Blog or Not?

A statistically improbable polymath's views on politics and culture.

Saturday, March 06, 2004
Neo-Feudalism and a Non-Geographic Model of Government
Continuing in the fine Chicago tradition of blogging when you're really supposed to be writing a paper:

At Letters of Marque, Heidi Bond is pondering a modern system of feudalism (through links to fellow UMich law students* Carey (aka Glorfindel) and Mark) On the lighter side of things, I totally agree with Heidi's and Carey's notes that wearing robes to class would be sweet, as would carrying around swords (but on my part, I'd only use my sword to ward off would-be muggers while waiting for the #55 at the Garfield Red Line Stop at 1 AM)

But there's actually a serious political possibility lurking in Mark's description of his new feudal model:

"It sounds far-fetched, but I really think it could work. It's similar to a representative democracy, but instead of electing everybody's leaders, you elect your own leader. You can opt in to whatever system of government a particular individual has created for his subjects. There would have to be some opportunity for termination of an allegiance, which is probably the biggest hole in my thought experiment."

I've pondered a similar system for government regulations. In this country, we've got about five thousand and fifty different positions on the need for government regulations of trade, labor, food safety, the environment... you get the picture. Frankly, I'd rather have a bunch of little separate "regulatory governments" that you could elect to join. I'm thinking that the "governments" would include, but not be excluded to, the following:
--The ultra-libertarian (The market should be free! It's perfectly rational!)
--The neo-socialist (Shared profits only!)
--The eco-conscious, fair-trade, fair labor
--The moderate left regulations
--The moderate right regulations

There would of course be some common regulations--injunctions against child labor and enslavement--but these regulations would be of the type that fundamentally do harm to the freedoms we're guaranteed under the Bill of Rights. In short, I'm thinking of non-geographical federalism. But how would people know which set of regulations a store is operating under? Stickers--little stickers on the doors to restaurants which tell you that the restaurant has been approved by the Environmental-Labor Coalition, the Libertarian Society, and Consumer Reports, but not by the Socialist Front.

Additionally, the feudalism idea has another benefit--if the Neo-Conservatives want to wage war against Iraq, they can go and do so, leaving the rest of us to pay off the federal debt and improve homeland security.

*I think. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

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