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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

Gennady Stolyarov II Presents at the “Meet the Candidates” Night of the Indian Hills General Improvement District

Gennady Stolyarov II Presents at the “Meet the Candidates” Night of the Indian Hills General Improvement District

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Gennady Stolyarov II


The video recording of Gennady Stolyarov II’s presentation at the “Meet the Candidates” Night (October 17, 2018) at the Indian Hills General Improvement District has been posted here.

Mr. Stolyarov’s candidacy has previously been unanimously endorsed by a vote of the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s members.

There is some technical flaw with the audio around 8:52 – the time that Mr. Stolyarov discusses protecting homeowners’ property rights and opposing the establishment of a homeowners’ association. You will hear several parts of these remarks simultaneously – but you will likely still be able to discern Mr. Stolyarov’s position. About a minute afterward, the proper linear audio stream resumes.

After completing his presentation, Mr. Stolyarov issued the following written statement:

I am pleased with the outcome of “Meet the Candidates” Night at the Indian Hills General Improvement District this evening. The seats were nearly all filled, and approximately 25 residents appeared in person. All candidates’ responses were recorded and will be posted on YouTube in the coming days. I will provide links as soon as I become aware of them.

I was able to use the allotted time to present my intended messages regarding my qualifications and my priorities of maintaining essential infrastructure, promoting growth, supporting technological and factually, rationally grounded solutions, and being attentive to all residents and representing the District as a whole in a nonpartisan manner. The statements and questions were thoughtful and generated a civil, meaningful discussion about events in the District. This is what political activity should be about – not factionalism, tribalism, or blind partisanship.

Many residents and the other candidates appeared to be sympathetic to my approach and positions – and my hope is that this will enable them to recognize me as a good consensus candidate who can draw support from all constituencies in the District. I stated at the event that I would be honored to work with any of the other candidates if they are elected to the Board alongside me.

Whether my objective of not being last in the vote count can be met remains to be seen; this election will probably surprise everyone. However, this event most definitely helped – and I hope the videos will help as well.

Early voting in Douglas County begins this Saturday, October 20, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Courthouse in Minden. I have been conducting research on the ballot questions and candidates in the contested races for several hours per day; now I am close to finalizing my own preferences.

Please inform any of your acquaintances who reside in the Indian Hills GID about me and my candidacy!

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!

 

 

U.S. Transhumanist Party Unanimously Endorses Gennady Stolyarov II for the Board of Trustees of the Indian Hills General Improvement District

U.S. Transhumanist Party Unanimously Endorses Gennady Stolyarov II for the Board of Trustees of the Indian Hills General Improvement District

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The U.S. Transhumanist Party has concluded its seven-day electronic vote on the question of endorsing Gennady Stolyarov II for the Board of Trustees of the Indian Hills General Improvement District (IHGID) in Nevada in the 2018 general election.

Of the 43 members who voted, 100% cast their ballots in favor of endorsing Mr. Stolyarov’s candidacy. During the vote, two members requested to be independent observers and received access to the vote results. Furthermore, all of the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s Officers received independent access to the vote results as well.

Accordingly, the U.S. Transhumanist Party has an endorsed candidate who will be on the ballot in the 2018 general election.

In response to this endorsement, Mr. Stolyarov issued the following statement:

“I am deeply honored by the confidence that the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s members have placed in me as a candidate for local political office. It is my view that, while U.S. federal politics is broken almost beyond proximate recourse, substantial progress can be made at the local level by persons of good will, seeking constructive solutions to everyday concerns. As my campaign statement declares, through reason, technology, and respect for property rights, we can live well and improve. If I am elected to the IHGID Board of Trustees, I will demonstrate in action that transhumanism can be an effective, everyday, mainstream system of principles and practices that, if given a chance, will produce concrete good for all persons. The transhumanists of today can become the political center of tomorrow. Negative, adversarial, and petty politics have torn our country apart, and it is time for the thinking of a new era to be forged to bring us back together in addressing universal questions and aspirations. Creating the future will take concerted, persistent efforts to ameliorate human societies and institutions at their most basic levels. But it is upon this firm foundation that a sound civil society can be built, and that civil society will then have the proper immune system to deflect those cynical manipulators of public opinion who would divide us for their transitory gain. I hope that my campaign – with good will toward my fellow residents, other candidates, the IHGID staff, and people throughout the world who have voiced their support – will become one building block in that foundation.”

Questions about Mr. Stolyarov’s candidacy can be directed here.

U.S. Transhumanist Party Vote on the Question of Endorsing Gennady Stolyarov II for the Indian Hills General Improvement District Board of Trustees

U.S. Transhumanist Party Vote on the Question of Endorsing Gennady Stolyarov II for the Indian Hills General Improvement District Board of Trustees

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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 Monday, September 10, 2018, on the question of whether to endorse Gennady Stolyarov II who is running and on the ballot as a candidate for the Board of Trustees of the Indian Hills General Improvement District (IHGID) in Nevada in the 2018  general election.

See Mr. Stolyarov’s campaign page here.

Registered U.S. Transhumanist Party members as of 12:01 a.m. U.S. Pacific Time on Monday, September 3, 2018, would be able to cast their ballots on this question and will be sent their ballots via e-mail.

Because Mr. Stolyarov is the Chairman of the U.S. Transhumanist Party, we shall strive to make every effort that the voting proceeds in as transparent and independently verifiable a manner as possible. Members are free to vote for or against the endorsement, or to abstain from voting, without any adverse repercussions for any decision made or in consequence of any outcome resulting from this vote. Every member is encouraged to make an independent, informed decision on this question. Any member of the U.S. Transhumanist Party who wishes to be an independent observer of the vote results may contact Mr. Stolyarov at gennadystolyarovii@gmail.com. All independent observers must promise not to disclose the names of those who voted to the broader public, although the independent observers may be privy to those names for purposes of verification of results only (and not for purposes of using this information to influence the outcome), and with the understanding that such non-disclosure must be adhered to.

Mr. Stolyarov is officially running as a nonpartisan candidate for this nonpartisan office, and accordingly his name on the ballot cannot be accompanied by a political party designation. There are currently four candidates, including Mr. Stolyarov, running for three open positions.

Accordingly, the significance of any endorsement by the U.S. Transhumanist Party would be symbolic in nature and would serve to bring greater attention to transhumanist ideas and how they could be instantiated in everyday, nonpartisan governance and an approach that can also appeal to the broader public, as Mr. Stolyarov attempts to do in his campaign. Furthermore, now that our previously endorsed candidate James D. Schultz has ended his campaign, the prominence of the U.S. Transhumanist Party would be aided by having an endorsed candidate in the 2018 general election, especially a candidate with a realistic possibility of winning the office for which he is running.

Highlights from Mr. Stolyarov’s campaign website include the following:

  • Transcending political divisions: The IHGID Board of Trustees is nonpartisan, and I am running as a nonpartisan for this office. This means that I hope to represent everyone in this District, no matter what their political views or how they might differ from mine. Although we live in a politically divisive era, when it comes to a high quality of life in a neighborhood, we all have shared values that enable common ground to be found. We may not always agree on particular issues, or always reach an outcome that satisfies everyone, but I will strive to engage sincerely and transparently with each interested resident, and find creative solutions that meet as many goals of as many residents as possible.
    • Parallel in U.S. Transhumanist Party Values and Platform: Tolerance and inclusivity of all individuals of all races, genders, classes, religions, creeds, national origins, and other characteristics. [Article III, Section II]
  • Putting facts first: Many of the decisions of the IHGID Board of Trustees are focused on specific knowledge about the water, sewer, and road systems within the District. I consider it crucial to gather as much factual information as possible about the workings of the affected systems, the available options, and the benefits and costs involved with each option, before making a decision. Every decision is a learning opportunity, and I promise to be open to the facts and to the input of those with knowledge and experience in the areas that the decisions affect.
    • Parallel in U.S. Transhumanist Party Values and PlatformSupport of all values and efforts toward cultivation of science, technology, reason. [Article III, Section VII]
  • Ensuring that key infrastructure operates smoothly: We all want clean and safe water, well-maintained roads, and an effective sewer system. Additionally, the IHGID maintains parks that many residents enjoy and hosts events that improve quality of life for members of this community. These core functions are important and need to be performed well. Many people only notice them if there is a shortcoming, but the IHGID conducts valuable work in the background to prevent such shortcomings from arising. I will be attentive to this work, in large part so that residents can go about their daily lives smoothly. In my experience, there has been significant improvement in these areas during my time as a resident in the District, and I hope to encourage and work toward further improvement wherever possible.
    • Parallel in U.S. Transhumanist Party Values and PlatformSupport for a smart infrastructure. [Article III, Section X]
  • Respecting homeowners’ property rights: I espouse the view that one’s home is one’s inviolable personal domain. This means that choices about esthetics – such as home décor, color, texture, landscaping, outdoor furniture, statuary, and other purely visual elements – should be entirely within the discretion of a home’s owner. I oppose any plan to establish a homeowners association within the IHGID, and I support keeping the IHGID’s roles as currently defined. The only justifiable restrictions on a homeowner’s prerogatives should be considerations of the health and safety of others, as well as the ability of others to make rightful use of the common elements of the neighborhood. I support and encourage compliance with all IHGID policies and applicable provisions of law, including Douglas County Ordinances, and I also support being a good neighbor – which includes maintaining clean and visually appealing properties. However, much that is good about the appearance of our neighborhood can be and has been achieved informally and voluntarily – by people respecting others and arranging improvements amongst themselves. Not everything that is good should be mandatory.
    • Parallel in U.S. Transhumanist Party Values and Platform: Individual privacy and liberty over how to apply technology to one’s personal life [Article III, Section I]; morphological freedom [Article III, Section VI]. Note: The freedom to use technology extends to basic and long-established technologies, such as those involved in home decoration, functional features, and furnishings. If one’s home is viewed as an extension of one’s self-expression, then the freedom to make esthetic choices for one’s home is a key component of morphological freedom.
  • Pursuing technological solutions: I am a strong advocate of emerging technologies in a wide variety of realms. I will think carefully and thoroughly about which new advances can enable the IHGID to fulfill its purposes in a more effective and cost-effective manner, while only improving quality of service.
    • Parallel in U.S. Transhumanist Party Values and PlatformSupport of all emerging technologies that improve the human condition. [Article III, Section IX]
  • Enabling resident initiatives: If you have an idea for an effort that will improve life in this neighborhood, and you are willing to implement it through your own hard work and that of people who agree with you, please feel free to reach out to me, and I will explore how this idea relates to the IHGID and how to enable your idea to be realized within the framework of the IHGID’s mission and goals.
    • Parallel in U.S. Transhumanist Party Values and Platform“The United States Transhumanist Party supports the involvement of intelligent laypersons in the political process to counteract and neutralize the influence of politically connected special interests and their paid representatives. The United States Transhumanist Party supports all electronic and other technologies that can inform and empower intelligent laypersons to monitor and contribute to political discussions and decisions.” [Article III, Section XIII]
  • Supporting development that helps everyone and preserving valuable amenities: I believe that it is possible to have more of everything that everyone considers good. Life is not a zero-sum game; it can be positive-sum with the appropriate focus on win-win solutions and sincere consideration of how to improve from everyone’s perspective. I am a runner and hiker, so I enjoy open space and an abundance of trails nearby. I also consider additional residential development in the vicinity to be beneficial, provided that it is supported by adequate infrastructure – such as well-maintained roads, multiple outlets, and water and wastewater systems that amply provide for all residents’ needs. The real-world approach to particular situations involving preservation and development is often highly situationally specific, and could, in certain circumstances, be outside the scope of the IHGID’s boundaries and mission altogether. However, I promise to thoughtfully consider how our neighborhood and the surrounding areas are changing and to reach informed opinions regarding how any problems could be viably addressed. Through science, technology, rational thinking, and the consequent progress of our civilization, we are all tremendously better off than our ancestors were generations ago. We can continue the improvement on every scale, from local to global.
    • Parallel in U.S. Transhumanist Party Values and Platform: Support of all values and efforts toward cultivation of science, technology, reason. [Article III, Section VII]
    • Core Ideal 2: The Transhumanist Party supports a cultural, societal, and political atmosphere informed and animated by reason, science, and secular values.
  • Commitment to fair campaign practices: I have signed the Nevada Code of Fair Campaign Practices and will abide by it. There will be three vacancies for the IHGID Board of Trustees on January 1, 2019. If more than three candidates run, and there is a possibility that some candidates might not be elected, I promise that I will treat every candidate with civility and respect.  I reject negative campaigning and all personal attacks.
    • Parallel in U.S. Transhumanist Party Constitution, Article I, Section III, Operating Principle 2: “The Transhumanist Party commits to always pursuing its goals in a civil, law-abiding manner, respecting the legitimate rights of all persons.”
    • Parallel in the Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Version 2.0, Article XXIV: “Transhumanists stand opposed to the post-truth culture of deception. All governments should be required to make decisions and communicate information rationally and in accordance with facts. Lying for political gain or intentionally fomenting irrational fears among the general public should entail heavy political penalties for the officials who engage in such behaviors.”