T Nation

Design Your Own City State


#1


I thought this might be an interesting thought experiment for those up to the challenge.

For whatever reason the central and state authorities have collapsed and you have been given the responsibility for designing a government for a self sufficient city. To make things more interesting, the citizens are "blank slates" and have no religion or identities, racial, cultural or otherwise. You can choose a worldview or theology or any metaphysical system for the citizens of your city state.

Or maybe instead of designing a utopian city state you could describe a nightmarish dystopian city state. If you like, your citizens could genuinely believe that their leader is God - as in North Korea for example. Maybe the functions of law and order and the waging of wars have been taken over by machines who have become self aware and turned on the people.

So predictions and prognostications? Or design your own 21st Century City State. Any ideas?


#2

I am not sure how I would go about designing a so called perfect state I will have to think about that a bit more but, I would like test myself as a King. So, some kind of Monarchy. I am sure most have thought if I were king, I would not be corrupted, I would be a “Good” King, etc.

From what you wrote in your other thread

" The “good King” is synonymous with the good father who nurtures the spiritual well being and provides the structure, hierarchy and authority of the family and community. The King is the natural centre of power and authority and as ultimate authority serves as a reference point; power deriving from a central authority made legitimate by collective identification of the individual with the whole structure.

However due to the essentially evil nature of man, the King is corrupted and loses legitimacy and authority divests upon the aristocracy"

And so I wonder how I would fare.


#3

[quote]xXSeraphimXx wrote:
I am not sure how I would go about designing a so called perfect state I will have to think about that a bit more but, I would like test myself as a King. So, some kind of Monarchy. I am sure most have thought if I were king, I would not be corrupted, I would be a “Good” King, etc.

From what you wrote in your other thread

" The “good King” is synonymous with the good father who nurtures the spiritual well being and provides the structure, hierarchy and authority of the family and community. The King is the natural centre of power and authority and as ultimate authority serves as a reference point; power deriving from a central authority made legitimate by collective identification of the individual with the whole structure.

However due to the essentially evil nature of man, the King is corrupted and loses legitimacy and authority divests upon the aristocracy"

And so I wonder how I would fare.[/quote]

I think that’s where people go wrong from the start. There is no “ideal” political system as such. The King will always be corrupted and likewise the aristocracy and the people. But monarchy and hierarchical social orders are aiming for an ideal; they are attempting to transcend petty, everyday materialism and raise man up towards something greater. They may completely fail and the aristocracy fall into decline like the Ottoman sick man or the depraved hedonism of last reigning Bourbons. But it’s the attempt itself that is important. Man needs to try to aim towards something better; towards betterment itself. Not “progress” in the post-Enlightenment sense of materialism and nihilism; but towards spiritual transcendence and the noble and traditional values of aristocracy; aristocracy in contrast to oligarchy - oligarchy being the debased form of aristocracy. The noblest values; the metaphysical objective truths are to be found in the traditionalism and rituals of the “good king” and the aristocracy. Xenophon was the best apologist for traditionalism in Greece. Thucydides also understood the virtues of aristocratic rule.


#4

Okay, I’ll layout a brief plan for a city state off the top of my head.

Firstly, the society needs a hierarchy. This represents the formation of the civil society. Hierarchy and the recognition of authority is the glue that binds men into a society; it is the basis of all collective action; it is what gives form to the institutions of the civil society and the nucleus of a state.

In hierarchical order we have:

  1. The High Priest

The High Priest is the source of ultimate power. He sanctions the head of state(the King) and divests power upon him. The King rules in God’s name whose blessings are conferred upon him by a mediator - the High Priest.

  1. The Priestly caste

The priestly caste are the spiritually ascended. They are in communion with God and their authority is manifest in the institutions of the church, and their duties and responsibilities are to guide the entire community on the right metaphysical path.

  1. The Bohemian or Spiritual caste

Philosophers, warriors, bards, sages, actors, artists, aesthetes, mystics, homosexuals, entertainers and eccentrics. The bohemian caste becomes a series of entrenched subcultures from which organic communities emerge such as the carnival and circus culture, the gypsy, the wanderer, the artist communities, the communes etc.

  1. Innovators and Specialists

This would be surgeons, engineers, scientists, inventors - any highly skilled specialists or people working in a significant and innovative way.

  1. The Artisan:Tradesman caste

This would be self explanatory. Specialised trades, craft and small business - innovator and producer not paper pusher or managerial

  1. Low Skilled Trades

Again, self explanatory.

  1. Bureaucratic class

Those in the civil service and those in white collar managerial positions in the private sector; paper pushers and shufflers; people who don’t quantifiably produce or measurably deliver some tangible service or fulfil some function. This is bureaucratic element of society that is despised and looked down upon and pushed down to the bottom of the strata. The innovative and productive members of society ascend the hierarchy and maybe transcend their caste and move up to the Bohemian class.

  1. New Money/Plutocrat caste

This is lowest caste in that no intrinsic value is ascribed to members of this caste. Making money is not in and of itself a noble goal and as such the plutocrat and indeed the entire finance and banking class is seen as a necessary evil; these are the lowest members on the chain.

Religion and politics are one in the same. The political class are the priestly and bohemian castes and Senators assume official religious functions as in the ancient world. Everything revolves around religious tradition and observance; even time itself - the calendar set to the creation of man, the year divided up by religious festivals; the week setting aside a Sabbath day and a day of worship. No one would ever consider the concept of “separation of church and state” - such an idea being alien to the mind of a people who live to serve God.

In terms of foreign policy, the city state is intensely insular and hostile to any outside cultural influence. It is inward looking and the people become a biological genetic bottleneck. A small number of genetic traits get amplified and a biologically and culturally distinct and unique population develops organically in confine. By necessity any foreign policy is guided by realism; however, the fundamental teleology underlying geopolitics is metaphysical and spiritual.

In order to not stray from the path of tradition; neither to the left nor the right; the city must emphasise cultural isolationism and shun cosmopolitanism and the values and traditions(or lack thereof) of other societies. The Spartans and the Japanese were very successful at maintaining tradition by sealing themselves off from the outside world. This is part of the reason to suppress certain types of knowledge from the lower castes. The priestly caste is above the bohemian caste and serves to repress negative impulses amongst the intelligentsia. The bohemian class has full access to all knowledge. They would control all access to the internet and to academia - the innovator and specialist classes having access to only scientific knowledge; the lower castes having access to no information other than such religious and practical information is needed. The important point to notice is that the highest caste - the priestly caste - have no access to scientific or metaphysical knowledge. They only have access to traditional religious knowledge.

So, the society relies upon a hierarchical theocracy/monarchy under which the highest class(priestly caste) is restricted from all knowledge outside of the official monotheism of the state. The state religion is the ultimate authority, it divesting its power upon the king; it retaining the right to confer him in his office or remove him at will.

The holders of knowledge - the bohemian class - is next in the hierarchy. They are the only people in society allowed access to all forms of knowledge. They are subordinate to the King and the Church. They have a duty to suppress knowledge and to control the zeitgeist of the people. They act as a “state within a state” and a secret society of sorts whose members; with a diverse range of metaphysical belief systems; can act as invisible hands behind the scenes guiding the less enlightened members of the community, both above and below them, and acting as a counterpoint to any undesirable impulses in the priestly or lower castes. They act as guards against nihilism and modernity. They bear a great burden in holding the knowledge that they hold and in hiding metaphysical knowledge from the rest of society. They are susceptible to fall prey to nihilism due to their immersion in it, and so their superiors - the priestly caste - must keep them in check when they stray from the traditional path.

^^ That’s an overview of my hypothetical city state

Edit: Before you say anything about “keeping the people stupid” - bear in mind, in my model the people whose knowledge is restricted - the priests and lower castes - are the wisest men of the realm.


#5

Cool idea for a thread.

First off the city-state would need a name and Florelium would be a good fit.

The inspiration for the system I will choose are inspired by the republican and democratic ideal’s from the 18th century( In short that legitimate authority must have the consent of those subjected to that authority ), Capitalism, Socialism and Syndicalism.

An overrview:

  1. The economic system/the base:
    The economic system will have traits from capitalism, socialism and syndicalism. It will be socialistic in the sense that the ownership over the means of production will be collective, but it will have some capitalist features as a monetary system, division of labour, people are payed wages and some workingplaces will be allowed to be for-profit. The syndicalist element will be in the way the workingplace in Florelium are organized. They will be organized as micro-democracy’s where the employee’s together called the shots in the workplace.

  2. The state system/the superstructure:
    The state system are based on the principles the western democracy’s we know today are based on. The members of the executive branch and the legislature are voted in by the public. The judiciary however will be comprised of highly trained members. As in with the real world democracy’s the state will be limited by a constitution that constraines the state from doing vile things against an individual.
    The difference however to western democracy’s is that one chamber( half of the legislature ) of the legislature body( parliament/senate etc ) are comprised of people who represents the various proffesions, like say one rep for teachers, one for agrarian workers, one for the industrial worker and so on. The other chamber would be comprised of people representing the districts of the city state( lets say the city state is comprised of 100 districts ). The executive branch would be as in a parliamentary system choosen by the legislature. The head of the executive branch are called president, but do have the same powers that are typical for a prime-minister. In essence it is a parliamentary system with a touch of syndicalism.

Thats it for now, I will update this when I get time, but I have to go to a seminar.


#6

I’d start just like the US, with a couple small changes.

  1. Universal suffrage from jump street
  2. Slavery is a no-no
  3. List out “life, liberty, property ownership, and equality under the law” in the Bill of Rights because some people are pretty confused here.
  4. Not that this is needed, but clarify the second, because there are way too many dipshits that can’t read plain English
  5. Constrain the powers of the Executive branch, almost make it a figure head position, so when people voted for Rock Stars rather than statesmen, we wouldn’t get fucked.
  6. recalls. Allow, under specific circumstances that any and all political figures (including none SCOTUS appointees) to be recalled if they violate certain tenants. They are challenged and it is treated like a jury trial. They lose? They are out of office.
  7. all national level politicians are subject to the same audit and disclosure rules as a public company. Yes, quarterly reporting, audited.
  8. bills not passed with a 75% quorum can not be more than 10 pages, and even if 100% vote for it, the max page limit is 20.
  9. Each Rep, Senator & pres (would hope the states follow suit) must, on a webpage and in a weekly publication, submit how they voted on each bill, and WHY they did so.
  10. Each bill will require an executive summary, written in 8th grade level, explaining what the bill contains. And falsehoods, mistakes, typos or misleading language will render the bill moot until corrected.
  11. Clearly outline in the BOR’s that neither the government, nor the states, can force any citizen to purchase any specific product or service from a third party. Government can tax, assuming representation, but it cannot force citizens to buy any service or product from a third party.

I’ll add more if I think of it.

Are we allowed to ask questions/pick apart others?


#7

Benevolent dictatorship, capitalist society.


#8

[quote]Dr. Pangloss wrote:
Benevolent dictatorship[/quote]

Enjoy that headache…

You think Wall Street is bad, lol. Wait until you have to heavy handily keep not only the rest of the ruling class from executing you, but keep the poor and middle silent through mass murder and thought police.


#9

But that’s just it, I would be the people’s servant. There would be no mass murder and thought police. I would be like a parent guiding the choices of a child, while also allowing that child to grow and experience life.


#10

[quote] countingbeans wrote:

Are we allowed to ask questions/pick apart others?

[/quote]

Yep


#11

[quote]florelius wrote:
They will be organized as micro-democracy’s where the employee’s together called the shots in the workplace.

[/quote]

I would love to see how this plays out on a large scale.

I’m assuming the total clusterbomb to efficient operation ratio would be 80:20 for every hundred, and there would be zero companies with more than a couple hundred employees tops.

But it would be a very interesting experiment.

They should do this in Detroit. Place can’t get any worse.


#12

[quote]countingbeans wrote:
I’d start just like the US, with a couple small changes.

  1. Universal suffrage from jump street

[/quote]

You lost me right there. Representative democracy only worked in the first half of the 19th Century because society was still run by traditional men who believed in divine law. Universal suffrage puts your system right at the bottom of the political cycle somewhere between democracy and ochlocracy. Unless the citizens are God-fearing men who believe in divine law and can govern themselves they will rapidly decline into mob rule and dictatorship.


#13

The reason my system averts decline is the ruling class - the priestly caste - have knowledge restricted from them. They only know divine law. They have been shielded from the nihilism of modernity.


#14

[quote]SexMachine wrote:

[quote]countingbeans wrote:
I’d start just like the US, with a couple small changes.

  1. Universal suffrage from jump street

[/quote]

You lost me right there. Representative democracy only worked in the first half of the 19th Century because society was still run by traditional men who believed in divine law. Universal suffrage puts your system right at the bottom of the political cycle somewhere between democracy and ochlocracy. Unless the citizens are God-fearing men who believe in divine law and can govern themselves they will rapidly decline into mob rule and dictatorship.[/quote]

So be it… Free people, and the costs of freedom and all that.


#15

[quote]countingbeans wrote:

[quote]SexMachine wrote:

[quote]countingbeans wrote:
I’d start just like the US, with a couple small changes.

  1. Universal suffrage from jump street

[/quote]

You lost me right there. Representative democracy only worked in the first half of the 19th Century because society was still run by traditional men who believed in divine law. Universal suffrage puts your system right at the bottom of the political cycle somewhere between democracy and ochlocracy. Unless the citizens are God-fearing men who believe in divine law and can govern themselves they will rapidly decline into mob rule and dictatorship.[/quote]

So be it… Free people, and the costs of freedom and all that. [/quote]

A secular, humanist democracy is spiritually oppressive. Men cannot be spiritually free under such a system.

“So it follows that those who have reason have freedom to will or not to will, although this freedom is not equal in all of them. […] human souls are more free when they persevere in the contemplation of the mind of God, less free when they descend to the corporeal, and even less free when they are entirely imprisoned in earthly flesh and blood.” - Boethius


#16

[quote]countingbeans wrote:

[quote]SexMachine wrote:

[quote]countingbeans wrote:
I’d start just like the US, with a couple small changes.

  1. Universal suffrage from jump street

[/quote]

You lost me right there. Representative democracy only worked in the first half of the 19th Century because society was still run by traditional men who believed in divine law. Universal suffrage puts your system right at the bottom of the political cycle somewhere between democracy and ochlocracy. Unless the citizens are God-fearing men who believe in divine law and can govern themselves they will rapidly decline into mob rule and dictatorship.[/quote]

So be it… Free people, and the costs of freedom and all that. [/quote]

What about voting makes people free? If A and B can vote to decide how B’s money is used, how is B free? Universal suffrage means that your Bill of Rights protected rights will quickly disappear(well, maybe not quickly completely disappear, but definitely quickly erode).

To answer the original question: I would appoint myself king/emperor/president/whatever, and anyone who says he would do otherwise is lying. What would restrain me? Certainly not a desire to do good for others-such a desire is not in human nature. However, the fact that I, and I alone, would be seen as responsible for the way the kingdom was governed would probably make me think long and hard about the possible consequences of tyrannical laws(losing my head being one of the consequences). Christianity would be the land’s religion-I wouldn’t need to worry about freedom of religion, because it would be the only one they’d been exposed to(blank slates).


#17

[quote]countingbeans wrote:

[quote]florelius wrote:
They will be organized as micro-democracy’s where the employee’s together called the shots in the workplace.

[/quote]

I would love to see how this plays out on a large scale.

I’m assuming the total clusterbomb to efficient operation ratio would be 80:20 for every hundred, and there would be zero companies with more than a couple hundred employees tops.

But it would be a very interesting experiment.

They should do this in Detroit. Place can’t get any worse. [/quote]

Well I am a democrat( no not the american party ), so I like to see all social institutions from the state to the workplace be organized like one. Also a democratic workplace can be representative, wich means they could vote in one of the employee’s to be boss for a year and next year vote for another. Offcourse the boss would not have legislative power, but would rather function as the administrative leader of the unite. All the employee’s would have to come togheter if they wanted to change some aspect of the unit( rules of the workplace etc )

It might not be as effective as an authoritarian workplace, but the same can be argued when it comes to the state aka a dictatorship is maybe more effective than a democratic state.


#18

[quote]florelius wrote:

[quote]countingbeans wrote:

[quote]florelius wrote:
They will be organized as micro-democracy’s where the employee’s together called the shots in the workplace.

[/quote]

I would love to see how this plays out on a large scale.

I’m assuming the total clusterbomb to efficient operation ratio would be 80:20 for every hundred, and there would be zero companies with more than a couple hundred employees tops.

But it would be a very interesting experiment.

They should do this in Detroit. Place can’t get any worse. [/quote]

Well I am a democrat( no not the american party ), so I like to see all social institutions from the state to the workplace be organized like one. Also a democratic workplace can be representative, wich means they could vote in one of the employee’s to be boss for a year and next year vote for another. Offcourse the boss would not have legislative power, but would rather function as the administrative leader of the unite. All the employee’s would have to come togheter if they wanted to change some aspect of the unit( rules of the workplace etc )

It might not be as effective as an authoritarian workplace, but the same can be argued when it comes to the state aka a dictatorship is maybe more effective than a democratic state.

[/quote]

But a business is not a “social institution”. It’s a private entity. The worker enters into a voluntary contract with the employer. The employer is required to fulfil the contract. He(employer) is not under any obligation to provide a “democratic” workplace. Forcing a private institution to operate in such a way would be anti-democratic. It amounts to government interference with private individuals to further an ideological agenda.


#19

^^This is the sort of tyrannical mindset I can’t understand. Where does the government get the right to step in and tell a private company how it has to structure and run its own business?


#20

[quote]SexMachine wrote:

[quote]florelius wrote:

[quote]countingbeans wrote:

[quote]florelius wrote:
They will be organized as micro-democracy’s where the employee’s together called the shots in the workplace.

[/quote]

I would love to see how this plays out on a large scale.

I’m assuming the total clusterbomb to efficient operation ratio would be 80:20 for every hundred, and there would be zero companies with more than a couple hundred employees tops.

But it would be a very interesting experiment.

They should do this in Detroit. Place can’t get any worse. [/quote]

Well I am a democrat( no not the american party ), so I like to see all social institutions from the state to the workplace be organized like one. Also a democratic workplace can be representative, wich means they could vote in one of the employee’s to be boss for a year and next year vote for another. Offcourse the boss would not have legislative power, but would rather function as the administrative leader of the unite. All the employee’s would have to come togheter if they wanted to change some aspect of the unit( rules of the workplace etc )

It might not be as effective as an authoritarian workplace, but the same can be argued when it comes to the state aka a dictatorship is maybe more effective than a democratic state.

[/quote]

But a business is not a “social institution”. It’s a private entity. The worker enters into a voluntary contract with the employer. The employer is required to fulfil the contract. He(employer) is not under any obligation to provide a “democratic” workplace. Forcing a private institution to operate in such a way would be anti-democratic. It amounts to government interference with private individuals to further an ideological agenda.
[/quote]

In my ideal city state it is a public-institution.

The idea that a workingplace( be it a farm, factory, mall etc ) is a private-entity is as ideological as the idea that it is a public-entity. The society defines if it is public or not. We are talking about human constructs here not natural laws.