Opt-Out Democracy (Musing)

Super interesting (and SUPER long) podcast here full of ideas about geopolitical predictions and network states and how the world will look in 5-10 years provided by guest Balaji S. Srinivasan. One very interesting concept he mentioned to was the fact that a pure, majority-rules democractic structure could theoretically be described as 51% democracy, 49% dictatorship – when decisions or rulings are not favored by a percentage of the population, they aren’t getting what they want and that result could, in theory, descend into very negative experiences or even oppression/subjugation in extreme examples.

Elsewhere he talked about how communities are often created out of adherence to a doctrine-strength agreement or consensus on some issue or ideology. As he described this type of community, he mentioned that to remain safe/stable communities, you may restrict/limit entrance to the community (select or self-select based on adherence to that common criteria/value(s)) but you must allow freedom to remove yourself from that community. And “opt-out” mechanism. In the case of bordered, territory-bound defined states or communities (e.g. “nations”), this would look like leaving the space.

How does this concept affect or play into how America looks at the moment, dangerously splintered and ideologically polarized but still operating (usually in very mono-doctrine smaller clusters, like how cities and towns are often skewed blue or red) as a single nation? Would helping people understand that we are, technically, an opt-out democracy (the “I’m definitely moving to Canada if ___” trope comes to mind) change the way we engage with political ideas? Does America need to (or, will it) eventually divide more formally along ideological lines? How do states interspersed amongst each other in a broad geographical landscape that may continue to adopt more populationally consistent political makeups as we move forward begin to interact more or only with other states that are more closely aligned to themselves (think abortion or immigration safe-haven states, trade, reciprocation laws, etc.)?

No clue how any of this plays out. But interesting to wonder about.


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