Political Systems

I read a book several years ago, Freehold by Michael Williamson.  I was struck by how utopian everything sounded.  When you get into the details of how the government system he describes works, then it’s really interesting.  I don’t think it’s realistic and (obviously) our politicians wouldn’t stand for it.

The ‘politicians’ really aren’t politicians.  They aren’t elected.  To become a ‘leader’ type, you basically have to become wealthy and then donate every dime to the state.  After that, the state provides you with a small home and basic living expenses… basic.  Of course, the described environment is such that internet and computers are considered basic.  Transportation is not, though I imagine a stipend (or a dang bus pass) would suffice.

The point is that leaders have given up what they consider to be of value (their money, income, businesses, patents, etc) to be a leader.  Now, who in their right mind would do that?  Well, people who want to lead and think they can provide a useful service and think that duty to their country is more important than money (i.e. the people you would want in leadership positions).*

Citizenship, in the novel is not a right, but purchased.  It’s not very expensive, a couple hundred a year.  But that allows you to vote.  Most things are brought to the people to vote on.

There are basically no government services though.  Everything is free market (Libertarians rejoice).  If you want an education, then get the best one you can afford (for you or your kids).  If you want to use the library, then you pay for the privilege.

Insurance is handled very differently as well.  Insurance handles all the fees and services that would normally come from government.  If you are scared you’ll hurt yourself badly, then make sure your insurance policy has an ambulance service paid for.  Make sure you have a fire service in their if you own your own home.  Things like that.  There is also insurance against lawsuits.

It’s kind of interesting, it’s trivial to have lawsuit in the environment, but it’s actually very rare, because the losers pay and there is rarely an appeal.  If you can’t pay if you lose, then it is possible to fall into indentured servitude.

There are some neat ideas, but I think it mostly unrealistic.  It would require an entirely different mindset from what people, the world over, think of about government.  It truly is a Libertarian dream government… which means, in terms of actually functioning, it’s probably doomed to failure.


* Personally, I think that anyone who voluntarily seeks high political office are those that are least wanted in those positions.

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