I have had an idea of a utopian society in which Bentham’s Panopticon is realized with omnipresent surveillance and sousveillance of every citizen which is viewable by every other citizen and a sufficient number of negative votes cast against an individual results in the individual’s execution (i.e. if footage of your actions against another individual are broadcast and rebroadcast on-demand over an extremely tamper-resistant secured video network and more than 90% of the world’s population or 90% of your local population is decided against you, you are removed from society).
It’s really more of a thought exercise: the implementation of such a system would run contrary to so many interests and individual preconceptions of justice and privacy that it would likely never be implemented (maybe that’s a good thing?).
Apparently I am not alone in such thought exercises – the assassination politics organization proposed by Jim Bell resembles something which may actually see implementation though, for obvious reasons, it is far more manipulable than forced surveillance or sousveillance for citizenry and leadership alike: the evening news is so thoroughly polluted with disinformation as to turn the population into the direct assassination sponsor of those who have done nothing wrong (beyond landing in the crosshairs of a lying news organization or disinformation-spewing public relations department).
Still, Bell has some well-reasoned points:
This country has learned, in numerous examples subsequent to many wars, that once the political disputes between leaders has ceased, we (ordinary citizens) are able to get along pretty well with the citizens of other countries. Classic examples are post-WWII Germany, Japan, and Italy, and post-Soviet Russia, the Eastern bloc, Albania, and many others.
Contrary examples are those in which the political dispute remains, such as North Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Cuba, Red China, and a few others. In all of these examples, the opposing leadership was NOT defeated, either in war or in an internal power struggle. Clearly, it is not the PEOPLE who maintain the dispute, but the leadership.
Consider how history might have changed if we’d been able to “bump off” Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, Tojo, Kim Il Sung, Ho Chi Minh, Ayatollah Khomeini, Saddam Hussein, Moammar Khadafi, and various others, along with all of their replacements if necessary, all for a measly few million dollars, rather than the billions of dollars and millions of lives that subsequent wars cost.
- Assassination Politics
by Jim Bell
Perhaps an amalgam of assassination politics and the cyber-Panopticon would be ideal: as a condition of holding public office, those holding office must submit to audio/video surveillance made available to the public live whenever on the job.
… whatever the case, you need to know that Big Brother is watching and, if our society is to avoid the emergence of a power imbalance so immense as to be impervious to revolution, (it is the tendency of those in power to remain in power and actively work to retain their power – whether or not this is a legitimate strategy is irrelevant, it’s just the way of things) our society must deal with the issue of whom-is-watching-whom and to what degree those with any measure of control over the lives of others are responsible for their actions.
Is social justice worth the possibility of a price on your head?