Monthly Archives: April 2014

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Obama’s Drone Wars Undermine American Values – Article by Ron Paul

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Categories: Politics, Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

The New Renaissance Hat
Ron Paul
April 29, 2014
Recommend this page.
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Earlier this month, CIA-operated drones killed as many as 55 people in Yemen in several separate strikes. Although it was claimed that those killed were “militants,” according to press reports at least three civilians were killed and at least five others wounded. That makes at least 92 US drone attacks against Yemen during the Obama administration, which have killed nearly 1,000 people including many civilians.The latest strikes seem to contradict President Obama’s revised guidelines for targeted killings, which he announced last May. At the time he claimed that drones would only be used against those who posed a “continuing and imminent threat to the American people,” that there must be a “near certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured,” and that safeguards to prevent civilian casualties were at “the highest standard we can set.”

None of these criteria seem to have been met. In fact, the threshold in Yemen is considerably lower than the president claims. In 2012 President Obama approved “signature strikes” in Yemen, a criteria for attack that is not based on actual or suspected wrongdoing, but rather on a vague set of behaviors that are said to be shared by militants.

This means that the individuals killed in the most recent drone attacks were not necessarily terrorists or even terrorist suspects. They were not proven to have committed any crime, nor were they proven to have been members of al-Qaeda or any terrorist organization. Yet they were nevertheless targeted for attack, and the sovereignty of Yemen was violated in the process.

Some may claim that we need to kill suspected terrorists overseas so that we can be safer at home. But do the drone attacks in places like Yemen really make us safer? Or are they actually counter-productive? One thing we do know is that one of the strongest recruiting tools for al-Qaeda is the US being over there using drones against people or occupying Muslim countries.

How can we get rid of all the people who may seek to do us harm if our drone and occupation policies continually create even more al-Qaeda members? Are we not just creating an endless supply of tomorrow’s terrorists with our foolish policies today? What example does it set for the rest of the world if the US acts as if it has the right to kill anyone, anywhere, based simply on that individual’s behavior?

We should keep all of this in mind when the US administration lectures world leaders about how they should act in the 21st century. Recently, the US administration admonished Russian president Vladimir Putin for his supposed interference in the affairs of Ukraine, saying that violating the sovereignty of another country is not the 21st century way of conducting international relations. I agree that sovereignty must be respected. But what about the US doing the same thing in places like Yemen? What about the hundreds and even thousands killed by US drones not because they were found guilty of a crime, but because they were exhibiting “behaviors” that led a CIA drone operator safely hidden in New Mexico or somewhere to pull the trigger and end their lives?

What about a president who regularly meets in secret with his advisors to determine who is to be placed on a “kill list” and who refuses to even discuss the criteria for placement on that list? Is this considered acceptable 21st-century behavior?

The Obama Administration needs to rein in the CIA and its drone attacks overseas. They make a mockery of American values and they may well make us less safe.

Ron Paul, MD, is a former three-time Republican candidate for U. S. President and Congressman from Texas.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

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Eternal Life Fan Club Review of “Death is Wrong” – Article and Graphic by Roen Horn

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Categories: Art, Education, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The New Renaissance Hat
Roen Horn
April 28, 2014
Recommend this page.
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This review was originally posted on the Facebook page of the Eternal Life Fan Club, a community created by Roen Horn to share philosophy, research, and strategies to help humans increase their chances of living forever.
ELFC_Death_is_Wrong

I finally got around to reading the new transhumanist children’s book Death is Wrong. I was impressed with the simplicity and clarity of the message, and my impression was that children could easily digest the information. It’s about time there was a children’s book promoting the message of indefinite life-extension. This book should be mandatory reading in elementary schools. I was pleased to see that the book gave mention to Aubrey de Grey and SENS Research Foundation. Besides explaining the logical reasons for why death is wrong, I was delighted that the book spoke about the frailness of life and the overwhelming sadness of death. The book also specified the importance of vigilantly avoiding dangerous behaviors which would endanger one’s life, and the importance of taking care of one’s health. I think that message is especially important for young children to hear. The book leaves the reader with the optimistic outlook that death does not have to be inevitable. If we know that death is wrong, then we must wage war on death and never give up until we have won this fight. You can find the book on Amazon here.

Wendy Stolyarov, Illustrator of "Death is Wrong", at the Transhuman Visions 2.0 Conference - March 1, 2014

Wendy Stolyarov, Illustrator of Death is Wrong, at the Transhuman Visions 2.0 Conference – March 1, 2014

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Transhumanism and Minarchism Are Compatible: A Response to The Sliceman – Article by G. Stolyarov II

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Categories: History, Politics, Transhumanism, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The New Renaissance Hat
G. Stolyarov II
April 27, 2014
Recommend this page.
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This essay is part of a debate with The Sliceman on whether transhumanism and minarchism are compatible. For prior installments of the conversation, see the following essays:

– “Why I Do Not Adhere to Anarcho-Capitalism” by G. Stolyarov II

– “In Response to G. Stolyarov II and his Transhumanist Minarchism” by The Sliceman

I appreciate that The Sliceman has taken the time to post his thoughts on the question of the compatibility of transhumanism and minarchism, and I thank him for his good words regarding my work. If, as he writes, we agree on 90% of the issues, “with the lone exceptions being minarchy and monogamy”, then we have plenty of common ground that could also be used to reach some points of agreement on the question of transhumanist minarchism.

My aim in this discussion will not be to discredit or refute anarcho-capitalism; instead, I will strive to show that transhumanist minarchism is a fully reasonable and logically consistent position. Empirically, transhumanist anarcho-capitalism also clearly has articulate adherents and holds out promise for the incremental improvement of the human condition. The Sliceman writes of my views, “Your stance is that, [anarcho-capitalism] would be better than normal statism, but not as good as minarchism.” This is correct, meaning that I would see transhumanist anarcho-capitalism as an improvement over the status quo both politically and technologically. However, transhumanist minarchism would be superior still, because it would contain a method for resolving tensions and disputes that would have escalated into violence under transhumanist anarcho-capitalism.

The Sliceman writes in response to my statement that anarcho-capitalism has no practical application in today’s world that “yes, there has never been a practical application of Anarcho-Capitalism replacing a state but there has never been an economic powerhouse minarchy that didn’t evolve into totalitarianism either. We are BOTH in the realm of theory here, my friend.”

In an important way, I agree. I wrote in “Why I Do Not Adhere to Anarcho-Capitalism” that “Neither my position nor the anarcho-capitalists’ has any existing real-world incarnation. The question before us, then, is which of these positions would result in less overall violence and coercive dishonesty if implemented in practice?” However, in another important way, I disagree with the argument that an empirical refutation of minarchism can be offered by observing formerly freer societies that have devolved into totalitarian or near-totalitarian ones. The Sliceman is correct that the United States has undertaken this trajectory over the past 238 years, while in the meantime facilitating considerable prosperity and economic growth through political structures that were freer than most. However, at no point in history was the United States minarchistic – not even by a long shot. The U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights were closer to the libertarian ideal than the governance structures of 18th-century Europe, to be sure, so they constituted steps in the right direction for their time. But the very language of these documents – including the “Commerce Clause”, the “General Welfare Clause”, and the “Necessary and Proper Clause” – opened the floodgates for extensive centralized intervention as these clauses were interpreted to have increasingly expansive and open-ended meanings. The devolution of the United States to the near-totalitarianism it exhibits today is not the result of minarchism, but israther due to the infusion of non-minarchistic elements into the US political structure at its founding. (The recognition of slavery certainly did not help, either; it paved the way for the bloody Civil War, which led to the first round of attempted totalitarianism by central governments under Abraham Lincoln in the Union and Jefferson Davis in the Confederacy.) I also note that the non-minarchistic nature of the early United States can be clearly seen in such travesties against liberty as the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 (which effectively forbade criticism of the government) and even Thomas Jefferson’s Embargo Act of 1807 (which effectively forbade all overseas trade) – neither of which would be conceivable even in today’s United States.

So the historical trajectory of the United States is no more an argument against minarchism than the brutal infighting and miserable standards of living in Somalia today are an argument against anarchism. The argument presented by The Sliceman that bureaucracies tend to try to grab more power for themselves may be true, but, if so, its only implication is that non-minarchistic elements of a government will tend to expand over time, changing the proportions of an initial mix of coercive and non-coercive government functions to be more heavily dominated by the coercive functions over time. However, if a minarchist government lacks the coercive functions (which involve non-retaliatory use of force) to begin with, and both the constitution and public opinion provide strong barriers to the emergence of such coercive functions, then the trajectory toward totalitarianism need not occur.

The Sliceman writes, “In fact, I believe minarchy to be much more theoretical than anarchy. Anarchy can be seen all over the world every day in the form of capitalism and voluntary association and order. Minarchy is almost never seen in all of history.” Both minarchy and anarchy are similarly theoretical, in my view, because, just as there has never been a completely minarchist government in history, there has never been a complete anarcho-capitalism in any society. Because every person encounters some dose of coercion in going about his or her daily life, that coercion necessarily shapes individual incentives and the kinds of markets and goods and services that arise in the society where the coercion exists. It is true, for instance, that unregulated black markets arise virtually everywhere that a government attempts to prohibit a good or service, but the content, environment, and limitations of those black markets are very much determined by the fact that the prohibition exists in the first place, as well as the extent and manner of the prohibition’s enforcement. Just as a true minarchism could only exist if a government did not have any legitimate power to initiate force, so a true anarcho-capitalism could only exist if there were no need to develop workarounds for the limitations imposed by a centralized authority.

This leads me to the conclusion that what matters more is the incremental direction of political change that one advocates – rather than one’s desired theoretical destination. For instance, abolishing NSA surveillance of the general population, dismantling the TSA, repealing the income tax, withdrawing all overseas US troops, halting the War on Drugs, and ending the requirement that the FDA approve all medicines prior to their availability for purchase by the general public, would all be measures favored by both minarchists and anarcho-capitalists. Their implementation would greatly increase the liberty enjoyed by people in practice, and such measures would also dramatically accelerate the rates of technological progress and economic growth. Whether the changes could be best accomplished by working within or outside the political system is an empirical question, and various strategies can be, at their core, compatible with both minarchism and anarcho-capitalism.

The Sliceman writes: “how dare you consider yourself a transhumanist, yet scoff at that which hasnt been tried yet[?] The automobile has not yet been created, but that is no reason to think the future is a faster horse. If history has taught us anything, it’s that someone’s lack of imagination does not deter future technological advancement in the areas of industry, economy, religion, or government.”

My argument regarding the lack of practical application for anarcho-capitalism does not hinge on the fact that it has not been tried yet in its full form. In fact, I would encourage some group of people to try it – perhaps on a seastead, a small island, or a space colony. The results of such an experiment would provide valuable empirical evidence and fuel for further thought and work in political philosophy. As I have previously stated, my preferred political system of minarchism also has not been tried in its consistent form, so my preference for it does not stem from any aversion for the new and untried.

Rather, when I say that anarcho-capitalism has no practical application today, my exact meaning is that I have yet to see a viable proposal for bringing it about through a transition from the status quo. Unlike minarchism, for whose attainment a sequence of political reforms can be articulated, many strains of anarcho-capitalism reject working within the political system, period, so it is unclear how exactly the transformation from a militaristic welfare state to an anarcho-capitalist society is envisioned to occur. As I wrote in “Why I Do Not Adhere to Anarcho-Capitalism”, “I happen to believe that political theory is more than a mind game; it has relevance to the real world, and it ought to have real-world implications for how we act in our own lives. It is not enough to simply state that one would like the world to be a certain way. Rather, a specific, technical, and quite involved series of steps is necessary to transition from the status quo to any state considered desirable. To simply contemplate the end outcome without any idea of how to attain it or even approach it is to divorce one’s political thinking from reality.” It also appears to me that, when an anarcho-capitalist does propose ways of working “outside the system” – including seasteading, cryptocurrencies, informal markets, and digital communities – these ways are also perfectly compatible with minarchism. They involve the use of technological innovation, jurisdictional competition, and civil society to motivate a reduction of political power from without. Yet, unfortunately, too many anarcho-capitalists let the perfect (in their minds) be the enemy of the good, and they reject or resist any attempts at bringing about incremental change (even outside of politics proper), for fear that those attempts are somehow intertwined with and corrupted by the existing political or social order. I do support the practical efforts of anarcho-capitalists to achieve their vision in peaceful ways. However, if and when they do this, they do not engage in any activities that are exclusively anarcho-capitalist or that would require adherence to anarcho-capitalism to pursue. A minarchist could undertake those same actions just as effectively.

I note that the lack of a concrete proposal to achieve anarcho-capitalism is quite different from what one observes with transhumanist projects and aspirations. Virtually every transhumanist vision, from indefinite life extension to various incarnations of the technological Singularity, has an associated detailed sequential plan for attaining it or view of the unfolding events that would bring it about. Consider, as examples of this, Aubrey de Grey’s SENS roadmap to reversing all the types of age-related damage, or Ray Kurzweil’s Law of Accelerating Returns, forecasting the continued exponential growth of emerging technologies. I certainly see the amount of centralized control in a society as capable of having a powerful impact on the rate at which these transhumanist aspirations can be realized; the more centralized control, the slower the rate. However, neither minarchism nor anarcho-capitalism would impose coercive restrictions on transhumanist projects, and so both are, in theory, quite compatible with transhumanism. Minarchism has the added advantage that it more readily embraces incremental political reforms that could help make an existing society more free, even if any given reform will not completely achieve the libertarian ideal. Minarchist activism could therefore be one effective way to increase the rate of technological progress in the near-to-intermediate term, paving the way for massive prosperity in the long term, which would increasingly consign the “social service” role of many welfare states to irrelevance.

The Sliceman writes, “Libertarian Tranhumanism and Minarchism is an extremely rare match. The creed of Transhumanism is to use historical patterns and trends to predict the future. I’m sure this study greatly contributed to your [belief] and support for indefinite life extension. The creed of Libertarianism is to increase liberty, freedom, and the protection of private property by decreasing the institutionalized initiation of the use of force that is the state.”

I disagree with the proposition that libertarian transhumanism and minarchism are a rare match. It is important to keep in mind that, among libertarians today, anarcho-capitalism is still a significant minority position. Transhumanism attracts significant interest from both libertarians and non-libertarians alike, but its affinity with libertarianism is stronger, so a larger proportion of libertarians are transhumanists as compared to non-libertarians. I have seen no evidence to suggest that anarchist libertarians are more inclined toward transhumanism than minarchist libertarians. While I have done no polling on this question (and some empirical research would certainly be extremely interesting here), a more plausible hypothesis is that transhumanism attracts libertarians independently of their views on the question of minarchy versus anarchy. So if X% of libertarians are anarchists, and (100-X)% are minarchists, and Y% of libertarians are attracted to transhumanism, then it would appear that, as long as X% < 50%, then X%*Y% would be less than (100-X)%*Y%, so there would be more minarchist transhumanists than anarcho-capitalist transhumanists. Again, this is only a hypothesis at present, and conducting a scientific poll of libertarian transhumanists would enable a more in-depth exploration of this question.

The Sliceman continues by describing an “exponential curve of liberty” that has unfolded throughout history, as greater technological advancement, especially in communication technology, has increased individual sovereignty. I agree with this general characterization. In fact, it fits with Steven Pinker’s immensely well-researched look in The Better Angels of Our Nature into the decline in rates of human violence over time, as technology, culture, and political liberty have tended to progress. However, Pinker is certainly no anarchist. He points out that hunter-gatherer “stateless” societies experienced per capita rates of violence and murder greatly exceeding those of the most despotic governments or those that were manifested during the two World Wars of the 20th century. Pinker’s view is that even despotic government is preferable to tribalism or lawlessness, while constitutional or limited government is greatly preferable to despotic government in reducing the rates of violence (which are at their lowest point now as compared to any prior era) and maximizing the scope of individual liberty. I have read the entirety of The Better Angels of Our Nature, and it appears that the evidence Pinker presents suggests that technology, commerce, and culture – rather than political structures – offer the greatest contributions to the reduction of violence, perhaps because political structures are very much conditioned by the technological, economic, and cultural environments in which they arise.

The Sliceman writes, “The question here is what kind of liberty this technology will lead us to. Your answer seems to be that the exponential change in liberty will come to a stop at minarchy and we will just stay there, where my answer is that the exponential change will continue and the only logical conclusion is that we will approach 100% liberty with only [a] few tiny fractions of a percent of violence being accounted for by the fact that we are still, in fact, animals, and animals are violent.”

Supposing that exponential increases in liberty through technological progress can be achieved, this is not per se a sufficient argument that all government would disappear. For instance, exponential advances have been made to store data in ever-smaller volumes of physical space. This does not, however, suggest that we will ever arrive at a point where no physical space at all will be required for the storage of data. At most, we could perhaps keep reducing the space required without any lower limit, but we would only asymptotically approach zero space without ever getting there. The same reasoning could apply to government. Indeed, I see in accelerating technological progress our best prospect for minarchism. As advancing technology raises the prevailing levels of prosperity, fewer people will find themselves in need of government services to rectify any perceived deficiencies in their lives. The more the role of the redistributive welfare state dwindles away, the more governments would be relegated to their theoretically justified roles under minarchism – the resolution of disputes and protection against the initiation of force. It is quite feasible that additional private mechanisms for dispute resolution would emerge, and people would become generally more comfortable and less likely to want to engage in violence in the first place – both of which phenomena would reduce the frequency with which the government would resolve disputes in practice or interject its retaliatory force. If many humans receive augmentations to their minds, increasing both their intelligence and their moral sense, then the result will be an even further-reduced inclination to initiate force. But would this trend ever result in the elimination of government altogether? I doubt it – for the simple reason that the ability to have an ultimate arbiter of disputes or an entity that can interject itself to prevent violence would be too valuable for a future society to do away with altogether. 99.9999% of future transhumans may be entirely peaceful and capable of dealing with one another solely through market arrangements. But suppose there is even one person who rejects all transhumanist paths for humankind and who seeks, in some way, to use violence to wage war on the transhumanist society. Maintaining some very minimal government to deter this person would be wise. Furthermore, if the situation improves to the point where no such person exists, then the mechanisms of a minimal government might well lie dormant for a time – but there would be no reason to abolish them. It would be better to keep them available, just in case a future threat of violence arises, and all market-based methods for preventing it fail. After all, what would happen if some barbarous militaristic alien species discovers the transhumanist Earth and simply launches an invasion, with no questions asked?

The Sliceman writes, “You don’t need an ultimate arbiter when you are running your contracts through the Bitcoin Blockchain or its future replacement. You don’t need an ultimate arbiter when everything on Earth is constantly being recorded and a murderer (whose act can be proven 10 ways from Sunday through constant voluntary surveillance i.e.: Google glass, dashcams, and their future equivalents) can be given a voluntary unanimous Yelp review of ‘exile’.” In some cases, technologies such as the blockchain or universal sousveillance might actually generate more of a need for an ultimate arbiter. It is true that those technologies can facilitate more transparency and discovery of facts, but, in some cases, they are just as open to exploitation for nefarious motives. For technologies based on the blockchain, this is evidenced by the many thefts that have occurred from third-party Bitcoin services or the dishonesty and consequent failure of Mt. Gox. For sousveillance, there is an extremely fine but important line between monitoring that can help deter or prevent crime and monitoring that can infringe on individual privacy and deter innocent behaviors that could only occur in private. When such conflict areas arise (as is inevitable with transformative new technologies), it would be nice to have an impartial arbiter that could resolve conflicting legitimate interests and help overcome the “growing pains” of technological change. Of course, today’s archaic and cumbersome legal system is not the answer to this challenge, but a highly streamlined, extremely knowledgeable, and technologically sophisticated minarchist court might be.

The Sliceman writes that “Technology does not stop at minarchy.” I respond that, ultimately, no single form of government can be seen as the final form, upon which there cannot be any improvement. I do not rule out the existence of true anarcho-capitalism at some future time, somewhere. In “Why I Do Not Adhere to Anarcho-Capitalism”, I wrote that “Perhaps the anarcho-capitalist ideal will be realizable in some distant future time, once human beings have progressed morally and technologically to such an extent that the initiation of force is no longer lucrative to anybody.” I would have no quarrel with transhumanists who attempt to implement anarcho-capitalism through emerging technologies – but, at the same time, minarchism appears to be a far more proximate prospect, and, in the next several decades at least, the very same concrete methods that any anarcho-capitalist would effectively pursue, could also be used to pursue minarchism (since societies would be moved in the direction of both ideals by the application of such methods). Perhaps one implication of my argument is that, for the time being, it does not really matter whether one is a minarchist or an anarcho-capitalist, as long as one supports pro-liberty incremental changes. Another implication, however, is that minarchism and transhumanism are fully compatible, at least for the foreseeable future.

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“Death is Wrong” Fundraiser: Another Ship Returns to Harbor after Braving the Seas for the Cause – Article by Eric Schulke

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Categories: Art, Education, Philosophy, Science, Technology, Transhumanism, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The New Renaissance Hat
Eric Schulke
April 26, 2014
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On December 2nd of 2013, the Movement for Indefinite Life Extension began a contest for people to send in their ideas on how to spend money on outreach for the cause. The following question was asked:

If you were to receive a check in the mail with $5,000 to inform as many people as possible about the desirability and the prospects for indefinite life extension, to get them interested in the people, projects and organizations working directly or indirectly toward indefinite life extension, then how might you spend it?

Six entries were entered into a poll.

The entry with the most votes was Gennady Stolyarov’s entry to distribute 1,000 copies of his and his wife Wendy’s great new children’s book Death is Wrong. Their winning entry won them one of four books that were given away for the contest: a signed copy of The Transhumanist Wager, which was generously contributed to the project by its author, Zoltan Istvan.

A group of us put our heads together and came up with a plan to raise the money. The fundraiser was launched on February 23rd of 2014 and successfully completed on April 23rd of 2014.

It is a great success on multiple levels for the Death is Wrong book and vision in itself, which supports indefinite-life-extension research and philosophy in general, and which is written by one of the many Movement for Indefinite Life Extension leaders, Gennady Stolyarov.

It is also a great success for the Movement for Indefinite Life Extension in general on many levels. It is one of the first major projects the MILE has executed in its upcoming series of projects to work to reach 80,000 “likes” at MILE Facebook page for the Year 3 goal, which begins on July 17th 2014, and tasks us with collectively helping to achieve the group victory of moving from 8,000 likes, to 80,000 likes by the July 17th of the following year, 2015.

Rodney Ashby and Jason Shields helped us get the momentum rolling and did fundraising throughout, and Tonya Scholz gave the project a big hand. Gennady Stolyarov made an amazing media tour for the project, finding himself talking about it in interviews and getting mentions and reports from a variety of sources. Most of them are of his own arranging, some of these outlets picked the story up on their own, and there are some opportunities that I arranged. They include, but are not limited to, the following:

There were 92 contributions from over 80 individuals and one group, including, but not limited to:

There were also at least 13 anonymous donations. I did a count of all of the donors that I brought in. A close, conservative estimate is that I brought in around 70% of them.

We ended up raising $5,141, compounding on the success by $141. That means that we raised enough to distribute 29 more books than projected. Those of us that worked with this didn’t take a single dime as a cut of this. I put a hundred dollars or so in ads into it, and Wendy and Gennady have given countless hours of their time to rewarding donors. Countless others, like general activists and reporters, have put their time and resources into this. The Life Extension Foundation made an inspiring and generous $1,255 dollar donation to close the deal.

Gennady and I have already secured the distribution of 140 copies, and there are now over 1,000 total available for distribution. An order even went out to Aubrey de Grey, whose work is one of the many topics that is talked about in the book. Gennady Stolyarov writes in the Indiegogo update page that,

Update of April 16, 2014: I am delighted to announce that a shipment of 10 Death is Wrong books was made yesterday to Dr. Aubrey de Grey himself at the SENS Research Foundation. Since Dr. de Grey’s work is a crucial inspiration for Death is Wrong and my longevity activism more generally, I am immensely pleased that he has agreed to receive this shipment and make the books available for distribution.

We encourage the distribution of Death is Wrong books to places like schools, libraries, and directly to parents and children. We ask people to order as many copies as they think they may be able to give away to kids and people with kids, at Transhuman and health events, rallies, and similar events. Gennady has instructions on how to order them free of charge:

Instructions for Longevity Activists to Request Copies of Death is Wrong

– Send an e-mail to gennadystolyarovii@gmail.com

– Provide your name, your mailing address, a statement of your support for indefinite life extension, and a brief description of your plan to spread the book to children in your local area. Remember that all copies received pursuant to this initiative would need to be offered to children free of charge (as gifts or reading opportunities) and may not be resold.

– Provide the number of copies of Death is Wrong that you are requesting.

– Preferably, provide an indication that you would be willing to send photographs of the books that have been delivered to you as well as events where you will be distributing the books.

The project has been a great community effort. The Movement for Indefinite Life extension is our collective spirit, not an organization. Together we collect supporters for all of the constructive projects and organizations. There must have been over 150 people involved. More activists flexed their life-extension muscles, and we helped more people that want to get involved to take the first step. If you’ve ever saved money, then you know how incremental change adds up. You cannot achieve the saving of $8,000 unless you first get to $2,000, and $6,000, and so forth.

It’s an example of elements coming together for a movement, like this article says:

A movement occurs when, one, a large number of people have a need that, two, lines up with the necessary ingredients to make it happen, and those two things are sparked by, three, a catalyst.

The need to survive has always been here. The ingredients have been getting added to the mix since the dawn of the Scientific Revolution. The element of the love for life is in the air, thick with explosive properties, fueled by indefinite-life-extension research and outreach from around the world and across time. People are busy working on rallies, conferences, events, interviews, getting the message out, and all the rest. The tools and the ability to make this happen are ripe, and growing more and better yields of produce by the month. Every time you put a match to it, it erupts in indefinite-life-extension activism. Be that spark today and get in on this movement.

We have more projects like this ahead, and there are plenty of others to choose from in the communities, pages, groups, organizations, sites, and other venues, around the world, growing here toward that tipping point where we can have the opportunity to spill across the ticker tapes of screens and the minds of the young and old alike, lighting hearts and minds on fire with desire to chip in together to make this happen. This is an incredible opportunity, this time here, fertile with tools and insights, unleashed capabilities beyond our wildest dreams. People are already capable of tons of incredible things that you don’t even know about yet.

Columbus went on a fantastic voyage. When you think of those times, and how fulfilling and enthralling it must have been for them to be able to be part of that, realize that indefinite life extension, all this Transhumanism, is an even greater frontier, and you are in an even more incredible and glorious position than people like Columbus and his crew. It’s a position here where anybody, where you, can help sail out into these incredible frontiers that are opened up through the ever-expanding fields of science and technology.

Eric Schulke was a director at LongeCity during 2009-2013. He has also been an activist with the Movement for Indefinite Life Extension and other causes for over 13 years.

Death is Wrong - by Gennady Stolyarov II, Illustrated by Wendy Stolyarov

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No Excuses for Militant Barbarism in Ukraine – But the West Should Stay Out – Article by G. Stolyarov II

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Categories: History, Politics, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The New Renaissance Hat
G. Stolyarov II
April 26, 2014
Recommend this page.
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I was initially reluctant to accept the Ukrainian government’s reference to the pro-Putin separatists in Eastern Ukraine as “terrorists” – since terrorists deliberately target civilians in order to achieve political and ideological objectives. However, during the past week, it has become clear that at least a significant fraction of the separatists have engaged in exactly that: hostage-takings and killings of civilians in an effort to “secure bargaining chips” or “send a message” to their political enemies.

While very little news that comes out of Eastern Ukraine now can be trusted as being unaffected by propaganda for one interest or another, I do completely trust this account by Simon Ostrovsky, a VICE journalist who was captured by armed gunmen, beaten, held in captivity for four days, and subsequently released. His account relates the identities of some of the other prisoners; a few may themselves be militants working for the other ugly nationalist group in the mix – Right Sector – but many are completely innocent: journalists, political activists, and civilians. It is completely unacceptable to abduct and hold such people hostage, for political leverage or otherwise, no matter what one’s goals or objectives are.

The separatists have committed other crimes as well. The torture and murder of Vladimir Rybak, a councilman who supported the Ukrainian government, is the most heinous among them. Rybak was a peaceful man who spoke his mind; he was vocal and passionate, but never posed a physical threat to anyone. The fact that he would be whisked away in the middle of the night, mutilated, killed, and thrown into a river smacks of Stalin-era tactics to suppress political dissidents and critics.

A further travesty is the abduction of OSCE monitors and unarmed foreign military observers, who were clearly not in Eastern Ukraine to stoke up hostilities, but rather could have negotiated a peaceful resolution to the conflict. The fact that the separatists are inclined to take the observers hostage instead of speaking with them, expressing their grievances, and attempting a diplomatic solution, shows their true colors.

While I had hoped that the multilateral Geneva Statement would be the beginning of a de-escalation in Eastern Ukraine, this has, unfortunately, not come to pass. Vladimir Putin’s regime did not play its part. Putin could have easily defused tensions by publicly speaking about the need for separatists to vacate occupied government buildings in the Donetsk region and to engage OSCE monitors and other third-party negotiators peacefully and sincerely. The fact that he failed to do this, and continues to support the separatists rhetorically, in spite of their record of hostage-takings, murders, and intimidation, gives me substantial doubts regarding his good faith.

Then again, there are very few good people involved in this entire mess – apart from the innocent civilians who are trying to live and work in peace, and to speak their minds in civilized ways, instead of resorting to violence, brutality, and brinksmanship. The pro-Putin separatists and the Putin regime are not the only guilty parties here. This past weekend, Sergei Rodenko – a beloved figure in his community – and two other civilians who performed part-time duty at a checkpoint northwest of Slovyansk, were probably murdered by Right Sector thugs. This situation increasingly reminds me of the nightmare that has unfolded in Syria over the past two years, where the regime of the tyrant and murderer Bashar Assad is fighting a war of attrition against barbarous and often equally brutal Islamic fundamentalist fanatics. Once ancient hatreds – be they religious or nationalistic – are unleashed, all goodness is at risk of being washed away by rivers of blood. It is good that, in 2013, a major public outcry in the United States prevented the US government and military from becoming involved in a conflict where it is absolutely not clear who the greater evil is. (Nor is it ever justifiable to aid evil, period – all the misguided rhetoric regarding the “greater good” notwithstanding.) A similar public outcry is needed against intervention in Ukraine; American foreign policy is terrible at dealing with “gray areas” – especially where every side has clear evil elements. One can only hope that sanity and reason will prevail in Eastern Ukraine, and peace will somehow be achieved, before the body count approaches anywhere near the catastrophic levels it has reached in Syria. As for us in the West, we can only condemn – and hope.

What should the United States government do? This is vital: nothing – except condemnation of all atrocities and attempts to secure the release of all captured civilians. Diplomacy has unfortunately not succeeded in resolving the present mess, and further intervention of any sort will only reinforce the perception (held by the Putin regime and many of its sympathizers in Eastern Ukraine) that the Ukrainian government is simply a tool of Western and especially American geopolitical interests. While military occupation of Ukraine has thankfully been ruled out by the United States and NATO, economic sanctions would, too, be a grave folly. The free-market argument against sanctions includes the recognition that sanctions almost never harm the regime in power; they always harm ordinary civilians and rally them around the hostile regime. In the words of Frédéric Bastiat, “When goods don’t cross borders, armies will.” Economic sanctions always set up the scene for war, because they break the ties of commerce that enable peaceful cooperation, mutual understanding, and cosmopolitanism. As the great Ludwig von Mises put it, “Wars, foreign and domestic (revolutions, civil wars), are more likely to be avoided the closer the division of labor binds men.” Mises also said that military conflicts “are an outgrowth of the various governments’ interference with business, of trade and migration barriers and discrimination against foreign labor, foreign products, and foreign capital.” To the extent that advocates of sanctions depart from this understanding, they are sacrificing free-market principles to the desire to undermine and punish Putin and Russia. Putin may deserve punishment, but his innocent subjects certainly do not.

Do nothing and allow a local solution – fueled by what Friedrich Hayek called “knowledge of the circumstances of time and place” – to emerge. The United States and European Union cannot improve on any resolution that Ukrainians and Russians might be able to arrive at, even if that resolution would be grossly sub-optimal from any reasonable standpoint. For us Westerners to inject ourselves into this horrific mess would only risk dragging us down into the thick quagmire of hatreds, hostilities, and recriminations. This is not a part of the world that can be easily fixed, and it has always suffered from deep cultural maladies. The penetration of the 18th-century Enlightenment there is only superficial and limited to a small segment of society. Those who truly seek a better life are better off just leaving than attempting to resolve the deep problems that have persisted since at least the 13th-century Mongol conquests! They are better off just leaving – as I fortunately did during my childhood – and we are better off just staying out. By attempting to “solve” the problems of post-Soviet republics, the Western powers only risk importing those problems – nationalism, xenophobia, militarism, jingoism, propagandism, and economic isolationism, just to name a few – into their own countries.

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“Death is Wrong” Fundraiser Success – Video by G. Stolyarov II

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Categories: Art, Education, Philosophy, Science, Technology, Transhumanism, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The New Renaissance Hat
G. Stolyarov II
April 23, 2014
Recommend this page.
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A compounded victory! We have raised enough funds through Indiegogo to provide at least 1029 free paperback copies of Death is Wrong to children throughout the world.

Please watch my video announcement of the fundraiser’s success! (The number of available books has increased since I mentioned being able to provide 1024 books in the video.)

140 copies have been distributed; 159 are immediately ready to go upon request. Within 15 days, we will have the funds to distribute all of the remaining books to activists who ask for them.

Extensive thanks go to Bill Faloon of the Life Extension Foundation and Tonya Scholz, who persuaded Mr. Faloon to provide the Life Extension Foundation’s support. They have my eternal gratitude for their generous willingness to step in and get us the rest of the way to our goal. Thank you, also, to every single one of our 92 funders and hundreds of supporters throughout the world!

Earlier today I was interviewed by Tonya Scholz and Sandra Lopez on their Social Chats livestreamed radio program. We had a delightful conversation about Death is Wrong and the amazing reach it has had thus far. You can listen to the recording of the interview here.

Also, I am happy to announce that the five-day window for free downloads of the Kindle version has resulted in 318 downloads – an additional way in which the book has spread significantly!

Instructions for Longevity Activists to Request Copies of Death is Wrong

– Send an e-mail to gennadystolyarovii@gmail.com

– Provide your name, your mailing address, a statement of your support for indefinite life extension, and a brief description of your plan to spread the book to children in your local area. Remember that all copies received pursuant to this initiative would need to be offered to children free of charge (as gifts or reading opportunities) and may not be resold.

– Provide the number of copies of Death is Wrong that you are requesting.

– Preferably, provide an indication that you would be willing to send photographs of the books that have been delivered to you as well as events where you will be distributing the books.

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Mr. Stolyarov’s Article “Indefinite Lifespans Are Possible in Our Lifetimes” Published by Viral Global News

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The New Renaissance Hat
G. Stolyarov II
April 22, 2014
Recommend this page.
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I was pleased to contribute a guest article to Viral Global News, titled “Indefinite Lifespans Are Possible in Our Lifetimes”. The article discusses my illustrated children’s book Death is Wrong, my effort to spread 1000 paperback copies to children, free of cost to them, as well as the basics of Dr. Aubrey de Grey’s research program of SENS (Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence), through whose realization the reversal of senescence and the achievement of indefinite longevity would be possible within the next several decades. Read the article here.

Here is the list of references accompanying my article. Please refer to these sources if you would like a more in-depth look at the topics I briefly discuss.

References

Death is Wrong in paperback format on Amazon

Death is Wrong in Kindle format on Amazon

– Indiegogo Campaign: Help Teach 1000 Kids That Death is Wrong

– “Fable of the Dragon-Tyrant” by Nick Bostrom

– “Life Span Extension Research and Public Debate: Societal Considerations”. Aubrey D.N.J. de Grey. Methuselah Foundation and SENS Research Foundation. 2007.

– “Negligible senescence” – Wikipedia

– “Turritopsis dohrnii” – Wikipedia

– “Transdifferentiation” – Wikipedia

SENS Research Foundation

Chart of types of aging-related damage in “A Reimagined Research Strategy for Aging” – SENS Research Foundation

– “Living to 1000: an interview with Aubrey de Grey”. Zander Redwood. 80,000 Hours. April 12, 2012.

– Genentech Alzheimer’s Prevention Trial

– “Progress Against Aging”. Campaign Against Aging. 2010.

– Aubrey de Grey’s video response to Gennady Stolyarov II’s question on how to make up lost progress in anti-aging research – in “Projects to accelerate radical healthy longevity” – Video by the London Futurists

– “How Google’s Calico aims to fight aging and ‘solve death’” – Arion McNicoll – CNN – October 3, 2013

Human Longevity, Inc.

SENS Research on the seven types of damage constituting senescence:

Cell Loss and Atrophy

Dysfunctional/Senescent Cells

Nuclear Mutations

Mitochondrial Mutations

Extracellular Junk

Intracellular Junk

Extracellular Crosslinks

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“Death is Wrong” Campaign Update – April 21, 2014 – Video by G. Stolyarov II

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Mr. Stolyarov provides an update and call to action regarding his effort to Help Teach 1000 Kids That Death is Wrong.

Two days remain until the April 23, 2014, deadline for fundraising for the effort to spread 1000 paperback copies of Death is Wrong to children, free of cost to them. Contribute today to help broaden the reach of this culturally transformative illustrated children’s book on indefinite life extension.

As of April 21, 2014, $3,620 have been raised in this flexible-funding campaign, and $1,380 remain to reach the $5,000 target.

  • At least 725 books will be shipped in total.
  • 140 have been shipped already to longevity activists in the US, UK, Mexico, Poland, India, and Indonesia.
  • 133 books are ready to be shipped upon request.

The Kindle version of “Death is Wrong” is free to download through April 22, 2014. Get it here.

Get your copy today and refer as many children as you can to the link.

The impact of Death is Wrong is just beginning to occur!

References

BBC Future – “How to live forever” – Article by Frank Swain – April 21, 2014

Viral Global News – “Indefinite Lifespans Are Possible in Our Lifetimes” – Article by Gennady Stolyarov II -April 21, 2014

The Future And You – Discussion Between Stephen Euin Cobb and Gennady Stolyarov II
– Part 1 – http://traffic.libsyn.com/thefutureandyou/TFAY_2014_4_2.mp3
– Part 2 – http://traffic.libsyn.com/thefutureandyou/TFAY_2014_4_9.mp3

LongeCity Now – Justin Loew Interviews Gennady and Wendy Stolyarovhttp://www.longecity.org/media/LongeCityPodcast_Stolyarov2014_A01.mp3

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The Humility of Futurism – Article by Adam Alonzi

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Categories: History, Philosophy, Technology, Transhumanism, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The New Renaissance Hat
Adam Alonzi
April 20, 2014
Recommend this page.
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Civilization operates as if its troubles and their solutions will be as relevant tomorrow as they are today. Likely they were obsolete yesterday. How preposterous do the worries and aspirations of yesteryear seem now? What has not been refined since its conception? Our means of subsistence, entertainment, expression and enlightenment continue to change, although, at least unconsciously, they are accepted as stable. Change, once gradual, now quickens exponentially. Countless professions have been created and destroyed by advances; old orders have been destroyed, new ones have arisen; our world outlooks have been revolutionized by new discoveries over and over, although a sizable portion of the world is unwilling or unable to understand a man like Aubrey de Grey and an equally sizable portion of the population is still struggling with Copernicus. A Futurist accepts himself and his ideas as incomplete, therefore he actively works to improve upon them. Futurism is the first ideology that explicitly accepts the necessity and desirability of change.

It is a mistake to think we have reached the final stage of our journey. Plateaus are mirages conjured by the shortsighted; human evolution is a mountain without a peak. If a man has eyes, let him see all we have done and all we have yet to do. Let him gain the humility religion and liberalism have failed to inculcate into him and so many others. Each generation repeats this mistake. There is no evidence to suggest we are complete or are doomed now only to regress. Naysayers seem motivated to dismiss the triumphs of others out of fear they themselves will appear even less significant. Historically the distant future has received little attention compared to such pressing questions as the number of angels on the head of a pin or the labor theory of value. This may be thanks to a fondness for the apocalyptic, a fascination which certainly has not faded with time, but it is also attributable to the egotistical need to stand out. All epochs are transitions. The advances of this decade have failed to restore popular faith in progress, yet the very word is misleading. Faith does rest not upon an empirical foundation. There are scores of popular beliefs founded upon little or no evidence. Yet the proof of progress is all around us. Death wishes and earth-annihilating misanthropy aside, we can trace the modern disdain for the march forward to the fashionable nonsense of academia.


Speculations and prophecies, even conservative estimates based on careful analysis, are treated with derision by the public. To say one has faith in technology is misleading. To compare the singularity to the rapture is like comparing planetary motion to Santa Claus. One is rooted in scripture, the other in observation. The doomsayers, secular and religious alike, enjoy forecasting our demise. The essential corruption critics charge Western civilization with is common to all; it is called human nature. It is meant to be transcended, not through critiques of immaterial “cultural entities,” but by improving our bodies and our minds through bioengineering. No belief is needed here. We do not rely upon a outworn holy book or the absurd dialectic of the Marxists. We change and adapt because we must. This is a point of pride, not one of shame. We do not worship the past; we have shrugged it off. Compared to the ridiculous claims circulating in the cesspool collectively referred to as “the humanities” this is a sane position, yet it is treated with nothing by scorn by those who, wishing so ardently to distance themselves from Western civilization, bite the hands that feed them, clothes them, and shelters them. While they navigate by GPS, post their inane tangents on social media sites, and try with all their might to discredit the culture to which they owe their lives and livelihoods, others push forward. Self-proclaimed critics of Western civilization should consider trading their general practitioner for an Angolan witch doctor. It is hard to respect those who do not practice what they preach.

Postmodernism and cultural relativism, though they have pretensions of completeness and delusions of permanence, are but passing fads. Something devoid of usefulness or, for that matter, a coherent hypothesis, cannot last long when technology is generating so much benefit to so many people. A meme will continue to propagate itself long after it has served its purpose, to the detriment of competitors and to society at large. It is the duty of Futurists and Transhumanists to demolish the acceptability of rubbish in academia and in the media. The Luddites are more dangerous than the Creationists. Hubris is barely acceptable in the hard sciences, but in an absolutely unempirical discipline like philosophy, it is deplorable. Our first priority should not be political or religious; it should be scientific. To whom do we owe our prosperity, and to whom do we owe our future? To whom do we owe our lives and the lives of our children? How many of us would not be here today were it not for the men and women of modern medicine? This is not the end. Forget the weary and the overwhelmed; they are weak. Forget the ones who have no desire to climb higher; they are unfit. Cast aside the ones who pray fervently for the undoing of their own species; they are the most vile of all. This is not the end. This is our beginning.
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Adam Alonzi is the author of Praying for Death and A Plank in Reason. He is also a futurist, inventor, DIY enthusiast, biotechnologist, programmer, molecular gastronomist, consummate dilletante and columnist at The Indian Economist. Read his blog Cool Flickers.
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Help the next generation embrace a progress-filled vision of the future by supporting the illustrated children’s book Death is Wrong (free in Kindle format until April 22, 2014), and the campaign to distribute 1000 paperback copies to children, free of cost to them. The Indiegogo fundraising period ends on April 23, so please consider making a contribution today.
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“Death is Wrong” Kindle Version Available for Free on April 18-22, 2014

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Categories: Art, Education, Philosophy, Science, Technology, Transhumanism, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The New Renaissance Hat
G. Stolyarov II
April 18, 2014
Recommend this page.
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Starting April 18 and continuing through April 22, the Kindle version of Death is Wrong will be available for free on Amazon. Those who have not yet read the book will be able to obtain it here. One does not need to own a Kindle in order to be able to read the Kindle e-books from Amazon.

Amazon allows a 5-day time window for free Kindle distribution at most, but this is another opportunity for the book to spread as widely as possible. If you obtain a free version and like what you read, please consider donating to our effort to spread 1000 paperback copies to children whose Internet access may not be as continuous and unfettered as ours. On the other hand, if you happen to know some children who do have sufficient Internet access to obtain the Kindle version, I ask that you link them to the Amazon page during the time the e-book is available for free.

Death is Wrong - by Gennady Stolyarov II, Illustrated by Wendy Stolyarov

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