December 07, 2011

If-- by Rudyard Kipling (1895)

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

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Seeking the Ideal from this Modern World

The ideal nation has been an object of perfection for the past several centuries from Robert Owen's ideal village to the grand visions of Le Courbsier's modern day city (Le Courbsier). All of which deal with the aspects of modifying the shape of the city to modify the behavior of the people. Or the garden cities of the mid 19th century that sought to centralize living spaces, to create a sense of place that encouraged healthy outdoor living, happiness in separation from work and the ideal environments, far away from the smokey city centers (Benevolo 46). But I intend to create a perfect society, one that picks up where these all failed in their execution (Jacobs). By taking elements of each, I intend to create a society, where equality and the reigning qualities of life rule primary.

The failure of the ideal cities of the past can stem back to their lack of intent to change, a result of only marginally challenging the structure of life and more ended up being a compliment to the then current practice of life. Their unwillingness to make a complete change to the social infrastructure of behavior, interaction and policy would result in their eventual failure (Hayden).

In this new modern society, which I shall call Perefessinia from here on out, will deal with the social structure, the cultural system, political systems and the economic systems. These four things easily can define the ideal structure of a city, the ideal shape of a city, the ideal society, the ideal body politic, and the ideal structure economic.

The Rules of the Game

Likewise with our current society, there are norms that we must accept and carry over. It is understood that our actions are a direct result of the lives of many people, activities that would cause harm to others are strictly prohibited except in recreation zones. Recreation zones shall be two hundred fifty miles square, fifty miles by fifty miles and placed at the center of every 500 mile by 500 mile grid that the country will be blocked into. Here, people are allowed free reign to do anything they want, shoot, blow things up and crash automobiles. Entry into recreation zones require a minimum age of 16, two previous psychiatric evaluations and application of a pass. People entering these zones of lawlessness are prohibited from a stay of more than 10 days and as such, electronic tracking tags will reveal where these people are hiding allowing for state police to force them out. Passes may only be purchased or in special cases grandfathered in with special permission from the state.

These zones shall allow people to enjoy themselves, unwind and relieve the stresses of modern life (Huxley). This place shall act as a sanity chamber, allowing the people to avoid the rigors of life momentarily.

Thought will be allowed free reign and shall not be inhibited in any way, psychologically or chemically. People choosing the preference of art as a career shall be state funded and allowed depiction of anything of their choosing. Should anyone be offended by the images portrayed by the artist, both the artist and the afflicted party shall meet with a state evaluator to discuss and help both parties understand the reason for the image's creation and reception. In so doing, the burden of meeting with state officials would cause people to consider making art of an offensive nature or criticizing any piece of artwork. Any images found offensive by the state cannot be confiscated without the artist first undergoing a public trial by a jury of his peers, critics, experts and the ordinary to justify why the image was created in the first place (Ball & Dagger 167).

Written text, publications for print, comics, fictional literature and any other works falling under this category shall not be inhibited in any way. Free enterprise press shall be encouraged and the use of government presses shall not be restricted except in cases where presses are restricted for government use only in the case of producing fiat currency, official document blanks and documents concerning income tax, immigration and legal status.

Punishment of persons committing any crime deemed immoral and offensive to the state and its people will be allowed either exile or evaluation in trial by the state (Kelling). In the case of exile, work camps and reeducation centers in the hinterlands will hope to modify the behavior of offender. Should the person choose evaluation, he will be examined by a jury of public peers, and the case brought for and against the person. But the people of Perefessinia should be happy enough that the idea of committing a crime is unnecessary and only then in the most heinous of cases shall the public become the jury to determine and measure against their standard of life what action to take (Brem).

The government structure of life

The government or the state of Perefessinia is not in the business of controlling every single aspect of people's lives. It shall function primarily as the watchdog of the people, the legal channel that everyone should and shall pass through for most of the primary functions of their lives (Ball & Dagger 112). The nation is divided into districts, each of which are self governing, and further on in the metropolitan area, they are in turn self governing as well, but are restricted by the laws of the district and the districts under the Government Principia. All servants of the civil sector shall be publicly elected as officials and hired or appointed as appropriate in the various departments of the state. The state itself shall consist of the following departments to manage all aspects of life not controlled by the self or in the self interest of the state.

      1. The Ministry – shall deal with the heads of each of the following departments. It will be under the control of the first minister who also shall appoint a second minister to serve as his deputy.

      2. The Ministry of the State – shall deal with the ruling districts and the hinterlands. It shall also deal with foreign relations with various other nations

      3. The Ministry of the Interior – shall deal with all lands property of the state, public buildings, natural preserves and Recreational Zones of Lawlessness.

      4. The Ministry of Industry & Commerce – shall deal with all properties under state and private ownership engaged in the commerce, trades or production of durable goods, intellectual goods, and digital goods.

      5. The Ministry of Education – shall deal with all state run schools, primary through higher education. Under this ministry, the bureau of censorship shall exist as a department for the evaluation of the censorship of artworks and intellectual creations.

      6. The Ministry of Defense – shall deal with all things pertaining to national security both at home and abroad. There shall be four heads in this department: The Chief of Perefessinia, The First Sea Laird, The First Land Commander and the First Air Warden. Their defensive territories shall be as in this order: State run police, Sea, Land & Air.

      7. The Ministry of Health – shall deal with all items and topics related to drugs, health regulations and shall be the governing body for any and/or all medical procedures.

      8. The Ministry of Justice – shall deal with any corruption found within the system and by judicial appointment seek to root out this corruption.

      9. The Ministry of Revenue – shall deal with the collection and imposition of taxes to generate revenue for the state. All locations under state control including Recreation Zones are taxable locations.

      10. The Ministry of Transportation – shall deal with all aspects of travel by road, rail, air or water and shall be responsible for the regular upkeep of these systems with money gained through lawful means through the Ministry of Revenue.

      11. The Ministry of Civic Planning – shall deal with all aspects of city life, rural life and suburban life. The placement of buildings, the preservation of artistic, and experimental buildings and structures and the construction of any new buildings sponsored by the state or owned by the state.

These departments shall control all aspects and the heads of each are publicly elected officials who have served in the “People's Body” or the Duma. The Duma will consist of one member for every district of 8000 people. Members of the Duma must serve six years before election to the Politiburo which is conducted by Duma members alone. Politiburo members serve as the head of the 10 ministries and may deputize any Duma member to act as a second if any problems occur in absentia (Ball & Dagger 22).

The social structure of life

Where our societies of the past and present have relied heavily on spiritualism to find release of thought, there shall be no religion to distract people from the regularity of life. Things that occur as a so-called miracle will be examined by the Ministry of Education's department and bureau of science to explain. Morality, the guide rod of life shall be deemed as acceptable and unacceptable behavior by the state. The state may only reach these conclusions through public consensus through a ballot initiative. From there, morality is placed in the charge of the Duma to examine it, moved to the Politiburo for further scrutiny, examined by the justice ministry and then signed into the book of morality. Any preset morality clauses may be revoked through the same due processes of the law.

The idea of beauty, truth shall be not controlled by the state, but allowing of the people to discover on their own. However, when the idea of beauty or truth begins to interfere with a persons normal functions or duties or even reason to cause distress to another person or persons, the parties involved shall be required to meet with a government evaluator to straighten out all issues.

Considering the function of marriage and interaction, these shall be made possible under the bureau of licensing. The state shall have no interference in the union of any two persons. Polygamy shall not be allowed by the state and stipulated in the book of morals. This interference on the rights of those who do believe in poly-amorous relationships is justified by the unequal rights. Persons disputing this claim may marry multiple persons in the zones, but these marriages will not be recognized outside of that particular zone and upon departure from the zone, the contract of union shall be dissolved thirty days after the marriage unless the contract is signed a second time before the thirty day expiration date. There is no case reported where this has successfully occurred.

The commerce of life

Material goods and commercial goods for production are regulated under the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. All workers shall receive an equal income and the tax rate shall be set at 60% nationwide. This high tax rate shall create a large revenue to allow people to still enjoy the niceties of life while still contribute to the vast majority of state run programs. Heads of private commerce shall be regulated at an 80% tax rate and heavily scrutinized under the government. The increase in tax should still allow for a comfortable life as well as to protect the workers rights in equality and payment. Competition amongst corporations shall be encouraged with state prizes to allow consumers the greatest freedom in choice of products (Ball & Dagger 62).

Corporations and companies (large, medium and small) shall start as an endeavor of the private citizen with monetary backing of the state. Once the capitalist is capable of buying the corporation or company from the state, he may do so and the taxation on the company drops from 90% to 70%.

The regulation of business and industry shall be conducted by the ministry of industry and commerce only to impede whether or not a business, corporation, company or industry have corrupted any members of government. Dual investigations from the Ministry of Justice will also concede whether or not any injustice was committed. Corruption shall not be tolerated lightly.


Compared to what we have discussed in Brem's classes and lectures, there are many social structures that could determine the shape of the world around us. Whether or not we choose to engage in all of these aspects, is determined by our behavior. Our world around us shapes our social understanding of society, how we want it to be, how it ought to be and how it should come to fruition. I realized in the creation of this nanny-esque state how quickly my personal vision suddenly became very authoritarian. The allowance of freedoms in select locations, the government interevening in every moment to eliminate any possibility of offensive behavior, art or literature and worst of all, exile for disputing views. Partially, this derived and sounded ideal in my head from reading Brave New World, Animal Farm and watching Equilibrium. These materials all conceptually deal with ideal societies, yet have their faults. In Animal Farm and Equilibrium, there was the oppressive nanny state, the drugging, lack of feeling, and someone profiteering. In Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, there are places where religion is free to exist amonst the so called “barbarians” while in the clean, modern worlds, again there is the drugging, lack of free religions and texts of a disputive nature, that engaged its readers other than in the whimsical pleasures of life.

Personally, this paper has made me more aware of how much control there is in life, both on the personal scale and by the government as well. There is an extremely delicate balance that is constantly being tipped one direction or the other in our world. Too much government or too little government will cause the social structure of life to fall apart. Personally, I like the idea of zones of free will, not regulated by excessive government control. But I think we do have something like that, only it is called Nevada. California is a great example of a growing nanny state. I really do question our purpose here, is it entirely necessary to put into law what the definition of marriage is? Are we that stupid that we need to say that this is the definition, and the only definition? The slow process of law and the weird acceptance that if law is passed, it cannot go away made me personally add the clause in the book of morals that any of them can be changed through due process.

So what do I see appealing about the world around me? I see elements that both scare and fascinate me. Things that seem like they would work on multiple levels and some things that wouldn't work at all in an entire nation. I see the bits and pieces that if the right combination presented itself at long last would become a very good combination and should we choose not to utilize this, there is a good chance that a state may fail in this or that way. What do I long to see in this world now? Does my ideal country sound appealing? Not really. But if I had absolutely no choice as to my gender, social standing, rank and race, would I live there? I would not mind.

Works Cited

Ball, Terrence & Richard Dagger. Political Ideologies and the Democratic Ideal 8th Ed. New York, NY: Longman, 2011. Print.

Benevolo, Leonardo. The Origins of Modern Town Planning. Cambridge, MA: The M.I.T. Press, 1971. Print.

Brem, Robert [Professor of Political Theory at Cal State East Bay & College of Alameda]. Lecture. Alameda, CA. 26 Oct. 2011.

Brem, Robert. Speaking Reality into Existence: Political Philosophy and Democracy 9.3rd Ed. Alameda, CA: Department of Politics, College of Alameda, 2010. Print.

Le Courbsier. Plan Voisign. Paris, France. Dover Press, 1991. Print.

Hayden, Dolores. Building Suburbia: Green Fields and Urban Growth, 1820-2000. New York, NY: Vintage Books, 2004. Print.

Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World. New York, NY: Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2010. Print.

Jacobs, Jane. The Death and Life of Great American Cities. New York, NY: Modern Library, 1961. Print.

Kelling, George & Catherine Coles. Fixing Broken Windows: Restoring Order and Reducing Crime In our Communities. New York, NY: Free Press, 1998. Print