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Another Crazy Utopia

Entry 1968, on 2019-02-28 at 19:51:08 (Rating 2, Politics)

The world seems very divided at the moment. And these divisions aren't just between different countries, they are becoming as much an issue for various populations within countries. I have often commented that the US, for example, is really two countries: one conservative, religious, and inward looking; and the other progressive, rational, and expansive. The way I expressed the characteristics of these two groups makes it look like I prefer the second one, and I do, but there are numerous problems with that group as well.

So which of those groups is truly following American values? Well, there's no obvious answer to that, because it's not even clear what those values really are.

And a similar situation exists elsewhere. There is the question of whether the UK should be part of the EU, for example. British values seem to emphasise self-sufficiency and independence, but is that really the right path?

Many people have supported the idea of a single world government, but the recent rise in the popularity of nationalism seems to suggest that is unlikely. And while there are clear advantages in the idea, I still think separate countries have some merit, especially because they can provide a way to support different values.

The problem is matching countries with people. If two countries have nearly equal populations of liberals and conservatives then both are likely to have conflict as a result. Why not have all the liberals in one country with a liberal government, and have the conservatives in another country which suits them better?

Obviously the problem is that most people want to stay in "their" country, even if it doesn't really suit their values. Before the latest US presidential election, for example, many celebrities said they would move to Canada if Trump won. Well, I don't see many of them leaving! Maybe simple geographical tribalism overrides higher moral standards.

A suggestion some people have made is to create "virtual states". These could allow a person to become a citizen of a "country" (or maybe a community, society, or virtual state would be a better word) which has no geographical boundaries. So someone currently living in the US could become a citizen of Canada, or Switzerland, or Australia instead if the values of those countries suited them.

Of course, the new states would be better not to have the names of the current geographically based countries. Maybe they would be better to have names based on their values instead, like an Islamic state based on Sharia law could be called Muhammedland, or a Christian state might be Christiania, or an extreme capitalist state could be Free Marketland.

But imagine a street where everyone is a citizen of a different virtual country. If they all followed different laws how would they interact? Well that is a problem, isn't it. What if one person lived in a country where they drove on the left and others where they drove on the right? Whose tax - assuming every country even had tax - would pay for road repairs? It seems that physical location is too important to ignore.

So maybe there should be some basic rules everyone in the world agrees to - which is sort of back to a world government idea again - and the different states could be based on more "moral" questions, like the role of religion in government, or abortion law, or drug legality, or how much is worth investing in science research, or whether education and healthcare should be free, etc.

Currently democratic governments tend to gain power by appealing to the center. That certainly seems to be the mantra espoused by many political experts which they claim is required to win an election. But virtual governments could afford to venture far more into the extremes. There could be one with totally free markets for the libertarians, one with higher tax and extensive public services for the socialists, and even one with religious style laws (for example, Sharia Law) for the more religious people out there.

There would be no obligation for the more rational governments to help the failed ones. The religious communities would fail miserably, most likely, and those based on rationality instead would just let that happen, because the members of the failed community could join a better group at the next election - or maybe formal elections would not be necessary, and members of groups could swap occasionally, say once every 5 years.

Clearly, like most of my outrageous new social models, this idea has some issues, but I think it also has some merit. It would certainly be a way to minimise tribalism based on geography and to avoid a person being trapped in a system they don't like because they just happen to live in the wrong location.

Another crazy, utopian idea? Yeah, maybe. But I like to throw these ideas around, even if they aren't practical in their pure form, because maybe they demonstrate concepts which are worth exploring.

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Comment 1 (4992) by Anonymous on 2019-03-11 at 10:12:14:

You tell us an idea then say why it won't work. What is the point of doing that? Maybe you should concentrate on ideas which have a chance of actually working.

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Comment 2 (4994) by OJB on 2019-03-12 at 10:15:21:

Well, strange as it may seem, I don't expect the world's leaders to read my blog and think "oh, that's a good idea" and immediately carry out my plans! What I do want to do is present some ideas, often starting with something fairly innocuous, and then moving on to more controversial concepts. Not everything is supposed to be necessarily practical or even fully serious. Really, I just throw around some ideas and see what sticks.

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