Zoltan Istvan, a former presidential candidate and author of The Transhumanist Wager, has announced that he will run to be elected governor of California in 2018 as a Libertarian.
Istvan, who News2Share interviewed during his presidential run, spoke to News2Share’s Ford Fischer about his new candidacy.
Disclaimer: Zoltan is an advisor to News2Share’s upcoming documentary film “Transhuman.”
News2Share: Why did you decide to run for governor of California? What solutions do you have for a state that many people would say is in a crisis right now?
Zoltan: I decided to run for California Governor because I live here, and I’m worried that the forces that now exist in the Republican congress could dramatically hurt California. The “crisis” you speak of is real. Freedoms are under threat, but I want to also point out, so is our future in a multitude of other ways, including the actual progress of civilization as we know it. Wise leadership to steer the stormy waters is needed.
News2Share: You’re exiting a rather unusual presidential campaign on the Transhumanist Party ticket. What successes and failures did you learn from in that run that may inform this campaign?
Zoltan: What I learned is that running for a government position is a team sport. There’s a lot visibility put on the candidate in the media, but without good infrastructure and team members, that candidate can’t make any real headway. They need to be part of a community of people–and those people need to have initiative to support their candidates. The Libertarians are great like that.
News2Share: Why run on the Libertarian Party ticket as opposed to the Transhumanist Party which you founded?
Zoltan: The Transhumanist Party can’t offer any real infrastructure support. Its just a few years old. I wish it much success and hope to continue to advise it on policy. But the Libertarian Party is the real thing–it has huge membership and huge amounts of people to vote. Plus I tend to agree with Gary Johnson when he says most Americans are libertarians, even if they don’t know it.
News2Share: When we last spoke, you noted that you’re something of a left-libertarian, and your views on transhumanism and a pro-science state don’t seem to precisely match the LP’s agenda. Do you foremost represent transhumanism or libertarianism? Or do you believe these two philosophies are fully in harmony?
Zoltan: I’m openly a left-libertarian. And I’m not planning on changing that much. But I think even with a bit of leftness, you can still do fine with a broad LP agenda. The reality is that many younger people like myself are a bit more left now days–Gary Johnson recognized this when many Bernie Sanders supporters were attracted to him in the 2016 election. I see myself as a bridge to some of those left leaning people to building a larger, more powerful Libertarian Party. Libertarians are very tolerant in many ways, and I think my ideas will go over well with them, especially those in California. I do want to point out that now that my “centric” presidential campaign is over, I’m returning to more Libertarian ways, as outlined in my book The Transhumanist Wager, which is ultimately a libertarian manifesto. But that doesn’t mean I won’t be a left-libertarian. I don’t want to lose my large millennial base of supporters.
News2Share: How can technology fix California’s problems today?
Zoltan: California must lead the world forward in green tech, AI, genetic editing, biotechnology and other radical science. If we can lead all this forward, there will be plenty of money to make everyone happier. A lot of the “good life” comes from one simple fact: good jobs.
News2Share: After reading “Transhumanist Wager,” it looked like you see a conflict between science and members of the religious right. However, libertarian candidates tend to have an easier time gaining Republican/right than Democrat/left support. How do you plan to reach the right without offending their religious sensitivities? How do you plan to reach the left without losing sight of libertarian ideals?
Zoltan: I’ve made promise to protect religious freedom as a Libertarian, and I plan to stick to that. But I simply will not be personally convinced of conservative religious ideals based on 2000 year old texts. I’ll aim to convince people they must first and foremost use reason as a guide–and not faith–in whatever they do. I’ll push it forward in the way Ayn Rand did.
And regarding the left, their party is in the dumps, and they must come to grips with that. I think the Libertarian ideology answers many of their concerns. I think libertarianism can pull a lot of support from the left moving forward. Libertarians, thankfully, are not drowning in being politically correct.