Monday, January 9, 2012

Can We Build a Utopia?

Pundits want to know what Occupy Wall Streets protesters want.  I believe that Occupiers want what the 99% - deep down - all want.  We want utopia.  Here is my vision of utopia.
  • Guarantee that everyone receives free and reasonable access to a basic core program of health care.
  • Guarantee that no one goes hungry or homeless; no child or elderly person gets left behind for lack of our caring.
  • Guarantee that everyone receives free and reasonable access to education from birth to at least high school plus two years of technical education or upper-level college prep.
  • Guarantee that everyone who wants to work gets a job that pays at least a living wage.
  • Restructure our system of employment so that everyone who works receives compensation commensurate with the value of the work performed - this includes everything from service workers to politicians to corporate CEO's.
  • Guarantee that every citizen receives the free and unencumbered right to vote; no person or entity can donate more than $100 to any political campaign and all details on all campaign finances must be available to the public.
  • Redirect the criminal justice system at every level toward the goal of rehabilitation and the dispensing of just and equal punishment, not the production of profit or mistreatment.
  • Require every citizen to provide at least two years of public service, broadly defined as including service in local or national peace forces, community development, aid to developing countries, or other forms of human assistance.
  • Rethink and re-engineer every element of society to function in closer concert with our environment, from food production to sustainable energy to manufacturing outputs.
  • Afford every reasonable effort to promote the creative and imaginative efforts of our people, from arts grants to business start-up funds to financial assistance to organizations or industries seeking to upgrade their technology and operations.  The ultimate goal is to retain and maximize the fullest measure of human potential and productivity of our people.
  • Eliminate every law that discriminates on the basis of any identity, including but not limited to sex, gender, age, race, ethnicity, nationality, sexuality, ability, religion, political views, or socio-economic status.
Now, the big question - how do we get there?  The biggest challenge is funding, so here are my suggestions.
  • Eliminate the current Department of Defense and all associated military forces and replace them with a scaled-down Department of Peace and forces whose sole purpose is to protect this nation and support the development and maintenance of human rights of all people in the world.  The majority of efforts directed toward the production of military equipment should be retooled to the production of supplies needed for rebuilding communities after natural disasters, improving the nation's infrastructure, and deterring the development of war technologies throughout the world.
  • The current structure of 50 separate state governments is an historical anachronism that has long lost any purpose or meaning.  We eliminate the current structure and replace it with 5-10 regional governments to serve a similar purpose.
  • At the local level, similarly eliminate thousands of separate civic entities and school districts, seeking to reach a basic critical mass level of size for towns/cities and for educational entities.
  • Conduct a comprehensive review of all government, eliminating all bureaucracies and entities that can be replaced by better resource allocation and more equitable distribution mechanisms.  Government should always retain strict oversight responsibility (with severe penalties for corruption), but private industry should be encouraged to replace inefficient public programs and historical leftovers, such as toll roads and bridges, the proliferation of public fees, and many separate taxes.
  • Conduct a comprehensive review of all law enforcement codes with a goal of decriminalizing a significant proportion of current actions and significantly reducing the current level of frivolous legal actions, thus relieving an enormous burden on our justice system and getting government out of the business of enforcing morality.
  • Show the world the nature of true leadership by cooperating at the highest level with world organizations and creating true partnerships with other nations.  Our goal as a nation should always be to seek the most mutually advantageous relationship with other nations, which will in the end provide the greatest return and encourage the same from other nations.
  • Conduct a comprehensive review of all areas of business enterprise and reinstitute a new area of monopoly-busting, starting with the unhealthy current situation involving our nation's media enterprises.
  • Stop trying to motivate action through fear-mongering and instead inspire our people with messages and actions of hope and love.
Can it work?  Every great accomplishment of human civilization derived from a vision that, at the time, seemed impossible.  Let us dream of the impossible.