Yes, I'm serious.|
I am not a politician, and I don't think I would
particularly enjoy being President, but I think I would do a vastly better
job than any of the current crop of so-called "leaders."
Besides, I could use the $250,000 a year.
I have even invented a buzzword for myself: I am a twenty-first century
I am pacifist, hi-tech-oriented, decentralizationist, civil-libertarian, and non-fanatically environmentalist.
I would like to run in the Year 2000 elections, but I won't be old enough until
I turn 35 on December 8, 2001.
My platform is simple. I want to promote
technological advancement, to reduce violence, and to eliminate poverty. I believe that we should preserve what is left of our natural environment; and
that government should allow the maximal possible personal freedom for everyone, insofar as is consistent with reasonable progress toward these other goals.
Technology, peace, compassion, nature and freedom -- these things, taken together, will transform the US into a much happier and more
Furthermore, I believe that government is quite capable of achieving these
objectives. The trick is to re-organize government so that it works in a
more intelligent and adaptive way.
The current US government has a serious problem. Its problem is not that it
is "too big," but rather that it is too centralized and inflexible. Management
consultants, over the past decade, have come to realize that the modern,
technological world calls for a
decentralized, adaptive approach to administration. It is time to
apply these principles to government.
Privatizing government functions is not a solution to the problems of
over-centralization and inflexibility. Corporate monopolies and
oligopolies are no more flexible and intelligent than big government.
we need is a government which institutionalizes flexibility and
creative experimentation. By decentralizing its functions, and giving independence and control to local organizations, the US government will be
able to draw on the full creative power and enthusiastic energy of
the American people.
"Decentralization" is not an empty slogan. What it means is breaking
down government bureaucracies into small units, which function with
substantial independence, and which are judged on results (usually over a period of years) rather than methods.
Unsuccessful units are liquidated and their resources used to form
new units, which vary creatively on the techniques
of previously successful units.
Evolution; creativity; productive chaos --
government with minimal bureaucracy. Is it possible? Why not? We'll
never know unless we try.
Instead of complaining about government, let us
re-mold it into something exciting, productive, and responsive.
My preliminary platform is as follows. Serious campaigning will begin
- Replace the National Anthem with the Jimi Hendrix version --
My lawyer has informed me that this would involve no change in laws, as
the song itself is not being changed. But no, I'm largely kidding on
this one -- the anthem is tuneless and militaristic, but there are more important problems to deal with.
- Gradual international disarmament, supervised by the United Nations. We have displayed leadership in war, now let us display leadership in peace. With international violence out of the picture, we can focus on the health,
education and progress of our own people.
- Drastic decentralization of all government bureaucracies. Diversity
and freedom at the local level is necessary in order for effective
solutions to social problems to evolve.
- Referendum-based decision-making. The Internet gives us the
ability to decide local and national issues by referendum rather than
by votes within legislative bodies. It is foolish not to make use
of this ability to implement direct rather than merely representative
- Serious education reform, driven not by privatization, but by
government funding of innovative schools, made possible by
decentralized education administration.
- A nationwide high technology initiative, driven by increased,
decentralized government investment in pure research, and government provision of venture capital for hi-tech start-up firms. Investment in science and
technology always provides higher quality of life, in the long term.
- Independence of cyberspace: the Internet, and whatever it
turns into in the future, should not be regulated
by any nation's laws.
- Free food, housing and basic education for all. The state of shelters and soup kitchens in our cities is deplorable. If we treat the poor with
respect, they will be far more likely to develop the self-respect needed
to end their own poverty. Australia, New Zealand and Canada are models
in this regard.
- Free university education for good students. It works in
Europe and Asia.
- A complete overhaul of the national drug policy. Most drug use is bad,
but it is not as bad as mass imprisonment and constant violence on the streets.
All natural plant substances should be legalized. Legalization
of refined drug substances should be considered as well; and perhaps
experimented with on the local level.
- Private handgun ownership should be outlawed. There is absolutely
no need for the US to be such a violent place.
- Simplify the tax code. Tax deductions may have been a good
idea at first, but they have gotten way out of hand, so much that they are
- National, decentralized health care. The current
health care system benefits only insurance companies and dehumanizing
health care conglomerates. The Australian system is state-funded
but decentralized and emphasizes individual choice. A move in
this direction is long overdue.
- Balance the national budget. To have the government paying
interest is to have the average person paying the banks and their
wealthy shareholders. In effect, this is a regressive tax.
- Stop destroying the few remaining wild areas of the USA. We are
smart enough to
develop technologies that produce wealth without destroying so many
animals and plants.
You may find this campaign difficult to take seriously.
"Is it a joke masquerading as politics, or politics masquerading as a joke?", you may ask
But think about it -- can't the same question be asked of the whole damn political system???
From a certain perspective of thought, nothing is serious anyway. The world is just virtual.
But life goes on, virtual or not. Decisions are made. The course of human evolution
We wilfully entrust our future to the greedy, self-centred and shortsighted.
We accept that individual intelligence gives rise to collective stupidity.
It does not have to be so.