Examining the rubble
It’s generally understood that the US of A is toast. Whatever happens from January 2018 it’s not going to make things OK again. The sucker is broke and not going to get fixed. The question is now the state of the wreckage and how useable are the pieces. That’s a big issue as the rapid decline of Trump and the corrupt, federal political system means the idiot could blow up everything. Even a limited nuclear exchange with North Korea and whatever comes after that will greatly reduce the size of the pieces and could seriously reduce the population. Very bad to think about and it really must be avoided.
At this point I would prefer to be positive and assume, for the interest of this exercise, that a critical number of people in positions of command and control would either ignore or remove Trump and his goons if things came down to a final early morning delusional fit of demanding that the button be pushed. The non-holocaust situation is bad but can be surmounted if we agree on what we really want to do about life in the mid 21st century. How do we want to organize our societies and how do we effectively manage ourselves given the paradigm changes that are beginning to crack the foundations of our planetary society.
And that raises a question that needs to be addressed. This is, I hope, a fairly practical planning process attempting to understand what we generally want in a real world reconstruction from the ruins of early 21st century America (with apologies for the broader term to our neighbors north and south). So this should not be a totally Utopian quest but an idealized pragmatic search for what is possible when the structure has collapsed. With that said we start from what is left rather than from a theoretical ideal.
We need to look beyond all of this and whatever finally triggers the collapse, still assuming that big pieces of government and the economy are still grinding along but the only people happy with it are either demented or billionaires who helped orchestrate the collapse. In the later case it is important to be clear that this was primarily the product of short sightedness and greed. The system has to change in order to prevent this type of disaster in the future but also to keep human civilization alive in the face of worsening climate change disasters in the midterm. And because people are fed up. Revenge doesn’t get you much except short term satisfaction leading to one of those awkward pauses when someone says, so now what? What do they want and what do they need? Two critical questions that need to lead to the same answer for things to work.
Universal Rights 2.0
We pretty well know what the majority want in general terms: 1) protection of their rights and ability to make their own decisions wherever possible; 2) traditional freedoms of speech excluding hate speech that advocates harm or reduction of rights to any others; 3) a reasonable share of the proceeds from the economy (assets) of which they are a part including income or income security in the face of automation, 4) healthcare as a right that won’t bankrupt them, 5) good, free education as their parents/grandparents once had, 6) removal of the fears that have been shouted at them for forty years by fanatics of any form. This takes care of about 70% of the population who have simply but repeatedly been denied these things or have been laughed at for even wanting them. Interestingly these are things that are what most OECD member states have long provided for their population so this is fairly straightforward. As, still, the richest nation we have the resources to provide everything that other OECD nations provide their citizenry. But we have to move quickly because it is all going away rapidly.
So how do we get there? We need to pay attention to what the majority of the people want (see above). I admit that listening to the majority of the population has become very radical but if we are going to explore lets get somewhere interesting. What can we do with what’s left after Trump affiliates and enablers are escorted to the door. Given the survival of the working, administrative portions of the respective state and federal governments I would suggest a complete political redesign with minimum disruption of the civil service and working administrative sections.
Solving the problem of government
The radical changes should include limiting the large, national governments to protection of universal rights, coordination and protection of planetary trade and the free flow of goods, people and information. The real issue is rights as noted above. The US got into trouble by failing to keep up with protection of rights that post industrial societies expect but includes an equitable distribution of resources (assets)and services. I’ve come to think that if those rights are clearly defined and protected we can consider most everything else an issue for something like local government that can bend to meet local population needs and idiosyncrasies.
The only job of planetary level government (the large nation states) is to protect rights and expand them, if possible, and the first right is to a protected environment.
That’s a tricky area so that the restructuring will need to be very carefully done to prevent the problems that have destroyed us. People cannot mess with rights that are truly universal. You can decide that green is stop and red is go but don’t mess with people’s universal rights. And no, your rights are not affected by what someone else believes, thinks, does to themselves or in freely shared relationships. I’m really afraid we will have to make even suggesting any kind of infringement a legal matter resulting in direct loss of rights. The only way that can happen. People are just going to have to realize that on a crowded planet with major climate problems and in an equitably structured society you are going to have to learn to just shut the fuck up about other people. Universal rights cannot be subject to vote or even discussion except to add to the list. The only job of planetary level government (the large nation states) is to protect rights and expand them, if possible, and the first right is to a protected environment. This establishes the boundaries of administration at the local level. More on that as another topic.
Having spent a long time thinking and writing about this whole process of paradigmatic change, I think what is simply outlined here is very close to what is needed and what will happen to salvage what the US originally intended transformed to the 21st century in a time of planetary threat. I would suggest that this needs to spread to other regions currently having problems with antiquated authoritarian bullshit from whatever source. We really do need to get our planet together because there are nearly eight billion of us and there really is enough to go around for everyone while leaving the option for an aesthetic life of simplicity or incentives for creativity. All of this must be supported by the moral imperative of sustainability and equity in opportunity.
There are many examples of rights produced and enshrined as the basis of government since the start of this experiment in the North American British colonies or revolutionary France of the late 18th century. These have mostly been ignored by actual governments acting as administrators for one component or another of the ruled population. The only way to clear this up is to make the establishment and maintenance of rights a separate process that exists at a higher level than governmental administration. And governmental administration needs to be directly controlled by the population with the technologies that can make that possible. Or passed to a more authoritarian administration by the choice of the people. Rights are sacred, administration is malleable. This allows the maintenance of freedom by choice. Also the topic of another discussion.