> one thing: whats to stop the first group along from claiming a vast
> majority, if not all, of the land in the possession of the national
> government? how do you decide who gets what land, in the case of
> claims? would this be operating on the "if you improve it its yours"
> territory-claim model?
If starting space is limited I recommend having the national government auction it all off to prospective local governments in modest-sized lots. You also have the protection that the national government is not obligated to recognize a particular proposed locality - if they don't want to defend your exaggerated claim, they can simply refuse to extend their borders to include your space.
Just to be clear, I'm definitely envisioning doing this in space. Earth is way too crowded already - there is no unclaimed land, and the only way to create a new country without the consent of the U.N. is to conquer someone. No thanks.
> it seems that in order to guarantee that a locality can not force ppl to
> stay put, the national gov must be prepared to use force against the local
> governments if they try to prevent the citizens from leaving. this sounds
> lot like a basis for a national bill of rights and an accompanying police
That is an issue. Just so everyone is clear on this point: I reject the idea that the initiation of the use of force can never be justified. If that bothers you, you'll have to set up your own ideal state. IMHO, it is not possible to have a stable human society without giving someone the power to shoot people.
Fortunately, they only have to be able to do so in very limited circumstances. At a minimum, the ecentral government only needs to be able to intervene in cases of armed conflict between localities, or of public (and therefore obvious) mass detention of citizens and/or goods. Maintaining open borders between the localities doesn't really require a police force, just an army and a telivision set. Since the mere existance of the army will reduce violations to nearly zero (there is no chance of getting away with it, so why do it?), and the army is preoccupied with bigger issues (like not getting invaded by our neighbors) the situation should be pretty stable.
Now, it would be nice if they could also prevent a locality from confiscating all your posessions on trumped-up charges and reprogramming your brain to make you a loyal citizen. Unfortunately, dealing with these more subtle abuses requires a police force with broad powers to investigate anything they happen to be suspicious of. History shows that such organizations are very prone to creeping expansion of their powers, which is why I feel that we need to think very carefully about whether this is really a good idea.
Billy Brown, MCSE+I