In my OU course we’re studying Rousseau at the moment. So at tonight’s tutorial the tutor asked us to, in groups of three or four, discuss our ideal society.
As the good SF-fanarchist that I am, I suggested Iain Banks‘s Culture as a model. Not by name, and I didn’t mention spaceships or Minds — we don’t want to raise too many demons at once. I suggsted to the others in my group that a perfect society could only be achieved in a post-scarcity environment, with unlimited resources freely available to all. This led logically to the absence of money and government.
Admittedly I had no mechanism by which this could be achieved, but it was fun to discuss for ten minutes or so. My group (none of whom I know, really) were surprisingly receptive, though the woman who had been taking notes somewhat misrepresented the points we had discussed when we reported back to the class.
It was disappointing how tame the rest of the ideas were; and what was really surprising — no: shocking — was that one of the other groups suggested increased patriotism as one of the points they wanted.
That’s one of the things they wanted in their ideal society.
More patriotism. Really.
I kind of wish I’d been (and I’m kind of glad I wasn’t) in that group.