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Monday, March 07, 2005

Dystopia of the Day

I'm a libertarian neocon, and the rationalisation for that is that if I can't have my utopia, everyone else will be carpetbombed until such a time as my Libertarian State exists. Of course, such a thing will never exist- because there will be no state. Actually, it is close to Bakunin's anarchist society in many ways.

"Thus this ideal... is the conquest and accomplishment of the full freedom and full development, material, intellectual and moral, of every individual, by the absolutely free and spontaneous organization of economic and social solidarity as completely as possible between all human beings living on the earth." - Bakunin, in Marxism, Freedom, and the State
Of course, he was a lunatic.

In the libertarian society, there is no law except interlocking contracts; these can, in theory, provide all essential services more efficiently than the government. Since most of us here are free marketeers, I won't try to prove that there is empirical evidence that markets work better than a bureaucracy appointed by demagogues elected by American Idol fans.

Example 1: I live in Etherland, a four acre piece of swamp with a trailer. I am the lord and master of all I survey, but there are no police to prevent me from being eaten by hobos. So, naturally, I have a few SAWs for protection, but I also have a USGOV ID (65.00$MS per year). If I am murdered, the USGOV hires a PI to find my killer and execute him/her/it. If they fail to make a good-faith effort to do so, they lose customers.

Example 2: I am an elderly person with no means of income. Social Security no longer exists. Luckily, I saved and invested wisely.

Example 3: I invested in Priceline. I die, after a year of eating what I could catch under my trailer. Evolution is happy.

Anyway, this is all good in theory. The problem is creating such a society. With the state of the US today, we could do it through gradual privatisation.

The largest problem would be the unwashed masses, unable to provide for themselves without a government. In previous historical epochs, they somehow survived. They should be fine.

The second largest problem is pollution. Since the release of pollution would be met with mortar attacks from irate neighbors, this should be fine too. Heinlein circumvented this problem in his description of a libertarian state (The Moon is a Harsh Mistress) by putting it on the moon, where there were no natural resources but his theorized ice.

Triton, by Sam Delany, also describes a free society, but in less detail and less believably. I suppose Ayn Rand might have written about one, since she more or less invented objectivism, but maybe not. Due to the practical problems in implementation, such a society is usually described in science fiction. This tradition goes all the way back to the first utopia, entitled Utopia.

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