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December 2007

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fine_clarity in utopia_project

Substantialist Utopia

I call this utopia a 'substantialist utopia' because it values substantial things (efficiency, pleasure, safety, etc.) over symbolic things (life, a god, authority, equality, etc.). There are more aspects than just these 5.

1. Education is far more efficient and individualistic than in the status quo. Children and adults are given access to very concise and informative books, and are allowed to learn whatever they want, as quickly or as slowly as they want. There is no schoolwork or homework, but there are testing facilities, libraries, and facilities with equipment for hands-on learning.
2. There is no rent, nor property tax for the ownership of a small piece of land. Animals have the right to live on a piece of land without paying for it. If we do otherwise, as in the status quo, then we are inferior to animals, at least in that respect.
3. Criminal types (sleazy, impulsive, etc.) are identified by genetic screening and psychological profiling, and are permanently incapacitated (via death, banishment, or otherwise) before they even do their first crime.
4. The people practice voluntary eugenics.
5. The people practice polyamory.


Just curious, when you refer to "life" as a symbolic thing, what do you mean? I get why you could call the others symbolic but not that. What do you mean by 'life'?

I agree with most of what you say, but I'm not sure about 3. Just because someone is a criminal "type" doesn't mean they will necessarily become criminals. I guess it comes down to the arguement of "free will" and wether or not someone's actions are predetermined from birth (for whatever reason, God, genes or other), but I believe people should be given the chance to make their own decisions and not be condemed simply because it is likely they will commit a crime, simply because that is their personality type, when they haven't yet and may not ever. Personality is a fluid thing, in any case, and what constitutes a 'criminal type'. That is, what level of sleaziness, impulsiveness etc makes someone a criminal?

Perhaps you could justify restricting their actions, or keeping them away from situations likely to trigger criminal behaviour, but not punishing them before they have done anything wrong. I understand the reasoning behind this, that you want to cut down crime levels by stopping the crimes before they have happened, but I believe that can be done in other ways.

Other than that, I like these ideas, particularly 1 and 2.
I have a few questions about 2... would people have the right to do whatever they want with land (i.e. turn a patch of tropical forest into a private landfill), or would there be government regulations on how people were allowed to use it? Would one have to get a contract to develop a piece of land? Also, what about housing? What would be the similarities and differences between your utopia's economic systems and this chart: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Circulation_in_macroeconomics.png
and how would it be more or less efficient in your opinion.
As for 3 now... I find 3 somewhat scary. I'm a good person, but considering how violent and impulsive I was in my childhood (I'm sure a lot of people in positions of authority were convinced I was destined for lethal injection ) chances are I would have been executed (though I'd call it "murdered") early on in your utopia. Personality isn't permanent. People change. There are always factors in a person's life that have the potential to turn them around.
4 is scary too. Not to be overly critical but some of this stuff seems to lean a little more towards some kind of a fascist dystopia than a utopian ideal. I mean, how could it be voluntary if you enforce it? And the whole concept of Eugenics is just a little too Hitlerian for any sane person to swallow.
Although 5. is pretty awesome imo.
I agree with you on 5. :)

Um, I dunno about 4, the jury's still out for me on that. If it's used to eliminate hereditary diseases and suchlike I think it's not such a bad thing, but I don't like the whole "designer baby" concept. It seems to me a little too much to do with getting rid of any diversity and the things that make us human. But that's just how I see it, and I can understand the positives of it as well. If it's voluntary in terms of the option is there but they don't have to, rather than "voluntary" then it doesn't really offend me. Still not sure it's a choice I'd make, though.