A utopian vision from a dystopian author

This post was originally published on my ZB Blog of Awesomeness.
So I was getting stuck with new blog ideas. Since Other Systems and the upcoming The Light Side of the Moon are dystopian hard science fiction, a friend of mine challenged me to explain my vision of a utopia. Well, I accept that challenge, Sir.

He thought it would be hard. I told him it’d be easy. I know what I believe and I take everything too seriously.

I will describe my ideas honestly, however, I understand that not everyone will agree with me. You don’t have to. There are things I believe that I know my family disagrees with. Below are my opinions which were formed because I was born in a certain place and time, I was raised a certain way, and I love StarTrek. While many of the ideas I’m describing are in my  work, this society I am describing is not in any of my books.

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Individual Rights: As an individual, you have the right to your person. No one owns anyone else. No matter who or how you are born, you have the right to choose your life in pursuit of your own happiness as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else. Whether you were born man, woman, pangender, or agender, all were born equal and able to pursue your own happiness. Whether your skin is peach, tan, chocolate brown, or blue, no one is born better or worse.

As a species: humans will consider living as one’s authentic self, building something that matters, and helping our fellow humans the most important goals of life.

But we share Earth with other species. We will live beside computers, androids, and other intellegent technologies, we will look toward the future.

We will allow wild animals the freedom to roam in rich forests and green spaces. IMG_2703

As we have domesticated animals for thousands of years, animals might still be kept as pets and livestock, but their lives would be treated with respect. Pets would be cared for with respect and dignity. Farm animals would live pleasant lives until they are harvested. Working animals (police and service dogs) will be treated well and have places of honor upon their retirement.

Let’s look at some specifics.

Education: From age 5, all children get to go a fully funded public school. Since this is my utopia, I am maxing class size at 10 students per 1 teacher. They will learn reading and writing in their home language, arithmetic, at least two foreign languages, art, music, science and technology.

Somewhere in adolescence the focus will shift from general knowledge towards career knowledge. All adults will have the opportunity to find gainful employment in a chosen field of study. This means “Hey, I want to be an electrician?” There is a FREE school for that with a workstudy program that’s paid with a LIVING WAGE.

Once finished, the school puts the student in touch with their local union and the union delegates job is to put me to work at a JOURNEY PERSON’s WAGE. They also make sure as technology changes there are opportunities to learn new tech. And as they advance in their careers they can make more money.

Wait! Free Education! Does this mean that somebody can cheat the system and go from educational track to educational track without ever finding a real job? Yes. But I don’t think that would be the norm, because they could not succeed in any field if they didn’t take the next step to go on to journey person level.

What happens when a child is born? In my utopia, each family will have 5 year of PAID Leave for childcare until child begins school.

What if someone is passionate about their work or just isn’t sure they’d be good at childcare? Choose to take it as a credit to pay a nanny or pay Grandma. This can be for Moms or Dads. Or they can mix it up. Maybe, mom stays home for the first year, then dad stays home for the next, then they use the credit to pay for the nanny. It’s up to the family to decide.

What about technology changes during the time off? Since education is free, parents are able to get the education they need to catch up!

What if someone is taken ill or otherwise has a health problem that doesn’t allow them to work? In my utopia, medical care if free and they will be surrounded by members of their multigenerational home. If more care is needed, there is nursing establishments etc.

Safety Net for Families: Baby won’t stop crying? Is your toddler bullying another kid at the playground? Are you just at your wits end with sibling rivalry? Is Grandpa is giving you advice that feels wrong? And you’ve read dozens of parenting blogs and everyone is saying something different? In my utopia anyone can just call CPS. Don’t worry, CPS isn’t punitive; a social worker will set you up with a family counselor, help you locate a capable babysitter, local pediatrician, or whatever you need to be a better, more productive parent. One thing the reader of this post will notice that I find a lot of wisdom in the old saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” If we can solve problems early, we can cut crime and delinquency. 

Family Structure: Most families, whether by blood, marriage, or friendship, will live in multigenerational homes.

Marriage: as long both people are consenting adults, in my utopia, nobody cares who marries who. However all marriages will start with a trip to the premarital counseling which includes the family members the couple are living with and leaving. Families will also discuss with mediators the distribution of wealth, children from prior marriages, other issues. If marriages need a tune up, marriage counseling is also available from CPS and other healthcare establishments.

Wait… whose in charge then? No one. Or it is decided within the family.

Personally, I have never met a married couple with an unequal relationship where at least one person did not resent the other. We are capable of love and respect and it is especially important in marriage. Divorce is hurtful to all involved. In my utopia, divorces will become rare, because of mutual respect and the work done in advance.

Wait…Are you saying homosexuals get to raise children! Gasp!

Yes. As long as they raise that child with love, tenderness, and care.

Elder Care: The elderly will work as long as they can, perhaps changing jobs to something easier, then be given a living wage until death.

Hopefully, their living wage will be supplemented with extras from family or friends in their multi-generational home, but if not, nursing homes with a caring and well-educated staff will also be available.

Hospice care will fill everyone’s final days.

Health Care: EVERYONE from birth to death gets universal free healthcare including nonjudgmental information on birth control and family planning.

What about Vaccinations? In my utopia, they are required except for medical reasons.

Abortions? In my utopia, they will be completely legal. (However my hope is with everyone having nonjudgmental family planning, they won’t be needed except in the most dire circumstances.)

How are doctors paid? Handsomely by their medical establishment as their education and specialties dictate.

Anything else? Yes, there will world-wide standardized forms in every language, so the average person can understand them and fill them out and medical records are easily transferable between hospitals. What, standardized forms! You can’t do that!  Yes, I can. It’s my utopia, if you don’t like this you might want to skip the rest of this blog post.

Assuming you are still reading, here we go:

Exploration: We are a curious species. In order for us to continue to evolve, humans need to map every centimeter of Earth and we need space travel. In order to be able to afford it, we need a world-wide government (or at least a world wide coalition)

Government: The overall government will be broken up by regional districts so everyone feels represented. The government will serve the people. All adults vote and their votes matter.

To solve the problems we see in our current government, NO LOBBYEST GIFTS would be allowed. No free dinners. No free boats. Every campaign will be run on an itemized budget. It’s the age of computers! The IRS’s focus will shift from the individual taxpayer to corporate and campaign budgets.

Measurements: The world would all be on the metric system (or another standardized system). The United States will stop holding out.

Infrastructure: The world would make advancements in clean, renewable fuels from methane collection to solar power.

Computer and communication technology will be available to all.

Roads will be clear for society’s use. There would be many modes of transportation available.

Houses and Buildings would be clustered together with use in mind, with open green space for everyone’s use.  Park lands would be consider sacred.

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As my readers know, I’m pragmatic so let’s move on to Crime: Jail time and fines will be non-existent for misdemeanors—but community service based and focused on rehabilitation. Accidents will be dealt with by mediators and judges.

If it is such a big mistake that one must be removed from society (murder, rape, assault with the intent to kill, etc.) the person will serve jail time. Even in jail, the person would be treated with personal dignity to ensure this Correctional Officers would receive proper education and training. Prisoners will see their families as long as the families want to see them.

What about the family of a criminal? In my utopia, no one pays for the crime, except the criminal. You and your family will be given the needed care to help rebuild trust.

Personal Weaponry: People can have handguns and riffles, BUT must be licensed which includes gun safety courses for the entire household. Also every gun comes with a safety pin or some sort of biometrics reader and a camera on it. (That way only authorized people can fire it and the camera can be used in case of accident or murder.)

Civilian Police: The police would only use nonlethal weapons and ALL police must have cameras that would be allowed in court. They would also not fear reprisals for entering therapy and have plenty of personal time.

Military: It’s a sad fact that even in StarTrek, Earth always need some kind of defense system. In my utopia, however, we will not need anyone to protect a nation against another nation, because with a world government comes world peace. We can serve the goal of world peace with space travel and education. This military would work hand in hand with private corporations and government agencies in order to train soldiers to develop non-lethal weapons, and the building of infrastructure, and space exploration.

Distribution of Wealth: A true progressive tax system would be installed to pay for the social benefits above. With standardized forms and computers to tabulate data, information is cheaper than ever before. The wealthy will pay more than the poor, and all debt forgivable.

Business Taxes: Other than cost of business expenses, other tax relief for corporations will be non-existent.

Usury laws: While some debt (business debt, mortgages) is a constant, usury laws will be in place to protect the poor. 1 – 5 % would be standard.

Religion: All the world’s religions would stop fighting over dogmatic differences and decide to act with respect of individual worship styles. If you believe God has something against pigs, don’t eat pork, but that doesn’t mean you can burn your neighbor’s pig farm.

Taxing of Religions: If an individual church, house of worship, mosque, or temple turns a profit, and sits upon the profit then yes they should be taxed as a business. However these entities can forgo taxes by running as Non-Profit Charity and serving the needs of the people surrounding them.

Well that’s pretty much everything I thought of. Challenge complete. Achievement unlocked.  This started as my dearest, yet pragmatic, dream for humanity, so please everyone be respectful.

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