Last Sunday (4th October 2015), we held the inaugural Transhumanist Party Day in London, including our first AGM to officially determine Party policy by democratic means. You can find the list of our officially approved policies below, but first I would like to make a brief comment on the voting process.
This was the first test of our party’s democratic processes, and it appears to have been an overwhelming success. The party now has a mandate from its membership, which started with policy proposals submitted by the end of August, followed by ratification by the National Executive Committee (to check that proposed policies did not contravene the Transhumanist Party Principles), and finally by an open membership vote held both online and at the AGM.
There were two proposed amendments to the party’s constitution (see below), and I am glad to report that both were accepted with 100% support. Furthermore, there were six policy packages consisting of a number of proposed policies each. We offered members the chance to accept any package in toto, or to pick and choose which policies they supported. According to our party constitution only a simple majority threshold (i.e. 50%+) is required for a proposal to pass. Some consideration has been given to applying a higher threshold for this initial meeting, but it has been decided by the party leadership that an arbitrary threshold would do a disservice to party members who support any given policy which met constitutional requirements but not an arbitrarily higher threshold (and as importantly, one not announced in advance).
As it happens, we received an overwhelming mandate from the party membership, with three packages accepted outright at the 50% threshold, and all individual policies still being accepted at the same threshold where the packages as a whole were not accepted. Where a package as a whole was not accepted and a member had voted in favour of an entire package, they were considered to have cast a vote in favour of each individual policy comprising it (if we didn’t do this, we’d have to explain why we were throwing away half the members’ votes regarding half the policies). All six policy packages are thus considered to have been adopted as official policy, in full. Anonymised voting numbers will be made available to party members upon request, once they have been properly prepared.
Even though a higher acceptance threshold has not been applied, it is worth noting that only 3 of the 27 policy proposals would not be accepted at a 67% threshold, which in the party constitution is a threshold reserved for amendments to the constitution itself. In order to avoid undermining the established mandate, I will not be commenting on which three policies those are.
These are now the official policies of the Transhumanist Party, until the next AGM or special poll of the membership. Rules for submitting new proposals toward future changes will be released shortly. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the party.
OFFICIAL POLICIES OF THE TRANSHUMANIST PARTY (2015)
A. Party Constitution amendments:
The Transhumanist Party’s ideological position is known as Social Futurism, which represents the integration of social and technological concerns. We adopt this position as a reminder that our central mission as a Transhumanist political party is to harness technological potential for the benefit of society.
The National Executive Committee (NEC) is responsible for drafting interim party policy where an issue is judged by the party leadership to have arisen for which there is no policy yet in place. The adoption of interim policy must be in accord with constitutional voting rules. Any such policy must be formally ratified at the first AGM following its inception, or be automatically considered rescinded in the absence of ratification.
B. Initial Transhumanist Party policies:
3.0 Political and Judicial Reform
Governance in the UK to be reformed toward greater democratic, technologically mediated participation in decision making (particularly with regard to functions which can be safely ceded to local authorities), and a greater focus on evidence-based policies rather than ideology.
Proportional representation is to be instituted.
The House of Lords to be transformed, over time, to a second chamber augmented by the most effective technological decision aids available.
No MP may take any other paid work while during their term in Parliament, and laws are to be enacted to reform the “revolving door” system of MP’s subsequent appointments and private sector political influence.
Freedom of speech will be vigorously defended, with the exception of speech that (1) constitutes a direct incitement to violence, (2) is libellous (with libel reform to have burden of proof put on the claimant), or (3) is the product of a crime designed to acquire or create the information transmitted (trading in or further transmitting such information will make one an accessory to the original crime).
Reform of intellectual property and software patent law, to allow only the most clearly justified limitation of freedoms of speech and information.
Laws addressing the regulation of emerging technologies will as far as possible prioritise the preservation of personal freedoms insofar as other people’s personal freedoms, rights, or the needs of society are not being curtailed. People should be free to use new technologies as they see fit if they are harming no-one else and there is no clear potential for such harm, and they must be guaranteed freedom from inappropriate intrusion by the state made possible by new technologies.
The highest goal of the Transhumanist Party is to ensure that the potential benefits of technological change are as widely accessible as possible across society, and to create conditions which maximise opportunities for positive technological development.
The state pension, and retirement age, to be abolished. Those who cannot work will instead be entitled to claim state benefits. This is a policy to be introduced over a fifteen year timescale and culminate in a Basic Income Guarantee for all citizens.
A Land Value Tax to be introduced.
There will be no state subsidies for mature, profitable industries – no “bail outs”.
The state will provide full grants to all citizen students. Those receiving full grants will be liable to repay them if they emigrate within a ten-year period after graduation.
Transhumanist Party environmental policies must emphasise the use of “Bright Green” technologies to improve the health and wellbeing of the natural world, and to minimise any negative environmental effects of technology. This will necessitate constant reform and improvement of environmental impact legislation.
Targeted year on year reduction in the use of pesticides and herbicides. Support for vertical farming and robotic techniques.
Factory farming of animals to be more strictly regulated. Research into tissue culture as a replacement source for meat to be actively supported and subsidised.
6.0 Health and Education
The NHS will be encouraged to evolve in a direction in which greater emphasis is placed on preventive and regenerative biotechnology.
Laws governing pharmaceuticals will be modified to allow licensing of drugs that extend lifespan, enhance intelligence or make one “better than well”.
No culturally divisive education is to be supported by the taxpayer. This includes schools charging significant fees as well as those selecting by class, race or religion.
New technologies which can significantly reduce educational & health system costs and improve performance of those systems will be subsidised by the government in order to encourage swift adoption.
7.0 Society and Europe
Although we are concerned with the wellbeing of humanity as a whole, our party focusses first and foremost on British societal needs. The demands of multiculturalism and other societies will be considered secondary to the needs of our own society. Within the broad boundaries of asserting our own societal needs first, we will strive to create an integrated, harmonious society.
Immigration policy shall prioritise skilled migrants, and while refugees will be welcomed with vigorous humanitarian support, such refugees will not be afforded the full rights or freedoms of properly recognised immigrants. Although we seek to support and enable our fellow human beings, we cannot do so in a manner which abandons our own right to future self-determination as a nation.
The Council of the European Union (AKA the Council of Ministers) should not be allowed undue control over the democratically elected European Parliament. The Council should be reduced to the status of ‘second chamber’ with power of veto over European Parliament decisions rather than direct legislative power.
8.0 Defence and International Relations
An immediate halt to the selling of arms to nations that are not democracies, or are debtor nations in the international community to an extent significantly beyond the international norm.
Retain and properly maintain an effective nuclear deterrent.
No foreign aid to governments. Foreign aid should only be given direct to people who need the aid, or NGOs which can be trusted on the basis of evidence that they will properly distribute it.
No aid to nations with nuclear weapon programs.
Support for self-determination of culturally coherent peoples, where geography allows and can be shown to be viable (e.g. Kurds), as well as devolution movements (e.g. Scotland).