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Friday, 25 May 2012

Fantasy Island

Often I dream of living on my own semi-private island free from the despotic nanny state supporting neo-puritans, who seek to control all of our lives through fear, deception and regressive legislation.

I like to imagine that my island is haven for freedom-loving tourists, a place for grown-ups to enjoy life as they wish and to have fun at their own risk. There would be few laws -- your basic ones, like don't kill or harm others, don't steal or defraud.  My island would be self-sustaining and tax-free for both businesses and persons, nor would there be any import duties.  Any money made on my island would be rightfully earned and never taken from you to prop up any other business that is unable to survive on its own merits.  There would be no socialised anything, no government interference in your private lives -- it is your body and you can do anything you like with it. You could walk around naked if you choose to. Every shop owner, pub or restaurant can decide for themselves whether to allow smoking, whether to serve spirits and beer.  Local currency would be based on the gold-standard.  And most importantly government would be constitutionally limited in its powers and kept small, essentially there to ensure free trade with other countries, to ensure no one can take away your freedom. To keep corruption to a minimum, those who would serve in government could only do so for a few years and they would receive no pay for their public service.

So, yeah, it's a fantasy island. Never going to happen. Because the world does not work this way. People do not work this way.

There are always those who will exploit others and cause great harm given the opportunity. There are always those who feel entitled to take what is not theirs for their own personal gain. There are always those who believe they know what is best for everyone else and will seek to enforce those beliefs on others, often hypocritically since they believe or act if these things do not apply to themselves.  Some people do not want to think for themselves and prefer to let others do it for them.  Some able-bodied people do not want to work nor contribute to their community, and therefore will demand that others take care of them in the name of civilised society.  And there always those who will turn a blind eye and refuse to help those who truly need it because the needy are not of the same ilk.

We are very much selfish creatures, perhaps necessitated by our need to survive individually and collectively, so in some respects we may not be far removed from a great majority of animal species on this planet. We are different, we create and understand a great many things, we like to believe we are special and unique, and yet peel back the veil of society and civilisation and we are all merely animals surviving on this planet, some better than others. Our larger brains have given us a greater capacity for stupidity.  And cruelty.  Our compassion and love for one group can lead to horrific violence and subjugation against another. It often does.

My little island of freedom is a pipe dream. To realise that dream, a radical, fundamental change to human nature would be required, which is impossible.  Otherwise, I would need to live on my island in solitude, which is hardly my idea of freedom, or risk becoming the oppressive dictator enforcing my ideal of freedom on others.

A perfect world or society is impossible. Do not allow anyone to tell you or convince otherwise -- these are the most dangerous people. Utopia cannot exist because we are not perfect. Every attempt to create perfection will very likely lead to a disaster of epic proportions.  Even the late 70s early 80s TV show Fantasy Island showed that one's ideal fantasy could become a nightmare rather easily.  Be careful what you wish for.

So perhaps one thing we could try is to let others live their lives as they choose, even when you vehemently disagree with those personal choices for yourself. It's not a perfect solution to all of the problems that plague society, but it's a very small step in the right direction by giving each person the ability to create their own little island of freedom.  Mr Roarke and Tattoo would be out of a job, I imagine...

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