Quarantining the Infected
By Mike Meyer ~ Honolulu ~ December 20, 2020
Several times in the last few weeks, readers have commented that we really should ship the Trumpists off somewhere, so they are not a problem. Where they should go is presented in a very modern way, and all of the responses I’ve received are humanitarian. That is a sign of progress in reducing violence and the growth of acceptance in diversity that defines the modern and post-modern age.
A suggestion that Mars would be a good place to send them is the most interesting, although Elon Musk may have something to say about that. This is a very traditional way to deal with problem populations that have gotten badly out of sync enough to pose threats to their origin cultures. In our case, this population poses existential threats to our entire planet.
I will come back to this, but this, despite being currently impossible, will be the easiest solution to sell to people refusing to maintain shared standards on a threatened and crowded planet. We have so many literal models of this that are a cliche in science fiction literature. The fact that the authoritarian populations are a problem even if they have their own planet is true as they are a brutal minority in the human population. But that is a problem several centuries away if we survive.
I’ve suggested somewhat more serious ways to break up the US and other large, problematic regional nation-states into local administrative units under a planetary judicial system covering universal sentient rights, assets, and biosphere protection. Putting teeth into the planetary level for the most fundamental rights and asset management would allow local societies to have maximum freedom in diversity.
The question is, however, what do we do to get there? We have a surge of neofascism, labeled nationalism, driven by resource allocation distortions and growing anxiety over rapid paradigmatic change. This is coming from a segment of our population prone to this type of thinking and manipulation by “strong” leaders who appeal to primitive emotional threats.
This is a problem among a significant minority. We know these are predominantly older and less educated people who are products of various types of provincialism. Time will correct this, but we do not have time.
Because this is the result of the shared establishment of 18th-century Enlightenment principles of human rights and equality before the law, manipulated attacks on others’ rights by this population requires that their rights be restricted. In structurally racist cultures and countries such as the US or those with primitive religious systems still in power, it is beyond current representative governments' power to correct.
Cultural, economic, and political traditions exacerbate and complicate this, but the bottom line is that correction is currently impossible even though it is critically essential. This is directly in opposition to the hundred years of amazing success identified by Steven Pinker as the age of our Better Angels, as cited above.
We are faced with the disastrous irony that authoritarian brutality is required to prevent the imposition of authoritarian brutality. This is clearly being rejected despite the problem population's cries supporting their wannabe dictator’s offers to eliminate all their enemies' rights and return to warlordism and our violent past.
The practical solution is much riskier, given our history and memory of primitive conquest patterns and rule. That is to vote in an exception to the foundation principles of representative government to limit the planet's threat. This is the source of the term tyrant (tyrannos) in classical Greek.
Originally it was a neutral term describing a leader with an emergency grant of absolute power to defend the city-state against an immediate threat. But from Plato and Aristotle on it was a negative term.
The philosophers Plato and Aristotle defined a tyrant as a person who rules without law, using extreme and cruel methods against both his own people and others. The Encyclopédie [18th century France Enlightenment] defined the term as a usurper of sovereign power who makes “his subjects the victims of his passions and unjust desires, which he substitutes for laws”.
If that sounds exactly like Donald Trump and his cultists, you are absolutely correct. We have 2,500 years of recognition of this as evil. Yet when this threatens our existence and well-being, we cannot seem to find effective means to reverse it and defeat it once it has been allowed in power without chaos and bloodshed.
That chaos and bloodshed is the means to power for psychopathic authoritarians, especially for malignant narcissists such as Trump, is well understood. Using chaos and bloodshed against them is counterproductive to the extreme. Isolate and ignore is better, but that leaves with the problem of where to put them, so they don’t start any more trouble.
So it would seem a bad idea to appoint a tyrant with the power to move the current crop of authoritarian cultists to Mars. It would certainly be satisfying to imagine but only as satire. I could see an interesting novel called Trump on Mars, but it would have to be very brief as he wouldn't likely even make it there.
Prisons are cruel and ineffective except in the most extreme cases of the criminally insane. In the US case, one of the few books that we know Trump has read is Mein Kampf by Adolph Hitler, summarizing his route to tyranny. Hitler, like many other tyrants, used imprisonment as a tool to build his following. I expect Donald Trump thinks he could be ‘imprisoned’ in Mar-a-Lago to run his effort to overthrow the US government, but he is fading fast.
As I’ve said numerous times, a more realistic possibility is that Trump, his family, and surviving associates will end up in Moscow to avoid prison that is not Mar-a-Lago. Putin would most likely keep him quiet as he does his other stooges who have overstayed their homeland’s welcome. That suggests a longer novel, Trump in Moscow, although we’ve already heard the messy prequel.
There are indications that Putin has wrung all he can from Trump, who is a liability and financial black hole already owned by Deutsche Bank and it’s Russian investors. Such people often come to awful ends, but we are trying to maintain our Good Angels status if possible.
Perhaps we could convince the planet’s billionaires to plea bargain to retain some of their ill-gotten gains by building a nice orbital city that could be named Tyrannos. Move the wannabe dictators there and let them fight it out among themselves. They would need to be limited to knives, swords, and clubs to prevent atmosphere loss during assassinations.
At geosynchronous orbit, it would be far enough away they couldn’t even throw rocks at Earth. If he lasted long enough, Trump could set up his own Mar-a-Lago in Tyrannos and lure his followers to come offering him a population at which to rant. They might have a collection of tyrannical resorts for those who seem to love groveling at the feet of people oppressing them.
It would be expensive, but we cannot afford to allow these types to sucker the at-risk populations. We should tell Elon Musk to forget Mars for now and save us all from ‘nationalist’ losers by starting on Tryrannos immediately.
The off-world tyrants could offer “Freedumb Flights” to build their population. There is the problem of competence that could severally limit the life expectancy of Tyrannos, but that would be their challenge.