Not sure our current political systems are solving world problems fast enough? Here are 6 political systems from science fiction & fantasy for inspiration.
Political Systems and Time Management
Now, the first question you are probably asking is “Garland, you are all about time management. What do political systems have to do with time management?”
The political systems of the city, state/province, country and even the world drastically affect how we can work, travel, earn money, start businesses, or get an education. So they have a huge impact on time management, to say nothing of the amount of time people waste talking about and watching information about politics.
Political Systems and Science Fiction
I LOVE reading science fiction and fantasy! And there are some very intriguing societies and political systems that have been proposed by these very creative authors.
In my over 50 years of reading 5-10 books a week, here are my favorite political systems from scifi and fantasy that I think we should steal and implement here on Home Earth. Please note that these are my personal picks, not an exhaustive study of science fiction and fantasy literature and I am sure many other readers have their own favorites.
SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t read some of these books yet, my discussion of them will create some spoilers for you.
#6: Federation – Star Trek
Star Trek was created in 1966 by Gene Roddenberry. Roddenberry and the writers who worked on the show created The United Federation of Planets, a forward-thinking political system that included many alien races along with humans. Some great things about the Federation include:
- Racism largely absent with many alien races working together
- Hunger and poverty largely eliminated (thank you replicators)
- Money is not the central focus for people and organizations
- Sentient rights are guaranteed
Not everything is perfect in the federation, of course, but the life of the average member of the Federation would be at a much higher level than in our current society and the less fortunate people would be better taken care of.
Valdemar is a universe created by Mercedes Lackey. The first book, Arrow’s Flight, was published in 1987 and there are roughly 33 books in the series.
This is the only fantasy political system in the list, probably because most fantasies seem to be set in the past and often use feudal systems.
Monarchy Political Systems
Now, I am sure some of you are going. “Wait, doesn’t Valdemar have kings and queens? Isn’t is a monarchy. Aren’t monarchies some of the worst political systems?”
The answer is yes, but….
Valdemar is different.
Valdemar Companions are spirit creatures that take the form of a white horse. Companions ONLY choose to be with people of good heart – these people become “Heralds.”
Heralds are a combination of messengers, peace keepers, diplomats, guards, soldiers and even deal with civil disputes.
ONLY royal heirs also chosen by Companions (heirs are also Heralds) are eligible to assume the throne.
So heirs are guaranteed to be people of good heart, brave, and with high moral integrity. If they aren’t they won’t be “chosen” by a Companion and can’t inherit the throne.
#4: Freehold of Grainne
Freehold is a book published by Michael Z Williamson, published in 2004.
In the book, a young woman Earth soldier is falsely framed for theft and flees Earth for Freehold. She finds Freehold very different than the ultra-authoritarian Earth she left.
The society in Freehold has these attributes:
- Libertarian society
- Big on individual rights
- Small government, small taxation
- True, free market society
- Expects people to pull their own weight
Freehold isn’t perfect and not all people are good, but overall it is much better than the very corrupt Earth government that is trying to stamp it out.
#3: Chironians – Voyage to Yesteryear
Published in 1982 by James Hogan.
Fearing Earth may not survive, early in 21st century an automated probe is sent to a planet in Alpha Centauri system. Included is a bank of human knowledge, genetic material and robots to care for children created from genetic materials.
Probe reports back to Earth that they found a habitable planet and that the first generation of children have been raised successfully.
Later, Earth loses contact.
5 Generations Later
New technology lets Earth send manned colony ships. Each of the surviving power blocs North America, Europe and Asia send a ship with the North American ship due to arrive first.
The North American ship has an authoritarian regime, theocratic leaders, and a strong military presence and assume they will easily assume control of the colony when they arrive…
Upon arrival, the newcomers find a society of seemingly naïve people with no class system and no government. No money is in use – the factories easily turn out enough for everybody, so people just take and use what they need. No accumulation of wealth.
Chironians happily step aside if someone with more skill wants to do a task. They value competence and don’t let their egos get in the way.
The Chironians ignore people who are blowhards or phony – they only value what is real.
The Chironians are charming, and politely interested in the newcomers but think the newcomers are all a little uptight and cuckoo – especially those in charge.
The North American authoritarian regime is confused – who is in charge? And if they take over, will anyone pay attention to them?
But many of the passengers and military are finding the Chironian way of life to be very attractive…
#2: Hexies on Tharthee
This is a 2 book series, Saturnalia (1986) and A Lion on Tharthee (1987), published by Grant Callin.
The unique society outlined in the second book relies heavily on humor. People in the highest offices of the land are often elected after they sponsor or create “joke plays.” Humor is highly valued in politics, business and everyday life. And the humans are coming off as stuffed shirts in comparison and are in danger of being laughed off the planet.
Here are a couple of honorable mentions I considered that didn’t make the final 6.
- Beta Colony – Vorkosigan Series – Lois McMaster Bujold. Bujold is one of my favorite authors and creates great societies. The only reason that I didn’t include Beta Colony on this list is that the series mainly focused on the Barryar political system (more feudal and patriarchial) and the Beta Colony was one of multiple other societies that Barryar had to interact with. But Beta Colony looks like a great place to live with fantastic medical technology and their acceptance of unusual sexualities and even clones.
- Rescue Party – Arthur C Clarke, 1946 – Rescue Party is only a short story so I didn’t include it in the final 6, but the group of aliens that comes to save Earth combines skills and aliens from many different cultures into a truly galactic civilization.
So here is Garland’s personal favorite pick for political systems from scifi and fantasy.
United Planets Council – First Salick War by Jean Johnson. Released July 2015. A 3-book series starting with The Terrans.
What do I love about this series and its politics?
- Politicians serve their constituents first and take a daily oath of office to emphasize this
- Poor approval levels among constituents can result in loss of political position
- No direct lobbying of politicians allowed
- Sufficient authority provided to accomplish tasks
- Have telepaths – but held to high ethical standards and ethics are tested regularly
- Not bullied by other human or alien political systems
The main character, a naval officer eventually elevated to Ambassador, has to interact with another human civilization political system as well as aliens and continues to act with integrity. A great read and a great political system.
When I am made Overlord of Earth, I will hire Jean Johnson to come in and help design the proper political system to replace me.