How Should a Singulatarian Vote?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

As the 2012 U.S. Presidential election draws near, many followers of the Singularity are asking themselves how their vote might best reflect their desire for a positive outcome.  There is even a movement to elect Ray Kurzweil via the Americans Elect movement.  While the Americans Elect initiative is interesting, this examination will look more closely at the present crop of candidates from the establishment parties.  That is not to say that a third party candidate does not have a chance of winning the election, or making a substantive impact.  Certainly as the technological singularity comes closer to materialization, the impacts will be felt at a greater and greater level and will push to the forefront of the political discussion.  For now, the candidate that is elected will be in charge of preparing the United States for the changes and via their actions affect the sentiment towards technology and progress.  This discussion is by no means finite, and will surely evolve as November approaches.

The Breakdown

Someone is talking about me
Newt Gingrich's promotion of technological advancement may make him the candidate for some.  In Florida he suggested a moon base by the end of his second term, and has previously written for the controversial Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance report, advocating an 'Age of Transitions.'  Gingrich writes, "The United States will have to continue to invest in new science and to adopt our systems of health, learning and national security to these patterns of change if we want to continue to lead the world in prosperity, quality of life and military-intelligence capabilities."  One could argue that Gingrich's long held understanding of computers and nanotechnology impacts might make him the ideal canditate for the Singulatarian.

Moreover, Gingrich seems to be very much a pro-technology,  Singulatarian-type thinker.  Frank Gregorsky, Newt's former chief of staff, said he once asked Newt to be more philosophically coherent, and Gingrich replied "Saving civilization is hard. You have to be fluid." Newt asked Frank to read Isaac Asimov's Foundation trilogy (very cool science fiction, in my humble opinion), explaining "I think of things in hundred-year increments, so I wanted you to read Asimov, because that conveys the course of civilization over five hundred years, because that's how I think."

The man however is propelled by an incredible ego more than anything else.

“I have enormous personal ambition. I want to shift the entire planet. And I’m doing it. I am now a famous person. I represent real power.” states Gingrich.  Such an ego has perhaps lead this man to commit repeated adultery (including on his first wife, who was his high school teacher), allowed him to lobby for Freddie Mac, caused him to be a dead-beat-dad, and has had numerous financial related scandals.   Most recently, the Federal Election Commission has investigated Gingrich for receiving more than $300,000 in 'travel expenses' from his campaign funds.

Santorum demonstrates his outlook on the world around him.
Rick Santorum reminds many people of when George Bush II ran for office  The reasonable voter's first response is something along the lines of "Seriously?"  However, sadly Bush won, and we must not count out the propensity of Americans (or their electoral system) to produce results that do not correspond to objective reality.  Also, Santorum is one of the most corrupt politicians in recent memory. He repeatedly sponsored laws giving very specific help to companies, worth millions of dollars, and they immediately gave him large campaign donations.  Also after he left the Senate hundreds of thousands, and millions of dollars in cash that went directly into his pocket and made him rich. He was twice named one of America's three most corrupt senators by CREW, a clean-government group, and has become a millionaire from payments by these companies since was voted out of the Senate in 2006.

One dramatic example was Santorum introducing a bill that required the National Weather Service to keep collecting weather data, but said they couldn't release it to the public! They had to hand it to private weather companies who then would make the profit off of it. Guess what? Accuweather, a private weather company in Santorum's state, gave him tens of thousands of dollars right during the time he promoted this absurd bill.

Santorum loves to talk about cutting government expenditures, and relying on yourself. But while homeschooling his kids, he collected $73,000 in unwarranted tuition reimbursements from the Penn Hills Pennsylvania School District for an online charter cyber-school -- even though, by his own admission, they lived in Virginia 11 months of the year, and he was making $165,200 a year as a U.S. Senator at the time.

To label Mitt Romney a flip-flopper may be an understatement.  His Romneycare is a mirror image to Obamacare, and he supported the Tarp bailouts and has promoted further bailouts.  The Republican heir apparent   To top it off, reasonable people should not be shy to disparage his Mormon beliefs. How can an individual promote science, engineering and progress if he believes that prophecy came to Joseph Smith on gold plates that no-one else ever saw.

Clearly the U.S. President has many responsibilities other that ensuring that science and technology are progressing exponentially.  In the case of the three candidates mentioned above one common election platform exists: their promotion of conflict with Iran.

Based on his administration's latest moves, Barack Obama likewise seems bent towards a war footing with Iran.  The U.S. military has just informed Congress of plans to preposition new mine-detection and clearing equipment and expand surveillance capabilities in the area of the Strait of Hormuz.

Moreover, Gingrich, Santorum and Romney also share with President Obama a belief that corporatism is the  way for the United States to be overseen.  Despite the rhetoric, the records of these candidates shows them all to be in line with the establishment view--the same view that led to the banker bailout, a floundering NASA, wars in Afganistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Pakistan, Tunisia, the Philippines, the endless War on drugs and the endless War on Terror.

Obama is the charismatic figurehead of the political establishment that calls for greater statism and corporatism. This establishment crosses party lines and includes the vast majority of federal politicians. He is the figurehead of what pollster Scott Rasmussen identifies as the American political class – a group of less than 10% of Americans who identify with the government on at least two of the following three questions:

  • Whose judgment do you trust more: that of the American people or American political leaders?
  • Has the federal government become its own special interest group?
  • Do government and big business often work together in ways that hurt consumers?

Commenting on Obama, Peter Theil noted the government is wrecking the future and putting off the apocalypse with phony bubbles. “The current bubble,” he says, “is probably big enough to get Barack Obama re-elected.

Ron Paul has spent approximately 40 years establishing himself as the most qualified person to represent freedom and liberty.  He is well mannered, well read, knowledgeable of the workings of the halls of power, and an adherent to constitutional and pro-freedom values. He regularly finds himself in direct opposition to the ideas of the political class. Paul is unique among the Republican candidates in flatly speaking out against the statism and corporatism of the political establishment. 

It is imperative to that establishment that Paul not be allowed to win the presidency and nearly as important that his voice not even be heard. The political establishment does not want the American people to examine their beliefs, forced to think, forced to choose, forced to be exposed to a debate that is so powerful and expansive that neighbors and strangers will reach out to each other to discuss the issues of the day. The establishment is terrified by the potential of that debate. They realize that merely opening the channels of communication between friends and neighbors is enough to bring drastic and lasting change.

The internet is the harbinger of entirely new processes of connecting individuals to individuals over broad expanses, to more efficiently target certai goals against other goals. The first thing that becomes evident in such sistuations is governmet waste, fraud, and unneeded wars to extend governmet control. The fact that the internet polls overwhelmingly favour Ron Paul is a solid indicator that he's on the right track technologically.  Moreover, the establishment media's dismissal of many of these results, supports the contention that they do not want his voice heard.  

Paul represents a sea-change in politics, from the old mass media slick politicians whose images manipulate the people, to a true grass-roots politician who galvanizes youth, gets more donations from military personnel, and represents totally new configurations in politics both locally and nationally.

Peter Thiel is Ron Paul's biggest single campaign contributor to date.  Thiel, who is openly gay and Christian, has spent his considerable wealth on a number of mainstream causes including the Methuselah Foundation, and the Singularity Institute.  Via Endorse Liberty, the Super PAC Thiel has made his contributions through, Thiel stated:
“Too often in this country we learn things the hard way – whether it’s putting your nest egg in overvalued stocks, borrowing more than your house is worth, or amassing a mountain of student debt to pay for a degree with no real job prospects,” he said. “With its unsustainable deficits, government spending is heading down the same path. Men and women who want freedom and growth should take action. A good place to start is voting for Ron Paul.”
“For the first time in perhaps 80 years, we have a chance to move the country in a more libertarian direction, with a less intrusive government, in both social and economic areas,” he said.

Your constitutional voting rights are important and your vote is probably your best way of expressing how you want your government to reflect your views.  If promoting a good outcome to the technological singularity is one of your main concerns in life, there is no 100% clear candidate for president.  Your conscience and thorough personal research and reflection on the subject are needed.  Some questions to ask yourself are: will a state of constant war; goverment interference in your personal and private life, your business and your on-line activity; ongoing corruption; and loss of your personal liberty really help lead to a positive Singularity?  If not, the choice, hopefully with the help of this examination, will be clearer.