RE: New Government?

Billy Brown (
Tue, 24 Aug 1999 21:24:53 -0500

Clint O'Dell wrote:
> It is my opinion that government should protect its citizens, nothing
> It should be possible for a government to work without taxing its people.
> Can we formulate some ideas on how this can be accomplished. Would it be
> desirable? Remember that nanotechnology can create some very scary
> that can make an undesirable government incredibly strong!

Has it been 3 months already? Oh, I guess it has. OK, sure, we can argue this one again.

FWIW, here is my current best idea for implementing a truly free society without getting everyone killed. It all hinges on an idea for making governments more fully subject to market forces:

  1. Find someplace ininhabited to set up shop, so you don't have to deal with any messy problems on the issue of consent. Anyone who doesn't like the following proposal can simply go elsewhere and do something different.
  2. Start by claiming an expanse of physical space (preferably a solar system, but something as small as a large asteroid might work.
  3. Set up a national government charged with defending said space. Give it the power to raise a standing military force, collect taxes (but not control emmigration - so it is a lot more voluntary than current systems), and conduct dimplomacy. It also gets to have a few negative powers - it may use force to prevent local governments (see below) from making war on one another, creating internal trade barriers, or preventing the free flow of money and people from one locality to another.
  4. Set up a process by which citizens may create a local 'government' spanning any unclaimed region of physical space the national government is willing to try to defend, or any virtual space that they themselves have created. A local government could be anything from an authoritarian mini-state to a completely ungoverned anarchy. Its scope is limited only in that it is forbidden to infringe on the perrogatives of the national government (i.e. defense and foreign policy).
  5. Since a locality can not force people (or their money) to stay put, the various local governments will find themselves competing for citizens. Thus, we would expect that localities will evolve to actually give people what they want. Any vision of society that can actually work, and that has a significant number of adherents, should end up being implemented by at least one locality. Conversely, schemes that can not work well will tend to be weeded out by economic forces as businesses migrate to more hospitable localities.

A few obvious questions that I don't currently have good answers for:

  1. Should there be a national Bill of Rights, with some sort of national police/court system empowered to enforce it? Personally I think this is giving the central government too much power for too little reason - if some people voluntarily choose to live in an oppresive locality, who are we to stop them? OTOH, there are some sticky issues involved if a locality suddenly takes a turn off the deep end. I think the key issue here is how to make sure that no one ever has to live under a system that they haven't explicitly agreed to.
  2. Is there some minimal criminal code that all localities should be required to recognize? This is a significant issue, since otherwise there will be a market niche for localities that are hospitable to fugitive criminals. OTOH, it is difficult to devise an effective soluition to the problem that does not compromise the whole nature of the system. Perhaps we are better off leaving the market alone?
  3. What kind of system should be created to make sure that localities can not use false advertising to lure people into their sphere of influence, and then prevent them from leaving via devious, indirect methods? Bear in mind here that we have to take into accound the potential for advanced technologies like personality editing, mind copying, sentient AI, borganisms, and 100% virtual worlds. Giving the central government sufficient police powers to investigate possible cases in detail would make it entirely too strong for comfort, but I don't like the idea of just saying 'caveat emptor' - these are people we are talking about, not dollars. Maybe we need an additional power group of some sort?

Billy Brown, MCSE+I