Arthur C. Clarke and his vision of world government

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“Britain’s historic exit marking an end to the forty-year membership of the European Union.”

This is still science fiction at this moment. Currently the front runners of the Conservative Party seem to be trying to (according to preferred analogy) kick the referendum into touch, hit it over long stop for six, or just put it off to some unspecified date, preferably after the next election.


Having competing legal systems is freedom-maximizing. I’m glad I’ll be dead and buried (and no doubt some of you will be glad I’ll be dead and buried) long before such a unified global state ever comes to pass. Hegemony can only lead to tyranny.


The way I think of it, government is for people who can’t handle science. When/if humans mature, then administration of our collective affairs will be based less upon classic instinctive drama of territory and influence. What is left of government I think will more closely resemble network technology.


I think Charlie Stross said it best. Show me the world government and I’ll show you the mass graves. That’s too much power in the hands of any one organization, the temptation too great, and it’s only a matter of time before it will be perverted by the most absolutely corrupted.

Anyway, the EU isn’t a nation-state. It’s a trading bloc. That has it’s own problems, but a kind of global trading bloc, not only for material goods and labor, but a true optimization of the law of comparative advantage where the lazy economic parasitism of the investor class and hereditary elite is eschewed in favor of more profitable productive enterprises…that just might be viable.

Churchill was an early opponent of this idea, arguing that government should never be left in the hands of "experts." And this kind of dream of scientific control would, unfortunately, have ghastly echoes in Nazi Germany.

I’m a bit annoyed at the oft-stated idea that Nazi Germany was about the horrors of “scientific control”. Hitler was a painter, Goebbels a novelist and playwright, Himmler a “new age” mystic, and so on. Who were the scientists supposedly controlling things?


I think the “science” comes in with eugenics and it’s employment by the Nazi government to organize mass murder. The same could be said of the mass media, consumption, and bureaucratic state craft, all of which were employed by the Nazis to effective means of social control over a large population. While it’s easy to reject eugenics as being a scientific field now, because it’s not, that’s largely because of the Nazis. At one point, it was a serious field of scientific study, with departments in universities, etc.

So, no, science isn’t an “evil”, but anything employed to bad ends is underwriting evil, whether that’s science, the humanities, art or mysticism. Anything can become a totalizing ideology, in the right hands. Just like any of these things can become modes of freeing people.



Well I can’t be bothered with a link but for me, as a resident of a small country, being governed by a global government would be the same as being governed by the US, the EU, China or Russia. And I don’t want to live in any of those places.

As a counterpoint, Australia and New Zealand have a nice comfortable relationship, mostly due to reciprocal agreements. Citizens of each country are free to live and work in the other country. Its a “close but not too close” relationship and it works well for both countries.

Well, though, now you have literally no say in what the larger, more powerful countries do, even through the UN. A global government, if it was a democratic, elected body, might actually given you a shot at that, yeah?

Not that I’m necessarily advocating for a world government at this point, as I think we seem to have a general democracy problem as of late, in many places. Balancing powers a bit more effectively between the different parts of the world, might be very helpful at this point.

Nope. If the US government is an example of what the rest of the world calls a democratic, elected body then I want no part of it. Right now my country retains the right to tell the rest of the world to GTFO. Being small and independent at least gives you the right to control your corner of the world. Being a tiny part of a global “democracy” just means that the larger, more influential parts get to decide what is being had for dinner.


What is your counter-argument here? This seems axiomatic to me.

When I was a teenager, I used to think a world government would be a great idea. However, as I became older and wiser, I realized that this would just be a recipe for absolute tyranny. Countries don’t just compete economically, they also compete on democracy.

If this superstate started to become oppressive, where would you flee too? There would be no other countries to apply sanctions or speak up for you. If there was ever a whistle-blower like Edward Snowden, there would certainly be no place he could run.

Fortunately, any project like that is doomed to fail. Countries always have their own interests and they don’t like having them blown away by a hurricane of opposing votes.

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Also, you think if the United States had been a single sovereign, instead of 50 separate states, we ever would have made much progress on gay marriage, marijuana legalization, or much else? A lot of folks in this country had some honestly held, sincere beliefs that gay marriage was troublesome. Now, the American people – who I believe in the middle are eminently fair minded – took a few years to slowly shrug their shoulders, but the big swing in opinion could only have happened once Gavin Newsom acted wisely (if lawlessly) in pushing forward with it in San Francisco. Eventually, the broad public of America said, “huh, okay, I was wrong about that. Gay marriage! Hurrah! Or, alternately, gay marriage – yes, sure, okay, I guess.” Medical marijuana and soon decriminalized marijuana has followed that same path.

A single sovereign never would have allowed that gradual legal change, which supported societal change, which fed back into more legal change, because the stakes of regulatory capture are so high than entrenched interests will fight even harder to control a unified government because the stakes are that much higher.

The “laboratories of democracy” isn’t just a cliche. Sure, sometimes it works the other way (slavery-driven southern succession), but mostly not.

Well, sure, but that wasn’t your claim… :slight_smile:

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I don’t have to make a counter argument. Claims were made sans evidence. I asked for the evidence to back the claims. Pretty straightforward. I figured he had some basis for his opinion that he just hadn’t been bothered to offer so I asked.

That’s probably true. The claim was that “competing” legal systems increase freedoms. Right now, in your example, those states would all have the same legal system, for most values, as they all have the same basis and structure.


That’s actually another misconception, though. Eugenics was certainly a popular “common sense” idea at the time, and sterilization of “defectives” even continued even in the US post-WWII, but actual scientists weren’t big supporters of it well before the Nazis. Reginald Punnet (of “Punnet square” fame) showed mathematically in 1917 that eliminating a trait from a gene pool by sterilization would require an impractical number of generations.


What was my claim?

When all the broken hearted people living in the world agree, there will be an answer.

It wasn’t your claim. It was @atl’s.

“Having competing legal systems is freedom-maximizing.”

I mixed people in my head. My bad.