Debate and Panel on Utopias Government

A panel discussion about utopias with thinkers like Dass, Montagu, and Ginsberg discussing their ideal utopia's government.

THE PEOPLE'S ALMANAC'S EXCLUSIVE SYMPOSIUM ON UTOPIA

3. How would the government be organized?

Asimov: It would be a world government with considerable autonomy in local matters in all regions. There would be planetwide votes on all issues thought to be controversial, and the final decisions would be made by computer, which would, of course, take into account (to an important but not exclusive extent) the state of public opinion.

Buckley: There would be no government.

Dass: By means of technology allowing for direct voting on major policy issues (a la Fuller's ideas) by those who wish to spend their consciousness on political matters. Also, perhaps politics would attract more beings who are conscious of the larger design of which man is but a part.

Fadiman: Our own system, bad as it is, is still the best in town. If we could substitute mentally grown-up men and women for politicians, that would help.

Ginsberg: By meditation teachers.

Michener: In the U.S., regional groupings of states would be inescapable, but each constituent state would retain many of its present prerogatives, not for necessary reasons, but to sustain local pride and prejudices. Regional and area groupings to handle such complexes as New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, Kansas City, Houston, etc. These would have great power and would override state interests, which do not serve these areas well. I would be willing to see changes in the presidency, perhaps even a two-part occupancy, one for ceremonial purposes, one for administrative. I would also be willing to see major changes in the House and Senate. (Specifically, senators should not serve beyond the age of 74.) But I would defend with my life the perpetuation and preservation of the Supreme Court. It is our noblest institution, and without it we would crumble. Locally, I would do away with most county officials and install hired specialist executives.

Montagu: Local government by district. Local government representatives in the urban government but not on a proportional basis. Government to be conducted by citizens. There are to be no permanent officials whatever, except for a secretariat. Citizen representatives shall be chosen on a rotatory basis to serve for a period of not more than two years at a time.

Untermeyer: I am suspicious of the word government. In today's world it suggests too often dictatorship, totalitarianism, and restriction of the individual. There would, of course, be control--mostly self-control. In my utopian world there would be no need for committees, organizations, legislative bodies, to determine what other bodies, individuals, or groups should perform.

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