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Which would you choose?
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By William Dameron
April 23, 2013 12:01 a.m.



Suppose we could take six beautiful, identical islands such as Oahu.  Assume each is unpopulated to start, but we take six hundred thousand Americans at random and put one hundred thousand people into each island, without first giving them a choice. 

The first island follows laws based on the Constitution of the United States, has a capitalist economy with minimum regulation, allows free enterprise, has a President, Congress, and judicial system like the United States of today, is conservative fiscally and socially.  Government budgets are balanced.  Entitlements are few and only provided as a safety net. Regulation of business is minimal.  There is free speech and freedom of religion.   It does not allow drugs or abortions and defines marriage as between a man and a woman.  Let’s call it 1920’s America.  (Under Coolidge, perhaps the best economic period in American history.)

The second is identical to the first except that it is socially liberal – allows legal drugs, abortions, same sex marriage, and even plural marriage;  We’ll think of it as Holland.  Actually there may be no good example in the real world.  We’ll pretend it works under capitalism and isn’t socialist.

The third is an Islamic theocracy, governed by an Imam.  The Koran is enforced by Sharia law, morality is absolute and gay behavior may be punished by death.  Also punishable by death are heresy, abortion,and drug useGovernment is socialist in nature and business is highly regulated.   Men dominate women.  Women must keep their faces and bodies covered in public at all times.  Let’s call it Iran.

The fourth is also a theocracy, except that it is Christian and governed by a Pope.  Everything else is the same as the third.  There’s no country I know of which is like that, so we’ll make up a name: Christian Theocracy.

The fifth is a communist society, governed by a dictator.  All property is owned by the government, and all business is run by government employees.  All people work for the government at jobs the government assigns.  Morality is conservative as in the first island.  We’ll call it North Korea.

The sixth is communist, exactly the same as the fifth except that morality is liberal as in Holland.  We’ll call it Cuba, although I’m not sure how they actually handle morality there now.

One final assumption: all the societies are up and running when we begin the experiment.

People are free to move back and forth between islands, but may only make five moves in their lifetime.

When we begin, Gays and Lesbians immediately move out of Iran and the Christian Theocracy, since they don’t want to be murdered.  They move to Holland or Cuba.  So do fanatically Pro-choice women and drug addicts.

Fanatically devout Muslims will move to Iran; Christians to Holland, or 1920’s America.   Really devout Christians will move to The Christian Theocracy.  All other Muslims will move to 1920’s America.

Conservatives will move to 1920’s America or Holland, as will most independents.  Libertarians will favor Holland.

Democrats will have a difficult choice.  If they are fanatical leftists they’ll move to Iran or North Korea.  If not, they’ll move to Holland for the relaxed morality.  Few will move to 1920’s America.

The poor, if too lazy to work, won’t like 1920’s America or Holland which aren’t welfare havens.  They’ll pick Cuba.

The rich will pick 1920’s America.

Far more people will choose 1920’s American than any other island.  Only fanatics will choose North Korea, Iran, or The Christian Theocracy.

Where would you choose to go?

Of the original six hundred thousand randomly chosen Americans, I’d guess about two thirds -- 400,000 -- would choose to live in 1920’s America.   Perhaps 100,000 would choose Cuba so they could live on welfare and in relative poverty but not have to worry about making a living.  Perhaps 85,000 would choose Holland for its lack of morality.   I think only about 5,000 each would choose to live in Iran, the Christian Theocracy, or North Korea  (The technical term for these people is ‘nut cases’.) 

Perhaps you might give a different estimate of the numbers moving to each island.  But, it’s something to think about.

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