Tag Archives: campaign

by

Major Mouse Testing Program Crowdfunding Campaign Announcement by International Longevity Alliance

No comments yet

Categories: Announcements, Science, Transhumanism, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The New Renaissance HatInternational Longevity Alliance

******************************

Editor’s Note: The Rational Argumentator strongly supports the Major Mouse Testing Project crowdfunding campaign, and I have personally pledged $100 to this effort. Furthermore, I am honored that copies of my illustrated children’s book Death is Wrong are being made available as rewards for certain tiers of contributors to this research fundraiser.

~ Gennady Stolyarov II, Editor-in-Chief, The Rational Argumentator, May 11, 2016

The International Longevity Alliance is conducting a crowdfunding campaign to support the investigation of senolytic drugs’ potential to extend life. The team is going to study the combination of three senolytic drugs – Dasatinib, Venetoclax, and Quercetin – in mice, to see if the removal of senescent cells can ensure extended maximum lifespan. With highly devoted scientists and volunteers working for MMTP, the project needs only $60,000 to begin this experiment, as the researchers would need only to buy the mice and pay for their housing, the substances to test, and the battery of tests to analyze health changes.

Will you help to fund this research? Then please go to Lifespan.io, and choose the donation that suits you best and receive the deepest gratitude of the team and a nice useful souvenir to remember your input into the investigation of longevity therapies!

MMTP_Project1_StairFind out more about the International Longevity Alliance here.

by

The US Two-Party System Made Donald Trump’s Fascist Campaign Possible – Video by G. Stolyarov II

No comments yet

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

The New Renaissance Hat
G. Stolyarov II
******************************

Were it not for the deeply fallacious and self-defeating mindset of voting for the “lesser evil”, the rise of a demagogue such as Trump would have been impossible in the United States.

Though it may be alleged that economic fascism has characterized America’s “mixed economy” since at least the New Deal of the 1930s, the resurgence of cultural fascism would have been unthinkable even during the 2012 Presidential Election. Yet it is here in the form of Donald Trump’s campaign. Mr. Stolyarov considers what made possible this frightening resurgence of the worst tendencies in American politics. He concludes that the biggest underlying facilitator of Trump’s frightening rise is the very two-party political system in the United States and the “lesser evil” trap it engenders in the minds of many voters.

References

– “The US Two-Party System Made Donald Trump’s Fascist Campaign Possible” – Article by G. Stolyarov II
– “Why Republicans Deserved a Crushing Defeat in the 2012 Presidential Election” – Article by G. Stolyarov II –
– “Black students ‘outraged’ after being escorted from Trump rally” – Article by Lindsey Bever – The Washington Post and Chicago Tribune
– “Technically, it is illegal to protest inside of Trump rallies” – Article by Colin Daileda – Mashable –
– “Rejecting the Purveyors of Pull: The Lessons of Atlas Shrugged: Part II” – Article by G. Stolyarov II
– “Trump is Phony, a Fraud” – Speech by Mitt Romney – PBS NewsHour
– “Hating the Establishment Is Not the Same as Supporting Liberty” – Article by Jeffrey Tucker
– “On Moral Responsibility in General and in the Context of Voting” – Article by G. Stolyarov II
– “The Importance of Zoltan Istvan’s Transhumanist Presidential Campaign” – Article by G. Stolyarov II

by

The US Two-Party System Made Donald Trump’s Fascist Campaign Possible – Article by G. Stolyarov II

2 comments

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

The New Renaissance Hat
G. Stolyarov II
******************************

                It is disconcerting to watch as the front-runner for the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination in the United States espouses a genuinely fascistic agenda – not just in terms of protectionism, economic nationalism, militarism, and the desire to centrally plan economic greatness – but also in terms of the overtly uglier sides of historical fascism: the xenophobia, racism, advocacy of torture and blood guilt, desire to silence political opponents, and incitements to violence against protesters and dissenters. Yet this is precisely what Donald Trump has done, unleashing the long-dormant worst tendencies of American politics. He has emboldened the crudest, least enlightened, most hide-bound enemies of tolerance, cosmopolitanism, and liberty to emerge from well-deserved disgrace to fuel the campaign of a cynical, unprincipled opportunist who thrives by pandering to their lowest impulses. Trump is vulgar, volatile, and unhinged. He has already turned his rallies into miniature versions of the police state he would create if elected – evicting even protesters who simply stand there with signs or clothing that express disagreement with Trump, or even individuals who attract the ire of the frenzied Trumpists for having the “wrong” color of skin or the “wrong” incidental expressions. Because of a bizarre law (H. R. 347, enacted in 2012), it is illegal to protest inside Trump rallies (or rallies of any candidate that receives Secret Service protection), so Trump is already utilizing coercive police powers to suppress dissent.

                Though it may be alleged that economic fascism has characterized America’s “mixed economy” since at least the New Deal of the 1930s, the resurgence of cultural fascism would have been unthinkable even during the 2012 Presidential Election. Mitt Romney, who seemed to me at the time to represent a paradigm of crony capitalism that inched toward overarching totalitarianism, now appears to be a gentleman and an intellectual – a voice of reason, class, and prudence in his eloquent denunciation of Donald Trump. Romney, as President, would have been unlikely to avert an incremental descent into fascism (although, in retrospect, he seems to be a decent human being), and his own candidacy was marred by manipulations at various State Republican Conventions, but, compared to Trump, Romney is a model of civility and good sense. Romney, if elected, would primarily have been the next status-quo President, overseeing a deeply flawed and deteriorating but endurable economic, political, and civil-liberties situation. Trump, however, would plunge the United States into an abyss where the remnants of personal liberty will suffocate.

                And yet the manipulations that occurred in 2012 to aid Romney paved the way for a Trump candidacy and its widely perceived “unstoppable” momentum. (Let us hope that this perception is premature!) I was a delegate to the Nevada State Republican Convention in 2012, where I helped elect a pro-Ron Paul delegation to the Republican National Convention. However, upon learning of the events at the National Convention, I became forever disillusioned with the ability of the Republican Party to become receptive to the advocacy of individual freedom. I wrote after Romney’s electoral defeat that

the rule change enacted by the party establishment at the National Convention, over the vociferous objections of the majority of delegates there, has permanently turned the Republican Party into an oligarchy where the delegates and decision-makers will henceforth be picked by the ‘front-runner’ in any future Presidential contest. Gone are the days when people like me could, through grass-roots activism and participation at successive levels of the party conventions, become delegates to a state convention and exert some modicum of influence over how the party is governed and intellectually inclined.

                The Republican Party establishment intended its rule change to prevent the ability of motivated grass-roots activists to elect delegates at State Conventions who would vote against the “presumptive nominee” and in favor of an upstart – presumably more libertarian – contender such as Ron Paul. Little did the establishment expect that this rule change would prevent its own favored candidates from effectively contesting Donald Trump’s nomination if Trump continues to win popular votes, especially in “winner-take-all” primaries, and approaches a majority of the total delegates. The most that the Republican Party elites can hope for now is that a candidate such as Ted Cruz eventually overtakes Trump, or that the remaining candidates – Cruz, Marco Rubio, and John Kasich – split enough of the delegates to deny Trump the majority and lead to a brokered convention. But as the narrative of inevitability continues to be spun in Trump’s favor and he amasses prominent endorsements and even promises from the other candidates that they would support him if he were the nominee, these damage-control plans seem quite vulnerable. Blind party loyalty, combined with a bandwagon mentality, appears to be driving the Republican establishment to a reluctant capitulation to Trump – which would be political suicide, but they are apt to do it anyway.

                If Trump trumps the old Republican Party establishment, however, this would be nothing to cheer. It would be a replacement of a defunct, cronyist, and backroom-dealing oligarchy – but one considerably tempered by satiation from its own decades of comfortable dominance and the remaining checks and balances of the political system – with a vicious, crass, completely unrestrained new oligarchy headed by Trump himself, and fueled by populistic pandering to masses about whom Trump personally could not care less. Trump asserts that he is incorruptible because he is funding his own campaign. However, the truth is that he does not need to pay anyone off for special political privileges, because he is the special interest that would be garnering the favors during “normal times”. If elected, he will simply do so without the intermediaries of the traditional political class. As Jeffrey Tucker eloquently explains,

many have fallen for Donald Trump’s claim that he deserves support solely because he owes nothing to anyone. Therefore, he is not part of the establishment. Why is that good for liberty? He has said nothing about dismantling power. […] He wants surveillance, controls on the internet, religious tests for migration, war-like tariffs, industrial planning, and autocratic foreign-policy power. He’s praised police power and toyed with ideas such as internment and killings of political enemies. His entire governing philosophy boils down to arbitrary, free-wheeling authoritarianism.

                Yet the biggest underlying facilitator of Trump’s frightening rise is the very two-party political system in the United States. Had the ballot-access laws not been rigged against “third” political parties and independent candidates, and had representation been determined on a proportional rather than a “winner-take-all” basis, there would have been genuine alternatives for voters to choose from. At present, however, every recent election season has degenerated into a spectacle of demonizing “the other side” – even if that side is just a different wing of the same political establishment. Far too many people vote for “the lesser evil” in their view, rather than the candidate with whom they agree most (who will most likely be a minor-party or independent candidate, since both the Republican and Democratic Parties are widely perceived as ineffectual and misguided once actually in power). Instead of evaluating specific candidates based on their stances on the issues as well as their personal record of integrity (or lack thereof), too many voters have learned to viscerally hate “the other” party’s brand and exhibit unconditional loyalty to their own. During the primary process, even voters who prefer the candidates who did not become the nominee will often capitulate and embrace a deeply flawed frontrunner. If too many Republican voters come to believe that Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders would be intolerable choices for President, then they may come to rally behind Trump even if they personally would have preferred Rubio, Cruz, or Kasich – and that is how a fascistic campaign could elicit the support of even the many non-fascists who simply cannot distance themselves from the “R” next to a candidate’s name.

                The only way in the long term to defeat Trump and those like him (because, in the wake of Trump’s bewildering popularity, others will emerge to imitate his tactics) is to renounce the two-party political system and judge each candidate solely on his or her policies, record, and personal merits or demerits. As I pointed out in 2012 in “On Moral Responsibility in General and in the Context of Voting”,

The most reliable way to avoid adverse moral responsibility in voting is to vote for a candidate whom one considers to be an improvement over the status quo in absolute, not relative, terms – and without regard for how others might vote. Morality is not based on consensus, but on objective truth. One’s own understanding of objective truth, and the continual pursuit of improving that understanding, is the best path to moral action and the habits of thought that facilitate it.

More recently, in 2015, I explained that

voters who are caught in the expectations trap will tend to vote for the “lesser evil” (in their view) from one party, because they tend to think that the consequences of the election of the candidate from the other party will be dire indeed, and they do not want to “take their vote away” from the slightly less objectionable candidate. This thinking rests on the false assumption that a single individual’s vote, especially in a national election, can actually sway the outcome. Given that the probabilities of this occurring are negligible, the better choice – the choice consistent with individual autonomy and the pursuit of principle – is to vote solely based on one’s preference, without any regard for how others will vote or how the election will turn out.

             Had Trump been one candidate among tens of independent contenders, he would have been rightly recognized as a demagogue whose base of support is a xenophobic, poorly educated fringe. Had numerous political parties been able to compete without major barriers to entry, today’s “moderate” establishment Republicans and movement conservatives would have had no need to fight with Trump over a particular party’s nomination, since they – having little in common – would have likely fielded multiple candidates of their own from multiple parties. As it stands now, however, the two-party system has destroyed the checks that would exist in a truly politically competitive system to prevent a fascistic demagogue’s meteoric rise. Only the consciences of voters stand between Trump and the Republican nomination, as well as the Presidency. Now, more than ever, it is imperative to vote solely on principle and escape the “lesser evil” trap, lest the greater evil of untrammeled illiberalism trap us forever.

This essay may be freely reproduced using the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike International 4.0 License, which requires that credit be given to the author, G. Stolyarov II. Find out about Mr. Stolyarov here.

by

Why Transhumanists Should Not Endorse the Two-Party Political System – Article by G. Stolyarov II

1 comment

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

The New Renaissance HatG. Stolyarov II
September 26, 2015
******************************

“Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles.”

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

Extensive discussions have recently occurred in transhumanist circles on the desirable strategies, tactics, and directions for transhumanist political activity in the United States. One question in particular has stood out among these discussions: Is it a wise or prudent choice for a transhumanist, especially a prominent one, to endorse a Presidential candidate from one of the two major political parties (Republican or Democratic) and to actively work to support that candidate’s election, when that candidate has not expressed strong sympathies with the transhumanist vision of overcoming human limitations through scientific and technological progress? Some transhumanists may believe that such an endorsement would gain them influence within the political mainstream, perhaps eventually leading to advisory positions and the ability to direct political elites toward decisions that are more conducive to accelerating technological progress or removing barriers to the arrival of radical life extension.

However, this expectation is mistaken. Here I outline several major reasons why, to achieve the best possible outcomes, transhumanists should stand apart from the two-party political system. Instead, transhumanists should pursue their advocacy goals – be they policy-oriented or focused on education of the general public on emerging technologies – through their own independent organizations and voices. This approach does not rule out collaboration with other, non-transhumanist institutions and individuals, nor does it prevent one from acknowledging both the merits of certain non-transhumanist candidates’ positions and the flaws of some transhumanists’ chosen strategies. However, it is imperative to avoid the perceived compulsion to subordinate oneself to the two-party political system just because it is there.

(1) The existing two-party political system in the United States is an obstacle to transhumanism and cannot be effectively used as its instrument. The two-party system is designed to preserve the very institutional status quo which puts forth barriers to technological advancement and causes the rate of progress to currently lag far behind its potential. Both the Democratic and the Republican political machines primarily exist to protect those with political connections, who might be dislodged from positions of economic privilege by dramatic technological change and the attendant reshuffling of the social order. As such, the rhetoric of the major political parties tends to be concentrated on relatively minor differences in governance styles, personalities, accidents of history, and “hot-button” issues over which elected officials have little substantive influence (for instance, abortion, religion, and gun ownership). This is a strategy of distraction, used to keep the public focused on matters largely outside of any politician’s control, thereby leaving the dominance of today’s politically connected special interests intact by default. At the same time, the fundamental questions raised by transhumanists about possibilities for dramatically improving the human condition, deliberately go unaddressed on the campaign trail. Mainstream politicians do not wish to discuss the colossal changes that could and should be wrought by emerging technologies.

(2) Current major-party candidates would never accept transhumanism anyway. Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, or any of the others running with an “R” or “D” next to their names will not change by an iota if endorsed by even a prominent transhumanist. All of these candidates will disregard the transhumanist endorsement, each for their peculiar mix of reasons, but with a strikingly similar outcome. No matter how strongly a transhumanist endorses these actual or would-be politicians, their mainstream advisors will not let transhumanists into their circle. This is actually a compliment to the transhumanists, who stand apart from and above the political status quo. It is not the transhumanists who must bend to the political status quo. Rather, the political status quo is precisely what transhumanists must overcome in order to achieve their aims. The way to bypass the establishment’s grip on politics is not to join the establishment, but rather to shift the discussion and climate of public opinion so as to render the establishment reluctantly compelled to follow the currents of change, made possible by emerging technologies in a hyper-pluralist society.

(3) Endorsing an establishment candidate will alienate the transhumanist base. Instead, a prominent transhumanist would do much better to pay attention to and leverage the ideas and projects originating from the natural constituencies of transhumanism – futurists, researchers, technology entrepreneurs, philosophically inclined laypersons, and “digital natives” of the millennial generation. Through a bit of organization and creative marketing, a prominent transhumanist could harness the energies of these creative, talented, and industrious individuals into major intellectual, infrastructural, and public-awareness victories for the transhumanist movement. The impetus for a movement such as transhumanism – and, more generally, any ideological movement that seeks radical societal change – is precisely the lack of accommodation for that movement’s ideals in the current society. The energy of the movement’s base will be lost if they see its direction as one of sacrificing its core distinctiveness and ideals in order to fit within the mainstream political mold and to seek acceptance by political elites to whom the movement’s ideals are completely foreign. If Hillary Clinton or Ben Carson (or any mainstream candidate who comes to mind) suddenly achieved philosophical enlightenment and announced strong personal support for transhumanism, then this would be a victory for transhumanism and a sign that the candidate is worthy of serious consideration. But for a transhumanist to endorse a mainstream candidate without that kind of gesture on the candidate’s part is simply a signal that the candidate does not need to change in order to gain or retain the support of the transhumanist.

As an analogy, consider the very different fates of Ron Paul and his son Rand. Ron Paul – a libertarian and Constitutional conservative whose views are profoundly incompatible with those of the Republican Party establishment – only ran as a Republican to raise the profile of his educational efforts in favor of individual liberty and limited government. But he never endorsed one of his Republican rivals for the nomination, even after dropping out of the races in 2008 and 2012. He did not agree with the policy stances of John McCain and Mitt Romney, so he simply stood aside and continued to express his principled views. He remains highly esteemed in many libertarian and constitutional conservative circles today. By contrast, Rand Paul endorsed Mitt Romney in 2012, thinking that this was a stepping stone to securing the Republican nomination in 2016. However, this decision alienated Rand Paul’s natural libertarian political base (which despised Romney). At the same time, Rand Paul is still far too libertarian to be accepted by the Republican elite, in spite of all of the compromises he has made over the past few years in order to appear “electable” and palatable to establishment media commentators and pollsters. As a result, he is a minor contender for the Republican nomination, quite unlikely to win or even advance his standing.

By analogy, the transhumanist movement is extremely unlikely to show even a modicum of concerted support for a particular establishment candidate – whether Hillary Clinton, Carly Fiorina, Bernie Sanders, or Bobby Jindal. (As noted above, this is also a justified outcome, since none of these candidates would accommodate the vision and objectives of the transhumanist movement.) On the other hand, an explicit transhumanist – Zoltan Istvan – has rallied many transhumanists behind his candidacy, but he can only maintain their enthusiasm in the political arena for as long as he remains in the running. Istvan has been able to garner considerable sympathies from transhumanists who are otherwise extremely varied in their political persuasions and metaphysical worldviews. However, once a transhumanist candidate is no longer running, his supporters will go their separate ways. The libertarian transhumanists will either abstain from voting or endorse the Libertarian Party nominee (as I, for instance, did in 2008 and 2012). Many of the democratic, egalitarian, and socialist transhumanists will strongly support Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton. A few might even favor the Green Party nominee. If Istvan stays in the race, however, many of these transhumanists will be tempted to support him until the end. Even if they do not get to cast a ballot for Istvan, they could help with activism, crowdfunding, and publicity-raising initiatives.

(4) Endorsing an establishment candidate will be seen as a defeat for transhumanism. If a prominent transhumanist advocates for the election of a particular front-runner, this will essentially be perceived as a concession to the political mainstream and the two-party system. Transhumanism only has a chance if it remains independent of the Republican/Democratic hegemony and instead continues to be an outside voice, gradually influencing politicians to change their ways – not because transhumanists have joined them, but because the evolution of society and public opinion leave them no other choice. If instead the establishment’s favored pundits get to say, “Aha! Even the starry-eyed, utopian transhumanists recognized the futility of their lofty dreams and decided to come down to Earth and join us sensible people” – then this will be seen as a major blow to visionary transhumanist ideals.

(5) Because transhumanists do not hold primaries, nothing prevents them from remaining independent voices until the end. It is understandable that, as the electoral season unfolds, both Republican and Democratic contenders would eventually drop out to support the leading candidate of their party. Transhumanists, however, are under no such compulsion. For instance, Zoltan Istvan has no rivals for the Transhumanist candidacy, and can formally remain in the race for as long as he wishes. He does not even need to have a massive fundraising base to do so. Even if he eventually ends up with $0 for campaign purposes, he could make a few statements, write a few articles, give a few interviews now and then, to stay officially in the running and in the public eye. No matter what happens at the polls, he will then be remembered as a pioneering transhumanist candidate who never gave up or gave in. This legacy could secure his place in history, much like Ron Paul’s principled, unyielding character and actions secured his.

For all other transhumanists who are not running for office, there is absolutely no need to endorse a candidate who is the last man (or woman) standing after the primary processes of the major parties are concluded. Voting should not be about backing someone whom one expects to win, but rather about expressing one’s own ideals and aspirations for superior policy decisions and outcomes.

As I pointed out in my original endorsement of Zoltan Istvan’s campaign,

In fact, much of the sub-optimal equilibrium of the two-party system in the United States arises from a misguided “expectations trap” – where each voter fears expressing his or her principles by voting for the candidate closest to that voter’s actual policy preferences. Instead, voters who are caught in the expectations trap will tend to vote for the “lesser evil” (in their view) from one party, because they tend to think that the consequences of the election of the candidate from the other party will be dire indeed, and they do not want to “take their vote away” from the slightly less objectionable candidate. This thinking rests on the false assumption that a single individual’s vote, especially in a national election, can actually sway the outcome. Given that the probabilities of this occurring are negligible, the better choice – the choice consistent with individual autonomy and the pursuit of principle – is to vote solely based on one’s preference, without any regard for how others will vote or how the election will turn out. One is free to persuade others to vote a certain way, of course, or to listen to arguments from others – but these persuasive efforts, to have merit, should be based on the actual positions and character of the candidates involved, and not on appeals to sacrifice one’s intellectual integrity in order to fulfill the “collective good” of avoiding the victory of the “absolutely terrible” (not quite) candidate from one major party, whose policy choices are likely to be near-identical to the “only slightly terrible” candidate from the other major party. While an individual’s vote cannot actually affect who wins, it can – if exercised according to preference – send a signal as to what issues voters actually care about. Whichever politicians do get elected would see a large outpouring of third-party support as a signal of public discontentment and will perhaps be prompted by this signal to shift their stances on policy issues based on the vote counts they observe. Even a few thousand votes for the Transhumanist Party can send a sufficient signal that many Americans are becoming interested in accelerating technological innovation and the freedom from obstacles posed to it by legacy institutions.

In order to preserve the desirable role of voting as an expression of genuine individual preferences, the least constructive course of action is to vote for someone just because others might, or because that person is considered by establishment media and pundits to “have a chance of winning.” Ultimately, whether a transhumanist ends up voting for a third-party candidate, a major-party candidate, or not at all, is not so important as whether that transhumanist actually voted according to his or her individual conscience and principles.

A Vision for Transhumanist Political Involvement

Given that support of the two-party system should be a non-starter for transhumanists, what is a better way? The best approach is to gradually shape the external environment to which politicians respond, instead of playing the game of politics by the rules at which establishment politicians are adept. Conventional politicians seek to get elected and re-elected and must therefore cater to multiple constituencies, often with contradictory interests and preferences. But this does not need to be the way of politics. Ron Paul, for instance, was a pioneer of the educational campaign – the use of the publicity attached to political involvement as a means primarily to spread a message and change the climate of public opinion, rather than to win office. The educational campaign is more resilient than the conventional campaign, since it does not need to be concerned with weekly poll figures or donations from special interests who seek special favors. Zoltan Istvan has also endeavored to pursue this approach through his numerous writings, interviews, and the Immortality Bus campaign. As an incredibly energetic, determined, and active individual, he has been able to attract major publicity on a minimal budget. Istvan’s educational campaign should continue for as long as possible – ideally all the way up to Election Day 2016. His continued presence in the race would give many transhumanists a compelling reason not to acquiesce to the two-party system with cynical resignation.

But, far beyond the 2016 election season, the formation of a Transhumanist Party infrastructure in the United States creates the possibility of a much longer-range strategy for influencing public opinion toward an enthusiastic embrace of emerging technologies and the imperative of technological progress. Indeed, the possibility exists to take the concept of an educational campaign a step further. Instead of having the election of candidates to office as its primary objective, a transhumanist political party – be it the United States Transhumanist Party or a State-level affiliate – should instead focus directly on education, activism, and policy recommendations. We do not so much need politicians in office with a “T” next to their names, as we need the climate of public opinion to be favorable to the vision of the future that we advocate.

NTP-Logo-9-1-2015It is with this vision in mind that Wendy Stolyarov and I formed the Nevada Transhumanist Party on August 31, 2015. (See the officially filed Constitution and Bylaws here and a searchable version here; also join the Facebook group here, as Allied Membership is open to any person, anywhere, with a rational faculty and ability to form political opinions.) While an initial impetus for this decision was to further raise the profile of Zoltan Istvan’s Presidential campaign, the long-term benefit of establishing an infrastructure for discussion and activism among transhumanists is even more important to us. The Nevada Transhumanist Party is a State-level political party unlike any other. While we support the efforts of the United States Transhumanist Party, we are also independent from it in governance and decision-making. We will not be fielding our own candidates or funding any campaigns in the foreseeable future. Rather, we will use volunteer efforts to coordinate educational events – both online and in person – and connect individuals who are interested in the possibilities made available by emerging technologies. Over time, we will build a network of support and will encourage participation by as many people as are interested. Indeed, the Nevada Transhumanist Party Constitution explicitly embraces the concept of making alliances with others to attain specific objectives without sacrificing principles or independence. We also aim to achieve the maximum possible inclusiveness in terms of party membership, receptiveness to member input, and delegation of authority to members who are interested in undertaking beneficial projects that help advance the principles and objectives expressed in the Nevada Transhumanist Party Platform. We will enthusiastically endorse any worthwhile project that is consistent with these aims. Our goal is not to win any particular election, but rather to move toward a society in which any elected official will need to respect the transhumanist vision and do nothing to impede it, in order to attain office and remain there. This allows us the luxury of a long time horizon, consistent with the long-term vision that transhumanism itself holds for our hopefully long-lived future.

If more of us reject the notion of politics as a winner-take-all horse race and replace responses to day-to-day poll fluctuations with a steady, principled effort toward securing the long-term prospects of transhumanism, then we will have won a lasting victory against politics as usual. In the process, we might just create the better world that conventional politicians keep promising, but never deliver.

This essay may be freely reproduced using the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike International 4.0 License, which requires that credit be given to the author, G. Stolyarov II. Find out about Mr. Stolyarov here.

by

The Importance of Zoltan Istvan’s Transhumanist Presidential Campaign – Article by G. Stolyarov II

No comments yet

Categories: Education, Politics, Transhumanism, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The New Renaissance Hat
G. Stolyarov II
September 13, 2015
******************************

 Zoltan Istvan – journalist, transhumanist philosopher, and author of the novel The Transhumanist Wager – is currently touring the western United States on his Immortality Bus, spreading the message that indefinite life extension is achievable through the progress of science and technology, and should become a political priority. Istvan is running for President of the United States. He knows that he is almost certainly not going to win the 2016 Presidential election, but he seeks to maximize public awareness of the opportunities and questions posed by emerging technologies, and he has thus far done so on an impressively minimal budget. Istvan has founded the United States Transhumanist Party and has encouraged the formation of State-level parties in order to improve his chances of recognition as a candidate at the federal level. On August 31, 2015, Wendy Stolyarov and I officially formed the Nevada Transhumanist Party and registered it with the Secretary of State. (See the officially filed Constitution and Bylaws here and a searchable version here; also join the Facebook group here, as Allied Membership is open to anyone with a rational faculty and ability to form political opinions.) The Nevada Transhumanist Party Platform adopts and expands upon many of the planks of the United States Transhumanist Party Platform – but also imparts upon them a heightened libertarian and individualistic flavor.

Even while I also do not expect Zoltan Istvan to win the Presidency in 2016, and while I recognize the even greater difficulty of qualifying for ballot access for State-level offices (in Nevada, this would require submitting a petition with the signatures of 5,431 registered voters and is thus not a near-term priority for the Nevada Transhumanist Party), I still unequivocally endorse Istvan’s campaign. Why have I made this decision? I present my reasoning here. Whether or not readers will view Istvan as their preferred choice for President, the motives for his campaign and its impact have a much broader significance that should be considered by all.

NTP-Logo-9-1-20151. Voting should not be about who wins. In fact, much of the sub-optimal equilibrium of the two-party system in the United States arises from a misguided “expectations trap” – where each voter fears expressing his or her principles by voting for the candidate closest to that voter’s actual policy preferences. Instead, voters who are caught in the expectations trap will tend to vote for the “lesser evil” (in their view) from one party, because they tend to think that the consequences of the election of the candidate from the other party will be dire indeed, and they do not want to “take their vote away” from the slightly less objectionable candidate. This thinking rests on the false assumption that a single individual’s vote, especially in a national election, can actually sway the outcome. Given that the probabilities of this occurring are negligible, the better choice – the choice consistent with individual autonomy and the pursuit of principle – is to vote solely based on one’s preference, without any regard for how others will vote or how the election will turn out. One is free to persuade others to vote a certain way, of course, or to listen to arguments from others – but these persuasive efforts, to have merit, should be based on the actual positions and character of the candidates involved, and not on appeals to sacrifice one’s intellectual integrity in order to fulfill the “collective good” of avoiding the victory of the “absolutely terrible” (not quite) candidate from one major party, whose policy choices are likely to be near-identical to the “only slightly terrible” candidate from the other major party. While an individual’s vote cannot actually affect who wins, it can – if exercised according to preference – send a signal as to what issues voters actually care about. Whichever politicians do get elected would see a large outpouring of third-party support as a signal of public discontentment and will perhaps be prompted by this signal to shift their stances on policy issues based on the vote counts they observe. Even a few thousand votes for the Transhumanist Party can send a sufficient signal that many Americans are becoming interested in accelerating technological innovation and the freedom from obstacles posed to it by legacy institutions.

2. Life and liberty necessarily go together. You cannot have liberty if you are not alive, and you cannot live well unless you have liberty. In “Liberty Through Long Life” (2013), I discussed the many emerging technologies that could facilitate dramatic improvements in individual liberty, but also noted that “there is a common requirement for one to enjoy all of these potential breakthroughs, along with many others that may be wholly impossible to anticipate: one has to remain alive for a long time. The longer one remains alive, the greater the probability that one’s personal sphere of liberty would be expanded by these innovations.” In “Liberty or Death: Why Libertarians Should Proclaim That Death is Wrong” (2014), I expressed a corollary to this insight: “If we argue for liberty today, it will still likely take decades of the most ardent advocacy and activism to undo the harms caused by ongoing and escalating infringements of every natural and constitutional right of even the most law-abiding citizens. Therefore, while I support every effort – conventional or radically innovative – to move our societies and governments in the direction of liberty, it is essential to recognize that the success of such efforts will take an immense amount of time. If you do not remain alive during that time, then you will die without having known true liberty.”

Unfortunately, given the current combination of political, economic, and societal conditions – including the decidedly un-libertarian mindsets of the majority of the world’s population today – the transformation of existing societies into libertarian havens will not occur anytime soon. Politics as usual – and even libertarian argumentation as usual – will not get us there in time for us. And yet we should continue to strive to actualize the libertarian ideals; we should do so by championing radical life extension as well as societal transformation by means of emerging technologies, so that the balance of resources and incentives can gradually shift in favor of individualistic, pro-liberty mindsets and behaviors – without violent revolutions or other personally damaging upheavals.

Zoltan Istvan is attempting to do exactly what I have advocated in “The Imperative of Technological Progress: Why Stagnation Will Lead to Disaster and How Techno-Optimism Can Overcome It” (2015): “The key to achieving a freer, more prosperous, and longer-lived future is to educate both elites and the general public to accurately weigh the opportunities and risks of emerging technologies. […] By simply arguing the techno-optimist case and educating people from all walks of life about the tremendous beneficial potential of emerging technologies, we can each do our part to ensure that the 21st century will become known as an era of humankind’s great liberation from its age-old limitations, and not a lurch back into the bog of premodern barbarism.” By becoming a prominent techno-optimist advocate, Istvan has even transcended the typical issue-specific policy debates. I may disagree with some of Istvan’s specific policy stances (for instance, his suggestion that college should be free and mandatory for all) – but these disagreements are greatly outweighed by my support for Istvan’s larger role as a visible champion of a radical acceleration of technological progress – the only path that will enable the libertarian ideal to ever be actualized for us.

3. Zoltan Istvan has successfully and beneficially co-opted politics as a vehicle for techno-optimist discourse. Zoltan Istvan is achieving for the cause of transhumanism – the overcoming of age-old human limitations through science and technology – what Ron Paul achieved for the cause of libertarianism during his Presidential runs in 2008 and 2012 (both of which I supported). Ron Paul also did not win the Presidency (although he became an impressive contender for it), but the educational impact of his campaign was tremendous – particularly raising awareness on the issues of a peaceful foreign policy and respect for civil liberties and social freedoms, but also to some extent on the dangers of central banking and inflationary monetary policy. A new generation of activists for liberty came of age during the Ron Paul campaigns and obtained valuable experience and a platform for advocating meaningful policy changes. While Ron Paul was not the sole influence on the recent decisions in many states to completely decriminalize marijuana, the 2015 legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States, and the United States’ avoidance of war with both Russia and Iran, he certainly helped sway the political climate in the direction of these victories for liberty. The Republicans lost both the 2008 and 2012 Presidential Elections, and deserved to lose, in part because the Republican Party establishment deliberately sidelined Ron Paul and rigged the rules against him. Meanwhile, Ron Paul ended up a longer-term winner – an intellectual inspiration to a growing segment of the American population, many of whom continue to deeply respect his example and unwavering integrity.

Zoltan Istvan is venturing even further in the direction of politics-as-education, completely discarding the damaging notion of politics-as-horse-race. Instead of throwing much of his effort into the task of winning the election – which often requires duplicitous rhetoric, creation of a fake persona, and appeals to the lowest common denominator, hardly recipes for true progress – Istvan holds nothing back in expressing what he actually thinks about the desired directions for politics and government. In particular, he emphasizes issues that other candidates systematically avoid – such as the implications of human genetic modification or the possibilities of radical life extension in the coming decades. By prominently communicating that these technologies are not mere science fiction but proximate opportunities, Istvan may persuade large numbers of people to press for the removal of political and other institutional barriers to these technologies’ development and dissemination. Public awareness of possibilities for tremendous technological improvement may result in a greater groundswell of advocacy for the “Six Libertarian Reforms to Accelerate Life Extension” that I outlined in 2013. Zoltan Istvan is, furthermore, an ardent champion of taking resources away from offensive inter-human wars, which needlessly destroy many innocent lives, and instead devoting those resources to technological innovation – so that we can stand a chance of winning the real war that we should be fighting against the forces of ruin. Even this alone – giving the world a few decades of breathing room from organized slaughter staged by national governments – would have a colossal, salutary effect on progress and human well-being.

4. The most vital political change will be achieved by visionaries on the fringes, who do not care about the winds of popular opinion. Mainstream politicians – particularly officeholders who seek reelection – are most often lagging, rather than leading, indicators of societal change. In order to keep the favor of their constituents, politicians need to either respond to ever-shifting public opinion or to create the illusion of doing so (a more common course of action in the increasingly oligarchic American political system). For good or for ill, third parties have most often been the originators of policy proposals that were eventually adopted by a future political establishment. To successfully advocate principled positions – such as the maximization of individual liberty and the elimination of political barriers to life-extension research and treatments – does not require holding political office, but it does require visibly persuading many people – both ordinary voters and elites – that these positions are correct. Those politicians who mostly care about remaining in office will never drive these changes themselves, but they might find themselves impelled to jump on the bandwagon if enough support accumulates. I hope that, because of what Zoltan Istvan is doing today, major party platforms in the 2020s and 2030s will include at least some favorable mentions of life-extending medical research, if not calls for the removal of legacy institutional barriers to the acceleration of such research.

Because of the first-time Transhumanist political presence, the 2016 US Presidential election will be unlike any other. This time, especially given the completely unpalatable candidates from both the Republican and Democratic Parties, it is time to try a radically different approach. Jettisoning the conventional aims of electoral politics and turning it instead into a peaceful, honest, innovative, and spectacular educational campaign for techno-optimism and longevity, is a promising approach that could bear fruit for advocates of liberty, even many years and decades into the future.

This essay may be freely reproduced using the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike International 4.0 License, which requires that credit be given to the author, G. Stolyarov II. Find out about Mr. Stolyarov here.

by

Rand Paul’s Betrayal of the Principles of Liberty – Video by G. Stolyarov II

No comments yet

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

Rand Paul’s endorsement of Mitt Romney on June 7, 2012, shows him to be more of a pragmatic politician than a principled friend of liberty. Mr. Stolyarov, a long-time supporter of Ron Paul and a Ron Paul delegate in Nevada, expresses his disappointment as well as his thoughts as to where friends of liberty should go from here.

Mr. Stolyarov endorses Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate, for President in 2012, and also outlines three areas in which freedom has a better chance to make progress in the near term, as compared to political activism. These areas are (1) progress in personally empowering technology, (2) voluntary innovations for achieving liberty, such as the seasteading movement, and (3) improvements in health care and longevity.

References:
Rand Paul’s endorsement of Mitt Romney
– “Penny Freeman, former staffer in tears over Ron Paul betrayals” – Interview with Penny Freeman by Adam Kokesh – June 8, 2012
– “Ron Paul campaign concedes: the rEVOLution endures” – Eric Field – The Examiner – June 8, 2012
– “Ron Paul Delegate’s Account of 2012 Nevada State Republican Convention” – Video by G. Stolyarov II – May 6, 2012
Gary Johnson’s Campaign Website
– “Gary Johnson: Be Libertarian With Me

by

An Open Letter to John R. Phillippe, RNC Counsel, Regarding the Nevada State Republican Convention

6 comments

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

May 3, 2012

Mr. John R. Phillippe Jr.
Chief Counsel
Republican National Committee
310 First Street, SE
Washington, D.C. 20003

SENT VIA ELECTRONIC MAIL TO jphillippe@rnchq.org

Dear Mr. Phillippe:

I am writing to you to address the erroneous interpretation of the Nevada Delegate Binding Rules for 2012, which you expressed in your May 2, 2012, letter to Nevada Republican Party Chairman Michael McDonald. Your interpretation of these rules manufactures a meaning that is not present in the rules’ plain text. I emphatically urge you to recall your letter and to issue a formal apology on behalf of the Republican National Committee for your advocacy of a course of action that would clearly contravene the rules that have been developed in a fair process, as well as the outcome at the State Convention that would result from the legitimate decisions of duly elected delegates.  Please note that the present communication is an open letter and will be available on the Internet to a broader audience.

Your letter suggests that the delegates that are allocated in proportion to the final results of the February 4, 2012, Nevada Presidential Preference Poll must “actually support” the candidate for whom they would be pledged to vote on the first ballot at the Republican National Convention. You go beyond this to suggest that a delegate pledged to a particular candidate must be “approved by an authorized representative of the candidate he or she professes to support” and that, if this does not turn out to be the case, “grounds for a contest may exist.” Your letter continues in stating that you “believe it is highly likely that any committee with jurisdiction over the matter would find improper any change to the election, selection, allocation, or binding of delegates, thus jeopardizing the seating of Nevada’s entire delegation to the National Convention.” In short, you explicitly state that the Republican National Committee would consider overturning the results of a procedurally fair delegate election at the Nevada State Republican Convention, if the election does not produce the hoped-for outcome of a majority slate of Romney supporters. This is unacceptable and entirely contrary to a system that is supposed to produce a representative government in accordance with general rules developed in a fair process and agreed upon in advance.

Before I demonstrate the specific errors of your position, allow me to be forthright regarding my motivations. I am a duly elected delegate to the Nevada State Republican Convention. Furthermore, I write this letter while having no ambition to be nominated as a delegate to the Republican National Convention in Tampa. I do, however, intend to attend the State Convention and cast my votes for the prospective national delegates whom I consider to be the most worthy and principled among the options available. Since I will not personally become a national delegate, I do not have any ulterior motives in this communication. I only desire fair adherence to the legitimate delegate-selection process.

I proudly acknowledge that I am a supporter of Ron Paul and a person committed to procedural fairness and adherence to the rules as actually written. Following a set of rules agreed upon in advance through an equitable procedure is key to a system that avoids arbitrary decision-making and arbitrary power concentrated in the hands of a connected oligarchy. To be non-arbitrary, a process must be adhered to, irrespective of the particular outcome it generates. To only adhere to a process when it generates one’s favored or expected outcome is to turn the process into a mere veneer for a particular agenda.

I think I can speak for other supporters of Ron Paul when I say that there is no intention among any who wish to become delegates to the National Convention to do so in a manner that violates the rules of the Nevada State Republican Convention. Any insinuation that anything other than complete fair play may be the intent of a sizable portion of the delegates to the State Republican Convention is deeply offensive to these men and women of conviction and integrity – who have followed all of the rules of the process up to now and do not intend to suddenly stray from that course.

It is instructive to examine what the actual rules – rather than your deeply erroneous interpretation thereof – state. In your letter, you cite Sections 1, 4.2, 4.3, and 4.4 of the Delegate Binding Rules for 2012, without actually reproducing the text of these sections. A detailed analysis of the text will show that it is incompatible with your viewpoint.

Section 1 Text: Pursuant to § 15(b) of the Rules of the National Republican Committee, in Presidential election years, National Delegates and Alternates shall be allocated proportionally based  on the final results of the Nevada Presidential Preference Poll, rounded to the nearest  whole number. National delegates shall be chosen at the Nevada Republican Convention by election. Any candidate who receives less than the percentage required for one Delegate will receive no Delegates.

Comments: This section only discusses how and in what proportions National Delegates and Alternates shall be allocated to a candidate, not whether such Delegates and Alternates must “actually support” the candidate to whom they were allocated. Nothing in the language of this section would suggest that a test of a Delegate’s thoughts or beliefs would be required as a precondition for a Delegate’s selection or allocation to a particular candidate. There is already a rigorous test for selecting a National Delegate. It is voting by the other delegates at the State Convention.

Section 4.2 Text:The NRP Secretary shall allocate National Delegates to the candidate of their choice by first allocating the three automatic delegates (Nevada Republican Party Chair, National Committeeman and National Committeewoman) to their preferred candidate.

Comments: The interpretation of this section should not be controversial. There are to be three automatic delegates, who will each be allocated to the candidate of his or her choice. Please note that there is also no test stated in the section regarding what must be done to verify that a particular candidate is these delegates’ “preferred candidate.” Your interpretation states that “The three RNC members, who are automatic delegates, should each be allocated and bound to their preferred presidential candidate.” I would like to clarify that the words “bound to” only apply to the first round of voting at the Republican National Convention. There is no requirement in any set of rules for any National Delegate to be bound to any candidate on a subsequent round of voting. This distinction is critical.

Section 4.3 Text: The NRP Secretary will next allocate the three prospective delegates from each congressional district receiving the highest number of votes to their preferred candidate to comply with RNC Rule 13 (a) (3).

RNC Rule 13(a)(3) Text (pp. 14-15 of the linked document): “Subject to the provisions of Rule No. 16, the membership of the next national convention shall consist of:

(a) Delegates. […]

(3) Three (3) district delegates for each Representative in the United States House of Representatives from each state.”

Comments: Section 4.3 and RNC Rule 13(a)(3) say nothing about delegates being subjected to a loyalty test for a particular candidate. They simply state that three delegates shall be allocated for each district in such a manner that there would be three delegates for every Representative in the US House of Representatives.

Furthermore, the text of Section 4.3 states that “The NRP Secretary will next allocate the three prospective delegates from each congressional district receiving the highest number of votes to their preferred candidate” [Emphasis added]. Note that this applies to delegates “receiving the highest number of votes” in an absolute sense – not “receiving the highest number of votes among the delegates who support a particular candidate”.

To repeat: It is clear from the text that the delegates that must be allocated are those delegates that receive the highest number of votes in total, not the highest number of votes among those who support a particular candidate.

For instance, suppose delegates who support Mitt Romney were to receive the 2nd, 4th, and 5th-highest vote totals, while delegates who support Ron Paul were to receive the 1st, 3rd, and 6th-highest vote totals for a particular Congressional District. Furthermore, suppose that the allocation of delegates were required to be such that two delegates would be bound to vote for Romney, and one delegate would be bound to vote for Paul at the first ballot of the National Convention. It is clear that the highest total vote-getters would need to be selected as National Delegates – i.e., the 1st and 3rd-place finishers who support Ron Paul and the 2nd-place finisher who supports Mitt Romney. The 1st-place finisher would have the choice to be allocated to Ron Paul, the 2nd-place finisher would presumably choose to be allocated to Mitt Romney, while the 3rd-place finisher would be bound to vote for Mitt Romney in the first ballot of the National Convention, despite his or her support for Ron Paul. It would emphatically not be the case that the NRP Secretary would be permitted to bypass the duly elected 3rd-place finisher, simply because of that finisher’s sympathies for Ron Paul, and select the 4th-place finisher who is sympathetic to Romney to attend the National Convention as a Delegate.

Your letter is thoroughly mistaken in stating that “A nomination to fill a Congressional district delegate slot shall only be in order if the person’s preferred candidate has available delegate slots to fill. The preferred means to ensure that no presidential candidate receives more than his allocated slots is to conduct the congressional district delegate selections sequentially, and if a candidate has reached his allocation, no further nominations for delegate candidates who support said presidential candidate shall be in order.”

Your statement is contrary on its face to the plain text of Section 4.3 and would have the effect of disenfranchising the delegates at the State Convention in casting ballots for the National Delegates of their choice. The application of your interpretation would have the effect of ignoring delegates who obtain higher absolute vote counts, in favor of some who obtain lower absolute vote counts, simply on account of the ideological positions expressed by such delegates. This ideological particularism is contrary to the principles procedural fairness which underlie any meaningful electoral system and which are essential to the American system of representative government.

Section 4.4 Text: The Secretary will then allocate the remaining delegates for each candidate, beginning with the prospective national delegate for a given candidate receiving the most votes, followed by the prospective national delegate for said candidate receiving the second highest number of votes and continuing in descending order of votes received until the number of delegates and alternates earned by each candidate in the Presidential Preference Poll has been allocated. The delegate slots for each candidate will be filled by the prospective national delegates receiving the highest number of votes, and the alternate slots will be filled by the prospective delegates receiving the next highest number of votes after the delegate slots are filled.”

Comments: Section 4.4 addresses the allocation of National Delegates, other than the automatic delegates and the delegates for each Congressional District. The text clearly states that “The delegate slots for each candidate will be filled by the prospective national delegates receiving the highest number of votes, and the alternate slots will be filled by the prospective delegates receiving the next highest number of votes after the delegate slots are filled.” This again refers to the highest number of total votes cast, not the highest number of votes cast for delegates who personally support a particular candidate. There is again no mention of any kind of loyalty test in order to become a “national delegate for a given candidate”. Rather, this section would allow delegates who receive the highest number of votes to have the first preference regarding which candidate they will be allocated to. If the Ron Paul delegate slots are exhausted by many of the highest vote-getters, then the next-highest vote-getters would need to agree to be bound to vote for Mitt Romney on the first ballot of the National Convention, irrespective of their personal views regarding the candidates. The personal views of these vote-getters should not determine their eligibility if they have been duly elected by the delegates at the State Convention.

Your interpretation is thoroughly in error in stating that “At-large (statewide) prospective delegates should be elected by determining how many delegate slots each presidential candidate has available after processes 1 and 2 above have been completed, and allocating to each available slot the highest vote-receiving prospective delegate that supports the candidate with an available slot. So, for example, if Ron Paul has 2 slots available after processes 1 and 2 above, the two highest vote-getters that support Ron Paul should be allocated to him. And if Mitt Romney has 4 slots available after processes 1 and 2 above have been completed, the 4 highest vote-getters that support Mitt Romney should be allocated to him.”

Your statement above is directly contrary to Section 4.4, which clearly requires that the delegates allocated to all candidates be the absolute highest vote-getters. Contrary to your example, if Ron Paul has 2 slots available after the automatic and District delegates have been selected, and Mitt Romney has 4 slots available, then the top six absolute vote-getters must become the National Delegates, such that two of them are bound to vote for Ron Paul in the first ballot of the National Convention, while the remaining four are bound to vote for Mitt Romney in the first ballot. The highest absolute vote-getter would have the option to select to be bound to either Paul or Romney – and then a similar option would be offered to the second-highest vote-getter. Once any two of the highest six vote-getters have selected to be bound to Paul, the delegates in the remaining slots among the top six vote-getters would be automatically bound to Romney on the first ballot.

Section 5 Text: All National Delegates and Alternates, ex officio, At Large and Congressional District, shall be required to vote for the Presidential Candidate to whom they are bound. This requirement applies only to the first candidate vote at the Republican National Convention.

Comments: While your letter inexplicably omits mention of Section 5, this section is indispensable to understanding the context of the other provisions cited above. If the requirement of voting for a particular candidate only applies to the first vote at the Republican National Convention, then a loyalty test for that candidate cannot make sense and cannot be countenanced. The rules explicitly permit the delegates to vote their consciences after the first round of the National Convention, if subsequent rounds are necessary. Requiring a loyalty test would effectively bind the delegates on the subsequent rounds, contrary to the letter and intent of Section 5. The duty to vote for a candidate on the first round must not extend to the duty to think a certain way or to an inexhaustible claim on the delegates’ future decisions, actions, and beliefs.

Conclusion

I again urge you to acquiesce to the principles of objectivity, fairness, and a literal reading of the rules – and, accordingly, to withdraw your letter of May 2, 2012, and to publicly apologize on behalf of the Republican National Committee for urging and lending an official air to the clear contravention of a fair process and of rules developed pursuant to such a process. If you do not withdraw your letter, then it will be legitimate to perceive your and the RNC’s actions as an attempt to interfere with a neutral and impartial process, simply because the outcome of that process may not be to the liking of the Mitt Romney campaign. To only respect the rules when they are in one’s favor is deeply contrary to every principle on which the American system of representative government stands. Such a double-standard would nullify the will of duly elected delegates and replace it with the imposed preferences of a self-appointed oligarchy of kingmakers. I hope that you will find the strength of conviction to step back from this dangerous precipice.

Sincerely,

Gennady Stolyarov II, CPCU, ARe, ARC, AIS, AIE

Editor-in-Chief, The Rational Argumentator