Oh dear. What on earth drives the minds of the WordPress team? This morning’s offering: If you started your own nation, what rules would be in your constitution? Luckily, help is at hand for anyone not knowing where to start but feeling they have a few spare days to tackle the subject and put the world to rights. There are some useful links to the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution and Magna Carta. So I’ve had a quick perusal of that lot, of course, and I’m now all set to go.
Except I’m a liberalist who frequently despairs of contemporary society, the way it functions, and many of its values, despite the flourishing abundance of written constitutions, human rights declarations etc., etc., etc. in much of the world. A constitution is only as good as the people living within the society. If moral corruption is endemic, there is no guarantee of protection of human rights, regardless of what the law says. And then of course there are well-known examples of “lawfully” constituted but nonetheless vicious totalitarian regimes.
Believing it’s possible to set up a constitutional framework and thereby facilitate the perfect community is a product of a general contemporary misconception that legislation solves everything. The more rules and regulation, the happier and more successful we will be. Top-heavy, imposed-from-without structures are all the rage.
So in my Utopia, it all starts in the home. If the family unit isn’t functioning properly, there’s no chance for the wider community. And if local communities can’t get it right, the state won’t resolve the problems. We evolved as tribes. Maybe we need a few more thousand years to complete our transition to selfless, morally sound larger communities and nations.
It’s all a bit like an art project. Even if you have to work within constraints, you can’t impose rules and restrictions from above. The making of art is an organic process. You have to start, and allow it to evolve. You have to exercise artistic integrity at every stage. Work within your own domain properly, and the rest will take care of itself. In Utopia.