So a friend of mine shared a link to this political simulator in which you get to tweak a bunch of sliders and it spits out the results of what your governmental entity would look like. I have to say, as far as political simulators go, it's fairly comprehensive - sort of on the level of Democracy 3, without the ability to necessarily hack it to produce utopia even under communist dictatorship.
Although, I suppose, for a certain sort of people, anything can work.
I played around with it for a while and wanted to share my results. I've included a link above so you can try it out yourself and input your own personal views to see how well you do. Good luck. 38D
Whereas I'm a libertarian nationalist, I chose "country," though you can also opt for planet-wide, city, free association, or individual. Not sure why you'd wanna have a government for just one person, but it's an option and I assume it's there for sake of completeness. Free association I'm guessing means anarchy, which would render a lot of these sliders mute, although it could simply mean a club, business, or other non-governmental organization.
I opted for Limited Autonomy because that's the ideal (or at least my ideal). Too much and you get a slippery slope to tyranny, and too little just doesn't work.
As far as governing class, I was initially tempted to go with "STEM," to form a technocracy, but then I thought better of it when I came to the realization that just because you're a scientist doesn't necessarily mean you'd make for a good leader. In fact, more often than not, great scientists often tend to work as hired labor for people with other skills, such as management and negotiation. Most of the names you'd see in the Forbes 400, for instance, are not scientists themselves, though many of them are smart enough to recognize a good scientist and defer to their expertise.
Ultimately, I decided to go with "anyone," to pool from the greatest well of potential, as the other options just seemed untenable.
Labor Unions as a governing class have been tried in communist and socialist countries and the results are always abysmal. Not surprising, since if the average worker knew how to run things, they could just rise up to management instead and make more money. That they can't or won't largely explains their condition and why they have to rely on labor unions in the first place.
Military Officials sounded too much like it'd devolve into a Caesarian dictatorship. Clerics sounded too much like theocracy. And Corporate Leaders is more or less what we have now in this our crony-capitalist system, wherein politicians don't know shit about industry so lobbyists can prey upon them and write protectionist legislation.
Although, our current Negotiator-in-Chief seems to be a unique exception in that regard.
As far as the three branches, I just set them all to "Direct Vote," since there's no reason we can't have that in the internet age. Just set up a website and give every eligible citizen a unique voter ID number. Make the algorithms public knowledge to prevent fraud and gerrymandering, and implement a ranked voting system.
The Electoral College only made sense because the United States was never meant to be a country, but a federation of several countries (i.e. the several States), much the way the European Union is right now. No one would say the EU is a country, although many people are pushing for it to become one in a European Superstate, which I think would be a mistake. Either we return to federalism as the Founders intended, or we embrace the new American superstate as most people already do, in which case we abolish the EC as it no longer reflects the will of the citizenry.
(This actually applies to most countries, such as Canada, Mexico, Russia, Britain, Spain, France, Germany, ad nauseum. Anywhere a country is divided into States or Provinces, it is properly a federation.)
As far as the simulator, I noticed I had difficulty setting an individual in the Executive Branch to be decided based on direct vote. Not sure if this is a feature or a bug, but felt it was worth mentioning, so I just put "Group" and opted to interpret that to mean President and Vice-President.
With regards to voting restrictions, I put "Age" and "Education," as the minimum requirements, choosing to interpret this to mean you had to have at least some baseline of knowledge about politics in order to make an informed decision without breaking the system. Something children clearly can't do. We can argue on what the exact age should be as every person matures at a different rate, if at all, but at least some baseline feels like common sense.
Historically, the age of maturity has been eighteen and I'm generally ok with that.
Perhaps a far more important metric is IQ level. It's become unfashionable in most countries to test people for their IQ, fearing a Nazi-style culling of the moronic; but in order to have a functional political system, you need an IQ of above 85. Any less and you're no longer basing your decisions on anything resembling logical reasoning. The U.S. military, for instance, has long-since recognized this fact, which is why they test for cognitive ability and actually make it illegal to employ low-IQ people.
If they're too dumb to be in the military, what makes you think it'd be acceptable to let them decide the fate of the country? Including the fate of those actually in the military.
"Of whom is the land, of him is it also to the sky and to the deepest depths; he who owns the land owns all above and all below the surface." ~ Legal Maxim
There's an option to limit voting based on Land Ownership. I'm not sure if the simulator interprets that to mean aristocracy and actual land ownership or just property of any kind. Indeed, land is defined in a legal context as a three-dimensional zone measured by the boundaries of your property extending from the center of the earth up to outer space. In that regard, very few people actually own land anymore, though many live in apartments and are otherwise intelligent enough to vote, so I don't think they should be excluded.
However, I do think having financial stake in the country and the economy affects the way in which you vote. I know this from personal experience. When I was in college, before I had my first real job, I was a communist and a socialist. Most of what I had in material terms was given to me by others. Once I was out of college living on my own, working menial jobs, I suddenly had something worth protecting and thus became a libertarian.
Maybe having a certain minimum income becomes the new aristocracy, as income level is tied to IQ and having a certain minimum IQ is needed to make sound political decisions. I'm iffy on that, so I just left it off. Likewise, there's an option for limiting voting based on ethnicity, but that just seems racist.
In terms of religion, I chose "Secular," as "State Atheism" and "State Religion" both seem unpalatable.
The science is settled, so either you burn or we all burn.
In terms of military funding, I set it at 10% with a foreign policy of "Neutral." We're not gonna be off galavanting in imperialist nation-building or toppling regimes, but we need to ensure our own defense at least. To protect the homeland and its citizenry. Sometimes that might mean launching a retaliatory strike against someone who attacked us first, or maybe we decide it's a human rights issue to join forces with an international coalition because there's someone who's just that evil and we all agree they need to go.
Either way, we won't be interventionist nor will we be isolationist. We'll be like Switzerland and decide how we engage on a case-by-case basis, though it's conceivable that traditional war as we know it is nearing its end.
Compulsory military service will be a no-no, though voluntary service shall be highly encouraged.
As far as immigration, I left the settings at their defaults because I don't know what the best number of migrants to let in would be. For anyone interested, those numbers are:
Anual Limit: 0.8%
As a nationalist, I'm not in favor of open border. I think that's a good way to surrender control of your country very quickly to people who might prey upon your generosity in as much as you don't just let anyone come into your house.
Again, I'm not sure what the exact number should be. That's something that will have to be revised as time goes on, but as a general rule, I think requiring people to speak your native language and to be reasonably educated should be a baseline standard for approval. There was no option for criminal record. I assume that's just a given. Likewise, limiting based on ethnicity or religion seem antithetical to a libertarian society, though it would depend on whether you consider violent extremism its own separate category.
Obviously, you don't want that kind of riffraff into your country.
As far as migrant rights, I'd initially set it to Equal, though I thought better of it and switched it to Limited, as I don't think people who have no stake in the country should be allowed to hold office, vote, or partake of welfare paid for by native taxes.
That said, if you go through the legal immigration process and assimilate, you become one of the group and are then welcome to all that stuff the same as a natural-born citizen.
The next section deals with regulations. The first set of options were:
While I'm not the biggest fan of regulation, if those are the policies under consideration, then sure, go ahead. It would depend on the specific regulation in question, of course, but as a sort of blanket mindset, I'm not opposed to a baseline level of environmental protection. Like don't dump led gasoline into drinking water, don't inject children with mercury, don't kill literally all the fish in the ocean, stuff like that.
The big obvious problems we can agree on at a national level and that's fine.
The devil's in the details, though, and for most things, I think having a plurality of private regulatory agencies and certifications would be better overall. Most environmental legislation was born out of a multiplicity of nuisance lawsuits and a desire to simplify life by writing down the rules for all to see rather than revisiting well-established decisions in a court of law. I can see the pragmatic value in that, though I'm also wary of it getting carried away and becoming too constricting.
So again, it would come down to where you draw the line, but just as a show of directional intent, I checked all four boxes.
The next batch was on women's rights:
Here again, there's a bit of a grey area in terms of how each of these should be interpreted. As far as education, employment, property ownership, and voting rights, I of course think women should be allowed to participate in all those things as equal to men. I don't think anyone should be guaranteed employment, though, or given property they haven't earned or have their education subsidized on the basis of identity.
Wage discrimination I went back and forth on. While I think discrimination based on identity is stupid and a good way to kill off your business, I'm not sure I would necessarily use the State to enforce it. I think that is more of a social issue than a legal issue and is the realm of rhetoric boycotts:
In the end, I checked "yes," because that's the system we currently have under the Civil Rights Act and it doesn't really seem to have broken anything. Under current law, paying people of equal merit differently based on identity is illegal, and if someone does that, you have a clear option for redress. And by and large, whether through social or legal changes, we've come to see on an individual basis that people are adhering to that standard.
The feminists will still whine about the wage gap, which is largely a myth.
Anyone who brings up the subject of the gender pay gap as an example of discrimination is largely engaged in intellectual dishonesty or ignorance, revealing they don't understand the difference between averages and individuals, or the other dozen or so factors that lead to disparate outcomes even in the face of equal opportunity. Factors ranging from innate biology, to child-rearing, to temperament, to choice of occupation, and so forth:
That's not to say discrimination doesn't exist. It certainly does, but it's not nearly the epidemic it's proclaimed to be. The actual amount is somewhere around 1% of cases, which is still too high, but is a lot better than it used to be, and is even a lot better than what many feminists would have you believe.
The other problem with forcing service based on identity is it can get abused quite easily, leading to a satirical exploitation of the law to promote the very discriminatory practices such laws were designed to prevent:
And after this, I'm ordering a Nazi cake from the Jewish bakery, because fuck your rights.
As far as maternity leave, that's not a right. If a company wants to offer it as an incentive, then that's fine, but you don't get to demand it. Getting pregnant is a choice (assuming you weren't raped) and so, as a woman, it's incumbent on you to factor in the decision to have children or not and how that might impact your career. An employer is under no innate obligation to continue paying you, or to even retain you, if you're not there working for them, providing value. That sucks, I know, and it sucks that that's part of the reason why an employer might opt not to hire a woman if they know she's likely to take time off for several months, but that's the way it is.
You don't have the right to coerce people into giving you things.
If you were the employer, your first thought would be on your own needs and trying to stay afloat running the business. Again, maybe you're in a position to offer that as a benefit and you can get some skilled women you might otherwise have lost, or maybe you're not, in which case having the State come in and legislate could cost you a lot of money.
I'm not happy about it either. It doesn't feel fair, but then, it's also not fair to a lot of men who might wish they could have babies but can't because of biological reality. Until they can, there will never be true parity between the genders, which is why gender roles formed the way they did with women staying home and men going out and working to support their families.
Obviously, some women can do both, but some can't or choose not to, so it must be left to individual choices; and even for those who manage to operate in both spheres, it's very difficult and it takes a certain mental, physical, and emotional toughness that not all women share.
Though, as a transhumanist, I foresee a future in which technology changes much of that ... but that's a topic for another time.
Finishing off on regulations, I set no estate tax for my fictitious country. That money has theoretically already been taxed if you have an income tax and is the result of savings meant for your family after you die. It should stay in the family, rather than go to the government.
That's how wealth is accumulated over generations and how families rise out of poverty in the long-term. Even if the whole of human history were completely voluntary, you'd still have a handful of families rise to the pinnacle of wealth through sheer attrition just because they worked hard, saved up, spent less than they earned, and taught their children to do the same.
So even without the nefarious machinations of a One World Shadow Government, you'd still wind up with so-called Illuminati bloodlines through the Pareto Principle:
In my e-State, there's also no minimum wage, because aside from being immoral, it also doesn't work the way people think it should. It doesn't make people more competent, it doesn't raise their IQ, it doesn't make them more economically valuable to employers. If anything, the employer simply adjusts their behavior by raising pricing, automating, laying off the least-skilled workers, or switching to part-time labor, all in an effort to cut costs.
For the same reason, my simulation State has no mandatory pensions, because that's added cost.
Even in our present society, we see a lot of businesses pay higher than minimum wage and offer lots of employee benefits voluntarily because that's what the market and society has come to expect. But it's a fool's errand to assume that every employer will be able to offer this and remain in business for long. In fact, it's mostly the mega-corporations that are financially able to offer these benefits, whereas small business owners often cannot, so such regulations hurt them more than the big players.
In my simulated State, there's also no central bank. It's simply not needed if you operate a prudent and just system. As you'll see by the end, I've balanced the scales to run a break-even budget such that no borrowing is needed, except for some emergency, but even in that instance, there are better ways to raise revenue.
So now we come to the topic of spending. Here's how I set it up:
Waste Disposal: 50%
Public Parks: 50%
Solar Energy: 20%
Nuclear Energy: 0%
The alt-text wasn't all that clear. I assume this means government takes on a certain percentage of the total cost of such efforts in those various fields. So half the costs of waste disposal are paid for by taxes with the rest being privately-funded, etc.
I'm a big proponent of solar roadways and so investing in that technology is likely to yield a return such that nuclear (although permitted in the free market) would not really be necessary. Sadly, there was no option for wind, tidal, wave, geothermal, biofuel, or other alternative energies like that, but I would like to see a better use for all our coastlines and deserts and plains. If done right, it would yield a net return on investment.
Yes, that's not strictly libertarian, but I am playing the long-game and it would certainly be an improvement over the way our money is spent presently, with 60% of the federal budget going towards welfare:
Speaking of which, there is no welfare in my simulated State, except that I left in a 10% Universal Basic Income - means tested of course. I'll talk about UBI in a future article, but suffice to say, the way I envision it, it should serve as an adequate social safety net on its own. You can use it however you want for any lawful purpose and part of the deal is you accept the consequences good or bad for your decision, but none of the other programs will be necessary. If you find you're in a bind such that UBI alone isn't enough, well, there's always private charity, which there should be plenty of money available since taxes will be really low and we're not spending two-thirds of our money on bureaucratic wealth-redistribution.
On the subject of taxes, there will be no taxes of any kind in my e-State, except for three:
10% Corporation Tax
10% Consumption Tax
10% Import Tariff
I set these the same across all sectors, just for simplicity.
As Faith Goldy put it: God's tax rate is 10% (referring to tithing), so 10% seems like it'd be good enough for human law as well. An alternative would be to just have a single 10% income tax be the only tax, and that's an interesting idea as well, though it sort of conflicts with the UBI.
The progressives won't have to worry as the rich will still be paying a lot more than the poor under this system as taxes would only be levied on things you buy. 10% of zero is zero, whereas 10% of a million is $100,000. So under my system, if UBI is set to $10,000 a year, one millionaire can support ten poor people and still make more money than they could under any existent Western nation. Meanwhile, a poor person can work, keep the full fruits of their labor, and save up to get off welfare and rise up to the upper class in a fairly seamless transition without falling off the welfare cliff:
There will be no subsidies for education as this is not a right. Moreover, it's simply not needed. Give everyone a smart phone and they can learn all they need on the internet. This again I know from personal experience as one who's graduated from college. I know the hefty price tag it carries and I know all too well what many of you came to learn too late, that it wasn't a guarantee to higher-paid employment like previous generations promised.
Indeed, while I don't regret my time in college, and I am privileged to have gone to great schools, it's still no guarantee of success. In fact, most of the stuff of real-world value I had learned on my own, online, or in the working world apart from my formal education. In one job, my employer even paid me to enroll in courses on management and people skills. This is something I know is actually fairly common within major corporations if you show a modicum of skill and ambition to rise and take on the responsibilities incumbent of higher-paying jobs.
Likewise, healthcare will not be subsidized in my simulated State for reasons I've touched on before.
There will plenty of opportunities to work and earn money, healthcare costs will come down thanks to reduced overhead and reduced regulatory compliance, and the poorest citizens can always apply their UBI towards that purpose. I'd like to think society would be refocused on living a preventative lifestyle, but I won't hold my breath on that. So if all that still isn't enough, you can always appeal to private charity as an option, which again, there's no reason you wouldn't be able to find plenty of help in that regard, especially with crowdfunding sites these days.
So, in the last section, I'm just gonna briefly run through the settings for Law Enforcement. Keep in mind that there isn't a whole lot of nuance to them, so I just tried to approximate. For instance, "Rape" and "Murder" are each one single category, not really distinguishing between degrees or types, so I assume the corresponding punishment was meant more as a maximum penalty or just an overall direction.
Murder - Death Penalty
I'm not against the death penalty as I think there are some crimes so heinous, and some criminals so unrepentant, that keeping them alive is a disservice to humanity and a spit in the eye of true justice. I'll elaborate on this more another time, and suffice to say, we should be extremely careful in ensuring only the truly guilty get executed; but until we can figure out a way to bring back the dead, the only real price for a life is another a life.
Rape / Child Abuse - Jail Time
With the caveat that serial offenders and heinous abusers should probably eat a bullet, but we also need to be wary of false accusations. Either way, let the courts of law handle it, not the courts of public opinion.
As a transhumanist, my hope is we'll continue to develop better technology to root out liars to get passed this he-said, she-said business. That, or we're all getting a robot and there'll be no more human-on-human action.
Incitement - Jail Time
Don't think I really need to explain this one.
Defamation - Fines
Or this one, though if it's like a false rape accusation or something, you should probably go to jail.
War Crimes - Death Penalty
If you're a genocidal monster or you just like bombing children for money, you can eat a bullet.
Prostitution / Brothels - Licensed
I don't know why this is even illegal when one person can just buy another a drink and then take them home afterwards. It's still an exchange of money for sex, albeit several steps removed. To me, prostitution seems more straight-forward and honest, though I'll acknowledge it's not always the sexually liberating experience we're led to believe and a lot of people enter into it because they're damaged or abused as children.
All in all, this strikes me as more of a social issue and a health issue than a legal one. If you wanna make a business of it, though, it should be safe, sane, clean, and consensual, like the rules of the BDSM community dictate. Escorts can be unrestricted, though, as the implication there is it's just a date without sex. Note that making it illegal clearly hasn't stopped anyone from doing it.
Gun Control - Training License
Keep a national database of convicted felons and those professionally diagnosed as sufficiently mentally unfit to carry firearms. If you can pass a safety certification course and aren't on one of those two lists, congrats, you're free to have a gun. You can open-carry, conceal carry, use it for defense, sport, hunting, collection, whatever lawful purpose you like.
Gambling / Alcohol / Narcotics - Licensed
This is across the board, and referring more towards the commercial sale than to recreational consumption. I don't see why any of it should be illegal. If you're just engaged in it among close friends and family rather than public consumption, then I'd go even further and make it unrestricted. Again, the age of consent here is debatable, but I'd say eighteen sounds good all around. As far as addiction, that is more a health issue than a legal issue, unless the issue is someone knowingly taking advantage of an addict.
Homosexuality / Transgender / Miscegination - Unrestricted
I don't think the government should be involved in marriage at all, and the only reason it is is because of racism / homophobia / transphobia or to curtail welfare benefits, such as determining whether a gay person can be the beneficiary of a public pension, or something along those lines. None of that applies in my e-State as the only legal element of marriage is contract, which there's nothing stopping two adults of the same sex from entering a contract. My view is the only reason to get married at all is because you wanna have kids otherwise why wouldn't you just stay dating? Suffice to say, I checked "Adoption" as yes, of course, because why not?
If you wanna talk about sin and degeneracy, consult a priest, not the State. If you wanna consider LGBT a form of mental illness, we can have that conversation, but that's more of a health issue and a social issue than a legal issue, and so the State has no reason to get involved. Given that reassignment surgery and transition help cure gender dysphoria, that should be allowed; but not forced, and no taxpayer should have to pay for anyone's healthcare needs regardless of who they are. If your health issues prevent you from doing certain things, well, sucks to be you. That's not a compelling reason to use force to extort money from others, though you're always free to persuade and appeal to generosity and to private charity for support.
I opted to allow it for any reason, though that obviously comes with some major caveats in terms of timing. Obviously, forced abortion is just horrific and we'll be having none of that in my e-State.
If it's a terminal illness, I believe you should have the right to end your own life. In general, I think you have the right to commit suicide, though I would try to talk you out of it. If you're on life support and there's seemingly no chance of you recovering and you're just perpetually suffering in a vegetative state, that's more of a grey area and I'd defer to the people closest to you rather than enforcing a top-down rule about how to handle that situation.
Corruption / Fraud / Embezzlement - Jail Time
Do I need to explain this one? Maybe for less serious stuff you can get away with fines or an injunction, I suppose. The Bernie Madoffs of the world gotta go away, though. I'm a problem-solver like that.
Treason - Death Penalty
Again, do I need to explain it? Obviously, due process, blah, blah, blah. A lot of people I don't think understand what treason actually is, or they conflate it with hallucinations and things they don't like mixed with hyperbolic rhetoric. But actual treason means betraying your country in a manner that does substantial harm.
All the people crying treason probably see a completely different picture.
All the other items I left unrestricted for reasons of free speech. I don't consider "hate speech" a thing that exists. Hate is a feeling and you can't ban feelings. At best, you can punish people for allowing their feelings to lead them to commit harmful actions; but even there, it's the harmful action that is the problem, not how they feel. Hate could be a motive, the presence of which helps you prove a crime has been committed, but is not itself a crime.
It's also an eye of the beholder sort of thing. If you start banning things that are offensive, then all I have to do is claim I'm offended by people who are offended and then how do you unravel that Gordian Knot?
Anyways, you can see the results of me tweaking the sliders to align with my own personal political preferences. We have a GDP of $16 Trillion and a balanced budget. It's a highly diverse and inclusive simulated State where people can worship how they want, smoke what they want, fuck who they want, marry who they want, and crime is dealt with harshly, but fairly. You pay next to no taxes, we're not engaged in unjust wars for profit, and technology flourishes. We are an intelligent and prosperous e-nation that holds its leaders accountable while not forcing anyone to do what they don't want to do.
So how did I do? And why can't the real world be like that?
I tried for hours to land dead center without doing anything overtly immoral,
but it seems the authoritarian left's reality distortion powers are just too strong.