Zoltan Istvan is a writer, futurist and founder of the first Transhumanist Party and former leader of the US Transhumanist Party political organization. He is author of the 2013 book The Transhumanist Wager. In 2017 Istvan announced his run for Californian Governor under Libertarian Party.
Zoltan's political stance is hard to categorize and Zoltan admits that his position has evolved over time. While many have judged him to have a libertarian background, Zoltan is a self-proclaimed pragmatist and survivalist , saying he will advocate for whatever policies "will most quickly lead to indefinite life extension". In Zoltan's view, the correct policy mix includes large government investments in research and education, 'chips' that track the movement and economic transactions of each citizen, and some form of universal basic income. Zoltan's positions have been attacked strongly by transhumanists on both the left and right of the political spectrum for his authoritarian tendencies.
Particularly controversial politics within the transhumanist movement include:
- Open borders to refugees contingent on them accepting microchip tracking to combat terrorism and parental tracking Similarly, tracking convicts with spy drones rather than prisons.
- Advocacy of cryothanasia, euthanasia by cryonics for people both those with terminal conditions or even with severe disabilities.
- Banning teaching religion to children
- Restricting reproduction due to misconceptions about life extension and overpopulation. This was very poorly received indeed.
An increasingly controversial figure in the wider transhumanist community, his headline-grabbing policy ideas have sometimes placed him at odds with others. An unabashed atheist, Zoltan has written and lectured about the relationship between religion and transhumanism. He has said and written that religion is holding back science and the development of technologies, pointing to stem cell therapy as a specific example. These positions have caused great ire amongst religious transhumanists, many of whom see is anti-religious viewpoint as inextricably linked to his policy. For example, christian transhumanist Christopher Benek proclaimed "A Vote for The U.S. Transhumanist Party Presidential Candidate Is A Vote For Tyranny". In March 2015 he described himself as a "atheistcideist", believing super intelligence-like God may have existed at one point, but probably ended its own existence to give free will to the universe.
Zoltan's platform has been criticised for closing membership, misrepresenting the party's legal status, individualist policy development and poor board communication.
In response to an impasse in community engagement with the strategy and vision of Zoltan's Transhumanist Party, the community-driven Transhuman National Committee of the United States was founded on the 5th of October 2015.
By October 12th the UK Transhumanist Party released a statement that "Zoltan Istvan does not speak for the Transhumanist Party" in response to his failure to engage with the wider community and transhumanist party movement.
These events marked the organisations known collectively as the Transhumanist Party splitting into two blocks.
His campaign has included touring the United States in the Immortality Bus. In his Singularity 1 on 1 interview, Zoltan credits the bus as the key to the success of his campaign. As a highly visible publicity platform, it garnered an enormous amount of media coverage.
- 26th October - Appearance on the Alex Jones show, discussing radical life extension with David Knight.
- 18th November - Article "Presidential candidate suggests microchips for Syrian refugees" garners a significant backlash from transhumanists on social media.
- 15th December - He met technologist and Cyber Party, now Libertarian Party presidential candidate John McAfee as a part of his immortality bus tour.
- 21st December - Delivers a Transhumanist Bill of Rights to the US Capitol along with members of the Washington, D.C. Transhumanist Party.
- 18th January - Advocates the potential abolition of sleep
On November 17, 2016, Zoltan Istvan resigned as Chairman of the U.S. Transhumanist Party and transferred leadership to Gennady Stolyarov II, and the organisation restructured in various ways.. One of the major changes has been the democratization of policy-oriented decisions and an extensive Platform adopted through ranked-preference votes of the members. The U.S. Transhumanist Party developed a greatly expanded Version 2.0 of the Transhumanist Bill of Rights, which was adopted via an electronic vote of the members that occurred on December 25-31, 2016.. On December 12, 2018, Version 3.0 of the Transhumanist Bill of Rights was adopted as a result of a member vote held on December 2-9, 2018.
The campaign is being made into a documentary entitled Immortality or Bust.
Zoltan on his 2016 campaign
Interview with Nikola Danaylov
- Assessment of Zoltan's "Teleological Egocentric Functionalism" by Roland Benedikter
- Zoltan Istvan on Wikipedia
- zoltan_istvan on Twitter
- Ep. 4 - US Presidential Candidate Zoltan Istvan
- Transhumanist Zoltan Istvan on His Presidential Campaign
- Presidential Candidate Suggests We Microchip Syrian Refugees
- Spy nation? US Navy ‘discussed plans to fit humans with microchips and track their every move
- Let's End Incarceration and Just Have Drones Supervise Criminals
- How science and technology changes us: Cryonics
- Should Cryonics, Cryothanasia, and Transhumanism Be Part of the Euthanasia Debate?
- Some Atheists and Transhumanists are Asking: Should it be Illegal to Indoctrinate Kids With Religion?
- It's time to consider restricting human breeding
- Death Threats, Freedom, Transhumanism, and the Future
- Transhumanists Disavow Zoltan Istvan Candidacy for US Presidency
- What the Case of Zoltan Istvan Says about the State of Transhumanist Politics
- An Atheist's Perspective on the Rise of Christian Transhumanism
- "Transhumanism, Religion, and Atheism" by Zoltan Istvan
- Transhumanism vs Religion - Zoltan Istvan
- A Vote for The U.S. Transhumanist Party Presidential Candidate Is A Vote For Tyranny
- Do We Have Free Will Because God Killed Itself?
- 15 Question Zoltan Istvan is Avoiding – why? what are the answers? (opinion)
- Transhuman National Committee of the United States
- Zoltan Istvan does not speak for the Transhumanist Party
- The Transhumanist Movement Is Having an Identity Crisis
- Epic Debate between Christianity and Transhumanism
- Presidential candidate suggests microchips for Syrian refugees
- Zoltan what are you doing
- When Zoltan Istvan met John McAfee: Watch US presidential candidates discuss politics…
- Zoltan Istvan: Immortality Bus delivers Transhumanist Bill of Rights to US Capitol
- Let’s Cure the Disease of Sleeping
- Forthcoming Transitional Period of the Transhumanist Party
- U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform
- Transhumanist Bill of Rights – Version 2.0
- Transhumanist Bill of Rights – Version 3.0