Our nation is very divided. The two predominant political parties have carefully bundled the issues of the day such that they may sustain their existence. In fact, they require the existence of the other every bit as much as they need their own constituents. So, we cannot count on the status quo the political parties desire to bring unity from division.
So I have a proposition, rather than continue the status quo of endless debate and expense why not simply divide into multiple nations? Given our newfound ability to digitally track citizens, the need for geographic borders between these nations need not exist. There would be no need for all of one nation to relocate to one part of the geography and others to other regions. Given our ability to track citizens, members of different nations could be neighbors or even live in the same household. A husband could be in one nation, abiding by the laws of that nation and a wife could be in the other country (where she would be a “uterus bearing partner”). Given the citizens of the many nations would share more common values than the current arrangement, states could even be dispensed with enabling further reduction the cost and complexity of government.
Of course, one quickly encounters some problems in this thought experiment. There are geographic things that citizens of the two nations must share – roads for example. So, a means of equitably sharing use of and payment for such resources would then be developed. And then, there is the matter of defense. Certainly, the sum of military power of two nations sharing the same physical space would be diminished if they did not share common weapons and strategies, so again a means of sharing defense would need to be put in place. And then there is commerce between the nations, which gets tricky. The complexity of transactions between companies and individuals of the various nations would increase exponentially. Billions of currency translations would need to be made every day. So, we are back to the need to have a common currency for many nations such as that provided by the euro.
It soon becomes apparent in our thought experiment that the many capabilities and institutions that must be put in place for shared resources have thrown a wet blanked on our bold idea a nation unfettered by geography. Invariably, strife between those who live adjacent to each other but are in different nations would develop. Neighbors would come to blows over the simplest of matters. For example, one nation has determined that a 10 PM curfew be put in place, while the neighbor who is in the” fun” nation, can party until it is 1999 (er, 2099). Encouraging those of different nations and values to physically relocate such that they may be in the company of those with similar laws and values might make sense. So, in the end, those with similar values would begin to move and congregate together in one of many regions in the country. But as this migration occurs, the country would share institutions including currency, military and infrastructure.
So where has our thought experiment taken us. Well, back to 1789 when that group of geniuses who we now refer to as the Founding Fathers created the American Constitution. The nation they laid out was to be a republic, where the power of all government was to be limited by a free citizenry. The nation was to consist of a federal government that would secure the border, oversee interstate commerce and defense and other institutions where a common approach was most effective. The “delivery” of most government would be by the states who are more in tune with the particular needs of the citizens in their region. The states served the purpose of enabling diversity for the citizenry geographically by providing a local means to enact laws and establish institutions more in keeping with the values of the citizens within their borders.
And thus, our thought experiment has brought us to the very practical means of handling division in a diverse nation – a republic of states where those with similar values could gather. Unfortunately, despite all the calls for appreciation of diversity our nation has moved in the other direction as so many expect that their values be translated into laws and institutions that are common to the entire nation. But that is not the idea of a republic of diverse states. If the values of where you live are not to your liking and you see no way to change them – then move to a state where the institutions of the state are in line with your values. And that old idea is how we maintain diversity without division.
E pluribus unum.
Leave a Reply