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Statement on the Tragic Death of Danielle Baker and the Imperative for Improved Protections for Cryonics Patients

Statement on the Tragic Death of Danielle Baker and the Imperative for Improved Protections for Cryonics Patients


March 19, 2019: The United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party (USTP) issues this statement in response to the unfortunate demise and cremation of Danielle Michelle Baker, which contravened her specific and documented wishes to be cryopreserved. We ask the members of the USTP to deliberate about specific measures that could be taken to prevent such violations of cryonics patients’ wishes and legitimate rights from arising again. These measures could include reforms to laws so as to improve protections for cryonics patients, as well as improved enforcement of existing laws which may offer some extent of protections at least in theory.

Danielle Michelle Baker, a 31-year-old cryonics advocate, disappeared on December 1, 2018, and was found dead on December 4, 2018, in Laurel County, Kentucky. Despite her expressly documented wishes and a legal contract into which she entered to be cryopreserved by Oregon Cryonics, she was cremated by Laurel County Coroner Doug Bowling at the behest of her family members.

Zoltan Istvan, the founder and former Chairman (2014-2016) of the USTP, now an independent commentator, transhumanist advocate, and USTP Political and Media Advisor, initially brought attention to Danielle Baker’s unfortunate cremation in an article published by Quartz on February 22, 2019, entitled “We need better laws to protect the rights of future frozen cryonicists”. Istvan then encouraged the USTP to provide more in-depth coverage to this issue than was possible through mainstream media outlets.

Zoltan Istvan expressed his views on cryonics to the USTP: “No longer just science fiction, cryonics represents the best scientific chance life extension advocates like Baker have to avoid permanent death. For those without faith in an afterlife, preserving the neurons, cerebral structure, and memories in their brains are the highest priority in both life and death. But the practice of cryonicists signing a Document of Gift doesn’t always work, as in the case of Baker, whose body was controversially cremated just three days” after her body was discovered.

Eric Homeyer, a USTP member and volunteer supporter of cryonics who assisted Oregon Cryonics in this matter but who is not affiliated with Oregon Cryonics in any official capacity, communicated to the USTP the story of Danielle Baker’s tragic and unfortunate situation from his point of view.

Homeyer relayed the following information: “It is rumored that [Baker] went missing from home since Saturday, December 1, 2018. She was reported missing on Monday, December 3, 2018. Her father found her deceased in the woods behind the residence on Tuesday, December 4, 2018, at approximately 3 p.m. I found out about her disappearance/death from a mutual friend when I was at home in Cincinnati at 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday, December 4, 2018. At that time I found out an Autopsy was scheduled in Frankfort, Kentucky, for the next morning, Wednesday, December 5, 2018. He asked me to go try to represent her interests since I was the closest cryonicist any of us knows to her physical location.”

Homeyer continued, describing his trip on Baker’s behalf: “I left Cincinnati at 2:15 a.m. on December 5, 2018 and drove to Frankfort. I got down to Frankfort at around 5 a.m., found the State Medical Examiner’s office, figuring that is where they do the autopsies, and went to the door to see their hours. The door was unlocked, so I went in and tried to find out if [Baker] was there. After a brief chat with the front-desk cop, I realized I was in the right place. I told him I was there on behalf of Danielle Baker to help facilitate her final wishes as an Anatomical Gift Act tissue donor and that I was primarily concerned with making sure brain tissue wasn’t damaged. He said they get started at 8 a.m. and to come back then. Then I went and sat in my car at a gas station five minutes away to wait for a little over two and a half hours. Just before 8 a.m., I returned to the Medical Examiner’s office, and spoke again, to a different cop at the desk. I had the security officer convey by phone to the Medical Examiner’s office that I was there as a volunteer representative of Oregon Cryonics on behalf of Danielle Michelle Baker, an anatomical tissue donor and that my boss Dr. Jordan Sparks would be calling in about an hour to make requests for the handling of the brain during and after the autopsy and the logistics of the release afterwards. I again stressed that of critical importance was that the brain tissue not be damaged.  At that time there weren’t any medical examiners in the office. They took down my number, and told me to check back in a couple of hours if I hadn’t heard from them. I got their fax number and forwarded it and all of the information I had found to [Dr. Sparks]. I then got a hotel nearby and stayed on standby. At 9:26 a.m. [Dr. Sparks] contacted me, told me he was in communication with the Medical Examiner’s office, and said that I didn’t need to go back. I left Frankfort at 5:36pm on December 5, 2018, heading back to Cincinnati, believing I had helped my friend.”

However, despite the efforts of Homeyer and the subsequent efforts of Dr. Jordan Sparks of Oregon Cryonics to advocate for the cryopreservation, Danielle Baker was cremated. Istvan, in his Quartz article of February 22, 2019, wrote that “despite the major parties knowing about the cryonics contract and Document of Gift, Baker’s family pushed for the cremation, which then was carried out by the coroner via a funeral home three days later.”

Homeyer notes that the cremation “was done at the crematory which happens to be co-owned by the coroner who was in charge of her case and in custody of her remains.”

Cryonics advocate Matthew Bryce Deutsch wrote, “Doug Bowling is the coroner, and Baker was cremated at Bowling Funeral home.” Bowling is the Laurel County Coroner in Kentucky, and was re-elected as a Republican for the job in 2018. He is listed as the President of Bowling Funeral home on its website.

Homeyer expressed his view in disapproval of Bowling’s decision to cremate Baker: “Not sure if that’s too much poking the bear… But if he ultimately stands to gain from ignoring her wishes, as an elected official who is supposed to uphold the law, that’s kind of messed up.”

Dr. Jordan Sparks, D.M.D., of Oregon Cryonics explained that “Usually, families don’t object to non-transplant donation, so there is no conflict. In this case, there was disagreement. Funeral directors and coroners are not supposed to be mediators in disputes. It was also an unexpected death, so emotions were very high. I was over 2000 miles away, so I could not be a strong advocate. Things might have been different if we were in the same town. Maybe. At least something like an injunction might have been an option.”

Homeyer expressed his view that he “arrived at the medical examiner’s office on the morning of her scheduled autopsy, in time to prevent damage, but despite this the cremation was carried out.” However, there is disagreement about whether Danielle Baker’s brain was in a sufficiently intact state to enable her memories, personality, and identity to be maintained in some form in the course of the cryopreservation process.

Sparks informed the USTP that “A body that lies undiscovered for three days will never be in good condition.  I think the mind was hopelessly lost by that time. I want to be clear that an [Oregon Cryonics] technician was not able to appear on site.  A volunteer friend showed up and tried to help, but that is very different.  My opinion is that a meaningful preservation can only be performed immediately or within maybe an hour.  At about 6 hours, all the cells are necrotic.  At about 12-24 hours, it becomes impossible to perfuse in all cases, and tissue breakdown is well underway. Because of the already hopeless condition of Danielle’s brain, I don’t believe that Doug Bowling’s actions harmed her.” However, Dr. Sparks also clarified his view that Bowling’s actions were nonetheless “illegal and unethical”. The USTP cannot claim expertise in Kentucky law and so cannot express an opinion on the current legality of Bowling’s behavior, but the USTP holds that legal protections should be established to clearly, unambiguously protect the wishes of cryonics patients, notwithstanding the objections of any other party. The USTP also concurs with Dr. Sparks that cremating an individual against that individual’s express, known wishes is indeed unethical.

Homeyer stated his perspective that “Although I never laid eyes on the body, so I cannot with certainty claim knowledge of her state of decay, as far as I know, Mr. Bowling is not an expert in information-theoretic demise, and nobody currently alive is an expert in the capabilities of future revival technology, therefore his opinion of how well she could have been preserved, seems irrelevant with respect to his ability to carry out what he knew were her final wishes.”

In subsequent communications with the USTP, Istvan commented that “Dr. Sparks here is speaking on matters of the mind. This is not his expertise. And frankly, that’s not for any of us to understand in 2019. We know the research today. But they thought they knew the research in the 1920s with blood tests for murders. What they didn’t know was DNA would overturn the entire field and exonerate many people a century later (as well as ruin many lives unfairly in prison). The point here is we simply cannot know these things, but we do know is Baker had a legit signed contract. And her rights were not followed. And [we know] that a preserved slightly decayed corpse is better than ashes for a person who wanted to come back alive. You have to put yourself in this position and ask what you’d want to be done. I think it’s safe to say: all of us would want the chance to be preserved, whether or not the cryonics process was in optimal conditions.”

The USTP Platform is clear on where we stand in regard to the decision that should have been made in Danielle Baker’s situation. Article III, Section VI, of the USTP Platform, focusing on morphological freedom, reads, in part, that “The United States Transhumanist Party considers morphological freedom to include the prerogative for a sentient intelligence to set forth in advance provisions for how to handle its physical manifestation, should that intelligence enter into a vegetative, unconscious, or similarly inactive state, notwithstanding any legal definition of death. For instance, a cryonics patient should be entitled to determine in advance that the patient’s body shall be cryopreserved and kept under specified conditions, in spite of any legal definition of death that might apply to that patient under cryopreservation.” The concluding paragraph of Section VI also recognizes cryonics as a choice which should “be the purview of […] individual [sapient] beings, and holds that no other group, individual, or government has the right to limit those choices”. The right to morphological freedom is reiterated in Article X of the Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Version 3.0, with essentially the same language as contained in Article III, Section VI, of the USTP Platform. This principle is a matter on which every cryonics supporter – including Istvan, Sparks, Homeyer, and Deutsch – would also express a fundamental agreement.

As noted above, the USTP takes no position on whether or not Doug Bowling’s actions were in violation of current law; however, we invite our members to consider how applicable laws could be interpreted or improved in order to render the protection of cryonics patients’ wishes unambiguous and incapable of being lawfully abrogated by a third party. The USTP also invites ideas on how to foster improved social acceptance of cryonics so as to at least facilitate its toleration by non-adopters to the same degree that various funeral practices – such as burial, embalming, or cremation – are tolerated today. Members may and will differ in their opinions as to whether Danielle Baker as a person could have been saved even through cryopreservation, and further consideration of this question may be valuable as a theoretical discussion of what cryonics can and what it cannot achieve. Ultimately, though, we have an opportunity to craft a proposal for a “Danielle’s Law” that would protect those cryonicists who do stand a chance to ultimately be revived if their wishes are honored in a sufficiently prompt fashion after legal death.

We encourage you to post your thoughts in the comment thread accompanying this statement.

The U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party Achieves Its First Legislative Victory

The U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party Achieves Its First Legislative Victory

Gennady Stolyarov II


The U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party has achieved its first legislative victory. We previously issued an alert about Nevada Assembly Bill 226 (AB226), which originally was written only to prohibit compulsory microchip implants, but whose sponsor, Assemblyman Richard “Skip” Daly, proposed an amendment to also prohibit all voluntary programs for the implantation of a microchip. This concerned us greatly, as it would have essentially prohibited both medical implants with electronic components, as well as implants pursued for reasons of esthetics, self-expression, and functional improvement.

Although we learned of the proposed amendment only two days before the March 15, 2019, Work Session at the Assembly Judiciary Committee, the dedicated grassroots activists among our membership sprang into action. USTP activists quickly published an article, circulated tens of posts via social media, informed prominent transhumanists via e-mail, submitted comments on the Nevada Legislature and to the Assembly Judiciary Committee, and reached out to Legislators. We greatly appreciate that Assemblyman Richard “Skip” Daly took our concerns into account and proposed Subsection 3 within his amendment (below), which defines “microchip implant” in quite a narrow manner, addressing his concerns about potential future institutional pressure to use implanted identification markers, while exempting from the bill’s scope any medical devices, artistic implants, or implants pursued for reasons of personal expression. This amendment was incorporated into AB226 at the Assembly Judiciary Committee Work Session on March 15, 2019.

The U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party believes that AB226, as amended, is no longer a cause for significant concern. While we are not thrilled about any restrictions on voluntary, peaceful activity, we believe that medical innovators, patients, artists, biohackers, grinders, cyborgs, fitness enthusiasts, and many other users of functional implantable technologies will not be at risk from this bill. Thank you to the transhumanist community for mobilizing so effectively to achieve this victory!

This, friends, is why we need a Transhumanist Party. Join us for free.

It is also noteworthy that AB226 has not yet been enacted into law. It will still need to come before a vote of the full Assembly Floor Session, after which the bill would move to the Senate, where a public hearing and a Senate Judiciary Committee work session would need to be held before a full Senate vote. The public hearing in the Senate would be the opportunity of those with remaining concerns to testify on AB226. Furthermore, the Nevada Legislature website allows members of the public to submit their opinions about specific bills, and it is also possible to contact Assemblyman Richard “Skip” Daly,  the sponsor of AB226, as well as the Assembly Judiciary Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee to express one’s views. AB226 can also be monitored on NELIS, the Nevada Legislature’s online informational system.

To respond to some of the critical comments made by R. Nicholas Starr in his dissenting article, it is important to recognize that the inclusion of Subsection 3 in AB226 is at least an incremental victory, because it turned an essentially absolute ban on all implants (which would have crippled medical progress) into a more limited ban on implantation of NFC devices used as identification markers. It is still possible that a technical reading of the text – particularly of the phrase “intended to act as an identification marker” – in fact creates a safe harbor for many NFC implants that are not intended for identification purposes. For instance, if Person X were to have a functional NFC implant that enabled him to open car doors but that did not specifically identify him as Person X, a strong case could be made that participating in a voluntary program to receive this implant would not be prohibited if AB226 were to be enacted.

The NFC tag may have a number assigned to it, but if the number is not also assigned to an individual, this tag may not be an “identification marker”. For instance, a person could hypothetically have two or more tags with distinct numbers that have a similar or identical intended function. If neither of the unique tag numbers would necessarily be associated with that person as an individual, then one could make the argument that the number of the object (the tag) is not a number that has any relevance to the identity of the person in whom the tag is implanted.

The USTP does acknowledge, however, that services which specifically market themselves as providing identity-related security and verification would find the amended version of AB226 problematic, and representatives of such services are encouraged to voice their views, including by using the Legislative contact information and opinion-sharing functionality linked herein.

#IAmTranshuman – Video Compilation #1

#IAmTranshuman – Video Compilation #1

logo_bgB.J. Murphy
Ira Pastor
Tom Ross
José Luis Cordeiro
Charlie Kam
Bill Andrews
Gennady Stolyarov II


Leading transhumanists from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives provide concise, powerful statements as to why they are transhuman. The Transhuman Era has arrived; some of us are aware of this already, whereas others are transhuman but do not know it yet. The #IAmTranshuman campaign helps illustrate how emerging technologies and the accompanying shifts in thinking are already transforming everyday life.

This video was compiled and formatted by Tom Ross, the U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party’s Director of Media Production.

The following transhumanists are featured, in order of appearance:

B.J. Murphy, Director of Social Media, U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party
Ira Pastor, Regeneration Advisor, U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party
Tom Ross, Director of Media Production, U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party
José Luis Cordeiro, Technology Advisor and Ambassador to Spain, U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party
Charlie Kam, Director of Networking, California Transhumanist Party
Bill Andrews, Biotechnology Advisor, U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party
Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman, U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party

Learn more about the #IAmTranshuman campaign, the Transhuman Present Project (#TranshumanPresent), and how you can readily participate here.

You can participate in the #IAmTranshuman campaign by submitting still images or video recordings of one minute or less (15 seconds or less for Instagram stories, one minute or less for Instagram-compatible videos). Use the hashtag #IAmTranshuman, and let us know if you would like your video included in a subsequent compilation!

Become a member of the U.S. Transhumanist Party for free, no matter where you reside. Apply here in less than a minute.

Become a Foreign Ambassador for the U.S. Transhumanist Party. Apply here.

The U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party: The Last, Best Hope for Transhumanist Politics

The U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party: The Last, Best Hope for Transhumanist Politics

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Gennady Stolyarov II


The Transhuman National Committee of the United States (TNC) has disbanded, and the Transhuman Party is being integrated into the U.S. Transhumanist Party.  We (including our State-level affiliates) are now the sole transhumanist political organization in the United States.

The United States Transhumanist Party issues this statement to bring attention to a series of rapid developments during January 2019, at the end of which our political party (including its State-level affiliates) remains the sole transhumanist political organization in the United States. As Chairman of this sole transhumanist political organization, I am determined to continue to grow it and maintain its distinctive identity and purpose above the toxic “mainstream” partisan fray. I invite all transhumanists to apply for free membership within our growing and vibrant party, which has reached 1,282 members and continues to expand daily.

In short succession, the following events recently transpired.

Integration of the Transhuman Party

The Transhuman Party, a 25-member experimental splinter party founded in October 2017, recently became defunct due to lack of activity. On December 30, 2018, I acquired the website (not yet edited except for the statement on the front page) and Facebook page for the Transhuman Party and issued a standing invitation to its former members to become members of the U.S. Transhumanist Party, with an option to take Officer or Advisor roles. So far approximately half of the former Transhuman Party members have accepted the offer, and the process of integration is ongoing, with the intention to continue to issue such invitations as time advances.

The Transhuman Party was originally formed because its members disapproved of the term “Transhumanist Party” having been trademarked by Zoltan Istvan. (This matter is extensively addressed in the U.S. Transhumanist Party FAQ. Furthermore, Zoltan Istvan has not had any role in the governance of the Transhumanist Party since November 2016 and has also specifically stated that he views favorably the course that the Transhumanist Party has taken; from this one can conclude that he has no desire or reason to intervene.)

However, to assuage any concerns of those who criticized the existence of the trademark, there will now exist two options for how to call our party.  Accordingly, the name “Transhuman Party” will be preserved. Previous efforts by former Transhuman Party members to trademark this term had been abandoned, and any such efforts are likely to fail from a legal standpoint due to the similarity of this term to the term “Transhumanist Party”. However, it is desirable to preserve “Transhuman Party” as a non-trademarked term that those who object to the trademark of “Transhumanist Party” may use to enable their participation in our organization nonetheless.

Accordingly, the full name of our organization hereby becomes “United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party”. Members henceforth have the choice to refer to it as either the “Transhumanist Party” (the trademarked term) or the “Transhuman Party” (the non-trademarked term), using these terms either together or apart or interchangeably, as they please. We hope that these options will enable individuals to bypass arguments over the trademark and collaborate on substantive matters with the knowledge that at least one (and most likely both) of these terms will remain available for us to use, no matter what.

The U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party seeks to be a “big tent” for the transhumanist movement. We welcome the involvement and perspectives of the original Transhuman Party members, as well as others from various backgrounds and organizations within the broader transhumanist community. Our eventual aim is to end transhumanist infighting to the extent possible and to replace it with a deliberative and democratic process where ideas are civilly and constructively discussed and translated into suggestions for policies and general technological, societal, and cultural improvements.

The new logo of the U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party intentionally allows the party’s name to be read as either “Transhumanist Party” or “Transhuman Party”. The color scheme also places emphasis on the term “human”; we are the only political party in the United States with the word “human” in our name. This is justified, as our ultimate focus is the well-being of humans (and other sentient entities) and the championing of technological and societal improvements that enable all humans to overcome their limitations, actualize their potential, and live and improve without bound. 

Dissolution of the Transhuman National Committee of the United States (TNC)

The Transhuman National Committee of the United States (TNC) was originally formed in October 2015 as an alternative transhumanist political organization that sought to eventually form a Political Action Committee (PAC) but never officially did so.

On January 25, 2019, the Board of the Transhuman National Committee of the United States (TNC) voted unanimously to disband the TNC. Two Officers of the U.S. Transhumanist Party – Gennady Stolyarov II and B.J. Murphy – were members of the TNC Board and were present at the virtual TNC Board meeting of January 25, 2019.

The U.S. Transhumanist Party acknowledged the validity of the reasons for the dissolution of the TNC. We had long considered the TNC to be an Allied Organization but took a fundamentally different approach from that espoused by the TNC Chair – e.g., the U.S. Transhumanist Party is a non-monetary, all-volunteer organization and therefore is not reliant on funding, whose cessation essentially ended the viability of the TNC. Furthermore, the U.S. Transhumanist Party favors a principles-based, idea-oriented, and pluralistic approach to public outreach, education, and transformation of the intellectual and cultural landscape – whereas the TNC sought (unsuccessfully) to become a lobbying organization and to adopt the often questionable tactics of mainstream politics. Playing by the rules of mainstream politics is a self-defeating approach, as I explained in “The Great Transhumanist Game” video series (Part 1 and Part 2); the unscrupulous expert political operatives will win every time. Only by changing the rules to those of the new era of our civilization and leading by example under those rules, can transhumanists hope to effectuate constructive change notwithstanding existing political roadblocks.

However, in order to salvage any of the beneficial objectives of the TNC, the U.S. Transhumanist Party reached out in hopes of enabling the people who were involved in it to continue their political activism under the auspices of the U.S. Transhumanist Party. I extended a standing offer to any of the former TNC Officers and Board Members to take on roles as Officers, Advisors, or Ambassadors within the U.S. Transhumanist Party, depending on their individual circumstances, skill sets, and preferences.

Unfortunately, the former TNC Chair used the proxy votes at the last TNC Board meeting to push through a series of divisive and contested statements which encouraged transhumanists to work within the two major political parties instead of any minor political parties or the U.S. Transhumanist Party. I offered motions to surgically excise these counterproductive recommendations from the statements, and the majority of TNC Board members present on the call expressed similar concerns regarding the former TNC Chair’s attempts to push through what was clearly not a consensus position within either the TNC or the broader transhumanist community – much of which remains interested in a distinctively transhumanist political approach. It is unfortunate that, because of the TNC Chair’s use of the proxy votes at his disposal, the TNC’s last gesture will be one of division rather than unification. This outcome illustrates one reason for the TNC’s failure – an approach which favored adversarial “hardball” tactics over attempts to reach consensus. However, as the last remaining transhumanist political organization in the United States, the U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party can carry on in expressing its principled views and eschewing the tragi-comical theater that “mainstream” politics has become. The tactics of contemporary political operatives are inimical to the nobler mindset that is needed to build the next era of our civilization. Adversarial “hardball” is precisely one of the unfortunate aspects of the present that needs to be transcended if we are to overcome the roadblocks that stand in the way of technological, cultural, and policy progress.

As I expressed in a statement to the TNC Board, I consider the two main parties to have thoroughly discredited themselves. The Democratic and Republican Parties are essentially committing suicide via their tactics of partisan toxicity that set people against one another and prevent constructive policy discussions and solutions. The recent fiasco of the U.S. federal government shutdown is just the most recent example of this toxicity getting in the way of even routine operations.

The transhumanist movement is indeed small at this stage, although we are growing and are much larger than we were several years ago. That being said, if transhumanists attempt to work within the two major parties, they will just contribute infinitesimally to these gargantuan political machines that have wrongfully subsumed American political discourse. This is exactly what happened to the Futurist Party, which rendered itself irrelevant when it endorsed Bernie Sanders in 2015; it essentially then became just one of the numerous feeder organizations into the Democratic Party, which ultimately benefited the Hillary Clinton campaign. While the U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party welcomes all individual transhumanists – including those who also participate in the major political parties in some capacity – it cannot, as an organization, endorse any of the major political parties or their candidates due to the concern that such endorsements would subsume the U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party within the partisan fray, where completely unrelated “wedge” issues are used solely to perpetuate animosity and strife at the expense of constructive exploration of future possibilities.

Contrary to the opinions of the former TNC Chair, the value of the U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party (or any other standalone transhumanist organization, for that matter) is that it can stand above that toxic fray and look toward long-term policy solutions and shifting the climate of ideas. It does not matter if we can elect candidates to the office in the immediate future (although James Schultz and I put forth valiant efforts in 2018). We will, of course, continue to endorse other independent or nonpartisan candidates in the coming years and use each electoral race as an educational opportunity. Our nomination process for the 2020 Presidential election will hopefully attract unprecedented participation within the transhumanist community as well as considerable external interest in transhumanist political discourse. Our main vision, however, is far longer-term. The key is for the Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party to exist and to remain active in the meantime, with whatever resources and volunteer efforts are available at its disposal. This dynamic of activity and gradual growth is one that I believe can be sustained indefinitely until a power vacuum arises when the two main parties implode. (This will happen eventually, but it is impossible to predict when.) If the Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party is ready to step into the vacuum and, in the meantime, establishes a reputation for respectable, thoughtful discourse, advocacy, and activism, then it may be possible to become a major player on the political scene virtually overnight once that power vacuum forms. In the meantime, we should continue gradually, patiently building up the infrastructure that would enable us to take advantage of that inflection point.

The U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party continues to grow in membership and expand its reach. An easy and highly effective contribution that anyone can make is to sign up for free membership, which takes less than a minute and brings additional benefits to the member. The TNC and its statements are now only part of history, but we have a future to build. As Chairman of the sole surviving political transhumanist organization in the United States, I am committed to preserving and growing a distinctive alternative to the two main political parties, whose very existence and example in deed are what transhumanists need in order to overcome the continually downward-spiraling political “mainstream” in the United States. The path toward this goal includes the necessity of achieving a widespread recognition of common purpose or at least non-antagonism within the transhumanist movement itself. Eventually a vacuum will form within the political landscape, and the party that survives with integrity will be the one that gets to fill that vacuum. Anyone who wishes to join us in taking the high road toward transhumanist unity and the next era of our civilization is welcome to do so.

~ Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman, United States Transhumanist Party, January 26, 2019

U.S. Transhumanist Party Chairman’s Second Anniversary Message

U.S. Transhumanist Party Chairman’s Second Anniversary Message

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Gennady Stolyarov II


It astonishes me that two years have elapsed since I became Chairman of the U.S. Transhumanist Party on November 17, 2016. Nonetheless, in retrospect, it seems that we are living in a different epoch from the one in which I stepped into this leadership role. In this epoch, transhumanism is no longer a fringe extreme; while we are a small political party, we occupy the sensible moderate ground – the civilized center of political discourse – precisely because we reject the downward spiral of toxicity, tribalism, political violence, and zero-sum partisanship which characterizes both the Democratic and Republican Parties today. Many people beyond the historic core transhumanist constituencies ought to find our message appealing, if they only knew about the Transhumanist Party and what it actually stands for.

While 2017 was a year of focusing on developing our now-extensive Platform, 2018 was characterized by increased outreach, more frequent events and interviews, steady membership growth (doubling our membership to 1,187 as of this writing), and the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s first foray into electoral politics under my Chairmanship. For a summary of our achievements in 2018, I encourage you to watch my speech at RAAD Fest 2018 in San Diego, CA, entitled “The U.S. Transhumanist Party: Four Years of Advocating for the Future” and attended by over 1,000 people.

We endorsed two candidates during this election season, James D. Schultz and myself. While Mr. Schultz fell slightly short of the 1,500 petition signatures required by New York law for ballot access, he did obtain 1,239 signatures, which shows that transhumanism can attract supporters in the four-figure range with diligent advocacy.

My own campaign for the Board of Trustees of the Indian Hills General Improvement District (IHGID) in Nevada was able to proceed to the general-election stage, since ballot access was available without the need to submit petitions. I ultimately obtained 520 votes out of 2,024 residents who cast their ballots. While I did not win a seat on the Board, 25.7% – more than a quarter – of the voters cast affirmative ballots in my favor.

While I would have preferred to win, this outcome still shows that my campaign – on which I spent no money but rather utilized social media, in-person appearances in public places, videos, and word of mouth – enabled me to reach more than a quarter of the residents after beginning with essentially zero name recognition in the area. Transhumanism, when articulated in a mainstream-friendly manner, can elicit support from people across the political spectrum and in all walks of life. We just need to continue to spread our message with determination and deliberate regarding ways of reaching constituencies who might not have become aware of transhumanism yet – perhaps because our methods of communication have not yet overlapped with their preferred media and social circles.

I am not particularly disappointed regarding the outcome of the IHGID Board election, since even getting to the stage where a Transhumanist-Party-endorsed candidate appeared on the ballot and received 520 votes constitutes major progress, since even Zoltan Istvan in 2016 had to campaign as a write-in candidate and so did not receive an official count of the votes cast in his favor. Furthermore, in my experience, the IHGID Board of Trustees is extremely open to resident input. As a resident, I have always been able to speak my mind at the Board meetings and make suggestions that have had substantive impacts. I am confident that the elected Board members are good people who have the well-being of the residents in mind, and that each of them will be receptive to at least a significant portion of my ideas in the future. Furthermore, I think this campaign helped me incrementally in the longer term to build ties with people in my community and to become more involved and able to have a voice in the many ongoing interesting developments that affect it.

From the standpoint of improving the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s political acumen, however, with a result such as the outcome of the IHGID vote, it is important to understand what happened and why and to see what this can teach about politics, the spread of information, and human dynamics more generally.

What factors could explain this outcome, to the best of my knowledge? Some of the electoral dynamics involved surprised me. Residents were able to choose up to three candidates, and it seems rather unusual to me that so few did. My calculations (which I am happy to share in greater detail upon request) indicate the following:

Of those IHGID residents who voted in 2018 at all:
– 878 voters did not make a selection.
– 605 voters only made 1 choice.
– 1,281 voters only made 2 choices.
– 138 voters made 3 choices. (I am one of those voters.)

It is possible that some voters did not understand that they could select multiple candidates. I expected that my best outcome would arise in a situation where I would be seen as a “consensus candidate” whom other candidates would be agreeable to supporting. However, this situation could only materialize if most, or at least many, voters voted for three choices.

However, the majority of those who voted actually selected two options rather than three. This suggests that they knew their prerogatives – so the possibilities are (a) they only voted for candidates whose names they recognized; and/or (b) there could have been a coalition between some two of the candidates (I do not know which two and would have no way of knowing), who informed their supporters to support both of them but not select a third.

However, the most disappointing explanation possible (if true) is this: names were arranged in alphabetical order by last name on the ballot, and some voters might have just picked the first name or the first two or three names. This could indeed have happened in an election which was not all that controversial, where there were no “hot-button” issues, where all the candidates were on friendly terms, where very little money was spent (none on my end), and where probably many voters only minimally informed themselves about the candidates.

My campaign, based on all indications, dominated on the Internet and social media – yet there are many residents of the District who do not appear to use the Internet or social media to any great extent. All of my interactions with residents who knew of my campaign have been extremely positive, but I posit that there exists a large demographic whom my efforts did not reach because there was not any online medium to even facilitate an in-person interaction (e.g., they did not see my announcements on Nextdoor.com and did not watch the candidate videos; also, their in-person activities do not overlap with mine). How to reach such constituents is a perpetual challenge, especially because I only practice genteel campaign tactics – e.g., no door-to-door soliciting or other intrusive messaging; I let people process information at their own convenience. I hypothesize that the only real way to attain recognition from non-Internet users is to build a reputation over many years of participation in in-person community activities. The contemporary world is quite fragmented, so those activities have been rarer than I would like – but there may be more opportunities over the coming years. I raise the more general question of how transhumanists can be more effective in reaching constituencies that are not as active online as most of us technology enthusiasts. What tactics can work to build both name recognition and good will? Comments and suggestions are most welcome.

For me, my next proximate political area of focus will be continuing to build the U.S. Transhumanist Party in its national and international presence and intellectual influence. There is much effort that could be put forth in this area in the immediate future.

  • We have already opened a new exposure period to consider clarifying amendments to the Transhumanist Bill of Rights. While the Transhumanist Bill of Rights is achieving significant media coverage, we need to be vigilant against basic factual inaccuracies regarding the representation of its contents. These amendments will enable us to steer the narrative toward what transhumanists actually think and value, rather than unwarranted assumptions and associations made by persons whose agendas often steer them in the direction of manufacturing straw-man positions that transhumanists do not, in fact, espouse.
  • In early 2019 we will conduct the selection process for the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s 2020 Presidential candidate. Unlike the major political parties, we will have a short campaign season for contenders and an electronic, ranked-preference primary held during the same timeframe for all members, no matter where they reside. This will be a practical implementation of Sections XXVIII, XXIX, and XXX of our Platform. We are still looking for potential candidates for political office at any level in 2020, but having a Presidential candidate will be important as a high-profile educational approach to expose vast numbers of people to transhumanist ideas and aspirations. For this role we are seeking an erudite, articulate, scientifically literate individual with sufficient resources to self-fund a campaign and an absolute commitment to carry such a campaign through to Election Day in November 2020.
  • We need to continue to press toward our crucial threshold goal of 10,000 members. Membership is free and quick to acquire, and now brings several additional benefits with it. Please persuade as many people as you can to go to our free Membership Application Form at https://transhumanist-party.org/membership/ and sign up in less than a minute, no matter where they reside.
  • We need existing members to organize grassroots initiatives – which can include meetups, presentations, writing of articles and policy papers, and outreach within their local communities. If you engage in activism on behalf of the U.S. Transhumanist Party, please contact me and let me know what you wish to do or have done already, and we will publicize it as an example to other members of what is possible. No matter what your skill set, there are many constructive possibilities for you to contribute to our movement and the public’s recognition of it. An active presence in public discourse matters most of all at this stage. Be creative in how you bring that active presence into being!
  • We need to create State-level Transhumanist Parties in every State. If your State is not represented on our list of State Parties, you are welcome to form a State-level party yourself and contact me about doing so. While you explore the relevant requirements for official formation, even beginning a Facebook group for coordination among the members of the embryonic State-level Transhumanist Party would be a major step forward.
  • We need to expand our Foreign Ambassador program to as many countries as possible. The U.S. Transhumanist Party is proud of its international membership and the many fruitful ways in which we have coordinated with transhumanists in other countries. The more representatives we have abroad, the more opportunities there will be for transhumanism to become an integrated global phenomenon that guides the policies of all nations in pro-technology, pro-life-extension, pro-reason directions. To apply to become a Foreign Ambassador, fill out our application form here.
  • We need to continue improving our internal infrastructure, from developing a more efficient voting system (while preserving the ranked-preference method, but hopefully automating the instant runoffs and the publication of results) to adding more features to our website to encourage members to visit it more frequently and participate in discussions and other initiatives available through it. If you have not actively participated on the U.S. Transhumanist Party website yet, we would be interested to know why not, and what additional elements of the website might encourage you to participate in the future.

If you were to retain only several key insights from this message, they would be the following:

  • Attaining basic public awareness remains the major challenge of the U.S. Transhumanist Party and of transhumanism in general.
  • Growth in active members who operate at the grassroots level is the key to overcoming this challenge. Encourage others to sign up for free here.
  • Our message is appealing to the mainstream when properly articulated, but to succeed in doing so, we need to be in control of the narrative and speak for ourselves, instead of letting the media and intellectual opponents portray us as caricatured straw-men.
  • The moment the general public becomes tired of the partisan toxicity of the major political parties to the extent of actually creating a political vacuum, we need to be ready with a constructive alternative. We already have the conceptual alternative prepared; now we need to prepare the infrastructure to deploy and expand it.
  • There is much that you as an individual can do. Do it!

May the next year of my Chairmanship see the U.S. Transhumanist Party attain many of its goals and achieve unprecedented growth and impact for the transhumanist movement. If this happens, it will be because you, our members, will have made it happen.

Sincerely,
Gennady Stolyarov II, FSA, ACAS, MAAA, CPCU, ARe, ARC, API, AIS, AIE, AIAF
Chairman, United States Transhumanist Party
Chief Executive, Nevada Transhumanist Party
Editor-in-Chief, The Rational Argumentator
Author, Death is Wrong

Nevada Transhumanist Party Positions on 2018 Nevada Ballot Questions

Nevada Transhumanist Party Positions on 2018 Nevada Ballot Questions

Gennady Stolyarov II

The Nevada Transhumanist Party offers the following brief statements of position on the ballot questions currently before Nevada voters in the 2018 General Election.

Summary
Question 1: Support
Question 2: Support
Question 3: Support
Question 4: Support
Question 5: Oppose
Question 6: Oppose

 

Ballot Question 1 Marsy’s Law Crime Victims’ Rights Amendment Support

Wording of Ballot Question: “Shall the Nevada Constitution be amended to: (1) remove existing provisions that require the Legislature to provide certain statutory rights for crime victims; and (2) adopt in their place certain expressly stated constitutional rights that crime victims may assert throughout the criminal or juvenile justice process?” (More information on BallotPedia.)

Position of the Nevada Transhumanist Party: The Nevada Transhumanist Party supports Ballot Question 1 as an expansion of the rights of crime victims to render those rights more symmetrical to the protections that those accused of criminal acts already receive. The Nevada Transhumanist Party strongly holds that due process is vital for both the accused and the victim of a crime. Section X of the Nevada Transhumanist Party Platform states, in part, that “each individual should be sentenced based solely on the consideration of the nature of that individual’s crime, its context, and its severity.” However, the nature, context, and severity of a crime can only be ascertained if victims are permitted to participate in the justice process, with full protections of their safety and right to be heard. One of the most important protections of Ballot Question 1 is “To have all monetary payments, money and property collected from any person who has been ordered to make restitution be first applied to pay the amounts ordered as restitution to the victim.” This shifts the focus of the justice system toward compensating the victim, instead of simply enriching the state. A restitution-oriented justice system is ideal where the damage from a crime can be repaired or compensated monetarily, as this approach actually endeavors to make the victims whole and thereby undo as many of the ill effects of the crime as possible. The more lives can be repaired in this way, the fewer obstacles to innocent individuals’ flourishing will exist, and the faster our society will progress in economic, moral, and technological dimensions.

 

Ballot Question 2 Sales-Tax Exemption for Feminine Hygiene Products Support

Wording of Ballot Question: “Shall the Sales and Use Tax Act of 1955 be amended to provide an exemption from the taxes imposed by this Act on the gross receipts from the sale and the storage, use or other consumption of feminine hygiene products?” (More information on BallotPedia.)

Position of the Nevada Transhumanist Party: The Nevada Transhumanist Party supports Ballot Question 2 as a protection for the morphological freedom of individuals. The morphological freedom of female individuals is infringed by asymmetrical taxation of products that those individuals uniquely require. While the Nevada Transhumanist Party does not oppose sales taxes per se, exemptions from sales taxes for the necessities of life are reasonable if such taxes pose impediments to individual quality of life or even the ability to afford those necessities.

 

Ballot Question 3Energy Choice Initiative Support

Wording of Ballot Question: “Shall Article 1 of the Nevada Constitution be amended to require the Legislature to provide by law for the establishment of an open, competitive retail electric energy market that prohibits the granting of monopolies and exclusive franchises for the generation of electricity?” (More information on BallotPedia.)

Position of the Nevada Transhumanist Party: The Nevada Transhumanist Party supports Ballot Question 3 to eliminate the coercive energy monopoly currently held by NV Energy and allow individuals to choose their utility and source of energy, much like they are able to choose which furniture or which cars to buy today. NV Energy has used its monopoly position to stifle and penalize the deployment of economical rooftop solar systems, which allow homeowners to autonomously generate their own electricity and even earn some money doing so. The suppression of such opportunities is a travesty of justice and needs to be reversed.

The NV Energy monopoly is not only harmful to technological progress, renewal energy, and affordable electricity costs; it is also a danger to the health and safety of homeowners. This is because of NV Energy’s arcane, deliberately circular call-center system, which gives consumers “the runaround” when consumers attempt to contact NV Energy to request emergency service related to failures in the electrical panels on their homes. NV Energy has connected the main circuit-breakers on many such panels to its “smart meters”, which require the intervention of an NV Energy technician to disable to that the circuit-breakers can be worked on and repaired or replaced. However, NV Energy does not offer consumers a dedicated emergency response to promptly allow access to those consumers’ own electrical systems in situations where hours and even minutes matter for preserving life and property.

The Nevada Transhumanist Party considers particularly reprehensible the “No on 3” campaign in Nevada – orchestrated and almost exclusively (99.99%) financed by NV Energy and its connected organizations – which has been disingenuous in its messaging and which has created many mistaken impressions on the part of the public. Question 3 would only deprive NV Energy of its monopoly powers; it would not mirror the California-style (pseudo)-“deregulation” of the late 1990s, nor would it thwart any renewable-energy projects. Quite the contrary, it has been NV Energy and only NV Energy that has stifled efforts by consumers and rooftop-solar installers to create genuine alternatives to NV Energy’s electrical grid and its intentionally cumbersome and restrictive policies.

Question 3, indeed, would require that the Nevada Legislature “ensure that protections are established that entitle customers to safe, reliable, and competitively priced electricity;” and “protect against service disconnections and unfair practices” – protections that are currently absent because of the NV Energy monopoly’s political connections, asymmetrical lobbying clout, and the regulatory capture of the Public Utilities Commission.

Nevada’s voters overwhelmingly approved Question 3 in 2016 (72.36% voted in favor). Now that NV Energy has launched a last-ditch campaign in reaction to the jeopardy in which its monopoly finds itself, voters should inform themselves and see through the misleading rhetoric of the “Coalition to Defeat Question 3” (i.e., NV Energy). The Nevada Transhumanist Party staunchly supports Question 3 as the pathway toward major technological progress and innovation in the realm of energy, harnessing the forces of market competition to provide cleaner, more affordable electricity for all Nevadans.

 

Ballot Question 4 Medical Equipment Sales Tax Exemption AmendmentSupport

Wording of Ballot Question: “Shall Article 10 of the Nevada Constitution be amended to require the Legislature to provide by law for the exemption of durable medical equipment, oxygen delivery equipment, and mobility enhancing equipment prescribed for use by a licensed health care provider from any tax upon the sale, storage, use, or consumption of tangible personal property?” (More information on BallotPedia.)

Position of the Nevada Transhumanist Party: The Nevada Transhumanist Party supports Ballot Question 4 to exempt durable medical equipment from sales and use tax. These taxes can often run into the thousands of dollars for sick and dying patients and could compromise the quality of their care. We support any measure that helps make medical equipment affordable and more widespread.

 

Ballot Question 5Automatic Voter Registration via DMVOppose

Wording of Ballot Question: “Shall Chapter 293 of the Nevada Revised Statutes be amended to establish a system that will automatically register an eligible person to vote, or update that person’s existing Nevada voter registration information, at the time the person applies to the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles for the issuance or renewal of any type of driver’s license or identification card, or makes a request to change the address on such a license or identification card, unless the person affirmatively declines in writing?” (More information on BallotPedia.)

Position of the Nevada Transhumanist Party: The Nevada Transhumanist Party opposes Ballot Question 5. While the Nevada Transhumanist Party supports efforts to render voter registration easy and seamless, the particular requirements of Ballot Question 5 would entail the DMV being mandated to insert disclosures that encourage voters to select a major political-party registration by including a statement “that the person will not be able to vote at a primary election for candidates for partisan offices of a major political party unless the person indicates a major political party affiliation”. Such wording – which would essentially compel a State agency to advertise for the major political parties – would further skew the political arena toward the major political parties and would entrench their dominance. Voter registration should furthermore always occur on an opt-in, rather than opt-out, basis; this is the only approach that consistently respects individual autonomy and choice to participate in the political system or to abstain from such participation. Opting in should be easy and made available through a variety of methods (including electronic, same-day registration), but the presumption of registration can create logistical difficulties for some individuals and conceivable situations where an automatic “updated” registration generates needless contradictions in a person’s registration status, which would actually render it more difficult for that person to subsequently cast a vote.

 

Ballot Question 6Renewable Energy Standards Initiative Oppose

Wording of Ballot Question: “Shall Article 4 of the Nevada Constitution be amended to require, beginning in calendar year 2022, that all providers of electric utility services who sell electricity to retail customers for consumption in Nevada generate or acquire incrementally larger percentages of electricity from renewable energy resources so that by calendar year 2030 not less than 50 percent of the total amount of electricity sold by each provider to its retail customers in Nevada comes from renewable energy resources?“ (More information on BallotPedia.)

Position of the Nevada Transhumanist Party: The Nevada Transhumanist Party opposes Ballot Question 6. While the Nevada Transhumanist Party supports economical renewable energy and the acceleration of efforts to develop technologies to render as much of our energy supply renewable as possible, the ability to affordably generate 50 percent of the total electricity through renewable energy resources is ultimately a technological challenge, not a political one. If the technology is ready, and the market is robust and competitive enough to deploy it to consumers at more attractive prices than fossil-fuel energy, then a 50-percent or greater renewable proportion of electricity will be achieved by 2030 without the need for a mandate. If, however, the technology cannot yet render renewable energy competitive with fossil fuels, then the only effect of the mandate would be to push up costs and constrict supply of electricity to consumers. The surest way to bring about a future of greater renewable energy is to repeal the NV Energy monopoly which has been standing in its way. Through competition, both technological and marketing innovations will thrive and will deliver renewable energy solutions to consumers.  Ballot Question 3, rather than Ballot Question 6, is therefore a superior means toward that goal.

 

Mr. Stolyarov is the Chief Executive of the Nevada Transhumanist Party and Chairman of the U.S. Transhumanist Party.
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Become a member of the U.S. Transhumanist Party for free, no matter where you reside. Fill out our free Membership Application Form here. It takes less than a minute!
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This post may be freely reproduced using the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike International 4.0 License, which requires that credit be given to the author, Gennady Stolyarov II (G. Stolyarov II). Find out about Mr. Stolyarov here.
U.S. Transhumanist Party Congratulates Zoltan Istvan on Appearing on the California Gubernatorial Ballot as a Libertarian Candidate

U.S. Transhumanist Party Congratulates Zoltan Istvan on Appearing on the California Gubernatorial Ballot as a Libertarian Candidate

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Gennady Stolyarov II


While the United States Transhumanist Party cannot endorse any candidate running for any other political party, we can offer congratulations, in our role as political observers, to an individual whose campaign for Governor of California has offered additional exposure for transhumanist ideas. On Tuesday, June 5, 2018, Zoltan Istvan will be on the ballot in California as one of two candidates endorsed by the Libertarian Party of California. While he is not running as a Transhumanist, he is nonetheless a (small “t”) transhumanist running as a Libertarian, and as we are interested in seeing transhumanism become a ubiquitous political presence (such that politicians of all party affiliations become comfortable also identifying as transhumanists), we see it as a highly positive development that the majority of delegates for the Libertarian Party of California were sufficiently enlightened and foresighted to endorse Mr. Istvan, despite his apparent differences from some of the more orthodox or doctrinaire Libertarian Party positions, in recognition that both the growing role of technology and the recent political turbulence necessitate major realignments in order to pursue constructive solutions to contemporary predicaments. Some of Mr. Istvan’s Platform differs from that of the U.S. Transhumanist Party as well, but there are enough similarities to clearly indicate that he is closer to our adopted positions than any other candidate running on the California gubernatorial ballot – and we are pleased that he raises issues about the pivotal role of technology in solving contemporary political problems – a role that is all too often overlooked by “mainstream” or established politicians.

Unfortunately, California has a “top two” electoral system, such that all candidates except the highest two vote recipients are unable to proceed beyond the primary. Nonetheless, having an openly self-identifying transhumanist appear on the ballot at all is still a victory and a step forward for the broader transhumanist movement. The United States Transhumanist Party acknowledges this development and expresses appreciation to Zoltan Istvan for a determined and effective campaign. Whatever happens at the ballot box in California on Tuesday, June 5, 2018,  we continue to welcome Zoltan Istvan as our Political and Media Advisor (a non-leadership role, but one in which he has provided valuable insights), and we expect that he will continue to be prominent and successful in his future personal endeavors.

Note: This statement was issued without any involvement by Zoltan Istvan and is entirely a gesture of good will by Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II of the United States Transhumanist Party.

U.S. Transhumanist Party Official Statement on the Death of Aaron Traywick

U.S. Transhumanist Party Official Statement on the Death of Aaron Traywick

 

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May 2, 2018: The United States Transhumanist Party makes this official statement to express its immense sadness, shock, and incomprehension over the recent death of Aaron Traywick, CEO of Ascendance Biomedical, who was discovered dead in a flotation tank at the age of 28. We are not privy to any special details regarding Mr. Traywick’s death, nor have we as an organization been in contact with him for several months prior. We offer our sincerest condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues.

While Mr. Traywick was not a member of the U.S. Transhumanist Party, he did have several extensive conversations with the current Chairman, Gennady Stolyarov II, during 2016 and 2017. The last such detailed conversation occurred at RAAD Fest 2017 in San Diego, California, on August 11, 2017, when Mr. Stolyarov and Mr. Traywick walked for an hour on the grounds of the Town and Country hotel as Mr. Traywick explained his goals for Ascendance Biomedical and the medical procedures it would advance. The U.S. Transhumanist Party does not itself engage in any medical research, but we do advocate for the rights of innovators in the medical sciences to develop procedures that may assist willing patients in combating debilitating diseases and potentially lengthening lifespans. Mr. Stolyarov found Mr. Traywick to be thoughtful, articulate, and sincere, and hoped at the time to see the results of Mr. Traywick’s endeavors manifest themselves over the course of many years – and to see the political and other structural barriers to those endeavors lifted over time.

While we cannot comment on any specific aspect of Mr. Traywick’s work, we consider it a deep shame that he will not have the opportunity to further develop his vision for open-access cures for diseases. The entire transhumanist and life-extensionist community is saddened and confounded by news of Aaron’s death.

The U.S. Transhumanist Party urges everyone to refrain from reckless speculations or conspiracy theories regarding Mr. Traywick’s cause of death.

As far as we know, there is absolutely no evidence that his self-administered DIY herpes treatment (which was administered in February 2018) had any connection to his death 2.5 months later.

There is also no evidence that Mr. Traywick’s death arose from any self-harm or foul play. Nothing about Mr. Traywick’s personality or prior behavior gave the impression of any suicidal leanings, and he was a committed life-extensionist, for whom suicide would have been anathema – the worst possible outcome.

Furthermore, it is absurd and irresponsible to suggest that any manner of murder took place. Such suggestions need to cease immediately. Numerous biohackers and other transhumanist activists routinely work in the open, without apparent adverse consequences. If any established power had sought to crack down on Mr. Traywick or his work, there would have been far milder and more procedurally oriented ways of doing so. There is fortunately no conspiracy anywhere to kill ambitious biohackers.

As far as we are aware, Mr. Traywick’s death was a tragic accident. U.S. Transhumanist Party Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II issued the following personal statement upon learning of Mr. Traywick’s death:

“Flotation pods are inherently dangerous. I personally would never confine myself to a deliberately isolated, sound-proof tank, surrounded by water, where it would be easy to lose consciousness and lower one’s head into the water or turn inadvertently and obstruct one’s breathing – and no one would notice or be able to help. Whatever the ostensible benefits of ‘deep meditation’ might be (I am not a subscriber to that practice; I am always an advocate of being actively engaged in the world and receiving external feedback for one’s actions), it is not worth the risks of that particular procedure. The flotation pod is far likelier than any DIY gene therapy to have killed Aaron Traywick.”

Regardless of the cause, the U.S. Transhumanist Party emphasizes that death is wrong. Mr. Traywick’s death is deeply wrong and will remain so. He will be missed by all of us. May his vision live on.

The U.S. Transhumanist Party Responds to Jeremy Rifkin’s Plan for a Third Industrial Revolution

The U.S. Transhumanist Party Responds to Jeremy Rifkin’s Plan for a Third Industrial Revolution

Gennady Stolyarov II


Photograph of Jeremy Rifkin by Stephan Röhl

Editor’s Note: Below is a response to Jeremy Rifkin’s plan for a Third Industrial Revolution: A Radical New Sharing Economy by Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman of the U.S. Transhumanist Party. The original post of this documentary can be found here.

    ~ Dinorah Delfin, Director of Admissions and Public Relations, U.S. Transhumanist Party, March 10, 2018

When it comes to Jeremy Rifkin’s thoughts on the future, and what humankind will and will not be able to accomplish, Arthur C. Clarke’s famous First Law encapsulates my reaction: “When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.”

I think that Rifkin has many ideas that would be aligned with transhumanism, although his general worldview is not transhumanist in itself. I wholly support the concepts of the sharing economy, the goal of production at zero marginal cost, and the smart infrastructure that he describes would support the Third Industrial Revolution. A redesign of our infrastructure – especially in such a way that would facilitate modular upgrades at a local and even individual level – is essential for overcoming some of the current bottlenecks to technological progress and rising standards of living. I also think that Rifkin is correct that, in the short term, building this new infrastructure will require humans and will mean jobs for those humans. This is probably a good thing, although it is dependent on whether the systems for financing the new projects and appropriately recruiting and treating the workers (e.g., giving them high-quality jobs with good pay, safety precautions, and ample assistance from machines and narrow AIs where possible) can come together in time.

Where I think Rifkin falls short of the transhumanist vision is in his rejection of the goal of a society where basic human problems – including mortality and many of the other key causes of suffering – can be eliminated or at least greatly reduced. He characterizes this as “utopian” thinking, but at every stage of the way, the approach toward these goals would not be utopia, but rather steady improvement. It would be a shame to reject the goals especially as the technologies for making them possible are becoming available. As I have often stated, it is not a matter of if we will have indefinite life extension, but when – and this matters a lot from the standpoint of how many people alive today could be saved.

Where I also differ from Rifkin is that, instead of his focus on the negative (“humans are destroying the Earth”), I and the Transhumanist Party prefer to focus on the positive potentials (humans can improve both our own lives and the Earth through emerging technologies). Many of the solutions may look quite similar – e.g., smart infrastructure, greater energy-efficiency, and renewable energy sources that would move humankind away from fossil fuels (although, unlike Rifkin, I also strongly support the next generation of nuclear reactors, which would use thorium, would be meltdown-proof, and would not be subject to the need for cooling via massive amounts of water that Rifkin criticizes). I think that the way forward is through technological advancement; Rifkin is halfway there – certainly much better than the Neo-Luddite thinkers who have often dominated the environmental movement. But his goals are not in conflict with life extension, massive economic growth, and super-abundance of material prosperity for everyone. In fact, humans need to move along all of these avenues simultaneously and in parallel, as their achievements will reinforce one another and enable progress to occur more readily.

Article III, Section IX of our Platform – http://transhumanist-party.org/constitution/#Article3 – actually summarizes this sentiment quite nicely: “The United States Transhumanist Party supports all emerging technologies that have the potential to improve the human condition – including but not limited to autonomous vehicles, electric vehicles, economical solar power, safe nuclear power, hydroelectricity, geothermal power, applications for the sharing of durable goods, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, nanotechnology, robotics, rapid transit, 3D printing, vertical farming, electronic devices to detect and respond to trauma, and beneficial genetic modification of plants, animals, and human beings.”

Again, Clarke’s First Law comes to mind. To the extent that Rifkin sees potential in any of the above technologies and others, he is correct. To the extent that he does not see it or considers those technologies to be detrimental, he is mistaken.

U.S. Transhumanist Party Chairman’s Anniversary Message

U.S. Transhumanist Party Chairman’s Anniversary Message

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Gennady Stolyarov II


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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Sincerely,
Gennady Stolyarov II, FSA, ACAS, MAAA, CPCU, ARe, ARC, API, AIS, AIE, AIAF
Chairman, United States Transhumanist Party
Chief Executive, Nevada Transhumanist Party
Editor-in-Chief, The Rational Argumentator
Author, Death is Wrong