sufficient network of volunteers in every State in order for petition-gathering to be feasible. However, our emphasis on membership growth and coordination with State-level Transhumanist Parties is part of our effort to eventually get there and field candidates for State-level office.
Another unique approach that we are pursuing is our search for a candidate for the U.S. Transhumanist Party 2020 Presidential ticket. Unlike other parties, we seek to attract not the most politically ambitious, but rather the most erudite, thoughtful, and melioristic individuals to apply for the role. To this end, under the editorship of the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s Education and Media Advisor, Newton Lee, we are compiling a book that will feature essays by leading transhumanist thinkers, Advisors, and members of the U.S. Transhumanist Party. This book, tentatively titled Transhumanism: In the Image of Humans, will hopefully convey both the depth and breadth of transhumanist thought, such that at least one of the leading minds of our era might be sufficiently intrigued as to join our movement and seek to further these ideas by running a Presidential campaign based on the highest standards of discourse, conduct, and policy-oriented reasoning for the improvement of the human condition.
The tumult of our times is evidence that Robert Heinlein’s forecast of an era he termed the Crazy Years has come to pass. Charting the path from our current Crazy Years to a bright and universally uplifting transhumanist future will be no easy task, but no task is more vital. By a spectacular confluence of events, which still astounds me in retrospect, the Chairmanship of the U.S. Transhumanist Party has placed me in a unique position within this moment in history, where many radically divergent paths are possible for both humankind in general and for us as individuals. The path of amelioration and abundance of time and resources for all is still open, and the Transhumanist Party will endeavor to show the way to all those who seek the new era, and to build our civilization into a global and universal, human and transhuman cosmopolity – which should extend as far and as boundlessly as our own lives and well-being.
Will you join us in this effort? If so, becoming a member is free and easy – and the best of possible futures may be our joint reward.