Read the previous part here.

utopia is a balance

I do not believe that any of the aforementioned systems, or any other ideological system, works on its own at large scale. Large scale being more than 10-50 million people for the purposes of this argument. The ones that have worked the best so far at large scale are composite systems, merging ideas from several ideologies. America is a democratic republic, mixing flavors of many of the ideologies listed before. We have pieces of socialism (Medicare/Medicaid, public police and fire departments, public education), capitalism (private wealth and markets, materialism), democracy (voting for representatives), and constant clashes between liberalism and conservatism. However, these systems are not in any sort of conscious, maintained balance, save for the original intentions written in the United States Constitution.

The world governments that are closer to an ideological core are able to function well because the cultures they govern are more homogeneous. In recent years, Iceland has been able to take massive purely democratic action, mostly because it has such a small population relative to other countries. A few European and Scandinavian countries are leaning heavily towards complete socialism, because their cultures afford the chance. Socialism is a dirty word in America (despite our socialized public services and welfare systems), but it's a norm in Europe. This is simply a question of common mindset: in most of Europe, it's plainly obvious that every citizen should contribute to a system that ensures free access to health care for everyone, for example. In America, we prefer to believe that every citizen should be responsible for their own health, and not be a potential burden on any other citizen. One ideology is not necessarily right or better than the other.

However, it is interesting to examine the American idea of freedom and its expression through conservative "freedom-protecting" goals, such as our stubborn misunderstanding and distrust of any socialist endeavor. American politicians enjoy saying things like "socialism is the enemy of freedom". In this context, freedom means: social responsibility for the self, the value of the individual above the whole, and the ability for a citizen to self-determine as much as possible. These are strongly libertarian and/or anarchistic tendencies, actively seeking policies that limit any outside control over the individual citizen. The "freedom" we are protecting is the freedom to say "no" and "not in my back yard" and "not out of my paycheck". These seem like very selfish notions when compared to America's popular ethos of being the land of equal opportunity, cultural diversity, and home of the truest democracy. Nevertheless, the freedom to say no is indeed one aspect of freedom that deserves protecting.

If any system is to govern the whole world, or even reshape major first-world areas like America, the European Union, or China, it must be a deeply thought-out mix of ideologies. The only adequate word I can use to describe this system is balance. Most importantly, it's impossible to create a mashup of ideals that all people will agree on or be happy with. That's an inherent truth at large scale. In fact, the perfect system must have competing interests within it, must have systems of checks-and-balances, must be able to adapt to disruptive change, must be somewhat-but-not-totally resistant to heedless progress. Such a system must care for the whole of society while providing the freedom for the individual to better themselves. In bettering the self, one should better society as a whole. It is imperfect to allow people to better themselves only and always for the self without thought for the whole. Likewise, it is imperfect to ask people to better the whole only and always for the whole without thought for the self. There must be a balance, and once found, we achieve a kind of practical utopia.

The pieces involved in balancing the world will be uncomfortable, but one piece that every citizen should be comfortable and active about is the balance itself. For this practical utopia to work, every citizen must embrace a core set of fundamental ideas. Some of these may (hopefully) already be self-evident. The largest of these ideals is simple, and it is the foundation for all others: every citizen of the world is but one actor among many, representing not only themselves as an individual but a unit in the whole of humanity. Every person exists in two roles: a person by themselves alone, and as one person among many equal persons. That, itself, is a balance each of us must achieve before we can govern or be governed effectively.

Remember: there will always be someone who disagrees with you, no matter how "right" you may feel about your position. The people who disagree with you will feel the same way about you that you feel about them. The goal of creating policy and law is not to win against them. The goal of governing is to adequately compromise between all parties. It is not as simple as "the majority voted for X, therefore X is law". You must be the first to accept that every other person can have a valid opinion. This is in stark contrast to American politics, in which each actor (politician or citizen) believes their way is wholly and the only right way, and anything else is defeat.

Informed argument is the basis of governance and justice. Public debate is a form of simple conversation about multiple competing ideals. Disagreement is how we begin to find compromise: it allows room for the opportunity to create a common good. A stereotypical destroyer of good governance is the silence and inaction of those who disagree with how they are being governed. When a citizen is profoundly discontent with the way they are being governed, and does not speak up and take action, they erode their own role as citizen and member of a cohesive society. Likewise, those who are so bent towards their own way of thinking become louder, drowning out all possibility of disagreement, destroying any idea of effective governance.

All effective governance creates allowance and protection for all sides of an argument. For example, the Bill of Rights grants freedom of speech: that freedom of speech grants a Nazi the right to speak publicly, but it also grants you the right to disagree with them publicly. Good laws do not have to exclude or prohibit, instead they provide and promote appropriate standards which allow and protect all citizens equally. This can be an uncomfortable truth, but it is a necessary one. It's a question of extremes: if you wish to have the right to do something, you must carefully examine how it may be taken to any extreme, and be willing to stand behind that extreme. Our rights are protections not only for ourselves, but for those we disagree with, so that we may find better compromises.

Each person is a unit of a whole, whether that whole is a neighborhood, or a state, or a province, or a city, or a socio-economic class, or a book club, or a country, or the world. It's up to you to decide how you wish to have yourself be represented within that group; it's likewise up to you decide whether or not you wish to be represented at all. We each decide how much we wish to care about each group we're a part of; nonetheless, our decisions also impact those other units of the whole, whether they're people just like you or not. The importance here is to recognize scope and scale, and how no matter the size of the group you're a part of, you're still an individual piece in the puzzle. This can have massive ramifications, or it can have none, depending on how you wish to place yourself within it. But remember: no group can fully function if every individual within it (or a large number of them) decides not to care at all.

We each individually have a hierarchy of needs (food, water, shelter, contentment); likewise, a society has a hierarchy of needs (culture, trade). Government can be the mechanism that regulates how those needs are met, and what the balance is between the individual being responsible for their own needs versus the group being responsible for each individual's needs. Every other person has to meet their own needs, not just you. However, there is still a balance between selfishness and selflessness: it is up to each individual to decide whether it's better to have a full meal at the expense of another, or if it's better to have everyone eat a little less so that we can all have a bite. One can measure a society many ways: how well does the poorest person live? How wide is the gap between the poorest and the richest? How easily can one move from one socio-economic class to the next? Are there socio-ecomonic classes at all? All measurements must be taken into consideration to reach a more complete idea of fairness.

We are all human, and we all have to share this planet together. We have to share this planet not only with each other, but with all forms of life and nature. We cannot allow the exploitation of other humans or the planet itself. We must find balance with each other, as a human species, as much as we must find a balance with nature. This is now and will probably forever be a source of discomfort, because it's extremely difficult to account for all humans, and all life, in a way that is non-exploitative. Personally, I don't necessarily believe that any radically environmentalist lifestyle (i.e. veganism, anti-materialism) is quite right, but they are necessary for the debate. The largest challenge of governance in the 21st century and onward surrounds how we can all inhabit the world together, not just as a group of humans, but as creatures on world that may not be able to sustain us.

Finally, if you are not willing to be an informed citizen, then you are willfully eroding your right to effectively participate in governance. Mindfulness of governance and one's role in governance, no matter how small, is the cornerstone of any cohesive society. This has been reiterated many times before in this piece so far, but it needs to be repeated. The heart of the matter is being mindful of your role. The most toxic pitfall of the current age is to be mindless within politics: to completely disregard and disengage with those who have opposing opinions, and instead only focus your efforts with those who have the exact same ideals as you. The destruction of governance will happen at the hands of those who are unwilling to see their lives through any other lens than the one they have blurred themselves within.

These are all ideas to balance with other ideas. Every point made here is in debate with an opposing perspective, and there is no right answer. How, then, do we measure the effectiveness (or goodness) of government? Is it the average happiness of its citizens? The approval of its citizens of the government? How effectively each citizen feels they are represented? The average wealth, health, or education of each citizen? A totalitarian communist government may have a citizenry that feels that they are wholly taken care of, healthy, intelligent, and represented; a republican democracy may have a citizenry that feels they are underrepresented, unemployed, and depressed. There is little to no inherent guarantee of anything within any distinct ideological system. These are all ideals that must be kept in balance.