Would you prefer an America in which the three-and-a-half million richest Americans and their spouses, children, grand-children and great-grand-children disappeared forever (assuming you were not any of the persons named or an America in which everyone in America but the persons just named, and you and the one hundred people closest to you disappeared forever? I thought this question up to illustrate the difference between egalitarianism. Since the richest Americans are (for the most part) the Americans making the rest of us the happiest their loss would diminish our lives much more than the loss of the masses.
On second thought, I realized that would not be the case because of all the high productive Americans who are not rich, and also because I doubt that the very rich would not be fairly easy to replace with the almost very rich. It’s also true that the disappearance of the masses would make it difficult for the very rich to be anywhere near as effective as they had been.
Or would it? Things would surely be bad for a while, but possibly they would eventually . . .
NEW SCENARIOS: nicer ones (because while I have very little problem with the painless extinction of anyone, including myself, due to my belief that extinct people will not likely be unhappy about their state, I do have a proper problem with causing the unhappiness their extinction would cause those left behind, so however easy it is for me to make up dire scenarios, it would be impossible for me to cause them in reality if I could, and as the Christian God and most of his brothers and sisters can and do): my new scenarios would be the same as my old except that no one would be rendered extinct–and America would first be transported to an exact duplicate of the earth a billion light-years away except that it has no human beings on it until the duplicate of America is deposited on it. The choice given then is which of the two groups I described should be sent back to the now unpopulated original America, and which left with you on the new planet–which will have not outside countries to contend with.
My not yet carefully-thought-out verdict is that the one with the very rich would be less successful for those in it than the other one would be for those in it, but after a generation or earlier, it would become stupendously better. The one with the masses would definitely not be better off with the very rich gone because the huge majority of the very rich are not the monsters that the socialistic demagogues rant that they are. But its suffering would not last long, I don’t think. It might even fairly quickly become significantly better than it has because of all the positions that would open up at the top for younger persons equal to the old people blocking their way.
A scenario more interesting to me would replace the richest 3,500,000 and families with the 3,500,000 most anthreffective Americans and their families, by some evaluational process vastly better than we have now. “Anthreffectiveness” is my term for, roughly, “full human capacity to be effective,” or over-all intelligence, including the physical intelligence to catch fly balls, the auditory intelligence to compose symphonies, the “cartoceptual” intelligence to be able to find your way around, the social intelligence to get half-wits to elect you U.S. president, and so on.
An interesting question would be how many of these would be in the very rich group. Certainly much less than half . . . I think. But I’m basing that on my impression that many more of those of the past (before the twentieth century) who got into encyclopedias for their positive cultural achievements–e.g., not Nero–were not rich than were.
Lots of other varieties of either/or choices based on scenarios like the ones I’ve described are fun to think about. How about a choice between an America on the far-off second Earth having either only the best 3,500,000 American “progressive” minds (according to Paul Krugman and Elizabeth Warren) and their families or the best American anti-authoritarian minds (according to George Will and Rand Paul)? Or the actual best (and most benevolent) progressive minds and the actual best (benevolent) anti-authoritarian minds according to a computer with a political IQ of 10,000 and access to the total political understanding of every American . . . That would get me in with the anti-authoritarians, something that might not happen with Will and Paul running the show. (Maybe as a long-time subscriber to both The New Criterion and Free Inquiry I’d get into both far-off Americas. Nah, neither side would want me.)
An interesting possibility is that an America here without its best freedom-loving minds might soon become entirely socialized. What would happen then? A revolution of the right-wing few against the wimp majority? And how about the other possibility: an America here without its leading progressives. Also a revolution? Again of a wimp majority against a right-wing few, but much bett
A related idea: two Americas on two far-off planets, one with just the best freedom-lovers, the other with just the best security-lovers, let me try neutrally to call them. Would leftists evolve on the free planet, anti-authoritarians on the welfare planet?
How about two Americas one of which has no one but the 3,500,000 and their families who most ardently believe in a supreme being like the Christian god, and the 3,500,000 who most ardently disbelieve in such an entity?
Now the best pairing: the 3,500,000 and families most enchanted by poetry, and the 3,500,000 and families least enchanted by it. Frankly, I think I’d rather be with the latter.
I suppose I’d really prefer (sob) America as is. I’d love to learn what happened to each of the others, though. Some will, in virtual realities of the future.
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I began this entry with a near-complete blank mind. Finally, thinking I would present a brief description of my first pairing of Americas, then kept going. Have I abominated even worser than usual? I seem to have devolved from poetry and poetics into a village socio-political ranter against all that is holy? I do seem to have stopped composing poetry. I am not happy about that. Why? Maybe I’ve run out of creativity. Maybe now that I’m in my final years I feel a need to have my say. A big reason that makes sense is it has been obvious for a long time that trying to keep from being too ignored by the just about all Establishments (including the libertarian one) by keeping quiet about my political views has no chance of helping me.
Humorously, the true main reason for all my pronouncements and blither is simply my need to get a blog entry posted daily!
Let it be inscribed on the pot holding my ashes: “He was Honest, but nevertheless Harmless. Urp.”