Bill Whittle is posting again at “Eject! Eject! Eject”. If you have not yet partaken of this wondrous feast, stop reading right now and follow the link on the sidebar. Bring lots of coffee and write back when you are done. See you in about a month. Bill has just announced his intention to begin the creation of what he describes as a “Virtual City-State”. You can even take the “Paules Pledge” written by our very own Basil of Riverdale. Bill’s instructions are to think about what you really love to do, what you can do really well, and whether or not you can teach that skill to others. He is also bringing Rachel Lucas on board after her long absence. Although I have not personally read her stuff as yet, her reputation precedes her and I am looking forward to it.
What exactly is a “Virtual City-State”? Well, Mr. Whittle has not provided us with a blueprint exactly, but we do know that it is something that we must build ourselves. The purpose seems to be nothing less than the creation of a virtual Polis of the willing and the capable. As a comparison let’s look at the United Nations. This organization was founded after WWII to essentially eliminate warfare as a means of dispute resolution among nations. Great idea. Too bad it turned so quickly into a democracy of dictators, thieves and terrorists. A new proposal has been floating around for some time that it should be replaced with a Council of Democratic States, whose membership eligibility would be determined by the relative state of liberty existent at the time of application. Great idea says I, but there are the nagging ghosts of “The League of Nations” and earlier still, Napoleon’s “Continental System” and so on, all the way back to the Athenian Empire.
Mr. Whittle, I desperately want to believe in this new project. I also want to be the voice of caution. I would encourage everyone interested in this new project to read two books. The first is Robert Heinlein’s award winning “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. The second is Neal Stephenson’s “Cryptonomicon” Both deal with the establishment of new societies. The first is a parable. The second is an instruction manual. This assumes one has already read the Federalist Papers, The Bill of Rights, The Declaration of Independence and comparable works. Again, see the links on the sidebar for a taste of Nicollo Macchiavelli, Freidrich Nietzsche, and Ayn Rand.
As you have written recently in your own comments section, if this becomes just a debating society, we might as well just go play World of Warcraft. Well Bill, trying to build a base of over a million intelligent individuals seems a whole lot like herding cats, but I’m game if you are. I don’t want it to end up like the picture at the top of this post, but I am just old and a bit cynical when it comes to human nature. In the mean time “Ad astera volemus sella tonanti” (iirc).