If I were King – Part One: A social Experiment

What would you do if suddenly you were made king of the world? What would you do if given the chance to remake civilization however you desired? What kind of civilization would you create? Would you attempt to create a utopia of eternal bliss or perhaps a dictatorship where everyone served your needs? It is an interesting question with no simple answers.

This question is somewhat more than academic however, because someone in the near future may actually be presented with this very challenge. The world we all know and love is precariously near to the brink of a major meltdown. Many have believed it was coming for years, some think it may already be here, yet others would not believe it, even if the fires were licking at their soft parts.

We are not talking about alien invasion, Armageddon, or the rapture, and hopefully not nuclear war. No, the end of life as we know it will likely be much more subtle than that…at first. And, we are not talking about the end of all life, just our current society. We cannot say where it will start, nor can we say for sure what will start it, we cannot even say that it will occur with certainty. It could be financial, environmental, social, political or all of the above. All we can say is that the factors that could lead to such an event are getting stronger. The uprisings in the Middle East may just be the proverbial canary in the mine.

This article is not an attempt to scare, or predict however. Most people would agree that there are things in this world that they would like to change; an end to war, hunger, sickness, to have prosperity and equal opportunity for all, etc. Anything that could bring about change on that scale would require tearing down 90% of the world’s institutions and power structure, and rebuilding them from scratch. Therefore, let us assume for the sake of discussion that something happens that gives us the chance to rebuild, a clean slate from which we could create a new fabric of society. What would you do with that opportunity? What kind of fabric would you weave?

The problems

Even though technology has shrunk the world in the past few decades, it is still a very large and complex place. We have on this small globe a vast variety of cultures and belief systems, forms of government, types of economy, and rules of law. Because the world has shrunk so much with improved forms of communication and transportation, these differences are colliding with each other and creating difficulties everywhere.

To this day, we have nations that believe the only way to resolve conflict is by dropping bombs on each other. We have leaders who believe the only way to gain economically is at someone else’s expense. We have multinational mega corporations that go to any means necessary to use, abuse and repress people for the sake of almighty profits. We have religious leaders who use their religion to repress and control their people. We have whole populations of people who are taught from birth to hate anyone else who does not share the same beliefs or skin tone as them. There are so many, many more that we could easily fill several large books just listing them all.

Rather than dwell on what sort of a mega disaster of biblical proportions could shake things up enough to enable reforms that could remedy the kinds of problems mentioned above, we will take this imaginary opportunity to perform a thought experiment.  let us hope that we do not have to find out the hard way how this all turns out.

A Solution for a New World

To be successful and equitable for every person on Earth, and to prevent the types of abuse that invariably occurs when individual nations are enabled with absolute autonomy, the governing body must be inclusive of every person on Earth. That is the only way to guarantee equitable treatment of all peoples. A common foundation of beliefs, such as a constitution, must be enacted to grant every person equal rights under the law. Individual nations should be able to maintain some autonomy to set local laws in accordance with local tradition and customs, but should be guided by a central core of rights, and global laws that supersede any national desire. This should be in the form of a global constitution. Since this lays a foundation for all that follows, we will begin our conversation with what ought to be included in such a constitution.

A majority of people in the world today would agree, that trying to engineer a society from scratch is not an easy endeavor, and has a potential to take on characteristics that the designer could never have imagined. Carl Marx in his later years, upon seeing improvements to Capitalism, and how his idealist Communist utopia was corrupted in Russia, claimed he was no longer a Marxist. Therefore, any suggestions for an alternative to what we have now must, above all else, not lock in the population to an irreversible path; a path that they may live to regret. The only form of governance we have discovered to date that comes close to that ideal is a Democracy. In a democracy, the people are in ultimate control, not a central authority. Only a democracy can see its own flaws and make corrections. Nevertheless, democracy can come in many flavors, and some work better than others do. We will look at the major forms of democracy, settling eventually on the one best suited for the task of governing a new world.

Today, we have a global economy based mostly on the Capitalist model. Many countries have experimented with alternatives such as a centrally controlled communist economy and with every flavor in between Communism and Capitalism. Capitalism has been proven repeatedly to be the most robust and successful model for the modern world, especially when coupled with Democracy. Fascism has long been favored by corporations, and actually has its origins in the United States, not Italy as many believe. It has been shown to be very efficient in terms of pure production; however, it is quite deficient when merged with a free Democracy. Therefore, we will explore various theories of how to structure and govern Capitalism, settling eventually on one that seems the best alternative.

The Constitution

A constitution provides the guiding principles we would like to our society to embrace. It sets the foundation for any laws that govern the land; for all laws must adhere to the constitution. Language is very important, because differences in interpretation of language is the stuff that wealthy attorneys are made of. Therefore, the constitution should be simple in both language and meaning, yet broad in scope to be inclusive off all peoples on this planet.

The Constitution of the Free Peoples of Earth:

  1. A person shall be defined as any entity that is a discrete unit, with the capacity to reason and think about its own existence and have the capacity to choose of its own free will.
  2. No person shall be denied of free will unless their action denies the rights of another person.
  3. All persons shall receive equal treatment under the law.
  4. Government shall exist for the common good of all persons. Government shall not endorse or exist for the exclusive benefit of any entity, person, or group.
  5. Only persons may have a say in how they are governed.

That is it. It is simple, permits people to retain the most important parts of their culture, yet lays out some very basic ground rules that everyone must follow.

The first provision may seem the strangest, but it is important to declare ‘what’ a person is under the law. With science on the verge of creating artificial intelligences equal to or greater than that of the human mind, it is going to be a contested subject very soon. In addition, some people are trying to give true personhood with all of the attendant rights to a group of unthinking cells living within a women’s body. Yet another group would grant full personhood to a business entity, which cannot exist except as an artificial contrivance. A corporation cannot think and ponder its existence or act of its own accord. It can only act at the behest of other persons; therefore, it should not receive the rights of a living person.

The second provision is the most profound. I means basically that no person may be denied from doing what they want to do, so long as what they do does not infringe on some else’s rights. It is saying that in order for there to be a crime, there must be a victim. People cannot commit a crime against themselves, or in the absence of another person who is being denied their free will.

Suppose for example, you want to hurt yourself by taking drugs, knock yourself out, just do not do it in a way that puts others in danger. Besides, the taxing of illicit drugs will pay for centers that treat drug abuse, and probably a whole host of other social programs. Once legalized and in the open where it can be seen, monitored, and treated as a social problem not a crime, its abuse will likely be no worse than alcohol or tobacco. In addition, a huge underground industry will be eliminated, and converted into a regulated and taxed enterprise and we will save billions on the cost prisons.

The third provision is perhaps the most important and will be the most difficult for some cultures to accept. Equal treatment under the law means just that; all people will be equal, and must be treated equally, regardless of sex, race, religion, or any factor that does not relate directly to their ability to perform the thing they wish to do. This does not mean they will be of equal means, or ability. But they should all have equal access to resources and an equal opportunity to grow and succeed.

The fourth provision states that government must always act for the common good of all people. Government will be prohibited from promoting, or favoring a person or group of persons (such as a religion or ethnic group).

The fifth provision turns the fourth provision around, and states that only persons may have a say in the operation of their government. Non-persons are prohibited from having any influence on government. So sorry to all those Politian’s who are on the payroll of some corporation. You will have to find new sources of revenue. This will be very critical in a global arena. The potential for corporations to become so large that they can control or unduly influince government to their favor is a very real threat and undermines government real goal, to serve the people.

This concludes part one. Part two will begin by discussing the forms of Democracy, and which form might fit best into this new world.


2 responses to “If I were King – Part One: A social Experiment

  1. This is very good and pretty much expressess the thoughts I’ve saught to communicate over the last 20 years or so. It’s cetainly good food for thought.One has to wonder though, with the pursuit of self interest so strong in our species how can it ever work.
    “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
    — George Bernard Shaw (Man and Superman)

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